What is healthcare marketing?

Healthcare marketing refers to the marketing strategies used in the healthcare and pharma industries in order to educate the public on certain health-related topics. Or, mostly in the case of private healthcare companies, to attract more people to use their services. 

Why is (online) healthcare marketing important?

Patients usually find healthcare providers via search (source: Invoca, Google). That’s why it’s important to have a good marketing strategy that will help you catch their attention online. Many healthcare providers begin to understand the importance of digital advertising, that’s why healthcare digital advertising is expected to overtake healthcare TV ad spend this year (Invoca). Recently, we explained a few social media hacks for pharma marketers which could be useful to elevate your digital marketing game.

But, even though people nowadays mostly find their healthcare provider via search engines, they still want to schedule their appointment the old-fashioned way – through the phone. Since 88% of appointments are scheduled via phone call, never forget to nurture the offline customer services you offer.

Also, as some of the data shows, healthcare consumers like to find out more about the healthcare provider before reaching out and scheduling an appointment or other type of health-related service. They are also likely to take into consideration other people’s experiences with certain healthcare providers. 

For example:

  • 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate provider (source: Invoca, Software Advice)
  • 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations (source: Invoca, Inc.com)

So, healthcare marketing has an important role in catching the prospective customer’s attention and in creating your overall image. Of course, you want to be seen as trustworthy and professional. But, as always, you need to make sure your marketing campaigns are based on truth.

At the end of the day, people trust customer reviews the most. They will probably only trust your campaign if it’s aligned with what they’ve heard or read about you. 

Healthcare marketing can be challenging

But, it is not always easy to create a great marketing campaign. Especially when you keep in mind some of the challenges marketers in the healthcare industry face. Some of the challenges are targeting limitations, special copywriting, or balancing authority and empathy, which are specific for the healthcare industry. To read more about the challenges of health care marketing, check out a great article on Forbes.

Luckily, there are many amazing healthcare campaigns that can serve as an example of a good marketing campaign. Having this in mind, we decided to name some of the best healthcare marketing campaigns in the last few years to help you get inspired.

Best healthcare marketing campaigns

New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Patient stories

What better way to attract potential patients than to share the inspiring stories of the patients you’ve already helped? The New York-Presbyterian Hospital serves as a great example of sharing true stories to show potential customers what they can expect from your services.

Their 2013 video marketing strategy was based on uplifting success stories told by their former patients who were saved by their medical center.

Organ Donor Foundation – Dead zone radio

South Africa’s Organ Donor Foundation has been active since 1988 in promoting organ donation throughout South Africa. In 2017, they came up with a truly marvelous way of catching people’s attention. 

They realized that when people in cars enter an underground parking garage, they lose the radio signal. So, instead of people listening to static noise when the signal dies, Organ Donor Foundation delivered them a life-saving message. Once the drivers entered the underground garage, they heard a message from ODF urging them to become organ donors.

Facing the health dangers

Besides urging people to do a good health-related deed, or to try out your services, healthcare marketing campaigns can also be used to alert the public about the need to prevent certain health risks. 

As we’ve shown in our previous blog about the do’s and don’ts of brands’ coronavirus responses, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important it is to have a good (digital) communication strategy. Especially when you need to alert the public about possible health-related dangers, and ways to prevent them. 

But, of course, it is not the first pandemic the modern world has had to face. The next examples on our best healthcare marketing campaigns list are related to campaigns made to tackle HIV and coronavirus.

MTV – #FCKHIV

We’re staying in South Africa for the next best healthcare marketing campaign example. MTV, in collaboration with Johannesburg-based agency Ogilvy & Mather, decided to tackle the HIV epidemic in South Africa by reaching out to young people on whom the usual health campaigns regarding safe sex practices don’t have a lot of effect.

In 2016, on World Aids Day, MTV launched a campaign in which they encouraged their (mostly younger) audience to get tested for HIV. They started a trend on social media whose task was simple. People had to take a photo of their middle finger with the #FCKHIV caption and share it.

They managed to get 1.2 million impressions in 5 hours, and #FCKHIV became the number one trending topic on Twitter in only 9 minutes. A pretty successful online campaign, one could say.

AdCouncil – Education on COVID-19 vaccine

As the coronavirus pandemic has shown us, the importance of a good (digital) communication strategy is crucial in all industries, especially in healthcare. 

Paradoxically, the best way to tackle misinformation is to provide more information. At least if you ask AdCouncil. They launched a campaign whose main goal was to answer the many vaccine-related questions and misinformation surrounding it. 

They urged people to visit their webpage and ask all they wanted to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. By doing so, they believe, it is easier to explain why vaccines are a positive solution to the coronavirus pandemic. And, in the long run, motivate people to get vaccinated. 

UN – Pause

When it comes to combating misinformation regarding COVID-19, we have to mention the United Nations and their Pause campaign. The campaign came with a simple message: Take care before you share. 

With the campaign, the UN urged people to fact-check everything they read on social media in order to stop the spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news about the coronavirus.

See me, Scotland – The Power of Okay

Last but definitely not least – mental health. 

The coronavirus pandemic affected not only our physical health but mental health too. Mental health issues are often called the silent pandemic, and the silent killer.

Even though we are becoming more and more aware of the importance of mental health, we still have a lot of talking and destigmatizing to do. We can follow See me Scotland’s example to learn how to combat mental health stigmatization.

In 2015, See Me, Scotland launched The Power of Okay campaign. The goal of the campaign was to tackle the stigma and discrimination about mental health, especially in the workplace. Besides a great video about the importance of talking to each other, which was shown online and in cinemas, See Me, Scotland also provided workers and brands with useful, educational resources to help them understand and combat mental health stigma.

In conclusion

It is no newsflash that a good marketing strategy is essential in all industries. And, the healthcare industry is no exception. Healthcare marketing can be used for various purposes – from attracting more customers to alerting people to act on certain health-related risks. 

As we’ve shown in this blog, there are various healthcare marketing campaigns that can be used as a great example of how to get your health-related message out there. 

All in all, even though healthcare marketing has its own special challenges, the advantages it can bring definitely overweigh the challenges, which makes it an important part of the healthcare industry.

Use media monitoring to get the most out of your marketing campaign

If you want to keep up with the success of your own healthcare marketing campaign – get into media monitoring. Use Mediatoolkit to track anything – from campaign hashtags to relevant keywords, and get insights into people’s reactions, rising trends & more!

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