PR & Media Relations Strategy

Case Study: Creates an Effective PR & Media Relations Strategy

SITUATION
 
A medical technology company had a great story to tell, yet its name was not prominent in the marketplace and revenues from software license fees to hospitals and device manufacturers was just beginning after four years of product research and development.
  
COMPLICATION

The footprint in the marketplace was small yet began to attract recognizable hospital names. Additionally, the timing was in the wake of the aftermath of the dot.com bust and heightened skepticism for anything new, related to technology and with an unproven revenue stream. From a media relations strategy, the critical success factor was to attract attention for the industry and for patient safety issues. The trend of doctors and nurses practicing new procedures and using new devices in a simulated environment was emphasized over practicing in a real patient environment. We recognized that a customer’s voice would lend more credibility to the story and mitigated questions related to the revenues and the current size of the company.
   
SOLUTION

A trade show is annually run by one of the U.S.’s leading cardiovascular physicians and attended by more than 8,000 doctors from around the world with an additional few thousand watching via satellite. He invited the company to participate and we leveraged this forum. We partnered with a prominent academic hospital and broadcast a simulated heart procedure to a room of thousands of physicians expecting to see a live procedure. The physician performing the simulated procedure was also the physician who did Larry King’s and VP Dick Cheney’s heart procedures. Simultaneously, we approached the Best Hospitals in America editor from U.S. News & World Report and educated him on industry facts and patient safety trends. We also noted that some of these physicians had seen the system prior and would be “fooled” again because of the true-to-life nature of the software before they would recognize it not as a live procedure occurring in the cath lab. 
  
BENEFITS

The ultimate benefit of this staged PR event and resulting media coverage is the third-party objective perspective. The company was not touting its wares. Others were. Trade show presidents, customers and the media. What resulted was a one-and-one-half page story in U.S. News & World Report that had the value then of a $200,000 ad-dollar equivalency, third party endorsement by one of the best medical healthcare reporters in the country, and the positioning of this company as a thought leader. This new awareness led to significant new business and financing opportunities for the company, including attracting:

  • the top medical device manufacturers to contract the company for customized training software; 
  • the next series of financing for the company; 
  • several new national hospital customers, rounding out the intended U.S. geographic footprint;
  • and an international base of customers. 

Additionally, a platform was laid for more media coverage related to new hospitals licensing the system and launching their own “simulation centers.” Subsequent articles and news stories ran in: CNN Headline News, Popular Science, The Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Denver Business Journal, JAMA News and more. The company’s revenues went from $100,000 to $6 million in two years.