The New Way to Leverage KOLs in MedTech Marketing

May 28, 2024 | B2B / Medtech

For decades, healthcare innovators have leveraged partnerships with key opinion leaders (KOLs) to accelerate brand awareness and drive medtech sales. Conferences and trade shows served as the hub for new technology and groundbreaking innovations, with KOLs standing front and center promoting the latest and greatest products and services. This strategy was so effective that medtech marketing teams centered their entire go-to-market strategies around KOL endorsement at conferences.

However, just like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic brought trade shows and conferences to a screeching halt. As a result, companies with KOL partnerships had nowhere to turn to get their thought leader in front of their target physicians and healthcare professionals. Conference attendance plummeted in 2020 and has yet to recover, forcing innovators to adopt new strategies to continue maximizing their KOL strategy.

Maximizing KOL Impact With Shrinking Conference Attendance

In-person conferences may have resumed in 2024, but attendance rates are nowhere near as high as they used to be. As a result, KOL promotions make a smaller impact on the industry as a whole since there are fewer prospects to hear the endorsement. However, the fact remains that prospects are still interested in new solutions. The key is to find an alternative stage for your KOL — one that can broadcast your endorsement in several places at the same time.

The sudden decline in in-person engagement has been quickly replaced by a surge in digital media consumption. With digital outreach, your KOL can have ten times the presence without ever leaving home. Digital platforms provide instant, convenient access to KOL insights and perspectives, and, when used strategically, can magnify even the smallest endorsement to effectively communicate that your solution is trusted and proven by industry leaders.

Building a Digital-First KOL Strategy

Making the move to digital is just the first step of a forward-thinking KOL strategy. Innovators must still determine how to get their “influencers” in front of the audience they want to influence. This may be easier to accomplish through digital channels, but the challenge is to maximize the impact of your KOL promotion with strategic placement and targeting. Follow these four steps to build a robust, high-impact KOL strategy:

  1. Identify the right KOLs. Finding the perfect KOL is now easier than ever with software tools to aggregate and analyze published literature to identify the top leaders within specific domains. Create a pipeline of leaders, from the most senior influencers to up-and-comers, and adapt your tactics to leverage their insights and status at varying levels to effectively engage every audience. Generally, it is good to have at least one “dignitary” with impeccable credentials and at least one “up and comer” interested in building their name. The former provides credibility and the latter generally works harder to advocate for an innovative technology with their peers.
  2. Create video content. The face of a KOL should be instantly recognizable by your audience. Use that to your advantage by broadcasting video endorsements at every possible opportunity. Video content has an incredible return on investment — one video can be spliced in ten different ways to create ten different messages that resonate with several types of audiences. Over the past several years, expectations of video quality have softened so catching a KOL via iPhone-level quality is acceptable in all but the most professional environments.
  3. Host live webinars. Webinars play a similar role as conferences, providing a front-row seat to KOLs sharing about the latest healthcare innovations. Instead of timing your product launch to correspond with a major trade show, launch your product when it makes the most sense and schedule your webinars and digital outreach to immediately follow.
  4. Modernize your sales collateral. Don’t limit your KOL strategy to video and webinar content. Integrate testimonials and images into your sales collateral, even taking the next step to build interactive digital versions with embedded videos of your KOL sharing the benefits of your solution. Utilize Showpad or other sales enablement platforms to show off your content at conferences with a sales-driven app that easily engages prospects. With the rapid progression of AI, it might even be possible to build digital avatars of the more engaged KOLs and embed them in training tools.
  5. Leverage targeted distribution. Once you’ve created your video and collateral assets, promote them across several channels, including social media ads, email campaigns, and organic social media posts, to maximize your outreach at the most strategic time. Every company has a definable audience of prospective providers. By targeting those individuals with content from the KOLs, it’s possible to build a reputation rapidly with the right people.

Optimize Your KOL Marketing Investment With Jairus

Creating a successful KOL strategy is easier said than done. Many companies fail to maximize the potential of these opportunities due to a limited ability to connect with KOLs or develop the right tactics to make the most of these connections. The Jairus Marketing team has the industry experience and specialized medical device marketing knowledge to successfully do both.

Jairus not only identifies the right KOLs but also creates customized strategies to focus on the tactics that will most effectively capture interest and optimize engagement. From market research to industry outreach to collaborative content creation, Jairus pairs deep industry knowledge with data-driven insights to help our clients achieve the highest possible sales growth from KOL partnerships.

Ready to adapt your KOL strategy to succeed in 2024? Schedule a strategy session to discover how Jairus can customize your strategy to boost brand awareness and drive new sales opportunities.