Invisalign trailblazes a path direct to the consumer| A conversation with Align Technology CEO Tom Prescott

November 28, 2012 by Brian Johnson

In this MassDevice Big 100 West preview we talk to Align Technology CEO Tom Prescott about how Invisalign crossed the chasm into mainstream culture through social media and aggressive consumer marketing strategies.

Align Technology CEO Tom Prescott

Crooked-toothed teens may want to consider sliding a picture of Tom Prescott next to that fading "Twilight" poster on the wall.

The CEO of Align Technology (NSDQ:ALGN) may not be as dreamy as Edward the vampire, but the head of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based maker of Invisalign invisible braces is doing his best to free teens from the tyranny of the wire-and-bracket braces that have dominated the world of orthontistry for more than a century.

Disrupting the dental industry isn't easy, Prescott told MassDevice.com. But Align has aggressively grown into a clear market force in the industry, with more than 2 million Invisalign products on the market and about $500 million in annual sales, in part through 1 of the most aggressive direct-to-consumer campaigns ever seen in medtech. The result? Prospective patients are asking their dentists for Invisalign by name.

We sat down with Prescott recently, in advance of his appearance at the MassDevice Big 100 West Dec. 11 in Newport Beach, Calif., to talk about how Align's sales & marketing model works and explore how the lessons embedded there could be applied to the medical device space.

Interested in hearing more in person? Register here to join us Dec. 11

MassDevice.com: Is the dental industry facing the same problems as the device industry, in terms of uncertainty around its business model?

Tom Prescott: The dental industry is mostly private-pay, with patients paying out-of-pocket plus pre-paid insurance through a Delta or 1 of the other big providers. It's not capitated insurance, like the Kaisers of the world. People are used to paying for part of, or sometimes all of, their procedures.

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