What Will the Emerging Markets Reports Tell Me?
Q&A with Steve Fuller
Steven Fuller organized InforMedix in 1991 to support the market information needs of medical device companies — from supplies and equipment, to biologics and OEM components.
Responding to the needs of his wide client base, Steve created the InforMedix Reports on Emerging Healthcare Markets in 2016 to provide new qualitative information to these companies, to help them succeed and grow in new and expanding global medical device markets.
To understand the uniqueness and value of the InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports, we sat down with Steve for a few minutes to “interview the interviewer”. Here is what we learned.
Question: What can these reports tell me that my sales manager doesn’t already know?
There is no doubt that experienced sales/marketing people have achieved the deep dive on what those customers are like, and how each customer needs to be managed in the sales process. Trying to offer a single fact that an individual probably does not know is a losing proposition – it cannot be done without knowing the individual.
But a key goal of using an outside information resource is to get a compilation of many insights like this, and also to see how this information (gathered from many buyers and clinicians) can be studied and assembled to provide a bigger picture, a short-term forecast for change, and common threads revealed by those buyers and clinicians.
This kind of analysis and market insight is usually not the role nor the skill of salespeople or even of marketing managers with periodic P&L responsibility.
Question: As marketers, we feel that we know our customers’ needs very well. Why should we buy a new report?
Very frequently, I hear my clients respond to a market research report/presentation by saying “yes, we already knew most of that”. This used to trouble me, until I realized that what they mean is they suspected this information was true. Of course they suspected this; that is why they are experts. But independent, broadly-sampled research provides solid confirmation that most of their suspicions were correct.
Also, each person in the audience “already knew” different pieces of the puzzle, and they had never compiled everyone’s intuition, or confirmed their assumptions with a large number of customers, to draw out the actionable facts. This, actually, is the function of an independent researcher.
Then there is always a fraction of the report that is new enough to spark new planning, new priorities, or at least new conversations. Sure, some people have probably thought of even the newest information at one time or another. But hearing customers say it (via VOC work) confirms that there is solid information about customers and their needs that should be acted on.
Question: How are these reports different from sales force intelligence?
The goal of the InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports is to gather and consolidate effective sales and marketing knowledge from many customers, and many types of customers. These reports will certainly confirm what experienced sales and marketers know, but they will offer new and instructive market intelligence because:
- The reports are based on many interviews with many types of decision-makers, throughout each country under study. This depth and breadth of knowledge may already exist within an entire sales force, but is probably not readily available to any one individual.
- The reports include more than observations and success stories; instead, they extract the generalities and organize the themes implied by the observations – and state what it all means for marketing success in the coming years. Again, this drawing of conclusions is part of what a good analyst delivers, but it is not usually the job of well-focused salespeople.
- The reports reflect information gathered in a way that salespersons cannot work: InforMedix researchers sit down as independent interviewers and allow respondents to talk about their preferences and needs, as well as the performance of salespersons who meet with them – without any interest in leading these decision-makers to make a buying decision. Interviewers have a great deal of time to listen to these buyers and clinicians, and can often get them to tell insightful stories that they would not tell to their sales representatives.
Question: How are the InforMedix reports different from a customized study that we could conduct on our own?
The world’s Emerging Markets are many and they are varied. Also, they are growth markets. The number and types of opportunities for medical device manufacturers are probably greater than they have been at any time in history. Global success will require knowing a great deal about the decision process in each market, in each segment, and how to influence those decisions with the customer’s needs in mind.
Traditionally, large medical device companies would fund a customized study of a particular market, to learn what they needed to know as that market developed. The time is coming when the cost and scale of customized market studies in all the major emerging markets is no longer economical or logistically feasible. Instead, the device industries will need access to well-designed, professionally executed market studies from a centralized resource.
Further, these studies will have value only if they are performed by an experienced medical market researcher, who understands the buyers, the products, and the sales process, and can provide reasoned interpretation of this knowledge. InforMedix fills this role with the expertise gained through 25 years in developing, conducting, and reporting on medical device markets for clients worldwide.
Question: I see many reports available online, for every country and every product line. What is different about the InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports?
The InforMedix reports are descriptive, qualitative, and narrative descriptions of market conditions, customer needs, and market transitions on the horizon. The InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports are based on in-person interviews, conducted with purchasers, physicians, medical staff, and healthcare administrators.
Nearly all the reports available online are numerical in nature: market shares, market sizes, estimates of future sales volume, listings of companies selling in that market. Others are descriptive, but focused on a specific topic, such as regulatory issues or import/export procedures. Still others describe the “healthcare market” so globally that they are mainly useful as an introduction written for outsiders.
By contrast, the InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports include:
- Descriptions of sales / marketing techniques that buyers like, and what they don’t like.
- Direct quotations taken from transcripts of interviews.
- Common themes expressed in the needs of customers, with regard to technology development, distribution methods, pricing structures, and so on.
- Optional webinars and in-person presentations, conducted by the researchers themselves, so that manufacturers, marketers, and sales managers can learn directly, and ask questions of the interviewers.
InforMedix has developed a broad and reputation over the years for high quality and reliable information content, conducting interviews with medical professionals, usually investigating markets for high-technology devices and equipment. These skills are being applied to the emerging healthcare markets, to provide global marketers with the insights they need to plan, strategize, and succeed.
Question: What else is in these reports that I really cannot get anywhere else?
InforMedix has created the Customer Support Index, a numerical measure of customer satisfaction for each major product line in each Emerging Market.
The Customer Support Index is not a measure of market share (which reflects vendors’ past success), but instead measures mind share among customers — that is, their willingness to work with each company – thus reflecting vendors’ future success with customers.
The Customer Support Index is based on in-country interviews and quantitative surveys. Key factors measured are:
- Top-of-mind awareness of each vendor.
- Measures of positive and negative attitudes based on interaction with company representatives.
- Ratings of likelihood of buying from each vendor in the future.
- Ratings of sales representatives or distributors; ratings of country or region management; ratings of home-office/upper management, national accounts management.
- Measured perception of the quality of support, product-need matching, and appropriate pricing.
Question: Which countries will be covered by the InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports?
InforMedix Emerging Markets Reports begin with the major economies: India, China, and Brazil. Report development is planned for secondary markets such as Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey.
InforMedix is considering requests from clients for reporting on sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia/Malaysia, Vietnam, and Pakistan.
Question: The cost?
Each report – 200 or so pages in length – covers one country and one product area, and costs around $4,500 to $5,500. Discounts are available for pre-publication and bulk purchases.
We are starting with a country-specific report for each of these fields of medical technology.
- surgical instruments and equipment
- critical care technology, pharmacy automation
- diagnostic imaging
- laboratory diagnostics
- cath lab technology
New topics and countries will be added as demand requires.