Google estimates 1 out of 20 searches are related to healthcare; over 200 million are attributed to cancer drugs, 60 million to Alzheimers and 80 million to Strokes...
Adaptive healthcare marketers are continually changing strategies to reach key audience segments. This includes brand managers and product managers, managed care marketing managers, healthcare marketing companies, healthcare advertising agencies as well as healthcare public relation firms. Even on the clinician / provider side, hospitals, health systems and large group practices are pivoting marketing strategies based on customers / patients and the best ways to reach them. While broadcast television consumes large quantities of promotional dollars, there is a wide array of digital venues which may be underutilized and offer superior audience targeting. These options are being closely scrutinized and compared for ROI performance.
One aspect of direct - to - consumer ( DTC ) advertising is the clinician audience. While the content of the commercials are cleared for viewing by a consumer / patient audience, it is certain they are engaging the clinicians (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) in the viewing audience as well. As healthcare manufacturer sales representative access to physician practices and health systems narrows, DTC advertising plays an important role in establishing ongoing brand awareness with clinicians whether or not they have direct dialogue with healthcare product manufacturer sales representatives.
As technology changes, healthcare marketers need to improve strategies to reach clinician and consumer segments more effectively. Healthcare social media includes various sponsored blogs, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and others where messaging, inbound/outbound content marketing, video and other resources can be deployed to engage audiences which fluidly shift between them. Technical and regulatory considerations make this expensive and challenging but as digital audience preferences change, it is necessary to re-position accordingly to stay with them.
Financial resources and budgets establish boundaries; digital marketing goals and strategies to reach them must be defined and focused. Digital strategies need to be fluid; the inbound/outbound marketing and content management requires ongoing assessment for ROI to be realized. Brand stewards, healthcare advertising agencies and digital marketing firms are seeking to retain existing audiences while cultivating new ones through balanced use of SEO and other resources.
Healthcare professionals, patients and consumers are increasingly engaging digital venues via mobile phones. The mobile phone is becoming the "go-to" tool for several reasons. They are at the ready; in pockets, purses, backpacks, briefcases, plugged into vehicles and on the desktop -right next to laptops and PCs.
Smartphones as well as tablets are part of another audience phenomenon. Persons watching televisions increasingly have their mobile phone and tablets by their side or even laptops. During programming or especially during commercials, viewers go to their secondary device (phone, tablet or laptop) and engage it. This audience user trend is called "two-screening" and presents challenges as well as opportunities for healthcare marketers and healthcare advertisers. Two-screening is an action which erodes the effectiveness of television advertising. Healthcare advertisers and healthcare marketers focus on specific audience demographics. They choose appropriate programming / times to deploy commercials through; the chosen audience segments are present and accounted for --but not engaged in the promotional content to be influenced by its messaging.
Another challenging but significant opportunity is "Dark Social". Dark Social is the dialogue exchanged between social media users which is not readily detected or monitored. This can include dialogue started in one venue and then continued in another. An example is a discussion shared among many users on a community board in Facebook then continued via two users on private settings in Facebook. Another example is link sharing; in site analytics it appears users are arriving at the venue via directly inputting the link. In reality, the link was shared with them via mobile or email and the user engaged it through those venues but it originated somewhere else by someone else.
A basic framework is necessary to consistently manage digital healthcare marketing initiatives based on digital, brand, market sector, managed care factors and KPIs; as changes occur in various sectors, it is important to manage the changes accordingly and realign digital marketing strategies and tactics along with the complete brand strategy:
- social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, etc.)
- dark social (especially link sharing)
- inbound / outbound marketing strategies
- consumer / patient / advocacy group disease-focused venues
- healthcare professional dedicated venues / medical specialty - focused associatons
- audience migration (users moving from one venue / app to another)
- indications / therapeutic area(s)
- targeted patients / consumers
- targeted clinicians (nurses, physicians, pharmacists)
- brand phase (launch, 2-3 years old, established, mature, approaching generic)
- primary, secondary, tertiary salesforces connected to brand
- annual plan goals / objectives
- conventional primary care
Managed Care / Market Access
- pharmacy benefit / medical benefit
- MCO (BCBS, health insurance plan, etc.)