Storytelling Techniques in Healthcare Marketing: Can We Draw Inspiration from Travel Writing? 

How medical device marketing is like travel writing

By Kobey Deitchler —

As a passionate travel journal enthusiast, I’ve always been captivated by the power of the travelogue as a storytelling device. Whenever I embark on a new journey, my travel journal is as essential as my passport. It’s where I record my experiences, my thoughts, my encounters. It’s a canvas for my adventures, inviting others to partake in my journey through my words, making the unfamiliar, familiar.  Just as each page of a travel journal contains a unique story, every medical device/technology contains a narrative of challenges vanquished, problems resolved, breakthroughs discovered. The challenge? To make these complex medical narratives as engaging and relatable as tales from a travel journal—while working within the limits of fair balance and evidence-based claims.

Just like an avid traveler, medical marketers have a story to tell—a narrative filled with intricate details, challenges, triumphs, and a profound impact. However, crafting these stories in a way that resonates with the audience requires skill and strategy. Travel can be tedious and challenging at times, but when you write in a travel journal you focus only on your insights, great finds, and how you overcame the challenges you faced along the way.

  1. Defining the problem: The story of your product starts with the problem it is attempting to solve and how the solution will benefit the target customer. This requires an understanding of your prospects’ thought processes, needs and desires, and how to use words to agitate their emotional connection to these needs. This encourages potential buyers to see the product as a solution designed specifically for them. Once you’ve sufficiently motivated your prospect by illustrating in fine detail their problems, needs and desires, then your compelling narrative will illustrate to them how your product is THE ANSWER, just as that beautiful vista from the heights of Positano is just what’s needed to slake the thirst of wanderlust.
  2. Engaging the audience:One common theme found in travel journals that can be applied to healthcare marketing is the importance of personalization. Just as travelers often write about their unique experiences, perspectives, and people they’ve met, healthcare marketers can connect with their audience by tailoring their messaging to specific demographics or individuals. For example, when marketing to surgeons, medical marketers must show their expertise and use convincing scientific evidence, as well as illustrate how their product will make procedures more elegant and successful.
    In comparison, if the target audience is critical care nurses, they could emphasize how their product can streamline workflow and maximize efficiency in busy hospital environments. By tailoring their messaging to specific groups or individuals, marketers can better engage and resonate with their audience.
  3. Finding solution in constraints: Let’s face it, we all know the legal-medical review will limit what we can and can’t say about medical device products. As excited as we are about the promise of potentially life-saving technology, claims need fair balance and must be supported by rigorous research. However, it is within these limitations that medical device writers let their talents shine. By combining thorough research with strict logic and creative thinking, a great medical device writer can build a case for the most experimental of solutions that walks the fine line of persuasion and regulation. Like travelers who must find creative solutions when facing budget constraints, cancelled flights, or visa rules, medical marketers need to be able to fit their message within legal constraints. This can be achieved by finding creative ways to illustrate research data points. By focusing on real-world applications of their products or solutions that address constraints head-on, healthcare marketers can create powerful narratives that capture the attention and emotions of their audience while complying with legal-medical review.

Narrative does considerably more than just draw the attention of our audience. It also persuades them to try new solutions in their work. Medical device marketers or writers must take on the challenge of creating compelling stories from otherwise tedious facts and make them interesting enough to capture attention and influence decision making. By using the same storytelling techniques often found in travel journals, medical device marketers can craft compelling narratives that paint a picture of how their product will solve a problem in the current healthcare landscape. As travelers know, better than anyone, having a plan in place doesn’t always guarantee a smooth journey; however, it’s by overcoming challenges that we find our way towards success. The same holds true for medical device marketers as they navigate the ever-evolving healthcare landscape and strive to bring new products to market.