2 Outlooks for Healthcare Marketing in 2018
One of the biggest changes Target Marketing saw in healthcare marketing during 2017 was the move to the cloud, which we predict will only continue. Here are a few more insights into 2018 from industry insiders.
Yesterday, Sanjeev Agrawal wrote in Managed Healthcare Executive that there are five major changes happening in the industry, overall — not just in marketing. On Dec. 19, Remedy Health Media President Jim Curtis told Target Marketing there are three outlooks specific to how consumers get their information and, as a result, seek out healthcare marketers. But one thing’s definite. Agrawal, the president and CMO of healthcare predictive analytics firm LeanTaaS, sums it up:
“The winds of change swept through healthcare in 2017, leaving in their path more uncertainty than perhaps ever before.”
Healthcare Marketing’s Move to the Cloud
Google, Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce all created resources for healthcare marketers in the cloud, or even competing services, Target Marketing noticed.
Agrawal, the healthcare marketing software executive, published this insight yesterday:
“If 2017 taught us anything, it is this: 2018 will be another year where managed care executives, payers, providers, and pharmaceutical and life sciences organizations face continued legislative and regulatory upheaval as consumers demand more, better access. Healthcare providers will continue to feel pressure to accelerate their companies’ transformations using advanced data science and mobile technologies.
"I believe those who invest in health IT ahead of the curve, focus on better utilizing the mountains of data they strain to secure and look to connect systems as never before will emerge from an uncertain year better positioned to succeed and prosper.”
He also predicts that healthcare marketers will use analytics in operations to increase profits, rather than to improve patient outcomes; but they’ll use data-sharing opportunities (blockchain) mainly to benefit patients.
“Blockchain-based solutions are already in the prototype stage and represent the first step in providing patients ‘with one-stop-shop access to their medical history across multiple providers.’ One prototype uses blockchain technology to manage authentication, confidentiality, accountability and data-sharing (data, such as blood work records, vaccination history, prescriptions and other therapeutic treatments).”
How Consumers Will Receive Healthcare Marketing
Curtis, the head of “anti-WebMD” company Remedy Health Media, oversees condition-specific sites including HealthCentral and TheBody.com, which focus on post-diagnosis information (not diagnosis like WebMD). He says consolidation in his field will continue:
“In the summer, KKR acquired WebMD for $2.8 billion. More recently, it’s been announced that TIME and its health-focused portfolio will be acquired by Meredith Corp. My company, Remedy Health, was also acquired several weeks ago. Why? There’s now massive opportunity in digital health media. The ways that people receive information and services — including treatment — is constantly changing. So next year, the sites and properties that motivate and inspire healthy behavior and change — or create patient communities online — will do best.
“However, trust is king in this space. It’s one of the biggest contributing factors to a health publisher’s success. Through the Internet and social media, more channels exist for health information than ever before. This leaves audiences increasingly skeptical about where they should go for information and advice. Ultimately, the digital brands that provide premium content and earn the trust of their audience will win the day. The industry’s 2017 acquisitions show that it’s these properties that are in high-demand and winning.”
One of the competitors may be healthcare marketers themselves — Target Marketing blogger Chuck McLeester said providers could use mobile marketing to ensure patient education increased pharmaceutical understanding and compliance.
Providers did rate the highest level of patient trust in content marketing, per Target Marketing’s synopsis of a study to which it appears Curtis alludes:
“Only 14 percent of consumers trust the health information they receive on TV. Additionally, more than one-third of consumers have never contacted a doctor about a medication they’ve seen online. The ROI from traditional linear TV is very low. On the other hand, nearly 70 percent of consumers seek out health information on the Internet. Next year, expect advertisers to recognize this and invest heavily in online media.”
Curtis says healthcare marketers will increasingly move into the digital space despite worries about regulation. Programmatic marketing may lure them, despite 2017’s problems. He says:
“The most widely known examples are with YouTube advertisers, who recently found their ads programmatically placed alongside offensive and controversial videos.”
YouTube remedied the problems that advertisers across all verticals noticed in April.
But Curtis thinks programmatic will have to earn back healthcare marketers’ trust, and his vertical will likely stick with “direct sales, at least until programmatic technologies incorporate better safeguards to make sure they’re selling brand-safe spaces. Advertisers will demand more control over where their ads are placed. And the publishers who give advertisers the most control — in a premium environment — will come out on top.”
What do you think, marketers?
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Related story: Amazon Pushes Further Into Cloud Healthcare