Healthcare Marketing Research

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Best Practices for Marketing to Healthcare Professionals

Some best practices for marketing new technologies or new products to healthcare professionals include incorporating email marketing and creating buyer personas.

Incorporating Email Marketing

  • According to Healthlink Dimensions Healthcare Professional Communication Report for 2018, about 73 percent of medical professionals prefer being reached through emails.
  • Healthcare professionals prefer pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturers who present them with the opportunity to "learn about their industry."
  • When sending emails to healthcare professionals, marketers should specifically provide educational materials such as industry studies, collected insights on patient demands, and detailed breakdowns of new products.
  • The content of the email messages should be interesting and portray key features through distinct tactics. Marketers should provide a simple layout, graphs, bullet points images, and other points to make email more digestible and memorable.
  • Marketers should consider focusing on peers rather than patients hence "physicians prefer a more clinical perspective when reading about new treatments and technology." They should also consider the use of video content which is engaging and mobile-friendly.
  • For example, when emailing cardiologists, marketers should consider the type of cardiologist they are marketing to and obtain competent medical advisors who can guarantee that the healthcare language and "targeting in the campaigns make sense for physicians."
  • Medical professionals are more inclined to open emails that they can relate to and respond to. If a marketer is sending an email about post-surgical rehabilitation, they should consider using a mix of imagery that involves surgeons and physicians.
  • Marketers should consider attaching real statistics to the content and finding testimonials that show how well they can make patients feel. For example, make use of messages such as "Worker’s Compensation Specialist. Use a verifiable claim like over 85% of our patients can return to work."
  • Incorporating email marketing is provided as the best practice because it's been featured in multiple authoritative sources for marketing new technologies or new products to healthcare professionals.

Creating Buyer Personas

  • A study conducted on over 350 CMOs revealed that marketers who provided personalized customer experiences witnessed double-digit returns.
  • A compelling way to reach medical professionals is to create buyer personas, including one for each profession. For instance, medical device firms require personas for private practice physicians, surgeons, and hospital chief information officers, at the least.
  • Buyer personas are imaginary, generalized descriptions of an ideal client. Personas enable marketers to internalize the typical consumer they are seeking to attract, and relate to their clients as real humans.
  • A buyer persona gives a specific perception into each target consumer's precise motivations, frustrations, key activities, key issues concerns, and opportunities. This enables marketers to use distinct approaches, messaging, images, and language on the client.
  • For instance, "amidst the target audiences for the Georgia Institute of Technology are doctors and hospital CIOs. The organization created six buyer personas to market its electronic health records technology, including Strategic Steve — "Future-oriented CIO of a large urban hospital."
  • Creating a buyer persona is provided as the best practice because is been proven by healthcare marketers to offer double-digit returns.

Research Strategy

To provide some best practices for marketing new technologies or new products to healthcare professionals, the team started by reviewing industrial reports, marketing articles, and blogs about these practices. We aimed to locate the top two best practices, the messaging used in them, and how they are used for this purpose. Unfortunately, we could only find general data about the best practices and nothing specific to the messaging. The team also attempted to use the available best practices and then identify any marketing campaigns that have employed them. We aimed to find the messaging used from such campaigns. For example, since using emails is considered a key practice in marketing to healthcare professionals within the industry, there were no available campaigns in the public domain or case studies for us to review in order to identify the messaging incorporated. Due to this limitation, your research team only included the general best practices for marketing new technologies or new products to healthcare professionals.
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Best Practices for Marketing Healthcare Products to Consumers

Even though the process of marketing new healthcare technology and products to consumers might differ depending on the specific consumer (physician, patient, or prescriber) and the type of product, there are two things to keep in mind when developing the messaging. Marketers need to lead with the problem rather than the solution to make consumers develop a strong will to act. The focus needs to be on the consumer experience and journey, using compassionate, safe, friendly, and emotive means to convey the message. Outlined below is more information about the best practices.

BP#1: Lead with the Problem

  • When marketing a new health product or technology to consumers (physicians, prescribers, and patients), it is advisable to lead with the problem rather than the solution. An illustration of leading with the solution for a newly released bronchodilator would be, “The first PBS-listed dual bronchodilator for the treatment of COPD," followed by several data points. This presents the audience with the solution but no explanation for why it is needed in the first place, leaving them with the tedious task of finding a connection to their world.
  • When marketing the bronchodilator to a physician, a perfect way to structure the message would be by starting with the problem that is being solved, phrasing it in a way that is relevant to the doctor or other consumer interacting with the material. This could entail the following messaging:
  • This messaging instantly hooks the audience by providing a solution to a problem that they face. After establishing the problem, you can now introduce the solution by saying something like, "Try X, the first PBS-listed dual bronchodilator”. Engagement and interest are created within the audience. This goes hand in hand with messaging that addresses pain points, drivers, and triggers.
  • Structuring the message by leading with the problem drives engagement in digital media where there is limited attention. It sets up questions and a strong will to act. Digital marketing with messaging like "Are monotherapies no longer effective for your COPD patient? Click here to find out how what more can be done," drives more action compared to a simple list of the product's features.
  • Successful companies focus on messaging by addressing physician and patient pain points. Before the launch of a neurology drug by a major pharmaceutical company, the marketing team determined that getting patients to start on therapy was a major challenge for physicians. They then led with this pain point, among others, during the launch, making the drug successful.
  • Research by Deloitte and Bain proves that this is a best practice by saying that successful drug launches are driven by messaging that addresses exactly what physicians and other payers demand, for the improvement of patient adherence and significant simplification of their lives. It also helps to understand how physicians prefer to be engaged, and the pain points experienced by them and their patients, to efficiently tailor the message.
  • For pharmaceutical technology, the marketing message should prove that you know about the patient's, hospital's or facility's pain points, understand their unique challenges, and have brought a solution that is tailor-made for them. For example, a manufacturer of new prosthetics with special joint cushioning can state that they aim to reduce the risk of complications arising from total knee replacement.

BP#2: Focus on the Consumer Experience and Journey

  • When marketing healthcare products and technology, customer experience and journey need to come first. This requires putting the customer at the launch's center and appealing to their "emotional, behavioral, and clinical needs."
  • New products and technology face the challenge of arousing physicians' and patients' curiosity and getting them to break their habits. Using a perfectly designed poster showing the patient's journey when using the new drug can help with breaking these habits. The fact that the poster targets the consumer journey and experience can make the prescriber find value in it since they can use it in conversations with patients as the drug's effects become more visible or as the condition evolves.
  • A report by McKinsey & Company reveals that best-in-class healthcare technology and pharma companies launch experiences, differentiating themselves through messaging that reveals the customer journey instead of isolated touchpoints.
  • A highly consumer-focused marketing approach for a new biologic drug for a physician who is not confident about prescribing it can involve the provision of compelling case studies and real-life situations that illustrate the effectiveness for different patients. A rep marketing the healthcare product (drug or technology) can coherently link all touchpoints to a pre-planned journey. Any questions that are raised in one interaction are then followed up and answered in the next one to create a flowing, fulfilling, seamless, and memorable consumer experience.
  • To improve the consumer experience, marketers need to use messaging that strikes up emotional connections with the patients and other consumers. Evidence of the effectiveness of using compassionate, friendly, and safe messaging can be seen from a statement by Ellis Medicine's CEO, Paul Milton, that patient satisfaction can be achieved when they have genuine and compassionate experiences.
  • For new medical devices that have short product life cycles, purchase decisions are in most cases driven by emotions. The device marketing campaign needs to be rooted in the value that is brought to the customer, using emotive and empathetic storytelling to convey the message.
  • An example of a focus on consumer journey and experience for successful marketing can be seen through Blatchford, a leading manufacturer of prosthetics, orthotics, artificial limbs, wheelchairs, and special seating. The company's marketing provides real-life stories and case studies of people that have benefited from the products and technology with clear indications of their experiences. This tactic has situated it among industry leaders since consumers appreciate the compassionate and emotive messaging that is used.
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Media Consumption: Healthcare Professionals

This brief highlights the media consumption habits of healthcare professionals in the US. There is an increase in the use of digital media, including podcasts, blogs, and videos. About 99% of medical facilities in the US have an active Facebook page and most healthcare professionals in the US prefer to use all-in-one marketing platforms. Spending on the advertising of health services in the US rose from $542 million in 1997 to $2.89 billion in 2016.

What They Consume

  • Fullscript reports that the use of podcasts by healthcare professionals in the US is increasing and the report shows that the American Medical Association (AMA) and The Lancet regularly produce audio briefs and summaries on current medical research and storytelling podcasts.
  • According to NCBI, there is an increase in the use of blogs, chat rooms, and other social media as platforms to communicate information on health-related scientific advances by key stakeholders in the health sector in the US.
  • According to Healthcare Success, the trend in healthcare marketing in the US and globally covers 360-degree photos and digital video tours, virtual reality, and live stream videos.
  • Digital Authority estimates that the medical virtual reality market in the US and globally will be about $5 billion by 2025. Digital Authority reports that the number of AI (Artificial Intelligence) start-ups in the US and globally has increased by about 14 times since 2000.

How They Consume

How They Find Media

Consumption Volume

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Media Consumption: Consumers

Women over the age of 40 are seeking health care information from government websites, magazines, fact sheets, social media, friends and family, support groups, health care providers, websites such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic, and non-profit websites. A deep dive of this cohort's health information seeking habits including where the information is found along with method and frequency of consumption has been provided below.

What/Where the Information is Found

  • Government Websites: Government websites such as that run by the Office on Women's Health provide a substantial amount of health care related media for women. The Office on Women's Health website receives over 2.9 million visitors per month (over 46% coming from the U.S. specifically). Additionally, 66.46% of the visitors are women and 25.82% of visitors are over the age of 45 (12.34% 45-54; 8.82% 55-64; 4.66% 65+) with another 19.12% making up the 35-44 age group. According to a study published by NCBI, among older adults surveyed (mostly women) in the U.S., 7% reported using government health organization websites as a source of online health information.
  • Magazines: Many magazines that target women provide health related media. Women's Health Magazine is the most popular media outlet in the United States in the women's health category, according to SimilarWeb rankings. The magazine's website alone gets over 68 million visitors per month, with 54.84% coming from the United States. Over 70% of the visitors are women, with 28.06% over the age of 45 (13.10% 45-54; 9.42% 55-64; and 5.54% 65+) with another 19.35% in the 35-44 age group.
  • Fact Sheets/Pamphlets: The survey of Australian women also found that fact sheets are a preferred method of receiving health information for 59.4% of all women surveyed across all age groups. A 2018 study of mostly women in the U.S. published by NCBI found that among older adults, 19% reported using pamphlets and newsletters as a health information source.
  • Social Media: 19% of women share heath information on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Friends and Family: A survey of U.S. adults found that 68% of women report seeking health related information from friends and family. A 2018 study of mostly women in the U.S. published by NCBI found that older adults perceive family and friends as a foundational source of health related information.
  • Support Groups: 9% of women report joining online support groups for people who have similar health/medical issues. Additionally, 5% of older adults surveyed in the U.S. (mostly women) reported using social media as a health information source.
  • Healthcare Providers: A 2018 study of mostly women in the U.S. published by NCBI found that older adults perceive healthcare providers as a foundational source of health related information, as 85% of respondents said they rely on doctors, nurses, or social workers as a health information source.
  • WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and Other Hospital Websites: 21% and 16% of older adults surveyed (mostly women) in the U.S. use the WebMD and Mayo Clinic websites (respectively) when seeking health information online. Only 5% reported using Medline plus, while 12% reported using other academic/hospital websites.
  • Non-Profit Websites: 7% of older adults surveyed (mostly women) in the U.S. reported using sites such as AARP and other national nonprofit websites as a source of health related information.
  • Types of Information Sought: A survey of over 1,000 women in the U.S. under the age of 70 found that the top five most common categories of health related searches were as follows: weight management and fitness (especially weight loss, exercise, general wellness), health conditions and symptoms (especially depression, bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, and gall bladder symptoms), physician lookup, WebMD, and health insurance benefits explanations.

How the Information is Consumed

  • Online: According to a 2017 national survey, 73% of women in the U.S. look for health/medical information online. Separately, a survey of nearly 10,000 women in Australia in 2017 reported that 56.9% of women said they "first seek information by searching on the internet when they have a health concern", a percentage which accounts for 63.5% of women between the ages of 18 and 50 specifically. A study of mostly women in the U.S. published in NCBI found that older adults commonly use online searching to find health related information; 37% of those surveyed reported using Google. A large scale study of over 72,800 women over the age of 65 conducted in 2014 found that 59% use the internet for health information, and those who did use it were more likely to be on the younger end of the cohort (median age of 76) compared to those who didn't.
  • Apps: A survey of nearly 10,000 women in Australia found that 38% of women under the age of 51 say apps are their preferred way to receive health information, while the same was true for 18.2% of women over the age of 50. 22% of women between the ages of 40 and 59 say they have used a mobile app to access health information.
  • Texting: 32% of women use text messaging to receive information from a health care provider.
  • Face-to-Face: The survey of Australian women also found that face-to-face education is a preferred method of receiving health information for 42% of all women surveyed across all age groups. Likewise, a survey of U.S. adults found that women over the age of 50 are significantly more likely to call a clinician for health advice.
  • Books: A 2018 study of mostly women in the U.S. published by NCBI found that 14% of older adults surveyed use books as a health information source.

Frequency of Consumption

  • Ages 40-59 Among women in this age group, 53% say they never seek health information from health professionals, 23% say they seldom do, 15% say they sometimes do, 7% say they often do, and 2% say they very often do. When it comes to seeking health information from family and friends, 57% of women in this age group say they never do, 16% say they seldom do, 18% say they sometimes do, 7% say they often do, and 1% say they very often do. When it comes to seeking health information from the internet, 63% of women in this age group say they never do, 11% say they seldom do, 16% say they sometimes do, 7% say they often do, and 3% say they very often do. (Survey results were published in August 2016).
  • Ages 60+: Among women in this age group, 43% say they never seek health information from health professionals, 20% seldom do, 18% sometimes do, 13% often do, and 6% very often do. When it comes to seeking health information from family and friends, 65% of women in this age group say they never do, 12% say they seldom do, 15% say they sometimes do, 5% say they often do, and 2% say they very often do. When it comes to seeking health information from the internet, 87% of women in this age group say they never do, 6% say they seldom do, 5% say they sometimes do, 2% say they often do, and 1% say they very often do. (Survey results were published in August 2016).
  • 50% of women surveyed said they had sought health information from a health professional at least once in the past three months, with older women doing so more frequently than young and middle-aged women.
  • 45% of women surveyed said they had sought health information from family and friends at least once in the past three months, however this habit was found to be less common among middle-aged and older women compared to young women.
  • 43% of women surveyed said they had sought health information from the internet at least once in the past three months. This habit was also less common among middle-aged and older women compared to young women.
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Healthcare Industry Disruptor Marketing

Phynd Technologies and Densitas have been provided as case studies of how a disruptive technology or new product was successfully launched in the healthcare industry. Details regarding these companies have been provided below.

Phynd Technologies

  • Phynd Technologies is a cloud-based enterprise platform that enables hospitals to organize, manage, and share important data about licensed providers instantly. The data points include areas of expertise, licensure and accreditation, insurance affiliations, and demographics.
  • The solutions offered by the company advances the growth of hospitals by acquiring new patients through the “find a doc” feature. In addition, it optimizes provider management by listing part-time employees. Moreover, it identifies healthcare professionals that are accredited and provides the insurance accepted by different providers.
  • To create awareness, Phynd focused on successful product launches. The launches involved refining the messaging to target different buyer personas in the target audience. Therefore, the company enhanced its messaging in different content assets, social media, blogs, press releases, and email.
  • In addition, the Phynd redesigned its website so that it could highlight the solutions it offered. Graphic illustrations were developed to give visualizations on how the solutions functioned.
  • Trade shows were also used for marketing and the organizers ensured that the events had consistent messaging.
  • Phynd also created white papers and website content that educated the users about its solutions since they were not well understood when it first launched. Therefore, the company posted new blog posts monthly on the company website to improve SEO. The blog posts were also shared on social media.
  • Phynd’s marketing efforts were successful considering the company’s robust growth and the startup being able to hire full-time staff such as the VP of marketing. As it stands, Phynd is a market leader in provider data management. The company's client base includes seven of the top 20 hospitals in the US.


  • Densitas is a company that offers augmented, actionable, and artificial intelligence-powered breast health solutions for hospitals and other healthcare institutions. It offers its solutions to health system administrators, QC technologists, radiological technologists, diagnostic imaging managers, and radiologists. The company focuses on breast cancer, breast density, and women’s health.
  • Densitas disrupted the market by providing better outcomes via enhanced breast cancer risk assessment. In addition, it addressed the issue of high incidences of missed cancers among women who had dense breasts. Also, there were “high rates of poor image quality in annual accreditation audits” and Densitas offered a solution to this issue.
  • To successfully launch in the US market, the company used benefits-based language instead of a function-and-features-based language in all its sales collateral and marketing assets. The company used the awareness that the public had about breast cancer screening to create meaningful, benefits-driven verbiage.
  • Densitas monitored advocacy group websites, professional journals, and trade and consumer publications to leverage articles for marketing. The company shared these sources through email and social media so that it could weave in its messaging.
  • Densitas became an educational resource when it came to news regarding breast density assessments. The company CEO was a speaker at various conferences around the world, which positioned him as a thought leader. This positioned the company as an authority in its area of specialization.
  • The educational space Densitas filled made the company credible and a thought leader, which contributed to it being viewed as a viable commercial solution. As a result, the company has managed to penetrate into other markets such as Germany.

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Digital Healthcare Marketing Benchmarks

The cost of patient acquisition, click-through rate, website traffic, and response time are four industry benchmarks for measuring digital healthcare marketing effectiveness.

Cost of Patient Acquisition

  • Often considered the most relevant metric, determining patient acquisition cost helps the brand know what to measure. This metric considers how much it would cost to acquire a single patient while analyzing the different sources with which to acquire them.
  • The sources might include referrals, paid search, and social media, each of which may have varying costs per lead. Taking note of the lifetime value of a patient is essential when considering this cost.
  • For example, an initial cost investment for a patient might be up to $500. However, the patient's lifetime investment upon acquisition could amount to $10,000, making the initial investment worth it.
  • In determining the effectiveness of the patient acquisition source, it is possible to track a lead from the pay-per-click ad to the landing page or from a social media post to contacting the healthcare organization. In doing the same, brands can determine the most effective method, i.e., the method with the highest return on investment (ROI) for their market and know where to invest.

Click-Through Rate

  • The click-through rate (CTR) assesses the effectiveness of a digital campaign (email or online). A successful digital healthcare marketing campaign is measured based on users who click on it rather than its viewers alone.
  • According to SmartInsights, the average CTR for display ads across all ad formats is 0.5%, 0.1% for rich media ads, and 0.83% for a Facebook ad regarding the healthcare industry.
  • Email engagement CTR benchmarks for the sector, according to GetResponse Email Marketing Benchmarks, include an open rate of 35.54%, CTR (5.69%), click-to-open rate (16.01%), unsubscribe rate (0.36%), and spam rate of 0.02%.
  • A value of CTR and/or click-to-open rate below the average indicates that the campaign needs to undergo a digital diagnosis to determine the cause. The same rule applies when users are unsubscribing faster than those who are signing up.

Website Traffic

  • When using a website to drive healthcare marketing, it is vital to consider the overall traffic, page views, bounce rate, conversion rate, and the site's search engine optimization (SEO) performance. High performing pages based on these metrics indicate an effective campaign and money well spent. Using Hubspot's Keyword Tool, or Moz Local can help to compare search engine rankings with competitors.
  • The bounce rate indicates the percentage of users that leave a site without completing any action after viewing a page. Brands can track the bounce rate on their website using Google Analytics, and while this won't explain while they are leaving, it would determine pages where marketing efforts need to be reviewed and revisited.
  • Since the amount of time a user spends on a website determines their engagement, the higher the bounce rate, the more the brand loses potential conversions.
  • Google Analytics can also be useful in tracking the conversion rate of the website. After establishing the website's traffic goals, brands can combine the conversion rate and traffic metric to determine its performance.

Response Time

  • Contrary to the opinion that customer service is mainly useful for shopping, healthcare organizations stand to benefit from the same. Complaints and bad reviews can damage a brand's reputation significantly, and in the digital age, such information circulates faster.
  • Patients are peculiar about the service they receive from healthcare organizations during their appointments. However, "appointment reminders, follow-ups and the response time to their questions and concerns" are also vital to their relationship with the company.
  • As such, healthcare organizations should consider their email and phone call response times, as well as social media in customer service. Consumers on social media usually expect to receive a response within an hour of sending their messages.
  • When tracking the customer service response time, brands could utilize a system that logs the complaints and response times of the user and digital team. Also, Facebook tracks the response time for brand pages.

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Marketing Trends: Healthcare Professionals

Two trends in marketing to healthcare professionals are the use of mobile digital advertising and the adoption of paid speaking. More information regarding these trends is provided below.

Mobile Digital Advertising

  • Pharma companies are increasingly allocating their budgets to digital advertising, especially on mobile. Healthcare mobile advertising is expected to grow 15% in the upcoming years, as marketing campaigns targeted to health care providers (HCPs), "place a strong emphasis on mobile."
  • This trend is driven by the fact that HCPs are searching for healthcare information on their mobiles, as 8 out of 10 HCP’s use their mobile devices to look for work-related information and check their mobiles over 10 times every day.
  • For example, Boehringer Ingelheim has collaborated with Aptus Health, which specializes in mobile ad campaigns, to develop a mobile campaign targeted for HCPs, pharmacists, and patients.

Paid Speaking

  • After having a fall in previous years, paid speaking is again becoming a trend among pharma companies to reach HCPs. Through this marketing strategy, companies pay physicians to speak to HCP audiences about specific products.
  • The trend is driven by this strategy's efficiency. According to Mike Luby, the founder, president, and CEO of HCP Concierge, paid speaking's efficiency "is off-the-charts good." He stated: "In just about every case I can think of, it would be marketing negligence not to put huge dollars against this." Also, this strategy has become a trend because paid speaking has evolved, as today pharma companies choose a variety of speakers that are respected by HCPs.
  • Novartis is one example of a company at the forefront of this trend. The company has recently spent "millions of dollars" on speaking programs, and even had to pay $678 million to settle a lawsuit for doing so.
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Marketing Trends: Healthcare Consumers

The healthcare industry is not as advanced as other verticals regarding consumer marketing and engagement. However, the pandemic is pushing the industry to adopt new strategies, while consumers have a newfound appreciation for healthcare services and providers. Social marketing, personalized and informative content, and multichannel are some current trends impacting the healthcare industry.

Trend #1: Social Responsability

  • Social marketing is not a new concept for healthcare. Many companies focus their marketing efforts on social responsibility. However, they often fail to translate these efforts into engaging stories that will resonate with consumers. For reference, a study conducted in Korea discovered that 78% of consumers took interest in corporate social responsibility activities undertaken by pharmaceutical companies; however, only 26.9% were aware these activities were happening.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts can go beyond traditional donations and programs. Patient stories are gaining momentum in the industry. “To find patient advocates, social media is a great tool,” explained Nancie George, head of content at Oshi Health, “It’s really about working with people who have identified themselves as an advocate and want to be contacted to share their story.”


  • COVID-19 is changing consumers’ priorities and expectations. They expect more from companies and are more likely to become clients with the company responding to the pandemic in a manner they consider adequate.
  • Morning Consult surveyed 2,200 Americans and asked how they expect brands to act during the pandemic, and how it impacts the likelihood of choosing it. Although the survey was not specific to healthcare services, it is worth noting how consumers expect companies to do their parts:
  • Interestingly, older people are more likely to value companies’ responses than Gen Z and Millennial:
  • Medical professionals are also in an excellent position to leverage their influence, given how highly regarded they are at the moment:

Companies at the Forefront

  • Health tech provider, Epic, is launching webinars and whitepapers about COVID-19, and “profiled a rural Pennsylvania healthcare system helping patients prepare for their first telehealth appointments.”
  • UnitedHealth has won awards for improving communities. The company also announced a $10 million commitment to support George Floyd’s kids, and Minnesota businesses affected by the protests. It also matches employees’ contributions to non-profits. UnitedHealth proudly showcases its donations and efforts on social media.

Trend #2: Informative and Personalized Content with a Human Touch

  • Healthcare companies must produce content that is educational, useful, and compelling. Heather Swedin, global head of employee communication for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, expects that content marketing will continue at center stage; however, more emphasis will go towards value creation than volume. She further adds, “People want and expect to receive personalized content that speaks to their needs. As a result, I think we’ll see hyper-targeting taking an audience-led approach to content.”
  • According to Deb Pappas, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the type of content the center offers now has been "more of a key driver of consumer engagement" than changes in marketing budgets. They are providing content in the form of blog posts and videos.
  • She explains that these videos are not limited to health tips, "a 'Building Resilience' four-part series of videos and blog posts with one of our developmental pediatricians, as well as practical tips like '14 ways to celebrate your child's birthday during COVID-19' and '14 ways to celebrate your child's graduation during COVID-19'. Both blog posts have resulted in top ranking in Google organic search results, more than seven minutes average time on page, our lowest bounce rates, and the No. 2 and No. 17 most visited pages on our website year to date".
  • Kelly Jo Golson, of Aurora Health, echoes Pappas’ sentiment, stating that they have turned their marketing budget to education.
  • Nonetheless, informative content may not be enough, as people are looking for comfort and empathy. Valerie Simon, chief marketing and communications officer of Atlantic Health System, states, “People don't engage with systems, they engage with people.”
  • It is not only for hospitals and healthcare systems. Health tech companies should also put “faces and experiences behind the products and services offered.”
  • As for how the content is delivered, there has been a surge in the adoption of video in medical marketing. For example, 39% of potential patients “call to make an appointment after watching a video on a healthcare topic.”


  • Consumers’ demand for online health information is reshaping the industry. For example, 7% of all daily Google searches are health-related. Online tools are changing how consumers make decisions and their demands, and putting pressure on traditional healthcare players. Consumers want to participate in their care decisions.
  • Not only are they looking for information, but they are also acting on it. Fifty-eight percent of patients surveyed by Stanford Medicine and Rock Health said they proposed diagnosis to a physician based on information they found online, 56% suggested a treatment plan, and 53% the provider to prescribe or discontinue a drug, a proportion 79% higher than in 2015.
  • Younger consumers are more likely to adopt this behavior, but it is still applicable to all generations:
  • COVID-19 is another driver for this trend, as consumers are looking for information they can trust. They are more likely to trust healthcare leaders than the government. As such, 31% of consumers said they feel more positive about healthcare organizations since the outbreak.
  • Despite the interest, most health-related content fail to engage audiences. For instance, healthcare content generates an average of 385 social shares, but the median number of social shares was only 67, which suggests that most stories “failed to break through aside from a few significant top-performers.”

Companies at the Forefront

  • Cleveland Clinic’s “Here’s the Damage Coronavirus Can Do To Your Lungs” had experts quote and a link to a video with a lung pathologist. It was shared 26,000 times on Facebook. Meanwhile, 23andMe published a study looking at the connection between genetics and COVID-19. It has 601 reactions, 400 shares, and 200 comments on Facebook, way above average for the company. On Twitter, it was shared 2,200 times and received 2,300 likes, while other posts fail to achieve 100 likes.
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock launched a three-part video series showing employees sharing information on their process to ensure facilities are safe in a campaign called “Behind the Mask.” Jennifer Gilkie, Dartmouth-Hitchcock's vice president of communications and marketing, explains “We deliver care for a population of over 1.9 million people across northern New England, so we have planned a robust distribution plan including video distribution on a YouTube playlist, postings on our patient-facing brand social media channels (specifically Facebook and Twitter) and our Dartmouth-Hitchcock website, a playlist linked in our patient communications platform (myDH) and shared in our Health & Wellness email newsletter, which gets distributed to approximately 15,000 subscribers.”

Trend #3: Multichannel Strategies and New Channels

  • Healthcare CMOs and executives are reporting that multichannel strategies are creating the best results, even though most are still struggling to adopt a fully functional multichannel strategy.
  • Eighty-six percent of healthcare marketers surveyed use common digital marketing tactics (websites, social media, digital ads), while 77% are also using non-digital marketing.
  • Zero-click search is an emerging trend, as 48.96% of all Google searches in the United States ended without a single click, using only the featured snippets or Google Knowledge Graph.
  • Dan Dunlop, principal of Jennings Healthcare Marketing, believes 2020 will see a proliferation of health-related podcasts.
  • Multiple analysts believe voice search is also a rising trend.
  • A study conducted in 2019 by Voicebot unveiled that even though only 7.5% of consumers have used a voice assistant for a healthcare search, 51.9% would like to use it. The most common use is to ask about illness symptoms (72.9%), followed by medical information (45.9%), location of a provider (37.7%), treatment options (37.7%), nutrition (29.4%), and find a doctor or provider (28.2%).


  • The main driver behind the trend is patients turning into healthcare consumers. They are modeling their experiences with healthcare services after encounters with retailers and fintech.
  • Dan Gandor, Abbvie’s Director of U.S. Customer Experience, stated, “Take med-legal along for the journey. Several of them might not be digitally savvy. They need to understand channels and realize things are fluid. Remember, it’s a journey and takes a village of marketers to succeed.”
  • For medical device companies, in particular, the entrance of tech giants in the field, such as Apple and Amazon, is likely to drive the need to improve the consumer journey and experience even further. It will be vital to ensure that consumers can get the information they need in a seamless and convenient fashion.
  • Quantzig, an analytics advisory firm, says that medical devices companies need to “formulate an effective multichannel marketing strategy.” The firm worked with an undisclosed medical device company to develop a seamless customer experience by implementing a multi-channel strategy, which was able to lower the customer acquisition rate by 15%, improve customer conversion by 24%, and enhanced consumers’ perception of the company.

Companies at the Forefront

  • Mayo Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Atrium Health are introducing voice assistant options. Giant Eagle Pharmacy worked with Amazon and Omnicell to allow consumers to request prescription refills via voice.
  • Geisinger combines “email, direct mail and social media messaging that connects to a landing page or call center” to engage consumers. The highest level of engagement was on social media, particularly YouTube.
  • Takeda is implementing a patient-first mobile journey, including a mobile e-card, which provides patients with savings and communication streams.

Did this report spark your curiosity?


From Part 01
  • "Email has become firmly solidified as the best way of contacting doctors. Email has become firmly solidified as the best way of informing doctors about new products and industry news. The Healthlink Dimensions Healthcare Professional Communication Report for 2018 found that 73 percent of medical professionals now prefer being contacted through this channel over alternatives such as direct mail, office visits by a sales representative or exhibits at conferences. "
  • "For example, marketers trying to sell insulin measurement devices to doctors who specialize in diabetes might consider authoring blog posts featuring patient education for coping with the disease. Social media, blog and medical email marketingcontent shouldn’t be strictly promotional. Instead, it should provide value based on healthcare professionals’ key needs and interests, ultimately driving them to channels where they can enter the sales funnel."
  • ""
  • "According to our most recent study on medical communication preferences, healthcare professionals strongly prefer email messages that contain educational content. Specifically, three quarters of respondents to our survey said they wanted pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to provide them with opportunities to learn more about their industry "
  • "Educational materials may include industry studies, detailed breakdowns of new products or collected insights on patient demands. This information should be helpful for medical professionals who need to make buying decisions or communicate options to their patients"
  • " When medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers create delivery schedules for email marketing campaigns they need to include content for both physicians and patients. The layout of email messages should be intriguing and present key points through diverse tactics. It’s usually wise to include a simple layout, images, graphs, bullet points and other features to make materials more digestible and memorable. Hands-on experiences usually stick with people better than when they act as passive observers. Marketers should provide links or other calls-to-action so physicians and nurse practitioners can take part in their own education."
  • "If emails feature large images or fonts that are hard to make out, they are less likely to be read. Marketing will yield better results with simple layouts that are created with mobile devices in mind. Any landing pages you link to should also be easily displayed on a smartphone or you might miss out on valuable opportunities for deeper engagement."
  • " (70%)email is the primary communication method for receiving industry news, product updates, announcements or research, and educational opportunities. The least preferred channels for receiving this information are SMS/text messages/phone (2%) and social media/fax (1%).#Physicians are constantly on their smartphones — with more than 75 percent reporting the use of mobile health in their practices on a weekly basis. Consider strategies that apply across all facility sizes, from a small medical practice to a large hospital system and even a medical clinic marketing plan. "
  • "onsider using video as one of the most engaging and mobile-friendly formats, and feature peers rather than patients as physicians prefer a more clinical perspective when reading about new treatments and technology. Make sure you know their clinical or academic focus before reaching out. The next time you write something for cardiologists, consider whether they are electrophysiologists, interventional cardiologists, or even better, “interventional cardiologists with a focus on coronary artery stents.” Find knowledgeable medical advisors who can ensure that the healthcare terminology and targeting in your campaigns makes sense for physicians."
  • "if you are sending a mailer about post-surgical rehabilitation- consider using a mix of imagery that includes surgeons and physicians. Or if you are in a rural community that has mostly nurse practitioners, consider using more nurses than doctors in your images. People are more likely to open a mailer that they can relate and respond to. So by providing a visual image that is similar to the recipient, you increase the open rate for your campaign. Physicians are one of the more heavily marketed groups so your mailer needs to be unique to your PT practice. Consider adding real statistics to your content and finding testimonials that show how well you can make patients feel. Say you treat a lot of worker’s compensation cases—you know how many of your patients were able to return to work after leaving your care. Start marketing your practice as a “Worker’s Compensation Specialist”. Use a verifiable claim like “over 85% of our patients are able to return to work”. This gives real context and value to what doctors can achieve by sending their patients to you!"
From Part 04
From Part 08