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The healthcare costs associated with major depression are astronomical. Compared to antidepressants, costs for treatments with NeuroStar are economical. One session is expected to cost approximately $400 per treatment session, with typical patient needing four to six treatments (Neuronetics, Inc., 2008). Compared to ongoing medicine and therapy sessions, this is a quite cost effective alternative. This will be another key selling point for the device. However, it is expected that clinicians will see the potential to increase their clientele as a more important factor than the initial costs of the device.
The NeuroStar TMS is already in use in a few treatment centers around the country (Neuronetics, Inc., 2008). This provides credibility that others find the device to be beneficial. Testimonials from doctors and patients would be another supportive element to add to the marketing campaign. However, this element is not expected to hold as much weight as clinical evidence and research findings.
Primary markets for the device will include individual clinical practices and groups that treat major depression in their clients. The most lucrative of these will be those that have large populations of clients that are already on antidepressant medicine. These clinicians have the greatest likelihood of obtaining clients that are treatment resistant. Another important type of practice will be those that specialize in the treatment of major depression as their primary focus. Private practices will consist of the bulk of primary market targets.
Several secondary markets exist that may yield results. In addition to clinical practitioners, general hospitals may also prove to be a worthy target. They may be a particularly lucrative source in rural areas. Many times in rural areas, people are accustomed to going to a local hospital to receive treatments that they cannot get in their physician's office. Purchasing decisions in small practices will depend on the costs of the device compared to the potential client base that they feel they can generate from it. In some cases, it may be more cost effective for centrally located hospitals to have the machine available. The device could draw clients from many different practices in the area, thus sustaining itself from a larger geographic area. Larger mental health facilities are likely to take this approach as well.
Another potential secondary market is Universities and Colleges that offer degrees in clinical psychology. These institutions may be interested in having a NeuroStar TMS onsite for teaching purposes. This could also be a potential source for the conduct of other research studies that could help to promote the units. These secondary markets have the potential to play a key role in the ability to expand usage and awareness of the product.
The key marketing techniques will be those that build exposure within the primary target market. Trade shows, conventions, and meeting of Professional Clinical Societies will play a key role in the marketing plan. Exposure at these events will help to establish credibility. This will be a cost effective marketing tool because these events are often well-attended by the primary target market, as well as some members of secondary markets as well.
Of course, the website will play a key role in the marketing plan. Individual sales reps will pay personal visits to targets in their area. They can distribute literature and will sometimes serves as the client's first exposure to these types of devices. Cold calling will not be as effective as a well-researched targeted approach to the marketing plan.
The NeuroStar TMS represents one of the newest and most innovative treatments for major depression on the market. There is strong evidence that its use and acceptable in clinical practice will continue to grow. The key to successful marketing of the NeuroStar TMS lies in the ability to conduct a highly targeted marketing campaign. The focus of the marketing campaign should remain on the identifiable target market within certain geographic areas. Once these resources are exhausted, the marketing campaign should shift its focus to the secondary markets in the area.
The potential for expansion of the NeuroStar TMS on a global basis is exciting. There are many steps in the process, such as getting approval in those countries, production of marketing materials to target those markets, and developing a culturally relevant marketing campaign. However, the global marketing potential of the device holds sufficient potential to make it a worthwhile effort.
Initial marketing efforts will focus on developing product awareness and brand identity. It is hopeful that NeuroStar TMS will have established sufficient brand equity to stave off any competition that enters into the market in the near or distant future. However, in order to ensure the ability to do this, the marketing department must work fast. Neuronetics, Inc. (2008). New Study Demonstrates Cost Effectiveness of NeuroStar TMS Therapy in the Treatment of Depression. Establishing brand identity and equity is the key to creating a sustainable edge over the competition and keeping it far into the future. These early stages of product introduction are crucial to the future success of the company and will make NeuroStar TMS the brand that is recognized as a leader in the industry.
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