Supplier Diversity: how organizations can stand for change

At The Matchstick Group, we are troubled by the events that have taken place over the last several weeks, but the protests across the nation are highlighting issues that are often either ignored or maybe discussed for a minute and then swept under the rug.  

Over the past week more and more corporate voices have spoken up for equality and have offered up actions to contribute to being part of the solution. From using social media channels to amplify voices of color, to donating to worthy causes, many companies are committing themselves to social justice in this moment.

But a more tangible way that private organizations can commit to supporting people of color is through supplier diversity programs.

Some organizations have diversity supplier initiatives but others may question what supplier diversity is and why we need it. To answer this, we’ll walk you through the reasons why companies should meet this moment by increasing supplier diversity.

Standing as an ally is actually profitable

Supplier diversity programs are much more than a way for companies to show ally-ship or improve their public image. They also produce a proven positive effect on the bottom line. When companies bring in diverse suppliers, they’re bringing in flexibility, innovation, and fresh ideas. According to, “On average supplier diversity programs add $3.6 million to the bottom line for every $1 million in procurement operation costs.”

Diversity is a cultural reality 

Conformity to old ideas and ways of doing things creates stagnation, which prevents your brand from to evolving and growing with the culture in which it exists. As Forbes succinctly puts it, “Conformity is the motto when it comes to processes and procedures, but not people.” Bringing in diverse ideas from various types of people adds to the wisdom you have about your brand.

Your customer base is diverse

What does it say about a company whose suppliers don’t reflect the diversity of their audience?  How can a company speak to their customer base (or sell to them for that matter) without having a true representation of their voices at the table? These questions illustrate just how relevant supplier diversity is to customers. If the company’s suppliers are not as diverse as their customer base, then there will always be unrealized opportunities for growth. Because the demographics of the US customer base is becoming ever more diverse, companies leave money on the table if they are not attuned to their changing needs.

But how can companies go about acquiring a more diverse supplier base?

There are a number of agencies that certify diverse suppliers. These organizations have a vetted process in place and suppliers often spend up to six months working on their certifications. As a WBENC-certified agency, we can speak first-hand about the integrity of these organizations and their strive to support equality. Consider looking here when putting out your next RFP.

How med device marketers can help those on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic

how medical device marketers can help frontlines covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is something that no one was prepared for. We’ve all seen the headlines with nurses, clinicians, paramedics and hospitals that are in dire need of PPE, ventilators and other medical and protective equipment. As medical device manufacturers – and other companies – are working to increase production, adjust manufacturing processes and create new innovative solutions, several organizations are trying to put people, parts and manufacturers together.

Check these organizations out and add yourselves to the supplier lists as appropriate. Together we can all make a difference for those heroes on the front-line


From Project N95: Launched just a few days ago (March 20th to be precise) – with the mission to connect personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers to those who need it most, the healthcare providers at the frontline. We’re a non-profit organization formed from a rapid-response team of individuals with healthcare, government, and technology industry experience. We’ve already received 1,700+ institution requests with 70+ million ppe needs. These are rapidly growing numbers (now available in realtime on Interested in helping out? Here’s how you can get involved: -Visit to learn more -Sign up as a volunteer (PT or FT) -Share with your networks and point healthcare providers and/or PPE suppliers to submit requests via the site

Add yourself to the Project N95 Supplier list via the supplier intake form here:


From WSCH: The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation is the collaborative, and mutually supportive coalition of grassroots communities focused on technology and innovation in the global supply chain industry. The New York Supply Chain Meetup is its founding chapter.

See the following presentation for specific examples of how to connect


From Tech Relief: In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve launched the TechRelief Directory, an information source of potential risk-reducing and lifesaving technological solutions from across all industries and domains: Technology plays a crucial role in the fight to overcome the COVID19 crisis and its aftermath, saving lives and solving urgent problems. It is essential that information about available technologies around the world gets to anyone that needs it fast. To help people and organizations around the world save valuable time, a team of volunteers at Quasset has taken the initiative to create an open repository where information about available solutions can be found. We will keep improving this source of information continuously as we go along, adding more functionality and information.

How can you help? 1) Spread the word about the TechRelief Directory via social media and online channels. 2) Provide us with information about available technologies that can contribute towards the fight against COVID-19 [email protected]

Medical Device Marketing 101: 3 Steps to Tracking Your Medical Device Launch Success

You already know how to market a medical device, but do you know how to track your progress? Measuring and tracking the execution of your launch strategy will keep you on course.

How do you define and articulate the shared metrics that your team will be accountable for? There are 3 simple steps to building your measurement dashboard:

1. Establish your strategic imperatives. These are the things you must accomplish. Keep it within a reasonable scope—3-4 imperatives should do the trick.

2. Establish your lead measures. These are the things you can influence to drive revenue before the lag measures (a.k.a. the revenue, market share, and profit) materialize.

3. Establish metrics. Track your progress on your lead measures by accounting for the activities that lead toward those goals.

Following these steps to build your custom medical device market measurement dashboard will help you focus on winning the game.

Don’t have time to build a dashboard? Download this template! Need some help establishing your strategic vision? Then contact us!

Customer Segmentation

customer segmentation for medical device marketers

When it comes to building out a medical device marketing strategy, we always recommend that our clients start with the customer first. Generally we have found that most medical device marketers focus on building out a story for a generalized clinical audience. So a story for all interventional radiologists, or for all anesthesiologists.

However, to build a stronger, more targeted and more effective value proposition, it’s important to focus on specific audience sub-segments. Maybe those are the brand loyal segments, or those that are first adopters of new technology, or those that look for a specific product feature or benefit, whatever works best for your product category. 

Generally there are three different ways to segment your customers – and each has their own advantages and disadvantages

DEMOGRAPHIC SEGMENTATION: Relies on physician demographics (age, geography, specialty, time in practice, etc…) or what we call ‘accountographics’ (account size, location, opportunity, etc…) when it comes to hospitals. Demographic segmentation isn’t as effective as other types of segmentation, but it is ‘easy’ to target.

BEHAVIORAL SEGMENTATION: Relies on physician or account behaviors and usage. This might be how a physician performs a particular procedure or what competitors they use most often. For accounts, behavioral segmentation could include contracting or pricing behaviors. Behavioral segmentation is easier to execute on than attitudinal segmentation, but it just gives you a snapshot of what is happening in time. It doesn’t tell you why a physician or an account makes the choices that it makes.

ATTITUDINAL SEGMENTATION: Attitudinal segmentation is based on a clinician or account’s underlying attitudes, beliefs and hopes. It’s the ‘why’ behind their behaviors. Attitudinal segmentation is more difficult to define, but it is more longer lasting.

Interested in more? Click here to schedule a call with the team

Medical Device Post-Launch Timeline

You’ve launched a new medical device. Congratulations! Now what do you do? What is the cadence of activities that will put your new device onto a trajectory for success? The work’s not over yet if you want to drive awareness, trial, and ultimately adoption of your med device.

Let’s take a look at a post-launch timeline:

3 months post-launch
By now, you’ve debuted the product at a convention and held a primary podium talk with a key opinion leader (KOL). Ideally, you’ve shown a first case video demo to physicians. You’ve probably also got a good promotional animation/video either on your website or on your reps tablets. Now is the time to get some additional content on your website with a how-to guide, a clinical bibliography, or continuing news updates. You’re driving traffic to the website with your e-blasts and your launch ads.

6 months post-launch
A peer-to-peer dinner program with KOLs should be scheduled from launch to 6-months out. You’re continuing to update value analysis committee (VAC) materials and train reps on using the VAC pack. Your launch ads are still running and driving traffic to your site, and yes, you are still sending out e-blasts to your leads. Remember the rule of 7: an average customer has to see an ad 7 times in order to remember it. That means that if a customer only visits a given journal site once a month, your ad will have to run 7 months just to make a dent. There is only one way to measure the effectiveness of a given marketing tactic, and that is by conversion. But we’ll tackle that topic next time.

Want to be sure your medical device launch is on the right track? Get in touch!

How to construct a medical device launch timeline

Launching a medical device is a huge undertaking and it is best broken down into small steps if it is to succeed. However, it’s not uncommon for marketers to be left with only 3, 2 or even 1 month before launch to start creating collateral. Much like setting a budget, setting a realistic timeline is a vital part of the planning process.

Let’s take a look at a 12-month timeline:

12 months from launch
We recommend kicking off with a 3V workshop and either conducting primary market research or assessing any VOC research that you have. Our 3V Workshop gives you a way to look at the overall market landscape and internal and external factors that will enable you to position the product (or portfolio) for not just today, but for success in the next 2-3 year time horizon. We take the output from this workshop and develop a positioning statement. Begin creative concept development.

11 months
Continue creative concept development and create your core claims matrix. Develop messaging.

10 months
Continue messaging development. Choose creative concepts to test.

9 months
Test creative concepts and messages with your target audience

8 months
Choose your creative concept.
Start creating your problem awareness collateral.

7 months
Start creating the launch collateral items such as animations or videos, sales brochure, sell sheet, how-to guide, and rep playbook.

6 months
Release your problem awareness sell sheet and ads. Develop your VAC pack.

5 months
Start creating the “teaser” or “coming soon” ads and convention panel so they have time to be approved for deployment 3 months out.

4 months
You should have the first draft of all launch collateral at this point. Review and make changes now.

3 months
Make sure you have teaser materials for your device ready to show at any conventions pre-launch. Prep the sales team.

2 months
Final collateral submissions to your medical, legal, and regulatory reviewers should be made. Give them a firm deadline to get their comments back to you. We usually estimate about 2 weeks.

1 month
With final changes made, get your final files to the printer. This will give you enough time for your collateral to be printed, shipped, and distributed to reps.

Reps roll out the product, “First Case” video demo scheduled, press release and launch ads are deployed

Next time we’ll take a look at a post-launch timeline. Do you have a medical device product launch coming up in the next 12 months? Give us a call!

3 Things Med Device Marketers can learn from camping

I don’t do tents. Granted it’s been years since I’ve been camping, but I can still remember trying to sleep with a rock (or two )poking through my sleeping bag never quite getting comfortable and then finally drifting off only to wake up slightly damp and sticky from the dew. You know what I’m talking about. Think of your scouts camping trips circa age 9 or 10.

But a friend of mine suggested that I start listening to the How I Built This Business podcast. So I caught the episode with Cory Tholl from Klymit  – a company that sells sleeping bags, pads and other outdoor camping accessories. 

Cory’s story about how the firm pivoted from creating insulated apparel to sleeping pads was fascinating. As I listened to what worked (and didn’t work) for Cory and his recommendations for new entrepreneurs, I was struck by 3 points that were particularly relevant to medical device marketers looking to launch a new product:

  1. Don’t just focus on engineering
    We work with a number of different medical device manufacturers and the R&D teams are constantly working on tweaking product features and benefits. A new way to wrap a balloon, an innovative break-away technology, a cool adhesive that absorbs moisture. But in order to get the biggest ROI out of R&D, the engineering and and marketing teams need to talk – and often – so that the engineering teams know how to focus their efforts, so that they understand which features (and benefits) the market is willing to pay for and what is going to truly make a competitive difference. Otherwise R&D dollars and time is spent creating just another ‘me too’.
  2. No one can sell your product as well as you can
    Contract sales teams and distributor models are great for getting a product into the field, but relying solely on distributors can hamper your success. There are just too many other competing products in their bags. And they’re never going to sell the hell out of your baby the way that you can.
  3. One big win isn’t going to do it, it’s the smaller wins, one at a time, that win the day
    Most firms don’t get to wake up one day to find a gift of a Premier agreement on their doorstep. Unfortunately – or fortunately – it’s the daily sales call, it’s the constant contact, it’s the always putting your product, your brand, your story in front of as many (targeted) customers as you can that will ultimately win the game.

If you have a daily commute and you’re looking for business insight, best practices and food for thought that will inspire you – and your company, check out the podcast here.

And if you’re looking for insight into how to build your next medical device product launch, call us!

Brand Personalities for 2020

As marketers, we’re all familiar with “brand personalities” like Hero, Creator, and Magician. These archetypes can be a great shorthand for communicating the ideal attributes carried by a brand that make it relatable to its target audience. As we begin a new decade in 2020, why don’t we add some new brand personalities to the mix?

Punk – Like the Outlaw personality, the Punk takes risks, that is takes risks to a whole new level. Think of a brand like Cards Against Humanity. Billing themselves as “the party game for Horrible people,” the brand rebels against social norms in a way that has an undeniable mass appeal. You wouldn’t think there would be many Punk personalities in the medical device industry, but standout Misonix, always the risk-taker, takes an in-your-face stance in their most recent campaign for the new neXus console. “It’s neXus or nothing” their headline yells in bold white-on-black type. These Punk personalities go beyond the traditional archetypal idea of “leaving a mark” into their own category.  

Regina George – Everyone who has seen the movie “Mean Girls” knows that Regina George is the queen bee in every sense of the word—especially when it comes to her stinger. The opposite of “The Everyman” personality, Regina George is aspirational, yet not altruistic. Think of the Facebook brand. Of course, it couldn’t be more popular, with millions of users worldwide. But there is a dark side, since it appears they allegedly have their own “Burn Book” with everyone’s name in it.

Spiderman – Like the Explorer personality, Spiderman exhibits bravery and independence, but this hero is also transformational and controls a wide-ranging web of activity. Virgin is one of those brands that has always been independent and unique, and from aviation, to cell phones, to record stores, engages in a wide web of business pursuits. In the medical device industry, Teleflex stands out as another Spiderman-like personality. Starting out in the aviation business and transforming into a giant in the medical device industry, it has exhibited strength and skill as it deftly wove its broad web of acquisitions.

Oxygen – It’s all around us and we depend on it to live. That’s the level that some brands have reached in our culture. Amazon is everywhere now, especially thanks to Alexa, it’s now a part of many homes, offices, and even cars. It’s probably not hard for you to pick out something in your vicinity right now that came from Amazon. Amazon’s ubiquity makes it more than the Ruler personality, and more like Oxygen. In the medical device industry, a company like Avery Dennison Medical might go unseen, but like Oxygen, it’s everywhere. Supplying much of the world’s medical adhesive products, they literally keep the world’s hospitals together—impacting patients’ lives every day.

Do you have a unique brand personality that could use The Matchstick Group’s expertise in medical device advertising? Contact us to start the conversation!

Deconstructing Agency Case Studies: Red Flags for Marketers

You’re a medical device marketer ready to start the agency search process, but you’re not sure where to begin. Luckily, agencies are happy to provide you with pages and pages of case studies to prove their worthiness for your product launch. After a while, they all start to blend together. What red flags should you be looking out for in a case study? Do you know how to read between the lines?Let’s break it down: 

1. Process over product: We can’t blame a team with lackluster creative for trying to come up with a way to promote themselves without calling too much attention to their product. We all know the importance of process in any business—and agencies are no different. It’s important to look for agencies that are willing to give an idea (hint: not a dissertation) of their process and a final product that stands out creatively. It does not matter how many “experts” are on a team if the work looks bland.

2. Bashing: Some case studies are more about blame than they are about the work. Look for an agency that is ready to roll up its sleeves on your challenge—not point the finger. 

3. Confusion: The “Challenge” section of a case study should be 2-3 sentences max; this length means that the agency had a clear understanding of the problem to be solved. A longer “Challenge” section only wastes the reader’s time and betrays a lack of understanding. 

4. Jumping through hoops: Make no mistake—agencies use case studies as promotional tools. This is standard practice in the industry. Case studies can be found on most agency websites without much digging. But what about an agency that treats their case studies like premium content? It’s up to you how much of your information you want to trade for a case study, but when searching for an agency, you don’t have time to jump through hoops. Look for an agency that puts courtesy over inbound marketing. 

5. Picture show: These are the few agencies that put no case studies on their sites at all. What you see when you click on “Work” is a picture show. This minimalist approach is fun to look at, it’s elegant, and it definitely grabs your attention. The thing is, nobody hires an advertising agency to paint a pretty picture. Yes, great creative work is a huge part of what we do, but there is always a purpose behind it: the challenge that was solved with the work. An ad without context is not a case study, no matter how cool it looks. 

6. Awards instead of results: Sometimes you read a whole case study, and it ends with how many awards the work won. That’s great—for the agency. What about the client’s problem? Did it get solved? How would you know? Awards don’t tell you if the work achieved the objectives. And if the case study does not include the objectives? Run. We hope this helps you sort through all of the case studies you’re reading as you search for an agency for your medical device product launch. And if you’re ready to find out more about how we can put our process and creativity to work for your team, reach out using the button below. 

Med Device and Social Media: Is it Right for My Brand?

To medical device brands, determining not only which social media platform to use but how to effectively use it can be confusing and overwhelming.It’s no longer debatable whether med device brands, or any brands for that matter, should be on social media—they should. Beyond being good for the SEO of the company website, social media offers the unique opportunity to interact directly with the customer base for your product. How can medical device brands use this opportunity to their advantage?

Tap into the existing community Here’s the good news: your customers are already talking about you online. For example, on #cardiotwitter, physicians come together to discuss cases, studies, techniques, and to share triumphs and wisdom. It is an active, enthusiastic community that readily shares their opinions and clinical perspectives on various cardio medical devices. Now, it might seem intimidating to wade into an ongoing conversation, but that’s why the next part is vital…

 Authenticity is key If you want to participate in the conversation, there’s one word to keep in mind: human. Yes, believe it or not, a brand can still carry out its messaging goals, still adhere to legal and regulatory rules, and be authentic and believable as long as you put being human first. Here’s the thing: humans don’t interact with brands, they interact with people. That means that it’s important to think about not only brand personality, but literally if your brand were human how would it speak and what would it say? Social media gives you that opportunity to refine your brand in the real world with direct interaction with your target audience. 

Make your content worth it Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media site, your brand has to compete for attention. This means that in addition to being authentic, your content needs to have a clear purpose and meaning to your audience. It needs to give them something of value. Of course information is always valuable, but so are humor, understanding, and encouragement. What types of value can your brand provide? Think about it—your brand could potentially show up in thousands or perhaps millions of feeds. If people are scrolling past your posts, not only is that a massive wasted opportunity, but it is literally training your target audience to ignore you. Make your posts matter. Give people content that has stopping power. Make them look forward to seeing a post from you. That will give your social media efforts the impact you are looking for.

 Do you want to jump start your brand’s social media presence? Give us a call and tell us about it!