Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Innovate and Accelerate: Find out how this company helps maintain people’s health at every stage of life! [Monday Marketing Marvels]

January 4, 2021

It all started as a small pharmacy in a physician’s kitchen in Chicago 132 years ago.

Dr. Wallace Abbott, the owner of that pharmacy, prescribed liquid alkaloid extracts such as morphine, quinine, and codeine to his patients.

In 1891, he began to advertise his products to other doctors. His business became successful and eventually, he founded his own company and sold shares to medical practitioners.

Today, over a third of that company’s sales comes from medical devices, making it one of the largest medtech companies in the world.

Any guesses on which company we’re referring to?

Abbott Laboratories!


Abbott Laboratories is an American medical devices and health care company headquartered in Abbott Park, Illinois.

It is known for selling medical devices, diagnostics, branded generic medicines, and nutritional products to its customers.

Some of its well-known products are infant formulas Similac and PediaSure, as well as adult nutritional brand Ensure.


You’ve probably seen these brands as you shop for items at the grocery store and even on TV commercials!

“Shaping Markets with Life-Changing Technologies”

Innovative technology and a strong product pipeline fuels Abbott’s stable market share and accelerated growth rate.

Among these products are:

  1. FreeStyle Libre

    Abbott takes the future of diabetes management to the next level.

    The FreeStyle Libre is a sensing technology that enables diabetic patients to get accurate glucose-level results faster and with minimal pain or disruption.


    Patients only need to strap the device onto their arm and the FreeStyle Libre will automatically measure the glucose level in their blood.

    In order to get a reading, they have to scan the sensor with their smartphones. After that…


    Accurate glucose-level results in just a few seconds.

    Of course, technologies like the FreeStyle Libre are meant to be shared and known. That’s why Abbott partnered with medical companies like Tandem Diabetes Care, Omada Health, and Sanofi.

    It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved, as the partnership will also enable these companies to provide their patients with more diabetes management options.

  2. Proclaim Elite

    Aside from the FreeStyle Libre, Abbott offers a portfolio of therapies that help people with chronic pains reduce or stabilize their use of opioids.


    Through the Proclaim product line!

    The Proclaim Elite is a pain management technology designed to deliver spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain.


    Other devices included in this product line are the Proclaim XR SCS System, Proclaim XR, and the Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) System.

  3. Confirm Rx ICM

    “Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub”

    Abbott also has innovative technologies for heart rhythm management!

    In 2018, the company launched the Confirm Rx Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM), the world’s “first and only smartphone-compatible ICM,” which is designed to assist medical practitioners in identifying cardiac arrhythmias.


    Through this device, doctors can monitor and track when a patient’s health symptoms are related to the heart, helping them provide a more suitable treatment for their patients.

  4. Alinity

    We know how important laboratory diagnostics are. That’s why Abbott has been developing innovative ways to screen, diagnose, and monitor health conditions with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency.

    The result of this?

    The Alinity family of systems and tests!

    Alinity is designed to enable medical companies to run more tests in less space, generating quality results faster while minimizing human errors.


    As stated in Abbott’s 2019 annual report, this is one of the most significant developments in the field of molecular diagnostics for decades.

    It is even approved by the US Food and Drug Administration!

Not only does Abbott continue to innovate on health technology, but it also creates campaigns that showcase these technologies and inspire others to not be defined by their health conditions or limitations.

One of these campaigns is the “Real Heroes” Campaign in 2018.

The campaign highlighted the role of innovation and technology in enabling people to overcome their health challenges and achieve their goals in life.

Its central theme was:

“The most personal technology is the technology with the power to change your life.”

The “Real Heroes” Campaign consisted of 8 short films that featured some of Abbott’s crew members with a personal health condition.


Thanks to the company’s modern healthcare and breakthrough products, these people managed to overcome their health challenges!

The stories of these “real heroes” also put emphasis on Abbott’s dedication―to empower people with the data and knowledge they need to live longer and better.

The campaign was shortlisted for a Cannes Lion Award in 2018.

What else adds to Abbott’s long-term growth?

Aligning with the trends!

Keeping one’s body healthy is an important part of life―from infancy to adulthood.

With a strong and healthy body, we can do tasks more efficiently and energetically. However, as we grow older, our bodies change and our health and nutrition needs also change.

That’s where Abbott comes in.

Its pharmaceutical business focuses on fast-growing developed and emerging markets around the world.

Abbott believes that as the economies of these markets grow and the healthcare system expands, its product portfolios that are targeted to the specific needs of each market will help sustain its business.

In fact, according to the company’s updates in 2019, Abbott is positioned to benefit from an aging global population.

For example:

Abbott’s structural heart business offers devices to address heart valve damage, which is commonly associated with the older population.

The company’s adult nutrition business also has a steady position in the market, with brands like Ensure and Glucerna helping older adults fill nutritional gaps in their diet.

As stated by Miles White, Abbott’s Executive Chairman of the Board:

“I am quite confident with what I see in the underlying trends of each of these businesses. I’m very pleased with nutrition, very pleased with the acceleration in Alinity in diagnostics. I’m pleased with the steady ramp, which only gets better and better with Libre, and those are big, big growth drivers across the board.”

In the past five years, Abbott Laboratories has recorded revenues of:

  • USD 20.4 billion in 2015
  • USD 20.9 billion in 2016
  • USD 27.4 billion in 2017
  • USD 30.6 billion in 2018
  • USD 31.9 billion in 2019

Abbott’s commitment to innovating products and technologies in the healthcare industry has put it in a position to deliver not just consistent performance, but also “accelerated healthcare growth in the years to come.”

Abbott Laboratories’ Earning Power: Valens Research vs. As-reported numbers

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) makes for a great case study that we come back to regularly. One great reason?

The company has proven itself to be a better earning power generator than investors might think.

So, how well has ABT been growing its business in the past years?

The research doesn’t lie—nor do the results. Earning power (the blue bars) continues to show results higher on average than what traditional databases show.


The blue bars in the chart above represent ABT’s earning power (Uniform Return On Assets). ABT has seen generally improving profitability. Its Uniform ROA ranged from 12% to 26% in the past sixteen years, or an average of 19%. Uniform ROA is at 26% in 2019.

The global ROA is just 6%.

The orange bars are the company’s as-reported financial information. If you relied on these numbers, you will see a company with understated profitability. As-reported ROA (return on assets, a measure of earning power) only ranged from 2% to 10% in the past sixteen years. Its ROA in 2019 was only at 5%, far lower than its Uniform ROA in 2019.

That’s what you’ll see in Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and most other databases.

The company’s stock price also performed better than the rest of the stock market over the decade, which we can see in the blue line in the chart below. Its returns have been well above the market.


The numbers show that Abbott Laboratories has been doing well and making a profit.

According to Miles White, Abbott is working in a field in which people’s lives depend on bringing them new solutions to their most critical and personal health needs.

That’s why the company is intently focused on preparing for and leading the future of healthcare.

Throughout its 132 years of delivering nutritional products and technologies that help maintain health at every stage of life, Abbott operates with a straightforward purpose: To help people live more fully.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Monday Marketing Marvels”

Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some company’s marketing strategy.

…Only for the audience to later find out that their product was a flop, or worse, that the company went bankrupt.

The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole.

What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?

At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the role of marketing is always paramount to that success.

Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies.

However, the difference between our case studies and the numerous ones out there, is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group).

By looking at the true earnings of a company, we can now rely on those successful businesses to get tips and insights on what they did right.

We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve on. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.

Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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