The research is clear. Patients want more control over their healthcare. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) allow patients to review notes from their doctors and keep loved ones informed. The booming healthcare app market is helping individuals and families live healthier, more fulfilling lives. And the popularity of websites like WebMD show that patients want to feel on-par with the rest of their medical team in understanding diagnosis and treatments.
Is it any wonder that pharmaceutical companies are giving patients what they want? By 2021, some analysts estimate that healthcare ad spend will catapult to $11.56 billion, with consistent year-over-year growth. The health industry is providing patients with information they need in order to stay healthy – although hypochondriacs may find the power of suggestion a bit overwhelming – to the dismay of their PCP.
Healthcare Advertising Targeted at Preventative Care Education
Where there’s money to be spent, there’s careful research and analysis – especially in the marketing industry. The exciting trend that we’re beginning to see is the use of targeted advertising by insurers and community healthcare providers to encourage patients to embrace healthier lifestyle choices and ensure preventative care is completed. The patients that act on this advice are able to significantly lower the cost of providing ongoing care – as their risk for costly and life-shattering illnesses decrease with the improvement in overall health.
It’s understandable that much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was centered around encouraging the citizens to seek preventative medical care. The CDC site does an excellent job of communicating this message, but how many people actually see it? The answer is not very many.
Pharmaceutical Advertisements Are Shifting Based on Analytical Marketing Trends
Private healthcare corporations are much more effective at getting their message across – thanks to generous TV and online advertising budgets, afforded to them by intellectual property rights that developers of new medications enjoy.
Traditionally, advertisements for new prescriptions appeared on television. Do you recall the Cialis bathtub couples, or the medic alert advertisements for seniors that had fallen and couldn’t get up? But these types of ads are losing their effectiveness thanks to the record-breaking number of homes cutting the cord and switching to streaming platforms like Netflix, which feature commercial-free entertainment.
Instead, analytical marketing is honing a digital message for these brands – allowing them to reach much further with targeted online advertising. But, yet again, big data analysis shows that consumers are becoming increasingly blind to traditional online ads.
Patient Self-Care is guided by Independent Medical Product Review Sites
For examples of effective marketing of new products in the digital age, look no further than the electric blanket industry. Unconventional? Yes. But powerful landing pages and independent review sites like TheSleepStudies.com are helping internet-savvy health shoppers find products to fix what ails them, without an expensive copay or missed days at work to try and make it to a doctor’s appointment.
The power of unbiased, informative reviews cannot be understated. As new healthcare products and treatments emerge, the great God of Google becomes the modern physician’s assistant – throwing out links to solutions to whatever may ail you.
Google Is Where Patients First Turn When Feeling Symptoms
All of this data is then cranked into AdSense – a platform that health marketers use to guide their efforts. With massive search engines compiling data on searches performed around the world, emerging health trends become clearer – guiding independent medical sites to produce content aimed at solving these issues.
Google might not always get it right – you probably remember the Google flu trend fiasco of 2015 – but informed healthcare marketing teams can compile their own internal statistics with publicly available data to create massive healthcare databases that bridge the gap between patient needs and health industry communication efforts.
And, in the end, healthcare professionals remain the most credible source of information – in part because they have instant access to emerging healthcare data and insights with the tap of a smartphone screen. While many patients turn to Google first, they rely on their physician to translate the information they’ve read up on their own.
I’m personally excited to see patients become more involved in their healthcare. It’s an important step in alleviating the crush of unnecessary doctor’s office visits that cause extended waits for individuals in need of more urgent care. But, it’s very easy for patients to misinterpret healthcare information. So, in the end, it’s a balancing act. Although there’s no doubting the benefits of analytical marketing in getting the right information in front of the right patient in their time of need.