Aman Gupta is the Co-founder of D Yellow Elephant (a digital and creative agency) who has spent over two decades working in communications across the Asia-Pacific region with crisis management, government affairs & advocacy, and stakeholder engagement as key areas of expertise. He works extensively on adapting new media and technology in order to deliver up-to-date communications strategies. Aman carries a cutting-edge understanding of the pharmaceutical space that enables him to grasp the nuances of emerging technology and innovation in the healthcare market.
There is no one hack that works in the world of digital marketing. There never has been. One of the most dynamic and foundational forms of marketing there exists today is digital; and just a few years ago, it was still fledgling. The pandemic put a real hard step on that pedal, and over the last year, we’ve seen digital marketing accelerate its way into being one of the most relied upon, preferred, and influential spaces. However, within this year, the digital verse has rapidly evolved. We are witnessing changes on a daily basis. Be it in the form of software updates, UX/UI changes, data collection, listening, and analytics, or mapping ever-changing social algorithms – to keep up with the trend is an exhaustive process and requires strategies that are flexible, yet resilient.
The marketing model today is undoubtedly 360 degree in nature as well as informed, up-to-date, targeted and evolutionary. With data leading the way and algorithms dictating reach, any marketing model, offline or online, works on understanding its consumer thoroughly, while knowing where to draw the line of privacy. It is almost a tricky spot for most marketers as they try to step back from what’s come to be known as the “creep factor” in marketing – how do you tell your consumer you understand them without invading their privacy? This is where digital marketing trends have turned top through the pandemic as more and more sectors have sought digital intervention. One of those sectors is healthcare.
Due to heavy regulations, the healthcare sector has been largely conservative in its digital approach. While other industries deep-dived into rapidly pacing their online and social media presence, the healthcare sector has been watchful of new trends in marketing. Having said that, over the last year, they’ve had to relook their approach primarily due to the shift in consumer behaviour. A survey recently indicated that nearly 72% of people using the internet have not only searched for health-related information but health topics are ranked in the top five searches across the world. Numbers are hard to ignore. So, if consumers are online, healthcare had to step up. This comes with a host of challenges because healthcare is not like any other industry. Responsibility and credibility are paramount here. Digital strategies in healthcare revolve around engagement and require specialist domain knowledge.
Building knowledge capital
Digital marketing provides the healthcare industry an opportunity to go straight to the consumer. Research suggests that over 70% of people are heavily influenced by health information they find online, which in turn impacts their decision-making with regard to treatment. For a digital marketer in the healthcare space, this is a great way to connect with consumers and build lasting relationships. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) have over the last year capitalized on this opportunity by actively engaging with their patients. In fact, a McKinsey survey showed that over 75% of their respondents loved to speak to their specialists online. Today, from the comfort of their homes, people are able to turn to the internet and get access to HCPs. Something we wouldn’t have seen coming before the COVID-19 pandemic broke.
What the tech? A world full of possibilities
Do a simple google search, and the number one digital marketing trend to pop up in the current scenario would be Artificial Intelligence. If you’re an internet user, chances are you’ve already interacted with an AI chatbot that has solved your queries or popped up a quick “Hi!” when you visited a website. AI is not the future. It is the present and it is the biggest digital marketing opportunity that is out there. From chatbots, to voice search optimization, it dictates most of the content consumed by users today. In the healthcare space, it has made access to healthcare easier and helps keep users engaged longer.
Moreover, AI enables personalization which is key to targeted marketing and a crucial standpoint in healthcare communications. AI is a complex technology that is consistently feeding off data and learning. This can help HCPs target personalized information to patients and other stakeholders.
Search engine dominance
The role of search engine optimization (SEO) is underestimated in digital marketing. It is considered a hygiene factor, whereas it is probably one of the most effective digital marketing tools. This understanding has deepened over the last year, but not entirely. User experience is led primarily by layout response, optimized voice-search, good content, design, navigation, and load time. If correctly used, an efficient SEO strategy can improve how HCPs connect with patients as well as increase visibility on search results and drive more organic traffic to healthcare websites. The latest data from top-rated search engines showed that over 70% of people searching for health information, click on the results listed on the first page.
Content will always take the top spot
To this end, no strategy would work if the content is weak. Content marketing remains the most important element of digital marketing for all sectors, but more so for healthcare. This is where credibility and a deep understanding of the sector come into play. Unless there is a proper content channel strategy put in place, backed by in-depth domain knowledge, it is hard to create an impactful digital campaign in healthcare. The digital verse allows for varied forms of content. Blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts, e-newsletters, are only a few examples that can be optimized for content marketing to showcase expertise to the right audience. This helps engage audiences effectively and garner credibility.
The future of healthcare is strategic digital marketing. Thus, while digital marketing trends evolve in what we call the “new normal”, a new era of healthcare marketing in the digital space has emerged as the new normal. And we are all for it.