Is Intel… I mean St. Jude Inside You?
As some of you may know, I am a high technology analyst for a leading firm here in Los Angeles. I am also a former, double heart valve replacement patient with a personal mission to help future patients and caregivers.
That said, there is some (albeit small but significant) overlap between these two roles in my life.
For example, are you familiar with the “Intel Inside” marketing strategy of the early 1990’s? At the time, Intel was a vague semiconductor brand that powered the world’s business and personal computers with its central processing unit (CPU). Back then, buyers were typically aware of brands like Hewlett Packard, Compaq and IBM, but they didn’t really pay attention to the CPU that powered their desktop computer.
Then, the Intel executives got smart. Intel realized it needed to start branding itself (just as much as the box makers) to stimulate their brand and demand in the competitive marketplace. That’s when the whole Intel Inside Marketing Campaign campaign started. If you recall, almost every last second of every commercial for Dell or Hewlett Packard (that features an Intel processor) now sings out the famous Intel chime. Needless to say the strategy was a windfall for the company. Buyers started asking for Intel-specific computers. How do I know? I was one of them. Do you remember the buzz around the Pentium Processor? Genius!!!
Anyways, to my point about heart valve manufacturers…
Recently, I asked 10 heart valve replacement surgery patients which valve replacement manufacturing brand was inside them. Guess what? Three of them did not know! 30% is an awfully big number don’t you think?
Well… My gut tells me this may be about to change. I believe that the leading heart valve manufacturers may start turning on the marketing juice.
“Why?” you are wondering.
Two words… BABY BOOMERS!!!
It’s no secret the baby boomers are aging. In the US alone, there are 76 million people aged 43 to 62, according to Celent. That’s 28% of the population.
Take a guess what may be in huuuuuuuuge demand in the future? Yes! Wheelchairs, canes, reading glasses, etc.
But, I was hoping you would say… HEART VALVE REPAIR AND HEART VALVE REPLACEMENTS!!!
It is my hunch that the heart valve manufacturers will start rolling out more and more marketing as the baby boomers age. Pretty soon, I believe the influence of mass marketing will empower the patient to tell his/her surgeon, “I want an Edwards Valve!” or “Give me the St. Jude Valve!” or “Medtronic Bovine Valve For Me! Thank You Very Much!!!”
To some extent, this is happening today. But, I believe this is going to happen much, much, much more in the future.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.