The healthcare industry is undergoing a digital transformation that affects every facet of patient care, data management, and marketing. Gone are the days when traditional channels like print, radio, and word-of-mouth reigned supreme.
According to Statista, a survey among healthcare marketers in the United States published in March 2023 revealed that the mean marketing budget of a pharma company amounted to 9.3 million U.S. dollars in 2022. That’s a lot of money and, as you can imagine, that needs to be used wisely.
Healthcare marketing now requires a nuanced, targeted, and tech-savvy approach to effectively communicate the value of its services to the right audience. An undeniable part of this evolution is programmatic advertising.
Before delving into the ins and outs of their relationship, let’s first give some background to healthcare marketing.
Healthcare marketing is no longer just about glossy brochures, direct mailers, and billboard advertisements. Healthcare providers must use a multi-faceted approach to reach patients, caregivers, physicians, and insurance companies.
Traditionally, healthcare marketing was limited to word-of-mouth referrals, print ads, and TV commercials. The focus was mainly on local outreach. However, the landscape has shifted dramatically:
The audience in healthcare marketing is incredibly diverse, making segmentation crucial. Here's how to approach each segment:
Understanding the intricacies of each audience group enables more precise targeting, efficient ad spending, and better ROI on your marketing campaigns.
Data is often called "the new oil," and this is especially true in healthcare marketing. The sheer complexity and personalization required in the healthcare sector make data not just an accessory but a necessity.
Understanding why data matters and how best to collect it can yield significant rewards. Here's an in-depth look at the significance of data and some best practices for its collection.
Programmatic advertising has emerged as a powerful tool for healthcare providers to effectively reach patients, caregivers, and medical professionals across various digital channels.
Programmatic advertising refers to using software to purchase digital advertising space instead of traditional methods involving RFPs, negotiations, and manual insertion orders.
It automates the decision-making process of buying media by targeting audiences and demographics through complex algorithms and machine learning.
Connected TV, or CTV, represents an exciting frontier for healthcare marketers looking to leverage programmatic advertising. CTV ads are displayed on internet-connected televisions, bridging the gap between traditional TV advertising and the digital landscape. Here's why CTV ads hold immense potential:
The power of programmatic lies in its ability to combine traditional advertising channels with the precision of data analytics. By utilizing a mix of CTV, display, and social media ads, healthcare marketers can craft a more rounded and effective advertising strategy. Here's how:
Programmatic advertising holds incredible potential for healthcare marketing for several reasons:
The emphasis on delivering high-performing, compliant creatives can't be overstated. Crafting compelling creative content that also adheres to healthcare regulations like HIPAA in the U.S., or GDPR in Europe, is a fine art. Effective programmatic advertising in this sector requires a meticulous balance between compliance and creativity.
In healthcare marketing, one size does not fit all. Different demographics have unique needs, preferences, and digital behaviors. Understanding your audience in-depth is essential to craft tailored advertising campaigns that target the right people and deliver accurate results.
Let’s look at some of the customer profiles you might be looking for:
These are health seekers with specific consumer interests in family wellness and children's growth. They will likely actively visit websites and blogs about parenting, nutrition for kids, and childhood development.
This audience is health-conscious and particularly interested in alternative and natural medicine. They frequently visit websites offering advice on natural products, organic lifestyles, and holistic treatments.
These patients are proactive and often visit forums, read medical journals, or watch educational videos to learn about treatment options, drug alternatives, and innovative therapies.
Busy professionals are usually engrossed in their careers and are looking for quick, effective healthcare solutions that fit their schedules.
These are individuals who are committed to maintaining an active lifestyle. They frequently visit gyms, follow nutrition plans, and are likely interested in performance-related health solutions.
Healthcare professionals are keen on professional growth and industry trends. They often read medical journals and whitepapers and are active on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
Stada is a leading international pharmaceutical company that has been around for over 125 years. With a global presence, Stada specializes in three primary sectors – generic drugs, speciality Pharma, and non-prescription consumer healthcare products. Their strategy has kept them ahead in approximately 120 countries worldwide.
They came to Eskimi with a specific challenge: overcome recent audience targeting issues fueled partly by geopolitical factors, such as Russia's war in Ukraine. Their objective was to outsell the competition in Uzbekistan, particularly for their spray for acute respiratory diseases, Snup.
Stada faced considerable challenges in advertising. Otabek Zufarov, Brand Manager at Stada, mentioned that geopolitics had made it difficult to target audiences effectively. Additionally, the cost of TV advertising in Uzbekistan was becoming prohibitive.
To address this, Stada turned to programmatic advertising, specifically leveraging Eskimi's platform, which offers rich media formats and precise audience targeting options. The shift towards digital media was further encouraged by the fast-paced digitalization in Uzbekistan and the pandemic driving everyone online.
Performance metrics aren't just numbers; they're the pulse of your campaign. In healthcare marketing, where the stakes are high, and ROI is critical, understanding the performance of your campaign can make the difference between its success or failure.
In Stada's case, performance metrics were crucial in several ways:
For the Snup campaign, Stada used several different targeting criteria:
Understanding performance had direct implications for Stada
By integrating Eskimi's programmatic advertising into its broader marketing strategy—including TV and outdoor advertising—Stada could meet and exceed its sales targets. This multi-channel approach ensured consistent brand visibility, keeping Stada top-of-mind for consumers and enhancing brand trust.
Healthcare is a sector where trust plays a significant role—placing your brand where it will be seen by your target audience multiple times increases its credibility.
Another point with layered meaning is that while immediate conversions are fantastic, healthcare decisions often involve longer sales cycles. Brand awareness keeps you in the consumer's consideration set throughout this process, increasing the chances of eventual conversion.
Stada ran its Snup campaign between September and December, integrating it into its existing advertising mix, including TV and outdoor advertising.
As we look toward the future of healthcare marketing, it's clear that traditional methods are making way for more sophisticated, technology-driven approaches.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer incredible advantages in automating and optimizing healthcare marketing strategies. Their impact is vast and multi-faceted:
Healthcare marketers can create more effective, targeted, patient-centered campaigns by leveraging AI and machine learning.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are not just for gaming; they have found considerable application in healthcare marketing as well:
The experiential marketing capabilities of VR and AR are unmatched. They offer a way to connect with patients emotionally, which is often key in healthcare decisions.
Keep the patient at the centre of your efforts
In healthcare marketing, especially when employing programmatic advertising, never lose sight of the fact that patient needs come first. Crafting highly personalized messages based on data analytics is good, but those messages must offer value to the patient, not just the organization. Keep the content relatable, factual, and actionable for the best patient engagement.
Leverage multi-channel marketing
Patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals use a variety of platforms. Don't put all your eggs in one basket; diversify your marketing channels to include social media, search engines, web portals, and even traditional media like TV or radio to reach a broad spectrum of your target audience. Programmatic advertising allows you to automate this process across different platforms, making your campaigns more efficient.
Compliance with healthcare regulations such as HIPAA in the United States or GDPR in the European Union is not optional. Always obtain explicit consent before collecting and using data. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it also builds trust with your audience. Ensure your data storage and transaction methods are secure to protect against breaches.
Optimize in real-time
One of the beauties of programmatic advertising is its real-time capabilities. You can track metrics that matter the most to your campaign and adjust your strategies instantaneously. Are specific keywords driving more engagement? Is one demographic converting better than another? Use this information to optimize your ROI continually.
Invest in education-based marketing
Especially in healthcare, people crave reliable information. Utilize your platforms not just for advertising but also for educating your audience. Whitepapers, webinars, FAQs, and how-to guides can position you as an industry authority. These resources also offer excellent opportunities for programmatic advertising placements.
Test, measure, adjust, repeat
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare marketing, what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Regularly test your campaigns, measure their effectiveness using KPIs, adjust your strategies based on these insights, and repeat the process. This cycle allows you to stay ahead of industry trends and consumer behaviours.
Embrace technological innovations
AI, machine learning, AR, VR, and blockchain are not mere buzzwords; they are shaping the future of healthcare marketing. They allow for predictive analytics, personalized messaging, heightened patient engagement, and secure data transactions. Start integrating these technologies now to be ahead of the curve.