DRMA Case Study — Marketing Architects: Leading Somnetics International With CPAP campaign … From 'A to ZZZs'

Case Studies

Sleep Apnea Sacrifices Snooze Time

An estimated 18 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea, and more than a good night’s rest is at risk. Anyone who suffers from the chronic disease understands the struggle of traveling with a traditional CPAP machine. The devices are often bulky and difficult to pack, depend on a reliable power source, and prevent many individuals from wanting to travel to remote destinations. In 2011, Somnetics International announced a product that would change the way people looked at CPAP mobility.

Somnetics introduced the Transcend® miniCPAP™ to the market — a practical, wearable sleep apnea therapy system that uses innovative technology to replace old-fashioned, clunky CPAPs with a device that seems impossibly small. Somnetics developed a world’s first in portable CPAP solutions, but had limited reach to sleep apnea suffers. 

The Key to Risk-Free Slumber

Prior to engaging with Marketing Architects, Somnetics offered its products solely through home medical equipment dealers and online retailers. However, to market its Transcend® miniCPAP™, the company decided to take a boldly different approach. Intrigued with Marketing Architects’ success carving the way for household names in medical devices like the HurryCane®, Somnetics reached out to firm’s CEO and founder, Chuck Hengel.

Together, the Marketing Architects and Somnetics teams launched their first direct-to-consumer initiative. They chose radio for the initial launch channel to reach CPAP users frustrated by the hassle of traveling with their cumbersome, in-home CPAP devices. The campaign encouraged listeners to respond to a risk-free, at-home trial for the product — an offer that had never been made before for a CPAP device.

Marketing Architects’ structured the Somnetics campaign to focus heavily on news/talk/sports-based radio networks and to target adult males 35 and older — the demographic most likely to own a traditional CPAP machine. The goal of the campaign was to determine the viability of the radio channel and to expand Somnetics’ limited marketing capabilities beyond the current online and brick-and-mortar distributor partnerships.

How to Market Life-Changing Sleeping Devices

How do you market a life-changing solution? With a “Life Changing Message.” For millions of sleep-apnea sufferers plagued by the oversized, heavy, fragile-yet-necessary piece of medical equipment, a portable option is truly a life-changing solution. 

The radio spots painted the vivid, visual contrast between the traditional bulky in-home CPAP device and the convenience of the Transcend® miniCPAP™ — small as a soda can with a battery the size of a deck of cards; a message that resonated tenfold with the target audience.

Results: A Breath of Fresh Air

While a break-even effort would have been deemed a success, the results blew away even the most optimistic onlookers. The product was exactly what weary CPAP users were looking for, and they responded in droves. Performance was off the charts, with response rates more than double those modeled by the initial marketing P&L projections. 

Not only did the campaign make the phone ring, it drove a 2,000-percent increase in web traffic and a 40-percent increase in distributor sales, all of which were directly attributed to the radio effort. Within six months, the Transcend® miniCPAP™ became the best-selling CPAP device on http://www.CPAP.com, the industry’s leading CPAP retailer.

While a portable CPAP machine may not seem like a big deal to people without sleep apnea, this campaign proves that this travel-sized invention truly does change lives.