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Marketing in the medicine sector: five areas of focus for 2022

Author's avatar By Gavin Llewellyn 28 Sep, 2021
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Why taking a strategic view of your medical marketing will help set you up for success in the year ahead

As we approach the final quarter of the year, marketers in the medicine sector will already be looking ahead to 2022. The last 18 months has been a turbulent time but one that has also opened up new opportunities for medical marketing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many existing trends and according to Professor Scott Galloway, healthcare will be one of the most disruptive sectors in the ‘post-corona’ world.

But one of the key challenges for marketers is to successfully navigate the massive amounts of data and make sense of the main areas of focus. With so much information it can be difficult to identify the right priorities, objectives and, ultimately, strategy for your healthcare brand.

So in this post, we’re going to look at some of the key trends impacting the medicine and healthcare sector and consider how marketers can respond.

Using the RACE Framework to shape your medicine marketing strategy

Every marketing strategy should be based around a sound structure so that it can be clearly communicated with colleagues, clients and other key stakeholders. Without this it will be difficult to align across teams and achieve the vital buy-in needed to execute the plan.

​​The RACE Framework provides a framework that meets the challenges of reaching and engaging audiences to drive conversion to sales and encourage repeat business. It is structured around the classic marketing funnel and gives marketers a blueprint for building an integrated marketing strategy that covers the full customer lifecycle:

Omnichannel Marketing funnel

Join 1,000s of savvy marketers using the RACE Framework to plan, manage, and optimize their approach to marketing and use a data-driven approach to increase leads and sales for their pharma/healthcare business.

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In the next section, we’re going to relate each medical marketing trend with one of the stages in the RACE Framework.

This will help illustrate how marketers can take a customer-focused approach to each trend and consider how this can help shape their medicine marketing strategies for 2022.

PLAN: The consumerization of medicine

Define your goals and strategy 

One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the empowerment of consumers to make more informed healthcare decisions. For the last year and a half, we’ve been exposed to medical information and terminology, often during prime-time slots on TV, giving us the confidence to ask questions and seek the best possible treatments for medical conditions.  

The consumerization of healthcare is the trend of people influencing and controlling their medical and wellness care and an acknowledgment of the need for providers to develop strategies that fulfill customer needs and preferences. 

Consumers want to have the same experience in healthcare that they have from other businesses and this insight can help inform your objectives and shape the direction of your marketing strategy in 2022.

Data such as this report from Econsultancy can help medicine marketers identify the right target audience and areas of focus for their marketing plans:

Healthcare experience

REACH: Omnichannel medical marketing

Build awareness of your brand and grow your audience

As a result of the consumerization of healthcare, there will be increased competition within the sector to win people’s attention. This means that medical and healthcare brands will need to find new ways to reach healthcare consumers.

One option will be to follow the marketing effectiveness and brand-building principles that other sectors, such as retail and consumer goods, have already adopted.

In his seminal book How Brands Grow, Byron Sharp presents the concept of mental and physical availability. Sharp argues that a key aspect of a brand’s success is their ability to be mentally and physically available for consumers. Because the information healthcare consumers want is not always available in one place (e.g. online), one solution to this challenge is to take an omnichannel marketing approach.

Smart Insights defines omnichannel marketing as:

“Planning and optimizing always-on and campaign-focused marketing communications tools across different customer lifecycle touchpoints to maximise leads and sales - all the while delivering a seamless customer experience to encourage customer loyalty”.

Multichannel Omnichannel wearable healthcare

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ACT: Content marketing and the patient information journey

Prompt interaction

Whilst access to medical and healthcare information is a great source of empowerment for consumers, it can pose challenges, too. The Covid-19 pandemic has also prompted a rise in misinformation and disinformation, leading to confusion and anxiety among some sections of society. This opens up opportunities for healthcare brands to create legitimate, useful and meaningful content that can cut through the fake news and add value for both healthcare providers (HCPs) and consumers.

A customer journey analysis can help healthcare brands understand their customers’ goals, and what type of content helps them achieve their goals. Marketers can use this analysis to identify the gaps between what you think you’re delivering and what your customers are actually experiencing.

The content provided to both prospective and existing patients regarding a particular ailment and associated treatments needs to have all the previous elements to build trust but also support decision making during a stressful time.

patient information journey

CONVERT: On-demand healthcare services

Achieve sales online and offline

“Is bronchitis contagious?” and “How many calories should I eat” were both top Google health searches between January and November 2020, with 1 in 20 Google searches being health-related. As we are becoming more focused on health, we are seeking empowerment to know more about our own health – and act on it.

Once consumers have decided they want to seek treatment or advice, healthcare and medical brands must have the right processes and infrastructure in place to convert this interest into commercial outcomes.

On-demand healthcare connects people to the healthcare providers available in real-time through websites, mobile apps or even home visits. An on-demand healthcare service includes finding support with follow-up appointments, mental health therapy, some specialist care and a variety of minor accidents and illnesses.

While practical logistical constraints will limit widespread adoption of on-demand services across the healthcare sector, the need for them has been accelerated due to the pandemic. Changes as countries emerge from lockdown are summarized below:

Medical search marketing

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ENGAGE: Customer patient engagement platforms

Encourage repeat business

The consumerization of healthcare and competitiveness within the sector means that engaging and retaining customers is crucial. This trend requires medicine and healthcare companies to review and invest in platforms that they can use to create a consistent view of the customer across many touchpoints, including targeting, segmentation and performance management:

Medical marketing stakeholders

This goes beyond traditional CRM (customer relationship management). Creating a lifetime of value for customers, so they’ll give a lifetime of value back, is only possible within an ecosystem that provides a unified view of the customer and their needs.

Personalized interactions with customers based on their preferences, either stated or derived, create loyalty and alignment with customer insights.

Opportunities for your medical marketing strategy

It's no surprise that marketers in the medicine sector are looking to focus their medical marketing activities, prioritizing the key touchpoints and journeys that drive results, and streamlining their planning and tracking of their customers' experiences.

We've got medicine marketing strategy tools, templates, and training dedicated to optimizing pharma and healthcare customer journeys. Discover new medical marketing opportunities for your business.

Can your Pharma or Healthcare business compete online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now
Build your personal brand

Author's avatar

By Gavin Llewellyn

Gavin Llewellyn (LinkedIn) is an independent consultant. He is a Chartered Marketer who specialises in digital marketing, specifically in social media, SEO and online strategy. Gavin blogs at One Too Many Mornings where he offers advice, guidance and ideas on how individuals and companies can use digital marketing effectively to get found online, build engagement and generate conversion. You can Follow Gavin on Twitter.

This blog post has been tagged with:

Digital marketing for the Pharma and Healthcare sector

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