Hey everyone. This is Rudy Fernandez from Creative Outhouse. At Creative Outhouse we create brilliant content and integrated marketing campaigns. Just go to Creative Outhouse.com and click on Creative Work if you don’t believe me. This episode with Kathryn Smith of MedShape is really enlightening. MedShape supplies foot and ankle surgeons with advanced devices for surgeries. Most ortho procedures were stopped for a few months. So who would have a better overall picture of how that’s starting to pick up than the people who supply the materials for surgery? And their customers are primarily Doctors. So I wanted to hear what’s changed in terms of how to market to an audience that’s always part of the marketing mix in healthcare. I learned a lot talking to Katherine and you will too. So enjoy. Welcome to Marketing Upheaval.
My guest today is Kathryn Smith, Director of Marketing for MedShape. Kathryn holds a doctorate in Bioengineering from Georgia Tech. So I have a lot of questions about that career path. She’s been with MedShape for more than nine years. MedShape makes advanced medical devices using foot and ankle surgeries. The COVID-19 crisis brought about 80% of medical procedures to a halt, and foot and ankle surgeries are among those procedures. We’re going to talk about marketing in this environment and what it looks like moving forward.
From Bio-engineering to Marketing
Rudy: So, first question is personal. What stands out to me is you have a PhD in Bioengineering. And now you’re a Director of Marketing. So tell me about that journey.
Kathryn: I think that’s the number one question I get all the time. I got my PhD in Bioengineering. I started with MedShape after I graduated, working on the R&D side, actually as a Postdoc, which is a typical position. After you get your PhD you go on to do further research and publish. MedShape is a unique company in that we’re very research focused, for our size. We probably have more PhDs on staff than a typical medical device company. And so I started out doing benchtop research around our products, collecting data to publish. So I started working more with our surgeons or surgeon customers on these studies, spending more time out in the field in surgeries. As we started to launch more products and helping train the surgeons on the products and then get feedback for our pipeline. That eventually transitioned into a marketing role. I started out as a marketing associate, and then have been the marketing director for about 6 years now.
I didn’t know anything about marketing when I started. I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way. What I have learned is, marketing medical devices is very similar to being a researcher. If you’re a scientist, you’re collecting data and then you’re trying to figure out how best to tell the story around your data. Be it in a presentation or conference presentation or in a paper and marketing medical devices or marketing in general is the same thing. You’re crafting the story around your products. And given my technical background, I think that’s definitely proven to be beneficial for me and the technical nature of our products to be able to understand the data around it and then be able to figure out how to effectively communicate it to our customers.
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