For years now, the healthcare industry has been somewhat lagging when it comes to digital acceptance. However, 2020 changed it all – almost overnight, the world in general and the healthcare industry, in particular, were compelled to go digital. And in order to make up for lost time, the industry has seen some drastic changes in terms of patient-care, physician-patient relationship, and especially healthcare marketing, be it B2B or B2C.
The key trends steering the healthcare industry into the future are mainly those that have been greatly influenced by the pandemic and the challenges it presented. No doubt, technology is at the forefront of making marketing successful amid travel bans and closed borders. While data-driven digital marketing is not something new, it definitely became non-negotiable in 2020.
So, here are the four key trends that you should be aware of as a healthcare marketer.
More Data-Driven Than Ever
With in-person interactions becoming more limited, healthcare brands have to labor, more than ever, to understand and serve their customers, potential or existing, better. And data is at the center of it all. As a result, a new marketing concept, intent-based marketing, is steadily on the rise. Healthcare marketers are narrowing down their search further to only in-market buyers who are seeking similar solutions and who may have shown strong buying signals via their purchase history or online behavior.
What marketers deduce is the exact stage of the sales funnel a particular lead may be in. For instance – If they’re just starting out with their research, such leads could be targeted with short-form content like infographics that spark more interest in knowing the solution to the problem. If the lead is in the consideration stage, brands may target using long-form content such as blog posts, case studies, or industry reports that offer detailed insights into the solution and position the respective brand as a thought leader. And if the lead is in the final or decision-making stage, healthcare marketers may use product demos, customer testimonials, or reviews to support their reliability and convince leads to make the purchase or book a tele-appointment to discuss costs. The element of guesswork has reduced over the years and is close to being eliminated going forward.
Social Media Trumping Other Marketing Channels
Facebook had dominated the social ad space back when it started in 2007, but the last few years have seen other platforms hold more promises for healthcare marketers, mainly LinkedIn. In fact, the platform itself has claimed that it provides 80% of B2B leads, and as much as 94% of B2B marketers are actively using this platform to distribute content and reach out to their most valuable accounts.
While emails and tele-calls are good lead nurturing strategies, it is social media platforms such as LinkedIn that can help you with lead generation and customer engagement, especially since healthcare is a people-oriented industry. From the news feeds to LinkedIn InMails and native ads, there are umpteen opportunities on LinkedIn to contact healthcare professionals, even those with purchasing power and decision-making authority.
However, make sure that the content you share on such platforms is research-based. You can share preventative health news, case studies, and industry reports, even raise awareness for events, highlight your company’s accomplishments or talk about your products’ strong points, and more.
Using Video as a Marketing Strategy
Given that videos help you connect with your audience on a one-on-one level, they are capable of generating the highest returns on your investment. Used primarily for brand awareness, you can identify key pain-points of your customers and offer solutions to those problems, establishing a sort of visual relationship with them. Heartwarming stories also go a long way in bringing that human element. In fact, Unbounce reported that videos are able to generate 34% more conversions, and nearly 60% of marketers use this medium for marketing success.
You can use videos in your landing pages, create short explainer videos, host webinar-like videos, or go for live streaming if you want your audience to know your company on a deeper level. While explainer videos are a good way to offer product information, hosting webinars can become a strong lead generation tactic. Based on the position of individual leads in the sales funnel, you can decide which form of videos is the most suitable for your audience.
Evolution of Event Marketing
Events have always been a huge part of healthcare marketing in light of the strong return on investment that they promise due to opportunities for hands-on demonstrations. Still, unarguably, live physical events suffered the greatest blow in 2020. However, the good news is that instead of getting shut down, event marketing in healthcare has adapted well to the new normal.
Events have gone virtual, with some healthcare marketers even choosing a hybrid model – combining the conventional event model with the digital community. But this is only possible if you establish multiple marketing touchpoints, offering users the opportunity to explore different avenues of research. This will make them move through the sales funnel much more smoothly. Attendance in virtual events is a good indicator of genuinely interested leads and helps you narrow down your audience. By leveraging this unique nurture opportunity, you can ensure that by the time a prospect meets you in person, they are close to the final or decision-making stage.
At the start of 2020, the healthcare industry did seem to take a massive hit, but ever since then, rapid advancements in the digital marketing space have been made, and the healthcare industry has embraced these changes well, even in the midst of challenging circumstances. You can rest assured that these changes are not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Even content marketing will also play a huge role in the upcoming years as people’s appetite for trustworthy information keeps increasing. The future of healthcare marketing will involve riding the trends of 2021 – developing a deep understanding of the customer journey and maximizing returns of investments through addressing their pain-points right where they are in the buying funnel.