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How to benefit from loyalty programmes

Converting Today recently caught up with Barbara Van Rymenam, global market segment manager, Avery Dennison Medical Solutions (ADMS), who shared some insights into how best to approach participation in manufacturer loyalty programmes, to ensure you are reaping the full rewards

CONVERTING TODAY: Converters of medical devices are always on the lookout for new ways to increase profitability. Can manufacturers’ support programmes provide them with new revenue streams?

BARBARA VAN RYMENAM: Depending on the programme and the manufacturer, converters can enjoy increased revenue from new sources and also grow their profits from existing product lines. If a converter earns top-tier status in a loyalty programme, there typically are substantial financial rewards in the form of rebates. At Avery Dennison Medical Solutions, we have four tiers for our loyalty programme, and converters in the top two tiers are eligible for rebates based on attainment of year-over-year growth goals. Programmes are usually set up so that they reward past performance and incentivise future sales.

CT: You also mentioned increasing profits from existing product lines. How can manufacturers’ support programmes contribute to that?

BVR: One of the most valuable rewards of a loyalty programme is the technical knowledge the manufacturer shares with converters. This information can include technical bulletins with new product updates, webinars for open discussion of issues with application experts, and on-site training at the converter’s location. These opportunities can give converters an advantage to improve operational efficiencies and enhance their lines. We also have a system for sharing customer leads with our top-tier converters.

CT: What types of products does Avery Dennison Medical Solutions offer to medical device converters?

BVR: Our products are grouped into four market segments, including surgical, wound care, ostomy and electromedical. Most products are targeted to converters who require skin-friendly adhesive tapes and hydrocolloid dressing materials to make a wide variety of medical products. We have patented adhesive technologies engineered for performance under complex conditions and to promote optimal healing. For example, one surgical technology, Wetstick, is a synthetic rubber adhesive that maintains adhesion to both wet skin and drape material during surgical procedures. For the wound care market, we offer unique technologies like Thin Absorbent Skin Adhesive, which provides high fluid handling capacity, transparency and conformability. Ostomy products include foams, nonwovens and hydrocolloids, also incorporating proprietary adhesives that ensure proper seal and securement. In the electromedical arena, we offer foams, films and nonwoven materials designed for mounting devices onto the skin – we offer gel-resistant adhesive tapes for converters in the market for disposable electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes.

CT: You mentioned patented products. How important is product innovation in the grand scheme of things, when it comes to choosing to join a manufacturer’s loyalty programme?

BVR: It’s probably the most important thing to consider. You want to be sure that your business is associated with a manufacturer with a strong history and reputation – one which adds something meaningful to your overall marketing presence. A good litmus test is to ask: is this manufacturer financially stable? Does it offer a high quality product that will provide new or improved products specifically for my market? Will this manufacturer help differentiate my business?

CT: What other benefits should European converters consider in evaluating different manufacturers’ loyalty programmes?

BVR: Marketing perks play a major role in support programmes – benefits such as co-branded brochures and trade show collaboration. Manufacturers may also provide presentation materials for converters to help their customers understand the value they receive from the converter’s loyalty programme participation. Some manufacturers include converters’ logos and website links on their websites for additional market exposure. For top-tier converters, Avery Dennison Medical Solutions shares market insights and trends data.

CT: How specific is the market research manufacturers share with their top-tier converters?

BVR: To give you a hypothetical example, say a converter of wound care medical products is a top-tier member of our loyalty programme. Avery Dennison Medical Solutions typically would plan a day-long training session at the converter’s location to cover the latest product offerings, evaluate our respective capabilities and meet about strategic development platforms. We would also give the converter market insights and discuss the latest developments specifically in wound care end-user applications.

CT: Does a converter have to specialise in a particular market niche to qualify to participate in a manufacturer loyalty programme?

BVR: Converters normally must demonstrate experience in the manufacturer’s sector to qualify, but we don’t require an exclusive medical device focus. One way to think about it is that both the converter and manufacturer are investing quite a bit in each other, and both will want to ensure that their reputations in their markets are upheld and enhanced by the new relationship.

CT: Is there a key to successfully engaging with a loyalty programme and making the most of it?

BVR: Converters who profit the most are those who give their loyalty programme leadership-level commitment and designate a programme champion. This high level attention is crucial because there are so many different parts of your business involved in achieving of the highest possible tier level and benefiting from the rewards.

CT: Any other tips for preparing to partner with a manufacturer through a loyalty programme?

BVR: Converters should be aware that the manufacturer will likely ask them to show certification with ISO or Good Manufacturing Practice standards. These are important to medical device manufacturers. It’s also good to think about how your company is going to utilise your rebate revenue.

Barbara Van Rymenam Barbara Van Rymenam Left to right: surgical, wound care, ostomy and electromedical Product types

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