Making a Difference Against the Medical Device Tax

Sure, we’ve all been complaining about the medical device tax that is to go into effect in 2013, but how many of us are actually doing something about it?  Joe Hage, the owner of the “Medical Devices Group” on LinkedIn decided to do something big: Set up a website with the intent of getting 25,000 signatures on a petition to repeal it. “I sought to give my members a more constructive outlet than grousing,” he says.

As of early last week, there were nearly 1,500 signatures listed on the site and the number is increasing steadily. The “Medical Devices Group” on LinkedIn, which now has nearly 109,000 members, also continues to grow in size—with as many as 500 new names added on some days.

The day the site was launched, Hage received a call from the Office of Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN), a vocal critic of the tax. Paulsen’s office gave Hage some concrete steps he could take to help shore up support for the device tax repeal in the Senate.

Will social media actually be able to get the much disputed medical tax repealed?  Stranger things have happened.  Remember the facebook bra color campaign of 2010 that went viral in raising awareness for breast cancer?


A New Way to Market Your Medical Device

Did you ever consider marketing your medical device through social media?  I recently discovered a new social media site called Pinterest that may be the perfect site for such a venture.

The picture-driven Pinterest made Internet history recently by rocketing to 10 million subscribers in just under two years, and has already surpassed all of the original four except for Twitter for referral traffic. The majority of users are early adopters of social media, women in their 20s and 30s who are sharing pictures in categories ranging from beauty and fitness to science and nature.

Users can upload images directly to a particular “board” or use a toolbar widget to “pin” an image from a blog post or web page. The software automatically imbeds a link in the image, making it easy to find that recipe, pair of shoes, or information again. Although there is a considerable retail component to Pinterest through links, there could be room for much more than that. Users can follow a board, repin images to their own collections and like individual pins.

Stephanie Baum suggests that the following Pinterest categories might be useful to medical device manufacturers: Boosting morale, The art of medicine, Lay a foundation for the future, Health education, Referrals, Motivate and inspire, The quantified self, Disease state categories.  Medical device companies can use photos to show their history and how far they have come, or they could show their devices and how they can be used in therapies to improve your health. Several hospitals already post on Pintrest and show motivational pictures of their success stories or images of their medical teams so that patients can become more familiar with them.

Even if you don’t decide to use it as a marketing tool, Pintrest is definitely worth checking out.  I was on there today and learned that vinegar can be used instead of Roundup as an eco-friendly alternative to killing weeds.  If the pictures are any indication, from now on my garden will be smelling like pickles instead of nasty hazardous chemicals.

Smartphones are Stressful

Have you been feeling anxious lately?  Perhaps it is because you have been spending too much time texting.  I know it sounds hokey, but apparently it’s true.

Stress is a common factor of modern living and society. While most people learn how to deal with stress, new research indicates that smartphones are stressful because people appear to get caught up in compulsively checking for new messages, alerts and updates. In particular, a relationship was found between stress and the amount of times the phone was checked

Does this sound familiar? Here’s the crux of the problem:  We use our smartphones at work to make tasks easier and reduce stress, but then we feel stress to keep up with the virtual social life we have created in order to make our lives less stressful.  It’s a vicious circle.  Once again, another reason for me to keep my good, old fashioned cell phone.  While the rest of you are obsessively typing away on your smartphones, adding trauma and tension to your lives, I will remain relaxed and blissfully unaware.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Yes, I check my facebook account every day, but I am certainly not “addicted to it”, as my husband seems to think.  This article on talks about social media in terms of its usage by doctors who are posting medical information.

“Technologically savvy physicians, students and other health providers, including readers of, are likely to be involved in social media.  But many of us who may be new to social media may have no idea of what the rules of engagement are on the internet, and may not fully realize that posting on the internet is more public than hospital elevator chatter.

While one can see who is in proximity of the hospital elevator, one has no way of knowing who might read a Facebook status update or tweet.  And while elevator speech disappears after the sound rarefactions dissipate, internet posts do not easily vanish.

In that sense, we as health care providers should hold our social media posts to higher standards than we do our everyday hallway conversations.  When posting medical information online, we must ensure the information is accurate, or a disclaimer is given to keep liability at a distance.  Clarify that your post represents your opinion, and not the opinion of your affiliated institutions.

As the author points out, “the internet is forever”.

Some health organizations are starting to provide guidelines for the usage of social media to take advantage of this powerful tool.

My own facebook posts certainly don’t involve other people’s confidential information.  They tend to run more along the lines of witty observations about the world in general and my incredulity at the latest antics of my children, but, were I a doctor, I would certainly hope that I would pause to think before I dashed to my keyboard to tweet about latest medical oddity that came across my caseload.

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Kinda Tired of the Term “Social Media”

Can we just stop using the term “social media” and accept this as marketing? Can we accept that the “social media tools & applications” are just newer ways to communicate messages?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m kind of tired of reading posts about social media this and social media that. I’m tired of social media “evangelists” trying to convince me why I need to jump on the social media bandwagon. Newsflash: social media is clearly here and now. Social media is the current flavor being served. It’s a given. If I fail to figure out how social media is applicable to me, then I might lose out on connecting with my audience. I get it. I think most of us get it (if it matters to us, any way).

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November 8, 2010 – IHIF Networking Program: Social Media for the Life Sciences

Save The Date
November 8, 2010

2960 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN  46208

IHIF Networking Program: “Social Media for the Life Sciences”

featuring a Keynote Presentation by:

Chris Franck, Principal
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Discussion Panel and Networking Reception to follow.

IHIF Members:  Free
IHIF Non-Members:  $15

Click here to register

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Has Twitter Lost The Allure?

Or am I just not paying attention to it any more? I suspect either scenario is possible.

I’m interested in hearing about your Twitter experiences and whether it’s a guilty pleasure or actually a good business tool.

August 3, 2010 – Social Media & ONline Marketing in FDA-Regulated Companies (BioWorld)

Social Media and Online Marketing in FDA-Regulated Companies

What You Need to Know to Prepare for Upcoming FDA Guidelines: BioWorld

August 3, 2010
Online @ 2PM EST

With the FDA expected to release new guidelines pertaining to online marketing and social media this year, it is essential to begin preparing now. In this 90-minute audio conference, industry attorney Vernessa Pollard will explain how to effectively incorporate online marketing into your product marketing strategies while maintaining regulatory compliance.

Contact: / 800-688-2421

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March 31, 2010 – Tribeswell Seminar

Tribeswell Seminar

The seminar will focus on some new and exciting tactics for using social media to grow your business.

When? March 31 – 10am – 12pm
Where? Bloomington Country Club, Bloomington, IN (map)
What? A marketing seminar that teaches you to use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs to dramatically grow your business.
Cost? $20 per person, but you may bring a guest for free!

About the Instructor
Colin Clark is the owner of Tribeswell, an interactive design and marketing company based out of Bloomington, IN.  He has been obsessed with the marketing implications of social media for the past few years and loves sharing his expertise with people like you!

Click here to register NOW!

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Social Media Behaviors That Won’t Win Customers

7 social media behaviors that won’t win you customers

(via Conversation Agent by Valeria Maltoni on 2/28/10)

  1. you have a blog, or a Twitter account, or a Facebook fan page and still don’t understand that the Internet or the world wide web is the context, not your brand
  2. you’re pushing your message at specific users without a connection — one thing is being syndicated by people who want to pull your feeds, the other is pushing to them, do you understand the difference?
  3. you’re not prepared to address potential issues in real time — visibility and connections in a two-way medium come at a risk
  4. you’re all over the place, yet there isn’t a coordinated effort behind it — seeing what sticks is not a marketing strategy in 2010
  5. you’re not looking for your fans and evangelists — or you want to make them conform to your idea of social
  6. you focus on changing what people say by talking at them, locking them out, or positioning them as crazy when they aren’t, instead of looking inwards and changing your business practices as appropriate
  7. you want to interact with customers, when all customers want from you is a great transaction — put shopping carts everywhere, and support those transactions
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March 5, 2010 – Embracing Social Media: Part III

New Economy New Rules

March 5, 2010 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (EST)
Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Embracing Social Media:
What, How, Why Not.
Part III – Legalities of Web 3.0

8:00 a.m. (EST) / 7:00 a.m. (CST) Registration and continental breakfast
8:30-9:30 a.m. (EST) / 7:30-8:30 a.m. (CST) Presentation – Adjournment will be on time
Navigating the legal waters of advertising and marketing can be difficult task alone when utilizing traditional options, but how does this change when marketing within the digital world? In our third session of this series, we look at the many legal issues surrounding social media and online marketing.

Speakers will be presenting from the Barnes & Thornburg LLP office in Chicago.

Click HERE to register.

There is no charge to attend, but please register!!!!!

If you have any questions, contact Jodie Daugherty at or 317-261-7922.

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In Case You Haven’t Read Enough About Social Media

I met Prabhakar Koduri (aka PK) a few months ago. PK is very creative and a thinker. I always enjoy our conversations. One of our recent discussions has been about the ever popular topic of social media. PK and I are on the same page. I recently discovered PK also blogs (I should have known this). You should check out his blog, ScribeSheet. Here are a couple recent posts about social media:

Social Media’s Impact on Market Orientation

Plunging Into The Deep End of Social Media

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Facebook as a Business Strategy? C’mon man!

Last week I met with Brooke DeRam of Tomato Fish Marketing and she was giving me a run down of a webinar she had listened to from Duct Tape Marketing, “Facebook for Small Business“. Basically, the gist was that every small business needs to be on Facebook. After looking at her notes, my comment was:

“I get the conventional wisdom: FB = 350M people. But c’mon man!”

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch or reach out to friends, but as a marketing strategy it’s pretty weak.

Read Brooke’s post on FB as a marketing strategy.

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Would You Pay to Use Twitter?

Word on the street last summer was that Twitter may not be paying the bills and will soon be charging for their service. Is this still the case? If it was would you pay to use Twitter?

It’s an interesting question, but more importantly WHY would they start charging for a service that is currently offered for free? It’s all about exit strategy.

Many new companies being started by GenYs seem to be giving away their product with only one strategy in mind – sell out to the highest bidder. It’s an ideal situation, but not a very practical one. Okay so it worked for YouTube, but their business model was advertisement-based and made $15 million per month according to Wikipedia.

Entrepreneurs need to be focused on generating revenue and have clear exit strategies in mind. Yes I said “strategies” – plural.

If you know your market and know how to get them and you have a long-term exit strategies in mind – you can be successful.

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Twitter is NOT a marketing strategy.

From the Nonprofit Marketing & PR page on Smaller Indiana:

Comment by Amy Stark on January 6, 2010 at 2:37pm
“If non-profits in Central #Indiana want their mission to be widely known, the most cost effective way is with a rock solid twitter strategy. Yes. I said it. Twitter strategy NOT social media strategy. No one will pay you a donation before they pay you ATTENTION, and I have yet to encounter a non-profit in Indianapolis with a comprehensive understanding of twitter’s influence and potential.

I wrote a passionate blog yesterday, at the end I wrote: “The Internet is far too fluid to predict the popularity of the next hot product or platform with any certainty. Last year’s My Space is this year’s facebook. But I’m 5 Nines Sure* I’ll read about the next hot product or platform on twitter first.”

Comment by Jon D. Speer on January 9, 2010 at 12:36am
“I’ve read some of the previous comments, and respectively, I disagree. Nonprofits need a holistic marketing strategy–not just social media and twitter.”

Comment by Joe Dager on January 9, 2010 at 12:46a
Jon, I think everyone on this thread would agree with you. Social Media alone is a failed strategy. If I implied anything of the sort, I was wrong. Social Media allows you to extend offline communications online and if you are not allowing your online to be extended offline, more than likely you are in trouble.”

Comment by Chad Pollitt on January 9, 2010 at 1:05am
“Sorry Joe, but I disagree. Everything depends on the target demographic. Marketing on the web is no different that way back in the middle ages when the town crier went to the town square and rang his bell to promote the blacksmith. He went to the town square because that’s where the people were. If your target demographic is on social media than that’s where the campaign should be.”

Comment by Amy Stark on January 9, 2010 at 7:26pm
“Social media platforms come and go, but the basic 140 characters sent via Internet Protocol globally – at the speed of light – at the grassroots level will not go away. Just like the telephone never went away, or microwave ovens.”

As you can see there are mixed messages based on the comments taken from Smaller Indiana above. But I stick to my guns and say, organizations (for profit and nonprofit) need a HOLISTIC marketing strategy–just ask Tomato Fish Marketing (TFM).

TFM has put together a complete marketing system that helps organizations build strong marketing foundations. Once you’ve built a solid foundation through a holistic strategy, you are better equipped to work on the tactical side of marketing such as Twitter, and other social media tools. “Drop them a line” to learn more.

Disagree? Great, post a comment and let’s have an open dialogue.

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