By Jon Eggleton
According to a report released last month from eMarketer, a leader in digital research, healthcare marketers are at the forefront of explosive growth being seen by B2B digital ad spenders in 2020. B2B digital ad growth will top 22% this year across all sectors, while healthcare specifically is expected to see a spike of nearly 42% over 2019, the most of any category. While COVID19 has certainly played a role in this trend, digital channels as a whole are increasingly the preferred method to reach healthcare professionals that are otherwise difficult to engage. So how are these marketers using digital successfully in these uncertain times? We look at some of the most effective tactics for getting the best out of your marketing spend, at a time in which efficient marketing is critically important.
Finding Marketing Dollars In Cost-Conscious Times
Let’s face it, COVID19 has upended the financial planning and forecasting process for companies across the spectrum, and healthcare is no different. Reduced revenues as a result of facility closures, fewer appointments due to social distancing restrictions, etc. have certainly impacted the bottom line, and marketing is often the first line item to be cut. But on the flip side, there may also be opportunities created by budget dollars that may not have been spent. For many healthcare organizations, trade shows and conferences are an expensive budget item that has largely gone unused in 2020. We’ve seen clients re-allocate some of those dollars to marketing activities, in many cases using it to invest in branding campaigns to let their clients and prospects know they’re still around whenever needed. In a time when face-to-face selling is mostly unavailable, and healthcare professionals are distracted by other priorities, these kinds of campaigns can be more valuable than ever.
Webinars And Virtual Events Make A Comeback
In the absence of in-person networking and education opportunities, webinars and virtual sessions are enjoying a bit of a renaissance to fill the void. While these have long been a part of the B2B marketing toolkit, we see clients in healthcare enjoying attendance and participation in these events at a significantly higher rate in 2020 than in recent years. Some of this is clearly due to necessity, as large industry conferences have been forced into entirely virtual events, which in turn has shifted the mindset of would-be attendees toward online engagement. There’s also something to be said for wanting to stay connected to one’s peers, and not wanting to fall out of touch with the industry. Try to understand what business challenges your clients and prospects are most concerned about in these uncertain times, and tailor programming around these topics. Don’t be afraid to be creative; perhaps follow a late afternoon webinar with a Q & A video session where you encourage participants to bring a glass of wine or their favorite beverage, to mimic an in-person event to the extent possible. Healthcare professionals, just like
those in any other vertical, want opportunities to stay up to date on the latest trends, especially true in an industry that is seeing massive changes due to the pandemic.
Paid Digital Media Can Deliver A Highly Targeted Audience
In its report, eMarketer expects that the business social network LinkedIn will receive a fifth of all B2B digital ad spend in 2020. It’s no coincidence that it has become a dominant vehicle for healthcare marketers as well, offering up an opportunity to target a highly targeted audience with little waste circulation. It’s also a great place to leverage first-party data collected from an organization’s database to further refine those efforts. Prospecting lists, even those that may only contain a healthcare provider’s name can be utilized to target executives and decision makers from just those organizations that you deem to be appropriate. In tandem with LinkedIn’s ability to go after specific job titles, you can really build a custom campaign using the platform. While CPCs (cost per click) are usually high with this level of micro-targeting, we’ve seen clients generate significantly higher engagement than traffic driven from other marketing activities, thus canceling out the higher per click costs. In an environment like healthcare marketing where a single qualified lead can be so valuable, this is critically important, and can solidify your reputation as a thought leader in the space.
Jon Eggleton is the co-founder and managing partner of Traktion Partners, LLC. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Traktion helps both B2B and B2C healthcare companies utilize digital marketing tools to generate new leads, and reach highly targeted audiences.