09 Mar An Approach to Content: Healthcare’s Next Big Need
For a long time, healthcare direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC advertising) mimicked its counterparts on the consumer side of the aisle. DTC healthcare advertising worked and still works in the duopoly of print and television. It’s a broadcast first approach that leads the efforts and spend with collateral while having key opinion leaders follow behind to target providers.
Up until recently, this approach to reach the health consumer felt normal and in step with other brands across a variety of categories. All that has changed. Non healthcare brands have adopted their means of reaching consumers and are riding the wave of socially powered, omnichannel and on demand marketing. There is no longer only TV and print. Add to that, four social platform programs, a story world app, detailed analytics based email, over the top (OTT), which is content distribution across the Internet without the need for traditional networks and multi-channel event opportunities – you get the idea.
Increasingly, healthcare advertising and DTC healthcare advertising looks and feels out of step to the health consumer. The conversations with healthcare brands aren’t behaving the same way as non healthcare brands when people are considering a particular drug therapy, insurer, or provider. This is being combined with a change in the very nature of the health care business; the shift from volume to value, from sickness and treatment to health and wellness. The notion of “population health” has put the consumer at the center of a traditionally fragmented ecosystem and consumer behavior is becoming the binding force.
Non healthcare brands have followed consumer behavior and gone from having a digital strategy to strategies for a digital world. Most of this new world is powered by various forms of content in a flow that’s continually optimized to reach various targeted consumers in their lives; a way that provides a return on attention for brand and business goals. As health systems are now incentivized and rewarded based on how consumers behave in their daily lives, outside of hospital boundaries, we think its time to really look at the way content plays a role in this future. A properly designed publishing plan can shift marketing from big television to data-driven, always-on digital engagement that influences behavioral change.
Going from campaigns to always listening and communication takes serious work. Our team has been working in highly regulated industries and helped to design publishing systems that take into consideration the regulatory and company compliance guidelines. HIPPA compliance and medical regulations are comprehensive but there are ways to work through these environments, to find new always-on systems of health consumer engagement.
In healthcare there is no purchase funnel. The health consumer could jump from being a completely passive and healthy individual to a patient looking for the best doctor, the best hospital, and numerous kinds of treatment therapies in a flash. And there’s the flip scenario, where this same consumer could be in a state of awareness and proactive health management for a very long time before the need for any part of the health system arises.
We see a future where timely, relevant information coordinated across media channels and formats is seen less as “marketing” and more as an integral part of a therapeutic offering of the patient engagement with a doctor or hospital.
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To contact the author
Rick Shaughnessy, Partner