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Medical marketing recommendations and case studies

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 13 Jul, 2021
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In today's age of digital disruption, medical marketing leaders need to consider the full customer lifecycle supported by digital marketing

Medical marketing is about a lot more than just good products. In this high value, complex sector, marketers must emphasize the full customer lifecycle with seamless customer and partner relations, supported by digital platforms and microservices, to effectively leverage the consumerization of healthcare.

It is important to consider all the wide-ranging implications of digital health transformation in order to understand the context of medical marketing today. Our pharma and healthcare marketing trends 2021 guide covers 9 topics of innovation happening right now in the medical marketing sector. Download your free copy today to find out more.

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What is the consumerization of healthcare (CoH)?

Consumerization of healthcare is the trend of people influencing and controlling their medical and wellness care. It is also an acknowledgment of the need for providers to develop strategies and market offerings that fulfill customer needs and preferences while fully engaging them in an end-to-end customer experience.

This is imperative in healthcare for payors, hospitals and health systems, and life sciences companies. Primary care and specialty care are likely to become increasingly virtual, improving access and affordability and allowing asynchronous provider-patient interactions. Remote working may push employers toward supporting home-centric health offerings, and healthcare providers could ramp up the adoption of artificial intelligence-based triage tools to direct patients more efficiently. Remote patient monitoring may eventually become fully integrated with chronic condition management and general patient care. Rural populations, social and demographic determinants of health, and historically underserved populations are likely to finally get the attention deserved.

Medical marketing transformation

The increasing trend for digital, remote, and virtual healthcare, as well as providers’ and payors’ continued expectations for multi-disease and personalized solutions, prompt the need for entirely new healthcare journeys. Their architects will need to be relatable to their customers, reflect the quality of traditional healthcare teams and offer vision with technological and clinically relevant road maps.

Quoted by Forbes, Joao Mendes-Roter, VP Digital Marketing at Itamar-Medical suggests that journey architects will be vital for enabling physicians and the overall healthcare organization to realize the opportunities presented by the consumerization of healthcare A week’s work for a journey architect might involve meetings on strategic planning, chats with developers, calls with customers, running workshops with physicians and health professionals to curate content and products, and ongoing focus groups with end-users.

This shift has accelerated long-awaited innovations and experiments, including promoting new research, at-home visits, telemedicine, digital tools for remote monitoring, and healthcare provider platforms to facilitate medical information transfer.

As marketers and medical marketing managers, these developments enable us unprecedented opportunities to get closer to our customers. Discover the latest trends and innovations happening in this sector when you download your free copy of our pharma and healthcare marketing trends 2021 guide.

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How providers can improve patient acquisition and retention

As healthcare systems strive to recover from losses due to the pandemic, patient acquisition and retention have never been more urgent, and patient experience has never been more critical.

Developing a digital care strategy that provides a satisfying patient experience is a balancing act. Patients know an in-person visit with a specialist or that addresses multiple complex issues will come at some cost. But they expect a smaller price tag for care for low-acuity conditions that can be addressed quickly and easily.

Healthcare customers

Although most patients welcome greater access to virtual care, healthcare organizations need to be mindful of the digital divide and consider alternatives for patients for whom this isn’t an option. Many people who lack access to broadband or WI-FI, or have very limited data plans on their phones will be disadvantaged by having a fully digital offering.

Dr. Nick Patel, Chief Digital Officer with Prisma Health makes the point that it’s important for providers to wrap their digital strategy around consumerism. He says:

“We’re asking ourselves: How do we meet patients when and where they want to be seen? How do we make sure costs are low enough for patients? A key mistake many healthcare organizations make is starting with the technology without looking at what problem they’re trying to solve.”

When investigating the introduction of technolog-based solutions it is important to consider how low levels of health and digital literacy may impact patients’ ability to engage effectively which can further undermine patient engagement with mobile health technologies.

Technology is only the vehicle

You will have noticed that the majority of trends presented in this report have a technology foundation. As with all new and emerging processes, there are challenges to be acknowledged when considering the adoption of these technologies. Deloitte identified a number of challenges facing the pharma industry in its ambition to become more patient-centric. Currently, it appears that the traditional product-based pharma culture is at odds with the move to a more agile and responsive patient-centric culture and regulatory uncertainty with regard to digital technology and patient centricity is making it difficult to fully implement customer engagement and advocacy strategies that are consistent and effective.

Digital medical marketing

Medical marketing data safety and privacy

Patient and practitioner concerns about data safety and privacy in the face of the proliferation of medical apps and other digital technologies mean that collecting identifiable data as part of a more patient-centric approach requires the highest levels of data safety, privacy, and user consent are maintained.

Medical marketing corporate reputation

Patient engagement with medical marketing can be severely undermined by corporate reputation, largely due to past publicity about excessive pricing and a lack of transparency, public confidence has been eroded, reducing patients’ willingness to engage with pharma which can in turn hinder efforts to improve services.

Decreasing patient loyalty

Econsultancy and Adobe, in 2019 found that there was a significant decrease in patient loyalty as the strength of individual relationships reduces and the importance of service elements like wait times, booking options and clear information grows.

The complex and ongoing developments around data safety, corporate reputation, and patient loyalty mean that medical marketing leaders must remain hyper-vigilant to protect their businesses and patients. Our pharma and healthcare marketing trends 2021 guide gives you a quick reference guide to the top 9 trends in medical marketing landscape to help you make informed decisions for your marketing strategy.

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HealthMatch medical marketing case study

HealthMatch is helping to connect Australians with chronic conditions to medical trials and news about their conditions. Chronic conditions remain a top health issue nationwide, and the technology platform aims to increase accessibility to, and awareness of, trials and breakthroughs.

Founded by Manuri Gunawardena, HealthMatch is looking to make clinical trials more consumer-friendly. The platform, which raised $18 million in funding in 2020, matches people with chronic conditions, from eczema to mental health, to clinical trials being conducted on their illnesses. Users register and answer questions based on their conditions as well as their personal details like age and location.

The platform will then inform them of open trials to apply for. “Finding eligible patients for clinical trials is a critical and complex part of new drug discovery, yet patients are missing out on trials simply because the application process is too complicated,” says Gunawardena. “Using simple questions connected to a powerful data center, HealthMatch’s platform increases the likelihood of patients getting offered trials for which they are medically eligible.“

In Australia, half of people have at least one of the eight most common chronic illnesses observed across the country. Given this, it’s no surprise there’s been a rise in personal health-management tools such as pain-management, telehealth services, and at-home testing solutions that give people a firmer grip on their health concerns. Nevertheless, when it comes to medical trials, they aren’t as accessible due to factors like awareness and understandability. As the number of medical trials grows in Australia, tools like HealthMatch are simplifying access to these trials. Also boosting personal management of chronic health, Omada Health uses behavioral science to give feedback and guidance to patients, while also providing access to peer support groups.

The shifting medical marketing landscape

CBInsights suggests that there will be a shift in how healthcare is perceived and tools that are enable predictive medicine, and allow patients and providers to use personalized data to impact healthcare decisions are going to grow in demand.

Medical marketing technology

As the healthcare industry continues to change, customer experience will be a key competitive factor. This poses a significant challenge as healthcare customers engage in cycles of monthly or yearly consultations and interactions where the outcomes are unpredictable and emotionally charged. In this environment patient outcomes are paramount, and marketers have responsibility for understanding and optimizing the elements that contribute to a positive customer experience during this journey.

As the consumerization of healthcare is a fundamental shift in patients' preferences, behaviors, and demands around healthcare services there is a very real threat to hospitals' bottom lines. For the first time, patients are transforming from passive recipients of healthcare services to active participants in their own health.

In the US, patients are flocking to online review sites to choose which doctor to see, skipping hospital visits in favor of a health clinic in their local area, and aren't afraid to ditch providers that don't offer them an engaging experience.

The superior customer service expectations of millennials along with more startup providers and retail pharmacies are intensifying the need for providers to revamp the patient experience.

Patients' expectations for transparency, convenience, and access are transforming the way they interact with providers across each stage of care. Therefore, the strategies health systems and providers implement to create a consumer-centric patient experience need to focus on fostering satisfaction, loyalty, and patient volume.

L.E.K placed this shift within the changes that will be prevalent for health ecosystems and longer-term health provision in APAC but the findings suggest this could be the case globally.

Currently, the vast majority of healthcare providers haven't sufficiently altered their services to align with current patient expectations and this failure to react to patient preferences is hurting provider organizations' bottom lines.

New normal medical healthcare

Alternative players with consumer-focused healthcare services and tech-focused primary care startups, like One Medical and 98point6, and retail outlets, like Target, Walmart, and CVS, that offer patients on-demand access to healthcare providers via mobile apps and convenient locations are drawing customers away from incumbent health systems.

In order to retain patients — and keep them from straying to alternative care services — providers must transform their services with an emphasis on transparency, access, and ongoing engagement outside of the clinic.

Healthcare providers that tailor their services to the new healthcare consumer will be well-positioned to see growth. Alternatively, businesses that don't implement these changes could find themselves falling behind the rest of the industry or closing their doors for good.

Our pharma and healthcare marketing trends guide 2021 is jam-packed with real-life case studies, ready-made marketing tools and templates, and next-step expert recommendations to help you plan, manage, and optimize your medical marketing strategy. Download your free copy to get started today

Pharma and healthcare marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

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Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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