Launching medical and health-related products is slightly more complex than when launching in other industries. It’s not simply about organizing logistics, there are numerous regulatory factors to consider. Here are some tips for adapting your medical or healthcare products for launch in other markets.
1. Get All The Right Documentation Translated
The medical and health spaces are highly regulated industries, where the slightest misinformation or error can mean the difference between success and failure. This is all the more important if you are launching your product in a country where they speak a different language. You need to ensure that all documents are translated correctly as even small errors or mistakes can mean big differences in meaning. This includes pamphlets, instructions and clinical outcome assessments – all of these are crucial in helping your consumers understand and use your products.
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Not only can poorly translated products fail in your target market, but you risk breaking laws and regulations which could result in fines and legal consequences. So it’s important to do your due diligence and ensure that you invest in getting your documentation and packaging correctly translated or adapted to your target market.
2. Potentially Adapt Your Product
Depending on your market, it may be worth considering whether you need to adapt the product itself when launching. We aren’t talking about the essence of the product, because that is what you will have worked extremely hard on and what will differentiate you from your competition, but you might need to adapt things like:
- Design and branding
Cultures across the world all have different social norms, which are communicated through visual elements such as color and design. This means that the way you package and present your products can greatly affect how successfully it is received in your new market. This will be slightly less relevant for medical products, which are much more standardized by nature, but something that those selling healthcare products will need to consider.
Colors hold significant and different meanings across cultures, meaning that you mustn’t assume that your current packaging and design will be suitable for your new market. Choose colors and designs carefully, and ensure that you do your research on the culture of your target market before making any decisions. For example, the color yellow in France symbolizes jealousy, but in Thailand, it is a sign of luck. Just a color choice could have a profound effect on how your product is received.
It is also important to think about who you are targeting with your product, and what would most resonate with them. For example, if you are marketing a feminine product, your target market is women. You should therefore base any design decisions around making the product more attractive and appealing to a female audience.
3. Abide By Rules and Regulations in Your Target Market
You’ve most likely covered this when it comes to your actual product in the development stage, but regulations in the medical industry extend further than simply the product itself. It’s worth being especially careful in the way that you market your products to make sure that any marketing materials or strategies abide by regulations in the target market. This can include the way you describe the product, the benefits you claim it has and more. Depending on the nature of your product, there may also be restrictions on when you can market your product. Watersheds and restrictions on the audience you can market to can restrict the times that your ads can appear on TV or the radio. For example, if your product is for erectile dysfunction, you would only be able to advertise the product later in the evening.
4. Find the Right Distribution Partner
Unless you’re moving your operations overseas as well as your products, you’ll need to find the right distribution partner. This needs to be a company that you trust and reflects your same brand values. You also need to ensure that they have the capacity to distribute your products where and when you need them, so supply chains and operations will need to be carefully studied. Here are a few things to consider when looking at distribution partners:
- Do they successfully serve customers like yours at the moment?
- Do their values and ethics align with yours?
- Is their reputation one you are proud to be associated with?
- Do they have the relevant knowledge and expertise in your industry?
It’s useful to set your criteria before looking for a distribution partner so that you can ensure that they match your values and can provide the right kind of distribution service.
5. Consider Client Support
When launching any product in a new market, you need to have the right facilities in place to support your new customers if they have any issues with your products. In ecommerce industries such as online retailing, this could be as simple as developing a Frequently Asked Questions page, or setting up a customer support team. However, when it comes to health and medical products, that support needs to be specialized and of a much higher quality. This is due to the sensitive nature of health and medical products, and the fact that your company may be liable for issues that your customers have with the product.
To make sure you avoid any bad press or negative customer experiences, you need to have provisions in place to advise any customers having difficulties using your product. This will mean sourcing the right personnel who are qualified to provide advice and support on your products. They need to have the technical knowledge, as well as be well-versed in customer service and your target market’s language and culture. This will mean that you can provide the best possible service to them, which will only reflect well on your brand’s reputation.
There are a lot of different things to think about when launching a medical or healthcare product in a new country, as it’s a high-pressure, complex process. These tips will help you to shape your product for a new market and increase your chances of success.