Unlocking US Healthcare Growth

Consumer-Focused and Clinician-Endorsed: The Twin Engines of Inspire Medical’s Breakthrough Growth

Whether you’re looking to enter or expand in the US, this case study provides a blueprint for MedTech marketing success through smart consumer targeting, tactical local activations, and strong clinical partnerships. Discover approaches to accelerate awareness, physician referrals and patient demand in this high-choice American healthcare market.

Learn how Inspire Medical Systems disrupted the sleep apnea market and grew to treating 60,000 patients worldwide. Hear firsthand from Inspire’s Jordan Grace how they leveraged an innovative direct-to-consumer marketing strategy to drive rapid growth and physician adoption.

“The hardest thing about getting a product off the ground is enrolling clinical

Thomas Wells

Jordan Grace

Vice President Marketing, Inspire Medical

Also gain insights from Media Bridge on how they helped enable Inspire’s success over 10 years from local tactics to national campaigns. See how Media Bridge’s strategic understanding of both practitioner and consumer marketing opens up unique opportunities in the US market versus the UK and Europe.

Key Takeaways

  • Leveraging an innovative founder’s passion and vision can lead to disrupting an entire market (Inspire Medical Systems founding story)
  • Direct-to-consumer marketing can be highly effective for driving demand and clinical trial recruitment in MedTech (Inspire’s consumer-focused strategy)
  • A mix of local tactics combined with national campaigns can enable growth from early start-up stages through maturity (Media Bridge’s approach with Inspire)
  • Consumer awareness and demand creation is critical in the US market given patients’ greater healthcare choices (importance of direct-to-consumer)

“Media Bridge’s keen understanding of both consumer and clinical marketing strategies enabled a
truly integrated approach that amplified awareness and adoption on all fronts.”

Thomas Wells

Mark Stimpfig

Co-founder, GTM Global

  • Partnerships between MedTech and marketing firms can yield deep strategic alignment and trust (Media Bridge and Inspire’s long-term partnership)
  • Gaining clinical endorsements and referrals requires dedicated practitioner marketing alongside consumer promotion (Media Bridge’s twin-track strategy)
  • The US market dynamics enable more innovative MedTech marketing vs UK/Europe if you understand and leverage them (Media Bridge expertise)
  • For market entry and expansion, choose partners with experience across both national and local US healthcare marketing (Media Bridge capabilities)

For more information checkout Inspire Medical Systems and GTM Global’s US Life Sciences ad agency, Media Bridge Agency. If you’d like to discuss your marketing needs with Media Bridge, contact GTM here and we will arrange a consultation.

Video Transcript

I’m delighted to have on this case study Jordan Grace from Inspire Medical Systems. Jordan welcome and if you wouldn’t mind tell us something about your business and how you started sure, thanks for having me. So I work at Inspire Medical Systems which is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It’s a neurostimulation device that helps keep patients’ airways open from the inside versus a CPAP which you know pushes pressurized air to keep airways open while patients sleep.

We got started because we’ve got kind of an incredible founder who had a really big vision. His name is Tim Herbert, still our CEO today, and he was an engineer working at Medtronic and Medtronic had kind of a number of different technologies as any big company does that they were looking at for viability and feasibility in the market. And one of those was Inspire. And they had chosen not to move forward with Inspire and had kind of divested work on that product but Tim, who had been an engineer and worked on it, had a lot of passion for the product. He had worked with some of the patients in the feasibility work and had a lot of passion for how it could change patients’ lives.

So he with a lot of ingenuity, innovation and grit took the product, got it outside of Medtronic and actually started our company and did it with you know his own money, his own ingenuity and excitement because he just felt that this product was something that the market needed. There was no other treatment for sleep apnea besides CPAP and I’m sure if you know anyone who’s used it or you’re familiar with it you could imagine why another treatment would be extremely helpful. And his passion really guided him to start the product outside of Medtronic.

And we’ve been now, we’ve treated 60,000 patients worldwide. That was my next question is tell me a little bit about the growth and and how from you know your founder things have moved on apace.

Absolutely, we’ve kind of gone to market really different than other companies especially in the medical device space because there is nothing else out there and there’s an enormous need and desire. We’ve actually invested a lot in direct to consumer marketing. It’s been kind of a tenet of the way we’ve grown. And one of the big things that keeps us alive and well, it’s not the only thing of course we’ve got incredible physicians and partners that have helped us get this therapy out there but when we were first enrolling the clinical trial the hardest thing about getting a product off the ground is enrolling clinical trials.

So we started direct to consumer right in the clinical trial time with some scrappy direct to consumer and if you just tell a patient there’s something other than a CPAP they get pretty excited. It doesn’t take a lot to get folks interested in getting rid of that thing on their face at night. So we really started with just getting patients excited and having them kind of push for demand.

And then we’ve had outstanding outcomes and really good safety and from there it’s just continued to grow. We get the word out, we spend money on marketing and then we have really great physicians who do incredible work. That’s fantastic because obviously from a GTM perspective we have a number of UK and European businesses who are looking to grow into the US and the US market is a very different marketplace from Europe and the National Health Service in the UK.

And clearly one of the critical areas is that differentiator and that knowledge of how the market is driven by different factors. I’m sure really focuses both what you’re trying to do and as I understand it how Media Bridge have helped. And I’d love to know if I can now ask Susan from Media Bridge to talk about how the relationship between Media Bridge and Inspire Medical has grown through that sort of marketing strategy.

We’ve been working with Media Bridge for almost 10 years now and what’s great about Media Bridge is they can do small scrappy things like buying a local newspaper ad in one small town in Arizona because there’s a new implanter there who’s got a lot of capacity. To a whole national, we go to upfronts and buy a whole national media plan now and they’ve been with us through all stages of our growth and we still do some of those small scrappy executions with them as well as the bigger more national plays too.

So they’ve got a really strong eye for both local media, national media and they understand small and big executions and are happy to do either. And it’s really rare to find a especially a partner who’s got a broad amount of experience that’s willing to do the small and the big stuff with equal amount of joy.

Thank you Jordan Grace. I can just add to that and I want to go back and underscore how the founding of Inspire started here in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and the success around both companies being here in Minnesota – companies in Europe are considering moving and starting in the United States, coming to the Minneapolis St Paul area where there’s all these resources, meeting with Media Bridge. When I think about the Inspire Medical Systems and Media Bridge partnership I think of high communication, trust and strategy and those paid off for both companies.

And I just would encourage anyone who’s considering coming to the US to market to come talk to us like Inspire did 10 years ago and you said it well Jordan Grace where it doesn’t take a lot, we’ll work with your budget, we’ll work with what you want to do and help you get to whatever your next growth stages. And that was always the vision with Inspire – okay what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing?

It’s interesting you talk about the both the sort of strategic and more tactical projects because one of the other areas that I know Susan you’ve talked to me about is there’s both the strand to promote this to practitioners and the strand to promote it to consumers. And to me this was one of the most powerful things when we started talking – that Media Bridge does that twin track strategy. How’s that worked you know with Jordan?

Yeah I mean it’s it’s been really helpful because both providers and patients have to be excited about the therapy. The providers have to know about it and have just at least a base level of understanding so that they can have confidence to refer and then patients have to know about it and be excited about it and go into the physician’s office and ask about it. So it’s a really important strategy.

I think specifically when you think about the US, what’s nice about working with Media Bridge is they have experience with a lot of clients like myself and other medical device companies and they can help you navigate that pretty well even if it’s not something you have knowledge on. And they can also connect you – you know we will meet with clients of theirs and vice versa we learn from each other. So there’s a lot of cross-learning that can be had working with a partner like Media Bridge.

And the beauty of the US market is patients because of healthcare have a lot more say in their health and so do providers – there’s a lot more options that can be used, there’s a lot more options that are available because there isn’t the constraint of a national healthcare system which is incredibly helpful in a lot of ways but also can mean limited resources on what types of treatments are chosen. And that’s the beauty of the US market – patients have a lot more power and so marketing can actually be way more impactful because patients can have the value of choice. And it really helps to get the word out about really thoughtful therapies.

I guess all I would add to that is the power of building physician awareness and understanding based on where the clinical trials were, picking up where those are and taking it from there. That’s typically part of our approach but it all depends on the product and the client and where they want to penetrate the market. I’m picking up obviously the power of the consumer is much greater than in Europe but also the provenance of getting the right partners early on to endorse and amplify is critical in the mix too.

Fantastic. Well ladies thank you so much for coming on the call. Jordan thank you so much for telling your story, very excited to hear how well it’s going and continuing to go. And Susan thank you for giving us insights about how you and Inspire Medical are working so well together. Thank you both.


Mark Stimpfig
Mark Stimpfighttps://www.gotomarket.global/
Mark Stimpfig co-founded GTM Global in 2015, having previously run national and international marketing programmes for clients like Sony, Dixons / PC World, Safeway and Reuters. Mark was also until recently, the London Development Director for Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the leading Economic Development Agency in North America in 2021/2022.