Marketing Mojo: Insights from Myomo CMO Cliff Conneighton

By Jesse Ciccone

Jesse Ciccone, VP and managing director at Matter recently spoke with Myomo CMO Cliff Conneighton to discuss B2B marketing, measurement and more. Check out the video from the interview and read below for the full conversation.


Jesse Ciccone (JC): Tell us a little about yourself and about Myomo.

Cliff Conneighton (CC): I’m Cliff Conneighton, I’m the Chief Marketing Officer for Myomo Inc. located in Cambridge since it was spun out of MIT about ten years ago. Myomo is a wearable medical robotics company. Our patient is someone who has their arm, but they’ve lost use of it due to stroke, nerve injury, brain injury or spinal cord injury. Turns out that is about 1% of the population.

Personally, I started as a software engineer then moved into product management and finally into marketing where I have been for, pretty much, the rest of my career. Much of that has been in the software market for enterprise eCommerce systems. I was Chief Marketing Officer for four companies; three of which sold to larger companies and Myomo is the fourth.


JC: Myomo obviously has a *very* specific target customer. How does this impact your marketing strategy? How is it different from your previous roles?

CC: We have a portable, robotic brace that fits over your arm and reads the faint muscle signals that are not enough to move the arm, but are readable by the device. We then amplify those signals and use it to drive motors. It restores the mobility and a person’s ability to do daily activities like feeding and dressing themselves.

Our go to market channel strategy is very complex, compared to what I’m used to. Our customer is orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) practices who fit patients for artificial limbs. The problem is that these people don’t generate business so we must get the patients to express the need for the brace. To do so, we market directly to patients as well as to physicians and therapists who will recommend or prescribe our product to patients. On top of that, the brace is paid for by insurance companies, and it’s not cheap. Therefore, we educate insurance companies about the benefits so they will cover it. The whole ecosystem of players working together is complex: the patient needs to want it., We then need to determine if the patient has sufficient signal for the product to work. Are they healthy enough otherwise for it to be a good fit? A physician needs to prescribe it.  Back to the O&P practice to fit and deliver it.  Finally, there needs to be a therapist lined up to teach the patient how to use the product.


JC: What marketing initiatives and technology within Myomo will you invest more heavily in over the next year? What will become less of a priority and why?

CC: Early this year we began a robust CRM system to track the players we work with. We invested in not only configuring the software but also enhancing the data we’re capturing. Not just the opportunity data, but the clinical data, meaning we need a system which is HIPAA compliant, patient privacy law compliant, and we needed to educate our salespeople and clinicians on how to use the system. In addition, we continue to invest more and more in direct to patient marketing. We’re finding social media and Google AdWords is a great way to reach patients.


JC: How do you measure your social media?

CC: When we advertise on social media, we drive all the clicks back to our own site, rather than an O&P. That way, we know who clicks through, and we can follow the patient through the qualification process. In some cases, if the patient went directly to an O&P, we could lose track of the patients and not know what ads are performing. We have a pre-qualification that we do on the phone. If somebody clicks through on the website from an ad, Facebook ad or a Google ad, we call that patient and do a brief pre-qualification on the phone to make sure they’ll be medically qualified.


JC: Why is a genuine commitment to social responsibility an important aspect of marketing? Is Myomo doing any initiatives?

CC: Our whole mission is to conquer upper limb paralysis. And that in itself is social good. This is the first company where I can actually see, one patient at a time, how the product changes people’s lives. We had a young woman, 26 years old, who suffered a stroke and couldn’t use her arm. She left a message on our website and said, “I watched your videos and I cried.” That is moving. Not just to her, but to us. We are doing our best to contribute to society by the very product that we sell.


JC: What differentiates Boston as a tech hub and how do you see that evolving over the next five years?

CC: Boston as a tech hub has pros and cons. On the downside, it’s hard to find good people as they’re in demand and we have to pay a lot more for good people. But on the plus side, there are many good people in Boston. How it will change depends on what companies like Amazon do. If Amazon really wants to hire thousands more engineers, it’s going to make it tougher for companies like Myomo to find people.


JC: What content works best for you when marketing your product?

CC: The content that works for us is patient stories. So, videos, case studies, when we do PR, it’s all about telling a patient story. We’ve had very good luck getting patients’ videos on local news channels here in Boston, we’ve had WBZ, Chronicle , NBC Boston, we’ve been on TV in Cleveland and Kansas City, and it’s all about patients. That’s our content.


JC: What KPIs are most critical to your executive team and board? How are you being asked to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and PR programs?

CC: The KPIs that are critical to us in marketing are the same as they are in sales. We have a tight relationship between marketing and sales. What we measure sales and marketing on is how many patients are moved into the insurance reimbursement process. So, it’s actually not revenue that we’re measured on directly in sales and marketing, because revenue comes later in the process when the insurance company actually accepts the claim and pays for it. But in terms of sales and marketing, we’re measured on what we call an “add to insurance”. That means finding patients who are medically qualified and want the device, an O&P that wants to deliver it, and we just need insurance to pay for it. So, putting them into that process is our primary KPI for sales and marketing.