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Coalescent's Online Newsletters Gain Attention From Surgeons

Medical products manufacturer Coalescent Surgical Inc. will launch a second online newsletter this month after its first effort reached its target audience of 3,000 thoracic surgeons.

Last November's newsletter introduced the company's U-Clip medical device. Called the Coalsurg eMagazine, the HTML publication had a 46 percent open rate, and the click-through rate was more than 26 percent. Article click-through rates ranged from 26 percent to 70 percent. Thirty percent of the surgeons read two articles, 13 percent read three and about 9 percent read all four articles.

More important, 70 percent of the surgeons viewed the online demonstration for U-Clip, a proprietary self-closing clip that replaces traditional sutures.

“It would have been impossible to duplicate this result and to gain the undivided attention of the surgeons using traditional medical detailing techniques,” said Benjamin Wayne, CEO of Collabrys Inc., South San Francisco, CA, which created the marketing tool for Coalescent.

The online magazine also boosted awareness of Coalescent's brand. More than 52 percent of newsletter recipients read the article “No More Surgical Knots,” which discussed the origins of the company and the value of its U-Clip product. This month's newsletter will go to the same 3,000 surgeons to “highlight the new developments in minimally invasive endoscopic surgery and position Coalescent as a solid player in the surgical market,” Wayne said.

Founded in 1997, Coalescent, Sunnyvale, CA, develops advanced technology for tissue attachment and blood vessel connections. U-Clip is its flagship product. But like other medical device makers, Coalescent had a tough time gaining its audience's time.

“Surgeons are typically a difficult audience to reach and are bombarded with messages from various companies and Coalescent wanted something unique and compelling to reach the surgeons and introduce the U-Clip in an innovative and compelling way,” Wayne said.

The online newsletter is meant to ease the way for Coalescent's field representatives in seeking a briefing session with thoracic surgeons. For that, the online publication touched on subjects close to surgeons' interests. Included were articles from the Heart Surgery Forum, In Vivo and the American Medical Association and, of course, the demonstration of U-Clip in surgical procedure.

The tone of the newsletter was continuing medical education.

“Coalescent is extremely wary of marketing initiatives that tend to be hard sell as this approach is not appealing to surgeons,” Wayne said.

Custom-branded publications are not new, especially in the offline world. But increasingly, the cost-effectiveness of an online magazine is convincing marketers to directly touch their customers and prospects through e-mail publications. For instance, Collabrys has created online custom publications for Johnson & Johnson's Clean & Clear brand, Capital Advisors, Pepcid and Tribal DDB Worldwide.

Collabrys's tracking system allows the client to measure the campaign down to particular areas of interest. This will help shape the communications or approach of, say, Coalescent's medical representatives.

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