Healthcare Marketing—It’s All About the Data
When developing marketing strategies, healthcare organizations typically use data-driven approaches that leverage quantitative and qualitative research and reports to gain insights into the market, along with patients’ needs, preferences and experiences.
Along with internal snapshots gained from patient surveys, reviews or focus groups, also consider external data from healthcare industry reports, competitor analyses and consumer trends. This information helps you predict changes in the landscape. If one thing remains constant in healthcare marketing, it’s change.
Gaining a deeper understanding of what’s going on beyond the immediate healthcare industry is beneficial to developing targeted campaigns that resonate with patients, other stakeholders, internal audiences and the community.
What journalists think.
Among the stakeholder groups vital to marketing success are the media—what they think, how they’re responding to their changing industry and healthcare coverage.
A State of Journalism 2023 survey of more than 2,200 journalists—mostly US based—reveals what drives journalists’ decisions. Among major findings that can impact your earned media strategy are:
- Most respondents primarily work online with about half also working in print; print-only journalists make up 6% of those surveyed, and TV- and radio-only drop lower;
- The number of journalists likely to respond to a pitch is up slightly from 2022 but still only 29%; they don’t respond to pitches because of irrelevant topics, lack of personalization and timing;
- Most journalists receive up to five pitches a day and some more than 250 a week depending on the market;
- Shareable stories influence coverage with 66% saying they actively track the number of times their stories are shared on social media; what makes stories shareable—trending topics, pitches with images or infographics, exclusivity (76%), and localized topics relevant to target audiences;
- Journalists responding to a pitch depends on how you pitch—92% want to be pitched one-on-one by email; 21% prefer to be pitched on Monday, and 55% don’t have a day-of-the-week preference; 61% want to be pitched before noon; 88% prefer pitches of 300 words or less; 45% says one follow up 3–7 days later is ideal;
- While half of the journalists admit they’ve considered leaving Twitter, 90% use the platform to follow news, 78% to promote their own work and 69% to find sources;
- Only 25% of responding journalists cover healthcare; 10% wellness and fitness;
- Millennials (57%) are the media’s top target audience, followed by Gen X (52%), Boomers (43%) and Gen Z (41%).
What CEOs think.
A Communications Benchmark Executive Summary 2023 shows despite some progress since post-2020, gaps still exist between the C-Suite and communications teams.
The poll of some 1,000 communications leaders suggests that C-suite executives now task communications teams with more than branding, creative, content strategy and public relations. Marketing teams often oversee diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. This new area of responsibility also has a new descriptor—”mixternal” communications.
Major findings from the poll include:
- CEOs increasingly focus more on measurement and expect comms teams to create and deliver uncomplicated, accurate and persuasive messaging;
- Trust gaps between executive perceptions and employee and consumer perceptions are significant—87% of execs think consumers “highly trust their companies” compared to 30% of consumers who do, and 84% think their employees “highly trust their companies” while only 69% of employees say they do;
- Many C-suites now want marketing and communications initiatives to include recruitment, retention and employee wellness; they understand the need to recruit and retain talented communicators and marketing professionals with the skill set to recruit and retain employees to other departments;
- Communications teams again find themselves bridging the gap between C-suite and employee perceptions—54% of leadership and only 39% of employees say diversity is a priority for the organization; 56% of employees think executives care about their well-being, while 91% of the C-suite say employees would say well-being is priority.
What marketing communications teams think.
In 2020, the word “pivot” drove healthcare marketing strategies. COVID-19 may no longer be officially designated as a pandemic, but “pivoting” continues.
A recent survey reveals some of the top challenges expected by marketers in 2023:
- Generating traffic and leads—Changes to privacy and cookie tracking have sent marketing teams, particularly in healthcare, scrambling for alternate ways to generate leads. The plethora of content channels and changing trends as well as fickle consumer preferences add more hurdles to producing measurable metrics.
- Hiring top talent—The Great Resignation and remote work prompt concerns for hiring, retaining and training marketing teams. Being skilled writers or creative designers are no longer the most desired skills for marketers. According to a LinkedIn report, they also need technology, business management, research and analytical skills. As it turns out, comms professionals do need to know math!
- Marketing plan pivots—Actually planning to pivot is considered the top challenge to 17% of survey respondents. One lesson that 2020 taught is to plan for the unexpected. Otherwise, performance metrics, budgets and market preference are at risk. When developing campaign strategy, always keep another option on the table.
- Securing budgets—The ask from marketing departments for more budgets, more staff and more pay now expands to requests for technology upgrades, professional development and ongoing training. Healthcare marketing budgets have not made a comeback since 2019 when healthcare marketing spending peaked at $12.3 million. Overall, budgets are expected to decline by 8% in 2023.
While challenges have increased exponentially over the past three years, tracking data and trends and staying prepared for the next “big thing” or crisis can help you develop smart, agile healthcare marketing strategy.
TotalCom is a full-service marketing agency helping brands like yours tell their story to the right audiences. Email Lori Moore or call TotalCom Marketing Communications at 205.345.7363 to see how TotalCom may be the right fit for you.