The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

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New Consumer Pulse: Mobile Users Upending Hotel Path to Purchase

Posted by Judy Melanson

Tue, Aug 26, 2014

Our latest Consumer Pulse report—a study of 2,000 leisure travelers—found that mobile, social, and online factors influence travelers very differently at separate stages of the hotel booking purchase journey.

We know travelers have a ton of information at their fingertips as they plan and book hotels for their vacations. The challenge for hotels is to decide how to align marketing budgets to best intercept potential travelers—delivering desired content on the appropriate device and through the right channels and partners.

For more information on how technology is changing the path to purchase download the full report here and see an infographic with a few of the findings below:

The New Hotel Booking Path to Purchase

Download the full report.

For more on our mobile stitching methodology, please see CMB's Chris Neal's webinar with Research Now: Watch the Webinar

Judy Melanson is the head of CMB's Travel and Hospitality Practice. She just returned from a very leisurely trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Stephanie Kimball is CMB's Senior Marketing Manager and created the infographic above. She can't wait for her upcoming trip to London, Amsterdam, Munich, and Prague!

Topics: technology research, infographic, mobile, path to purchase, travel and hospitality research, Consumer Pulse, customer journey

CRE Research: Following the Path of Mobile Content

Posted by Chris Neal

Mon, Aug 26, 2013

It’s always exciting when we get the opportunity to conduct research that garners interest from everyone from the guy staring at his tablet on the train to the executives of the largest media companies in the world. We got that chance, when CMB partnered with the Council for Research Excellence to lead a study exploring how mobile media devices (tablets, phones, and laptops) impact overall television viewing behavior.

Highlights of the study include:

  • Mobile TV viewers tend to be younger (mean age 35), higher income professionals with graduate degrees, and reflect more ethnic diversity than non-mobile-TV users;

  • Mobile TV viewers are often heavy overall TV viewers and are more likely than non-mobile-TV viewers to be TV show opinion leaders and to use social media to talk about TV.

  • Viewers are more commonly engaged when watching TV on a mobile device than when watching on a television set: they are less commonly doing unrelated tasks on other devices, and more commonly doing activities related to the show they are watching (e.g., looking up info about the show, posting about the show on social networks, etc.) when on a mobile device.

You can download the report here: TV Untethered: Following the Path of Mobile Content

Watch the presentation here: 


Posted by Chris Neal. Chris leads CMB’s Tech Practice. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and rock climbing.

Topics: technology research, mobile, digital media and entertainment research

All You Need is You: Customer Experience & the Promise of Biometrics

Posted by Lynne Castronuovo

Tue, Aug 13, 2013

Goodbye, plastic hotel room key. So long, wallet. Farewell camera. These days you don’t need any of the above to unlock a hotel room, buy a mojito or snap a vacation photo.  All you need is, well — you. Stephanie Rosenbloom, “Just Tap Here,” The New York Times

biometricsThat quote, from an article in the NY Times’ Travel section, hit me like a wave. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve managed to lose a hotel key card, leave my cell phone at the office before going on a business trip (after carefully placing it where I would see it before dashing to the airport), lose my office and son’s daycare key cards, drop my American Express card somewhere during a 3-mile run, leave my reusable coffee cup next to the register at my local Trader Joe’s, and lose my sunglasses. It’s painfully obvious why this article, on the wonders of biometrics, hit so close to home.Biometrics have come a long way since the retinal scans featured in the old Bond and Batman movies. Now you can do more than imagine scanning your fingers to open the door, or make a purchase; hotels can use infrared signals as a virtual “Do not Enter” sign, detecting body heat and ensuring housekeeping staff doesn’t knock or barge in.

While I look at technology as enabling convenience, others just see more evidence of Big Brother penetrating our lives—all that data needs to live somewhere and that makes many people uneasy. Of course, you could make the argument that the NSA is already collecting vast amounts of data tracking our every move; we may as well use it to our advantage by gaining something out of this sharing.  As Zachary Karabell notes in a recent article in The Atlantic:

…for all of the legitimate concerns about government intrusions on personal privacy, Americans today -- along with many people worldwide -- surrender vast amounts of personal information to companies and seem quite prepared to surrender even more if it adds to the enjoyment and reduces the friction of myriad transactions that are part of everyday life.

With that quote in mind, I thought about how my clients can leverage this technology to deliver a better experience to their guests (while decreasing their operating costs, and gain repeat business and free marketing through advocacy).  Our work in the cruise industry, as well as the JD Power 2013 Cruise Line Satisfaction Report, reveals that the embarkation and debarkation process are very important in driving guest satisfaction. Think about how much more quickly those lines would move if an iris and/or fingerprint scan were all it took to board the ship?  Guests get where they want to be more quickly and cruise lines need fewer embark and debark crew members to manage the process.

Onboard photography is another area that frustrates guests (and represents lost revenue) when they don’t have an adequate number of photos from which to choose. Facial recognition technology that enables onboard photographers to group every candid picture they take, so passengers can easily browse, would solve that problem.

For cruises attracting a mix of guests from all over the world, using fingertips as a purchase trigger rather than cash or credit cards would also help improve the onboard shopping experience for those guests who do not hold currency in the denomination used on the ship and/or who are not fluent in the primary language spoken onboard.

New tools and emerging technologies offer myriad opportunities to improve the customer experience. Biometrics and mobile tracking are giving brick and mortar businesses the opportunity to catch up with their online counterparts. But there’s a real trade-off here—if customers are going to take that leap of faith it needs to be worth it. What do you think?

Lynne is Research Director of CMB’s Retail and Travel practice; she has not lost one personal object since June. She would like to thank the The London Hotel NYC for getting her back in her room quickly (after verifying her identity), Judy Melanson for letting her use her phone to stay in touch with her family while traveling and Sean Kearney for dropping off her phone at home so it would be there when she returned, AmEx for getting sending a replacement card within 24 hours and Trader Joe’s for maintaining a Lost & Found. 

Royal Caribbean Case StudyLearn how we help Royal Caribbean measure guest experience and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

Topics: technology research, big data, mobile, travel and hospitality research, customer experience and loyalty

IT Myth-Busters: A Review of the Current Hype Cycle

Posted by Chris Neal

Wed, Jun 19, 2013

TrueFalseOne of the things I love most about my job is that I get to see what’s really going on in the minds of the people who do (or would) actually pay for B2B technology solutions, while at the same time observing industry trade press hype cycles and B2B marketing trends from solution providers. Sometimes these sync; sometimes they don’t. So let’s take a look at a few things currently waxing in the hype cycle that are “real,” and some other current conventional wisdom that doesn’t jive with what I’ve been seeing on the ground.  TREND #1: EVOLUTION OF IT BUYING AUTHORITY AWAY FROM CENTRAL IT DEPARTMENTS

Fact: It is indeed true that decision-making authority at many companies is moving away from central IT and towards non-IT executives or within business units. This is more commonly happening with functionally-specific applications and/or mobile devices. It is not happening in areas like data center infrastructure, networking and IT security. 

Myth: IT departments are actively trying to control all aspects of the IT buying process at companies.

  • The truth is, IT Pros I survey or interview are focused on aligning IT with business needs, actively listening and reacting to requests from senior management, LoB managers and end-user employees. They follow up with these requests to do more detailed research of specific solutions and alternatives to present different options with informed recommendations, and the vet any potential new application or device for security and network performance requirements.

 Myth: IT departments think they have total control over all IT buying when in fact much of it happens without their knowledge. 

  • IT Pros I survey still think they have more involvement/authority than non-IT executives, LoB managers and end-users say they do, but that “reality perception” gap has been shrinking over the years. Now, many IT Departments acknowledge that identifying the need for new technology solutions and even a lot of the researching and recommendation of specific tools and brands comes from non-IT departments.


Fact: The consumerization of IT is accelerating and more employees want to use personal devices, apps and software for work purposes. 

Myth:  IT departments are always fighting the consumerization of IT trend.

  • Most IT Departments I investigate now acknowledge (and many actively support) consumerization of IT trends, most commonly helping employees link personal mobile devices to things like corporate email and calendaring accounts. IT is focused on making employees more productive, and this is an easy way to enable this.


Fact: Tablet penetration is increasing at companies, although it is still relatively rare for most employees to have a company-issued tablet at this point. It is more common for employees to bring in personal tablets and use them for work purposes (see “Trend #2” above 

Myth: Tablets are replacing computers at companies.

  • “Hard cannibalization” of company laptops by tablets simply isn’t happening much. It is extremely rare for employees at this point to get rid of their good ‘ol fashioned laptop altogether and go all-tablet, all-the-time. Any employee who needs to produce stuff (e.g., worker-bees) as opposed to consuming things (e.g., senior management reviewing the things that worker-bees produce) still needs and used laptops with larger screens and a quaint QWERTY keyboard.

 Fact: Tablets are extending the refresh cycles of laptops at companies.

  • “Soft cannibalization” of company laptops by tablets does indeed happen quite frequently once tablets are in the mix. Employees who use tablets for work tend to use their laptop less for certain tasks, and with less wear-and-tear IT departments are pushing out the refresh cycles of their laptop fleet.

 Myth: Tablets will negate the need for printing at the office.

  • Certain tasks and certain documents need to be printed at work. Whenever tablets are used to do these tasks…employees still want to print for them, and IT departments are generally happy to deploy mobile printing solutions if that’s what a critical mass of employees (or even a single, vocal senior executive) want. More computing devices in play generally leads to more printing, not less.  


Fact: Cloud computing is growing by leaps and bounds in corporate America. This trend is indeed real now, after several years where the industry marketing hype did not sync with the volume of deals actually being signed or the proclivity of IT departments to switch to cloud-based app delivery models.

Myth: IT departments are threatened by cloud computing and resisting this trend.

  • Initially, IT departments were very skeptical about the security of cloud apps, and distrustful of complex, pay-as-you-go pricing models that could be potential budget-busters. These days, IT departments are more often than not the champions of the shift to the cloud, and executive management sometime puts the kibosh on initiatives because they can involve extra near-term budget (and staffing resources) to make the initial switch.

Myth: Companies are going “all-cloud” and converting their old internal data centers into gyms or rec rooms. 

  • It is very rare for companies to have all their apps and storage on the cloud…I’m typically seeing a patchwork of internally-hosted apps, use of some public cloud services, other apps going onto private cloud infrastructures, and hybrid models. Certain apps are difficult to move to cloud provisioning for a variety of reasons (e.g., performance requirements, compliance with regulations, certain app vendors not yet supporting cloud delivery options or the ones they are offering aren’t fully baked yet, app customization needs). What IT departments really need now and for the foreseeable future is better management and security solutions that help them deal with this mixed environment, because it is likely here to stay for quite some time.

IT is changing dramatically and will no doubt look very different 2-5 years from now. The way these trends actually pan out always produce a few surprises, however. So stay tuned to this channel for future episodes of “IT Myth-busters.”

Chris leads CMB’s Tech Practice. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and rock climbing.

Topics: technology research, B2B marketing, B2B research

Medical Devices: Innovation for Less Is More

Posted by Rachel Corn

Tue, Jun 18, 2013

medical device innovationIn the world of medical technology, the historical driver of value has been feature-driven. Hospitals, insurance companies and other payor audiences have been willing to pay a premium for new features—up to a point.

Today, though, in a climate of increased scrutiny over costs, more competition, and stricter reimbursement rules, payors are no longer eager to pay for minor features. This is especially true when looking to “leaner” markets outside of the US. Furthermore, consumers are becoming more empowered in their healthcare and as a result are increasingly looking for solutions that fit their lifestyles, rather than technical feature sets.It’s time for medical technology companies to think about step-change innovation as a driver of value for them and their customers. And this innovation needs to begin and end with focus:

  • …on the customer segment: What are the current and potential markets for this product? Are there under-penetrated segments where a gap exists? Traditionally, companies have not focused on the end-user (the patient); yet this is an opportunity for innovation. We have also seen quite a few products “de-featured” for emerging markets and then brought back to the developed world for a unique segment. Is there a viable market segment that would be served with a “light” version of your product?

  • …on the customer goal: What are customers trying to accomplish with your products? How can you make their jobs easier? This requires communicating solutions—rather that discrete features—that directly solve a pain point. This could involve software, services, etc.

  • …on regulation: Between healthcare reform, re-admission rules and electronic records, healthcare is a prime field to view regulatory changes as an opportunity to make the customer’s life easier. In what ways will regulations change your customer’s business and how can you help?

Looking for innovation in your existing portfolio can be highly lucrative. An example of a “de-featured” product is from GE India: it stripped the bells, whistles and 423 pounds from GE’s $100,000 Logiq 9 ultrasound machine and introduced a handheld device at about a tenth of the price. While this monitor was less advanced than its predecessor, it was a great fit for India due to small size and portability.

What hidden gems lie in your portfolio? Have you uncovered and exhausted opportunities for innovation?

Rachel Corn is a Director at  South Street Strategy Group, she specializes in finding growth opportunities in new market segments, new products and businesses and innovative business models.

South Street Strategy Group, an independent sister company of Chadwick Martin South Street Strategy GroupBailey, integrates the best of strategy consulting and marketing science to develop better growth and value delivery strategies. 

Earlier this year CMB’s MedTech team partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) to survey members for their perspectives on the past, present, and future expectations for innovation and growth in the medical device industry. Click here to download: The 2013 MedTech Industry and Innovation Study.

Topics: technology research, South Street Strategy Group, strategy consulting, healthcare research, product development, growth and innovation

Highlights from the MassMEDIC MedTech Industry & Innovation Pulse

Posted by Andrew Wilson

Thu, May 09, 2013

massmedic medtechOver the past 3 years, there has been no shortage of attempts to forecast the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on patients and insurers, but the truth is, the changing care model has ramifications that extend well beyond the waiting room. The multi-billion dollar medical device industry is smack-dab in the middle of tremendous regulatory and economic changes—including the ACA and the Medical Device Excise Tax (MDET). Earlier this year CMB’s MedTech team partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) to survey 123 of their members for their perspectives on the past, present, and future expectations for innovation and growth in the medical device industry. Below, are a few highlights from The 2013 MedTech Industry and Innovation Study:   

  • One of the most profound shifts, reflected in the results of our study, is the emerging influence of economic buyers on medical device innovation. The traditional med device market model places physicians at the center of innovation efforts, and to be sure they’re still very much at the forefront of med device companies’ minds. But as the ACA’s cost containment policies come into effect, hospital administrators and insurers will see their influence grow, as they become increasingly involved in purchasing decisions. Indeed, while just under one third of respondents said they have focused their innovation efforts on economic buyers in the past, 53% said economic buyers would receive their attention in the future.

  • Not surprisingly, the MDET has elicited a great deal of conversation, with med device companies’ still strenuously objecting to the tax that came into effect last year. However, while the industry as a whole has actively advocated for MDET’s repeal, a surprising 40% have yet to plan to address the tax. For those who have made or acted upon plans to address the tax, workforce reductions and reductions in R&D spend top the list of mitigating actions.  Despite considerable concerns over the changing care model, many respondents were optimistic for the future, with the bulk of respondents expecting increased revenue, both inside and outside the US in the coming 5 years.

  • Asked to evaluate their performance on key success factors, the vast majority indicated that their company currently meets or exceeds expectations when it comes to identifying customer wants and needs and determining the most compelling features set—table stakes in new product development in any industry. Respondents also identified areas for differentiation (i.e., capabilities that are important for future success, but that most don’t perform well on).  Organizations that with the following core skills will win in the future - prioritizing resources, determining how to price product(s)/service(s) given the dramatic changes, and developing compelling clinical data to support their product(s)/service(s). 

Click here to read the full report.

conference 2013 home

The results of this study were presented at MassMEDIC's 17th Annual Conference on May 8th 2013.



Andrew runs CMB’s MedTech practice and has spent the better part of the past decade helping some of the most successful MedTech companies make difficult strategic decisions.  In his free time, Andrew enjoys scrubbing into tracheotomies with clients, and running with his dog Moby.

Topics: technology research, healthcare research, Consumer Pulse, growth and innovation

Show Me on Your Phone Where it Hurts: mHealth is Here

Posted by Hilary O'Haire

Tue, Apr 09, 2013

I don’t want to brag, but my smartphone is in really good shape.

Like millions of other people, I have multiple fitness and health-related mobile apps, and they’re constantly alerting, pushing—begging me to login, add my stats, and track my diet and exercise. And while I’ll confess there are times these apps get more of my attention, they are awesome tools for getting and staying in shape.

Of course, they’re not a brand new phenomenon, and in a 2011 Consumer Pulse study: Consumer Perspectives on Health and Wellness, we found 7 in 10 smartphone users interacted at least weekly with mobile fitness and diet apps. With smartphone ownership growing, the number of people using these tools has only increased, and companies are responding by bringing new and exciting additions to the mobile health (“mHealth”) app marketplace. In fact, over the next 5 years, the mHealth market is expected to grow annually by 23 percent.

glucodockThere’s much more to mobile health than tracking calories and reps, and what’s truly exciting is mobile’s capacity to revolutionize how we understand and manage our health.  As Mark Curtis notes in “Your phone will know you are sick before you do,” new mobile technology—like “body hacking” will put more of our own health data literally at our fingertips. Body hacks include tools like GlucoDock, a plug in for the iPhone, allowing diabetics to track their blood sugar easily on the go; or the simple but elegant pill bottle cap that connects to a patient’s phone and alerts them when it’s time to take their meds.  Besides being extremely clever, these mobile technologies also change how we interact with those involved with our care—hospitals/providers, insurers, and pharmacies. These tools have the potential to give patients an unprecedented level of control and involvement in their own care. What was once hidden in a doctor’s files is now available to be examined by patients themselves.

Way back in 2011, we asked consumers how much they expected to communicate with their healthcare provider, insurance company, and pharmacy in the next few years. Of those who used mobile apps to perform health and wellness activities, over one-third expected their digital communication with each to increase. Well, these “next few years,” are here. Health apps are no longer restricted to physical betterment through diet and fitness; they’re helping us take control of our own health maintenance—from identifying ailments to tracking provider-patient interactions. What’s next? Look into your crystal ball, what do you wish your phone could do to make and keep you healthier?

Hilary O’Haire is an Associate Researcher at CMB. Although she enjoys working out and her RunKeeper app, a love for good food keeps her determined to eat at every Boston restaurant ever featured on a Food Network show.

Mcommerce Consumer Pulse


Read our latest Consumer Pulse: Leveraging the Mobile Moment: Barriers and Opportunites for Mobile Wallet.

Topics: technology research, healthcare research, mobile

Infographic: What do Mobile Wallets Have to do With Loyalty?

Posted by Judy Melanson

Wed, Apr 03, 2013

The Mobile Wallet is a hot topic for those in the retail, technology and financial services industries. As you may know, mobile wallets allow customers to pay at store checkouts with a tap or wave of their smartphones. In our recent Consumer Pulse study of 1,500 smartphone users, we learned that half are unaware of Mobile Wallets.

To drive adoption, retailers and technology providers will need to overcome a lack of awareness and fear of new technology, all while offering a clear advantage over more traditional payment methods. As shown below, loyalty programs provide a key leverage point to drive Mobile Wallet adoption.

mobile wallet loyalty

Click to see larger version

Download our latest report on the Barriers and Opportunities for Mobile Wallet and learn more about what will drive (and block) adoption, and who has the advantage as we enter the next leg of the mobile wallet race.

Judy is VP of CMB's Travel & Entertainment practice and loves collaborating with clients on driving customer loyalty.  She's the mom of two teens and the wife of an oyster farmer. Follow Judy on Twitter at @Judy_LC

Topics: technology research, financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty, retail research

New Study: Consumers and the Race for Mobile Wallet

Posted by Megan McManaman

Mon, Apr 01, 2013

Mobile Wallet CMBYou’re about to step out your front door...

But wait just a moment! You can only take your phone or your wallet, which will it be?

Pre-smartphone there would be no contest, I’d take my wallet. But times have changed, and the balance has now tipped in favor of my beloved iPhone. Beyond checking email, I use my phone to deposit checks, see when the train is coming, read the news, record my ski stats, listen to music, and if I've also forgotten my lunch, I can use a mobile wallet app to buy a sandwich at the deli across the street.Of course there’s more to mobile wallets than the fate of my lunch, there are billions of dollars at stake for the banks, credit card companies, start-ups, tech giants and others who want to dominate, or just cash in on, the evolving relationship we have with our smartphones. In our latest Consumer Pulse, we surveyed 1,479 smartphone users about what they know about mobile wallets, what’s keeping them from using, what features they’d like to see, and who they'd trust to provide them.

First things first, half of respondents said they were familiar with mobile wallet technology (or proximity payments)—apps that let users swipe or tap their phone at the point of sale, rather than using credit cards or cash. When we asked this 50% to tell us about their experience and expectations for using mobile wallets most said they didn’t plan on adopting a mobile wallet…but nearly a quarter said they were planning to try out the technology in the next 6 months (TWEET THIS). That’s no small number considering smartphone ownership is nearly ubiquitous.

Now let’s consider our more reticent smartphone users, what’s keeping them from trying out the technology that’s already at their finger-tips? We weren’t surprised to find that security (73% called it a barrier to adoption)—particularly identity theft—was high on the list of what’s keeping people from giving up on cash and credit (TWEET THIS). The good news for mobile wallet providers is 79% said they’d be more likely to adopt if they were guaranteed 100% protection against fraud and theft. While many mobile wallet providers already offer this protection, the results show there’s a real opportunity to benefit from promoting this type of security measure (TWEET THIS).

If you’ve assuaged the fear of being scammed, stolen from, and over-charged (remember when people were afraid to shop online?) what’s next?  Aside from the novelty of scanning your phone, what’s the incentive behind using a mobile wallet over your, just as convenient, credit card? We found reward and loyalty points were very appealing, particularly when offered as additions to existing rewards people get with their credit cards—80% of non-adopters said they’d be more likely to adopt if offered these extra rewards (TWEET THIS). Of course people like rewards and points—you don’t need to be a marketer to understand that. But nearly as many (66%) said that getting the same rewards they got with their credit card would increase their likelihood to adopt—to which I say, c’mon people aim a little higher.

So yes, rewards are nice, but one of the best things about smartphones is the ability to look stuff up. Think of how many arguments have been nipped in the bud by a quick search of imdb.com or Wikipedia. That ability to find the information you want any time, any place, is just as compelling in a shopping context. Including location-based services like the ability to easily compare items in stores nearby increases likelihood to adopt among 78% of non-adopters (TWEET THIS). But we also found people were a little leery of getting too many alerts, both because they can be annoying and because they suck down battery life. Note to providers, offering people the choice of what alerts and discounts they receive could be a major draw as they decide who they’d like to provide their mobile wallet service.

The topic of mobile is rightly dominating the discussion in almost every industry, but the fact is, for most people mobile wallets are still incredibly new. Amid all the noise and growth, there’s still tremendous opportunity for providers who understand the concerns, goals, needs, and desires of the millions (billion?) of people with the technology right at their fingertips.

Mobile Moment ICON

Download the full report and learn more about what will drive (and block) adoption, and who has the advantage as we enter the next leg of the mobile wallet race.




Megan is CMB's Product Marketing Manager, she loves Alpine Replay, and longs for the day she can unlock the front door with her phone.

Topics: technology research, financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse, retail research

Why the Empowered Patient is the Key to MedTech Innovation

Posted by Andrew Wilson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013

The Cost of CareWhile the rest of us breathe a sigh of relief that the fiscal cliff threat is behind us, the MedTech industry is feeling the pain of the new medical device excise tax, a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  While it remains to be seen whether the promised influx of patients resulting from the ACA will ultimately generate enough revenue to offset the tax, looking at the current state of US healthcare (Click on Figure 1 for Larger Version) it is painfully clear that additional tax revenue alone is not the solution; rising costs must be addressed in a meaningful way. 

Innovation to develop products, services, and systems that are more effective and efficient is critical to solving the healthcare cost problem. While the majority of MedTech organizations historically focused their sales and service efforts on their relationship with physicians, there is an increasingly vocal group, including doctors, patient advocates, and policy makers, who believe the key to healthcare innovation lies in empowering patients. Because patients ultimately make decisions about things like diet, exercise, when to seek treatment, and disease management, they have an enormous influence on the cost and the effectiveness of their own care.  In fact, some believe that 80% or more of healthcare decisions are made by patients, not medical professionals. The idea is that if we can empower people to be more informed and engaged in their care decisions, they will be the driving force behind improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. 

Assuming the care system does evolve in a way that empowers patients, many MedTech organizations will be under increased pressure to incorporate features in their products that impact patient’s behaviors and help them make better lifestyle decisions.  For example, imagine a pacemaker that can provide a patient with information in real time through a smart phone app that will help him become more conscious of decisions about sleep, diet, and exercise.  These types of patient empowering innovations have the potential to dramatically change healthcare in the US (and worldwide).  And MedTech companies have the opportunity to drive this change; however it will require a shift in how they have traditionally learned about their markets.

As MedTech companies race to innovate, they will likely hold internal brainstorming sessions, meet with physician advisory boards, and speak to their sales and customer service groups. The problem with these approaches is that it leaves out the most critical component— the patient, the key to successful innovation.  To generate this intimate knowledge of patients, organizations need a plan—a change from how MedTech organizations traditionally approach innovation.  One that does the following:

  1. Identifies what customers ultimately want and need from their healthcare.  Talk to patients living with the disease state; understand their daily struggles, and what would improve their healthfulness.

  2. Prioritize what matters most to patients based on the most pressing needs of the patients; organizations should not invest time and money in trying to address each item identified by patients.  Fortunately, all wants and needs were not created equal. Instead, companies should focus on developing solutions that address those needs that are most important to healthcare consumers.  Additionally, there are likely groups of patients that have different priorities, and organizations should consider whether and how they address these different groups.

  3. Translates these prioritized wants and needs into solutions.  Armed with a detailed understanding of what matters to healthcare consumers, organizations can apply their expertise to develop elegant solutions that satisfy the most critical unmet needs.

  4. Establishes metrics that indicate whether the solutions they have developed are truly empowering healthcare consumers and adding value to the system.

MedTech companies face a future of great uncertainty and opportunity; however it seems clear that in the empwered patient CMBcontext of the Affordable Care Act and the evolving nature of today’s care model, patients are going to become increasingly important.  MedTech companies will need healthcare consumer insight programs to uncover the wants and needs of their patients and discover the addressable white space. Their intimate understanding of their patients is enabling them to pull ahead and gain a decided competitive advantage.The winners aren’t going to be those who bring solutions to market first but instead those who can translate deep insight of patients into game changing products and services. 

Andrew runs CMB’s MedTech practice and has spent the better part of the past decade helping some of the most successful MedTech companies make difficult strategic decisions.  In his free time, Andrew enjoys scrubbing into tracheotomies with clients, and running with his dog Moby.

Topics: technology research, healthcare research, customer experience and loyalty