The 2015 CRM Market Elite: Stryker

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THE CHALLENGE

When it comes to building content for a company like Stryker, a surgical and health equipment manufacturer, the devil is in the details. Each device the company sells is accompanied by an extensive set of specifications, guidelines, and precautions, all of which must be digestible to customers but still include every bit of relevant information about the product. From a marketing standpoint, it's a major challenge.

The company had always relied on brochures and pamphlets to distribute marketing content, but as the iPad became a popular sales tool, Stryker knew it was time to take its content digital. Stryker's marketing team began building apps to eliminate printing costs and amp up content development, but it instead began spending even more time and money.

"[The apps] were difficult to make, and there were lots of resources involved," Stephen Brown, creative director at Stryker, told CRM in August 2014. "We were looking at a three-month build-and-release period." The apps were also expensive: Because Stryker's IT department couldn't handle the load, the production work was outsourced, to the tune of roughly $5,000 per product, not counting any necessary animations. Embedding an animation ran an additional $2,500.

And since marketers had little say in the apps' production, maintaining brand consistency was difficult. The end result? Bulky, complicated, hard-to-use sales aids. For medical-equipment content, that was "unacceptable," Brown noted.

THE SOLUTION

Stryker began experimenting with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite in 2013 and saw impressive results, and by the summer of 2014, after Adobe released updates to its DPS solution and Stryker completed its deployment, the results exceeded expectations. "We were so pleased to see how much easier production became as soon as we implemented Adobe DPS," Brown says today. "Now it's our designers and marketers that have control over the creative, and they play the main role in determining what the finished product looks like. That's all on top of the tremendous cost- and time-saving effect that this has had," he adds.

Unlike Stryker's previous apps, constructed from complicated coding, the new ones are built in an environment familiar to designers. The backbone of Adobe DPS consists of tools from Adobe's Creative Suite, notably InDesign, the standard in the graphic design industry. Adobe DPS allows marketers and designers to publish interactive "mobile magazines" that feel "more like a clean, digitized brochure than a difficult-to-navigate app," Dave Dickson, senior product marketing manager for digital publishing, told CRM in August. The learning curve is shallow because most designers and marketers tasked with content creation already know InDesign, and there are "very few plug-ins on top of the InDesign functionality to facilitate the coding aspect," Brown added.

Once Stryker began using Adobe's tools to develop its materials, production time decreased dramatically. The team no longer had to wait for IT to find resources and contractors, assign the project, and launch it when it was completed. The production period was cut to roughly two to three weeks. And once Stryker purchased the DPS product, there was no longer any additional cost associated with developing new apps. Stryker continues to pay extra for animations, but that cost has been slashed by 80 percent—the company now pays $500 instead of $2,500. By comparison, Stryker cut such costs by only 56 percent using the 2013 version of DPS.

Among Stryker's salespeople, the overall adoption rate is three times higher than that of the old apps, and as a result, sales are improving. Seven of the 10 top-performing branches at Stryker are also top adopters of the DPS apps.

"It's hard to even think back to what it was like before we were using Adobe DPS. Creating content was a tedious, painful process that resulted in hundreds of apps. Now it's all there, in a magazine that provides easy access to our salespeople," Brown says today. "It has become a vital tool for us."

REAL RESULTS 

  • Content production and launch time decreased from three months to two weeks.
  • Costs were reduced from $5,000 per app and $2,500 per animation to no cost per “mobile magazine” and $500 per animation.
  • Since deployment, 70 percent of Stryker’s sales increase has been attributable to the new apps.
  • Adoption rate among sales teams is three times higher than that of the old apps.

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