Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shiny Happy People - Where is the Creativity?

Recently, TSB and a few colleagues were discussing how much spin goes into marketing many of our "me too" products. Yet, when we analyzed the visual quality of industry ads and websites we started to wonder where did we get all those "Shiny Happy People laughing meet me in the crowd......" Michael Stipe of REM must feel relief that our industry has built its marketing platform and websites on one of his songs.

Is there any creativity and originality in this industry? Considering the low cost of goods sold, general and administrative costs, along with cost of sales, this industry is quite profitable and provides a respectable ROI for investors. Yet, when it comes to creativity in marketing spine, the only grade that can be given is a big fat "F."

So why does this exist? An old mentor of mine once said, "imitation is the greatest form of flattery." If there is any truth to that comment most marketing people and companies cannot develop an innovative platform when it comes to selling product or creating a website. It seems most are "bogged down" in following the same formula. The Legacy companies or Spine Cartel are sterile in their presentation, and the early-growth stage companies are terrible. Shiny happy people smiling......... come on, you can't tell me that the result of back surgery is happiness. Maybe to some, but if I were a gambling man I would bet that the reason pain management has become such a huge industry is because unlike the subliminal message that these websites attempt to send, there are many people that have back pain. One of the smartest surgeons that TSB ever worked with said; "Once you have back pain, you'll always have back pain." So where is all this happiness emanating from? I'm just waiting for the day when someone has an elderly person doing a cart-wheel on their website. Hand-stands anyone? Skate-boarding?

Does anyone think that one day we will emerge from the "Still Life" genre of marketing in spine and start spending some of those profits on some real marketing? Can we enlist some real talent outside the industry when it comes to developing websites? My grand-daddy's favorite expression was, "cheap is expensive." TSB is awaiting for the day when some marketing genius finally starts to think out of the box. Isn't that what marketing is all about? Can anyone explain why there is so little innovation in spine marketing?

TSB wants to know what our readers think?






30 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderful, but clearly you've never worked with a regulatory department.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A related question: I would be very interested to know what the average percent to sales Marketing represents for small/mid/large cap spine companies. Not Sales & Marketing, just Marketing.

    FYI: MDT Kyphon already did the old-lady-headstand advertisement last year. Next threshold?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Innovation and creativity are not dead, just slower than what we would all like (regulations mainly.) Also, under the terms of this blog; most spine products are NOT commodities since, in effect, they are all different. True, they all strive for the same goal, however they're certainly not commodities. This would be like saying automobiles are commodities. Sure, they all go point to point; however, they are certainly NOT the same. Additionally, most commodities don't command ASP's and GM's of the likes within med device; at least for the time being.

    What's more, I for one enjoy the optimism that our sales, marketing and engineering teams gleam with. This is what we do, we make and sell devices. Without a positive outlook and some salesmanship how can anyone expect to succeed and more importantly enjoy themselves and their careers?

    Last, and certainly most important, there are many of curmudgeons on this site. What a shame, the negative perspective carried here. I would hope that all those throwing stones are free of sin themselves and would venture to move to new industries since this one has encumbered them with such ill will.

    Remember, life is the longest thing you'll ever do, if you're not having fun change something for yourself...and thus, why I applaud our shiny happy people.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think there are some innovative product companies out there, however, there seems to be more 'me too' companies, looking to gaining market share with surgeon 'buy in'. Companies like Globus and K2M come to mind. There are a few companies with some innovative products, however I think that many surgeons are reluctant to change and to move to a different method is a big paradigm shift for them. Pedicle screw fixation is an example of this which has not basically changed for over a decade!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Musculoskeletal, this is the Musculoskeletal Man, you know the real Spine Blogger, your optimism is a breath of fresh air! We might make devices, yet, I am not sure that we sell devices, based on the amount of surgeon consultants, distributor/surgeon deals, and surgeon owned distributorships. If 500 pedicle screws, a glut of PEEK devices, and hundreds of cervical plates you honestly believe we don't work in a commodity market? Remember Supply and Demand? TSB along with many of our readers are not negative, we are just realistic. I can assure you that after the Jonestown Guyana Massacre Spine Blogger has never drunk anyone's Kool-Aid.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Globus and K2M huh? MSD is the largest marketing bullshitter out there. Do they represent any of their products accurately?

    Every company has me too products. Globus launched 10 new products last year. Who else in the industry can say that? No one!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Globus? They launched 10 new products, BFD, but from whom did they nick them this time? K2M? Remember the grandiose statements about surgeon driven innovation? John Kostuik, their (grand)father made them at their birth. Yet, he and they should be ashamed of themselves: all these years they have sold loads of me-toos, without a truly innovative product in sight... MSD on the other hand is truly a marketing innovator. They were the first to budget for settlements with the government as part of the marketing plan, and laughed all the way to the bank. Hats off!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lying is innovation. MSD will manipluate studies to prove and promote lackluster garbage.

    Every company has pedicle screws, plates, interbody devices, motion preservation implants, me too everything... and to say that someone steels ideas because of the sway in market share with little to no marketing is a huge achievement. Globus is not surgeon owned and they get the surgeon input at the correct time, therefore yielding more improved me too products, along with superior instrumentation in every way. Lets not forget, they are the fastest growing company in orthopedics, which is enough marketing alone.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous, can you explain how lying is innovation? I remember the days when that was considered dishonesty, and dealt with appropriately. And are you saying the fact that they are not surgeon owned makes a company clean? As if that is the only way surgeons can benefit from using a product. Wake up! (even the government slowly is)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Corrupt companies are not based in Audubon PA, they are based in Exton, PA or in other states.

    Rumors are normally BS. I hear they are very clean. I'm sure things were no t so hot when they started Globus, but they work closely with the FDA and do things right.

    As for the me-toos, not many companies could exist without having a pedicle screw. Oh wait, lets sell BMP however we can until it causes a problem or god forbid kills someone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I will be absolutely "thrilled" to see what clothing choice Globus makes for this years NASS.
    How can they top the western shirt in Austin and sweater in Toronto?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous 1, wow!! I sure hope I never have to deal with you either personally or professionally. Describing outright theft and deceit as 'things were not so hot' shows you have some serious moral defects, even if you are right about BMP. And you hear, from reliable sources no doubt, that they all of a sudden are the cleanest actor on stage. And you believe that???? Pity I don't want to do deals with you, because I have some absolutely prime land for sale in Florida. Anonymous 2, it could be that the Feds choose the NASS outfits this year, in that case I bet on orange jumpsuits.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'll be anonymous 3 -Globus is absolutely the most unethical company in the business! The examples are almost limitless if you've been around for awhile. Sure hope I never have to deal with anonymous #1 either. Must work for Globus because to work for them it is a requirement to sacrifice your integrity on a daily basis.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Medical Dictionary

    globus glo·bus (glō'bəs)
    n. pl. glo·bi (-bī')

    1.

    A round or spherical body.
    2.

    Any of the brown bodies sometimes found in the granulomatous lesions of leprosy.



    Leprosy...hmmm, you decide.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Maybe, the Globus boyz could wear a Dhoti or Kurta, they would look cute and the females can wear their Saree in the spirit of the culture at this esteemed company. Incense and peppermint meaningless nouns, turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around. look at yourselves, look at yourselves young girls........

    ReplyDelete
  17. Take a look at the Synthes PLIF/ TLIF surgical technique and compare it to the Globus one. Only the company logo was changed, implants and instruments are identical...talk about unethical. All the Globus engineer did was change the drawing border and logo!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That goes for every product in their bag!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Every product in there bag??? Then if that is true, then they are selling and gaining market with all these existing or stolen devices. Why would a surgeon leave another companies products outside the hospital just to use the same thing somewhere else? I think as an industry, if we want to keep up, we need to start giving the surgeons actually what they need instead of shoving crap down their throats.

    I think we all could do without the racist comments. Besides, free coffee and shirts does not gain business. But I like the team aspect of dressing together as a company.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You still don't grasp the concept of significant and often used other financial motivations than surgeon ownership, or are not willing to admit that these exist. Just like you, I sometimes hear things, and my information indicates that they still are very unclean. Given how the original starters (I refuse to use the word founders, it conveys a certain class that they don't possess) bit the hand that fed them, i.e screwed over Synthes, nobody should be surprised about the corporate culture that has emerged. And by the way, where do you see racism? All of a sudden politically overly correct?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous 3 here again. Did that guy seriously just ask why a surgeon would leave a company to use the same products somewhere else??? OMG Dude I must say you are delusional. They paid surgeons for the market share they currently enjoy, -there is your answer, glad I could be of service.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thats right they are paying every single one of them. I'm delusional? I'm sure that MSD, DePuy, Synthes, etc... never paid for business as well right? No they just provide sex to the surgeons in trade for business. Now there is some real classy busy ethics.

    I just think, how can anyway know what goes on behind the walls of any company public or not, unless we are inside them ourselves. I tend to be an optimist, and I never met Mr. Paul, and I surely do not understand all that has to do with the interior sales business practices since that is not my cup of tea, but I will give anybody the benefit of the doubt. Globus is not the one in the hot seat right now. Other companies are, and that is the reality of it, a least for now... The saga continues...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like the concept of paying residents or fellows $250K to subsidize their start up practice in exchange for business. Now there's creativity in consulting. How about all the surgeons that originally invested in this company. If I were Hansjoerg Wyss I would of cut DP nads off in a second, but that's the difference between real businessmen and the BS Harvard businessman.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous 3 here. I have personally met the ringleader DP and his band of thieves (management team) Should never have walked in that room, they took my info and went behind me with one of their reps. It took awhile but I kicked their ass out of my area and they now have no business! This scenario has been repeated all over the country. Warning,if you interview with these crooks either for a rep position or distribution you better keep your cards close to the vest. A word of advice my son, be careful who you defend that you do not personally know.

    ReplyDelete
  25. All companies at some point and in some way have paid for business, but many have either cleaned up their act or at least scaled back significantly. No rumors about that happening at Globus, the only spine company ever started using product blueprints and test reports legally owned by their former employer. If only Wyss had been smarter about how to sue them, they could have been stopped.....

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've heard that Globus' new policy is to not pay royalties to any surgeon design team member on any current and future product unless they obviously own the IP.

    All of these companies are crooked. You all need to wake up and stop acting like all of the companies are not using all the same tricks to get business. There are 100+ spine companies out there that are playing the game.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for reminding our readers of the reality of the industry.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Its true all are playing the game ! Globus just happens to be one of the worst and they are not limited to just paying docs.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This certainly is a subject that sollicits a lot of response! I believe that there must be 1 or 2 honest companies out there, simply because they cannot financially afford to play the game. All but one here seem to agree that Globus is definitely not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The wheels on the bus go round and round. Round and round all through the world.

    Globus and companies better get behind the wheel before they totally lose control.

    ReplyDelete