A creative marketing plan for a medical device aimed at adults with spinal cord injuries earned a Berkeley MBA team second place at the 2014 Elite Eight Brand Management Case Competition November 6.
The three-day, invite-only competition is hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
This year’s Haas team — Jana Beiswenger MBA 15, Chris Symmes MBA 15, Joe Regenbogen MBA 15, Ryann Kopacka MBA 16, and Mike Okimoto MBA 16 — faced a particularly challenging case.
After arriving in Minneapolis on Nov. 6, the team was assigned by international medical device company Coloplast to develop a market entry strategy for an anal irrigation device called Peristeen. The device could be used by children with Spina Bifida or to help adults who suffer chronic constipation or loss of bowel control due to nerve damage.
Despite a breadth of experience in brand management, marketing consulting, and tech marketing, none of the team members had a healthcare background.
Nonetheless, they learned quickly throughout the 30-hour competition, identifying the market segment they wanted to target – people with spinal cord injuries – and came up with an effective plan, Beiswenger says.
“Once you start empathizing with the consumer and start to realize what this is for and who it’s for, it became a very meaningful project for all of us,” Beiswenger says. “We realized that this is one of those products that changes peoples’ lives.”
The team’s solution was to focus marketing efforts on doctors, nurses, and other key influencers within the medical community. “We did our due diligence to understand that that was the most important thing when you’re launching a medical device,” Beiswenger says.
University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business finished first in the competition. Third place went to the home team, the Carlson School of Management. Other competing schools included UCLA, Northwestern University, Duke University, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.