Frank TortoriciFrank Tortorici

When introducing a medical innovation to the media, it’s vital to get your ducks in a row on several important matters relating to potential coverage.

It goes without saying that you should prepare a thorough media list of medical and science reporters of major print and broadcast media in order to increase your chances of your client’s breakthrough getting the attention it ranks in the correct media vehicles.

O'Dwyer's Oct. '19 Healthcare & Medical PR PR Magazine
This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Oct. '19 Healthcare & Medical PR Magazine.

Make sure you describe the medical innovation with the seriousness it deserves, while at the same time keeping your verbiage conversational so that the non-medical experts among your audience pay attention and can understand the changes your client is bringing to the table, such as a significant technological advance of a medical test or device.

It’s the PR person’s responsibility, in such a new product introduction, to go beyond medical trades. Another important area of vital coverage is the business/finance media who keep track of scientific developments that have the potential to transform product categories and/or bring forth a healthy IPO.

Marketing Maven last year worked with Sandstone Diagnostics, a medical device company focused on a data-driven approach to men’s reproductive health, to introduce the Trak Volume Cup, the first FDA-cleared device allowing men to measure semen volume and diagnose hypospermia, or low semen volume, at home.

We had to explain, in layman’s terms, the importance of the product. According to the World Health Organization, men who regularly produce less than 1.5 milliliters of semen may be at risk for infertility, as low volume can inhibit the ability of sperm to reach the female reproductive tract. Low semen volume can also be associated with reduced sexual function and pleasure, low testosterone and an increased risk of other urological conditions and chronic diseases.

The Trak Volume Cup is the first at-home testing product that accurately measures semen volume. It’s the only FDA-cleared device that integrates volume measurement directly into the collection cup itself.

But the key message to convey to medical and business writers was that low semen volume is an important but often overlooked health and fertility yardstick. This innovative device further improved the semen testing experience and allowed consumers to measure and track an additional parameter for their reproductive health and chances of conception.

With such medical breakthroughs, the product’s communications representatives’ qualifications come into play. An experienced PR executive who has a history working with both medical and financial reporters has the best shot to effectively get the word out to the masses. Though contrary to how search executives usually handle the hunt for a PR position, the individual whose career has featured a blend of disciplines is often the best choice.

We’re also very fortunate to have the current responsibility of representing a new medical product that has the potential to radically alter the state of genetic testing throughout the world. Breaking a disruptive technology into a market brings with it many challenges, including convincing skeptical consumers and journalists that your new device is all that it says it is and functions the way it’s supposed to.

This new revolutionary technology is from IV therapy company REVIV. REVIV is launching the first accurate at-home test that uses genetics to determine how to best address individual wellness via IV therapies and supplements.

Working with a global array of leading physicians, REVIV has developed the protocol for testing all parts of a person’s chromosomes, which enables the company to provide the most accurate recommendations on how to keep each individual tester healthy and happy for as long as their DNA makes that possible. REVIV will provide each consumer with a map to follow that will enable them to look and feel their very best. Each tester’s map will include ways to keep their skin revitalized and healthy, foods to eat that will help individual body composition and lead to longevity and a complete analysis on how to treat every part of a person’s body for optimal health.

REVIV aims to become the first wellness brand to offer a lifestyle one-stop shop that will educate each user as to what works best for their body type and to suggest therapies and supplements that will enable every consumer to become the healthiest person they can be.

In both examples I’ve described, it’s of the utmost importance to convince the public of the veracity of each of these products’ claims. PR people know that the best way to reach the public is via the third-party endorsements of journalists covering the appropriate market sector.

A great way to spread the word to the right reporters is by developing and staging an event—whether it be a lunch, breakfast or press conference—that allows journalists to ask tough medical and financial questions.

In the case of Trak, we planned a breakfast that had all the right reporters from the medical community as well as senior writers from media, such as Business Insider and Huffington Post, who were able to distill the information into easily digestible sound bites to the general public.

In such events, it’s vital to include physicians who are affiliated with the product you’re introducing and who can describe the scientific details associated with the new technology you’re promoting. Such doctors lend credence to the viability of your medical innovation and will be able to answer questions from the most knowledgeable of media members present.

For the long run of your account, it’s also important to pay careful attention at your press event and take copious notes of what findings—both medical and financial—are being challenged and/or easily accepted and make sure both are continuously addressed in all your communications materials for the product moving forward.

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Frank Tortorici is Senior Strategist of Media Relations at Marketing Maven and leads the healthcare and professional services PR from its NY office. He can be reached at frank@marketingmaven.com.