Advertising and marketing for pharmaceuticals and health products are undergoing major digital developments. Reportedly, the pharmaceutical and health sectors invested $17.8 billion in digital advertising in 2023, and by 2024, this number is anticipated to surpass $20 billion.
Marketing strategies in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries have substantially transformed due to a shift towards digitally-driven approaches. This transformative potential is particularly evident within the pharmaceutical sector, where digital innovation is reshaping the way healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients interact and engage with medical services.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve and transform, it's clear that the pharmaceutical industry must remain adaptive to capitalise on emerging opportunities. Staying attuned to new digital trends, leveraging emerging technologies, and fostering a culture of ongoing learning and experimentation is key to driving digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
Let’s Look at the Top 5 Digital Trends Transforming Pharma
Looking at the current scenario, healthcare marketers must be adaptive and flexible as technology develops in order to stay up to date with the rapidly evolving digital trends in the healthcare industry. In this fast-paced industry, staying ahead of the curve is becoming more than just a strategic move. Let’s discuss a few of the most prominent digital trends to be followed as 2024 draws near.
1. Increased Focus on Healthcare Professionals (HCP)
Marketing to healthcare providers rather than patients directly is predicted to become more important in 2024 as a result of new regulations and the increased demand for patient privacy. HCPs play a crucial role in patient care, so they must adhere to ethical guidelines and privacy laws when they access patient data. They are also obligated to follow laws like the United States' Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or similar laws in other countries.
People's private health information is protected by HIPAA, which ensures that no one may be identified specifically based on their IP address, medical history, or other factors. That being said, this does not exclude the targeting of healthcare professionals who specialise in particular ailments.
Because of this, a growing number of health and pharmaceutical companies are focusing their efforts on interacting with HCPs rather than trying to establish a direct relationship with patients. Hence, to guarantee the effective adoption of new medications and technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers can establish connections, share expertise, and work together with HCPs by utilising digital channels to target them.
Pharma companies can reach HCPs via the channels their customers choose by utilising various marketing strategies. Strong, cooperative connections are formed and interaction is increased as a result, which eventually improves patient and HCP outcomes. Hence, creating strategies and content specifically for HCPs establishes businesses as authorities builds trust, and demonstrates experience.
2. Rise of Influencer Marketing
Influencers build trust while also being more relatable to audiences when compared to faceless brands, which provides more credibility to their suggestions than standard advertisements. By collaborating with influencers, pharmaceutical businesses are increasing their reach by establishing a connection with prospective clients and successfully targeting specialised audiences. Working together with influencers in particular fields increases engagement and helps reach the relevant audience. One prominent example of this is the use of influencers by pharmacy chain, Walgreens, in a marketing campaign to advertise flu vaccines.
By sharing insightful knowledge, personal anecdotes, and experiences, these influencers help spread the word about healthcare services and goods which leads to better-informed decisions and improved patient outcomes. Influencers are also important in developing long-lasting relationships and strategic alliances with medical professionals.
3. Enabling Omnichannel Engagement
For marketers, it becomes very crucial to understand the difference between multichannel and omnichannel techniques. Multichannel uses each channel separately, whereas omnichannel incorporates all of the channels into a single consumer journey.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors benefit greatly from omnichannel engagement. First of all, it enables pharmaceutical companies to collect and examine information on the preferences and behaviours of healthcare professionals, offering insightful data that can be utilised to customise interactions and content to better suit their requirements. This also enables pharma businesses to understand and engage with these professionals through a variety of touchpoints and personalised strategies, which improves engagement and ultimately strengthens relationships while boosting sales and visibility.
Healthcare and pharma companies can also leverage omnichannel engagement to specifically reach out to doctors, who make a crucial customer segment in the healthcare industry. These companies can communicate with doctors using a variety of platforms, including conferences, webinars, social media, in-person visits, email, and in-person interactions.
By integrating these channels, doctors can interact with the company on their terms at different touchpoints and are guaranteed a seamless experience.
4. Emergence of MarTech
Riding on the global MarTech wave, the pharmaceutical industry is leveraging technology to improve and streamline marketing strategies and techniques. This technology includes tools for handling and, to an extent, automating social media, email marketing, content distribution, customer relationship management, analytics, and more. Pharmaceutical firms can more effectively target and customise experiences across several channels by utilising these solutions.
These companies can develop targeted campaigns that provide accurate messaging to target audiences at the most effective moments by using data and analytics to analyse customer behaviour. These businesses can also measure the impact of their marketing campaigns thanks to MarTech dashboards, which allow for ongoing strategy refinement and eventually produce outcomes.
MarTech solutions can also improve digital footprint through SEO, social media, and website redesign that can shorten the time to first purchase and can raise brand awareness through thought leadership. It also helps to improve patient involvement by enabling personalised interactions that enhance customer involvement and overall experience, streamline healthcare decision-making, and raise consumer engagement.
5. Leveraging Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic technique used in the pharmaceutical industry that aims to teach and educate end users and healthcare professionals using internet content. It provides pharmaceutical companies with an ideal way to showcase their knowledge, enlighten prospective clients, and set themselves apart from rivals in an era of fierce competition and increasingly informed and picky consumers.
Here, content can be presented in a variety of ways, including podcasts, infographics, films, quizzes, and blog entries. These help companies and businesses create and distribute relevant, useful content that will interest and engage their target audience. But it's also very crucial to ensure that the content complies with regulations, is factual, and addresses the requirements of a wide range of individuals, including carers, patients, and physicians. Moreover, to stand out from the competition, it is ideal if the content can be presented in novel formats such as interactive 3D product simulations.
Approximately 70% of healthcare marketing professionals state that their company has adopted a content marketing approach. 83% of businesses who consider their content marketing successful nurture their audiences, prospects, and subscribers, while just 29% of businesses with a subpar approach do the same.
This fact is further emphasised by a McKinsey survey, where half the respondents said that MedTech content marketing offered at least a 20% return on investment.
These innovative digital trends in healthcare and pharma marketing mark the beginning of a revolutionary period. These trends highlight the constant growth of the business, from human-centric content marketing to breakthrough MarTech solutions for focused engagement with healthcare professionals. Looking ahead, it’s evident that the future is all about going digital, where technology is used to improve patient involvement, communicate precisely, and navigate the complex world of healthcare decision-making. By embracing these developments, pharmaceuticals and healthcare are getting ready for revolutionary change, providing individualised experiences for stakeholders, patients, and professionals. With more accessibility, information sharing, and better health outcomes promised, the transition to a digital healthcare future is underway.