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Looking at the Data: 4 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2019

By Melissa Baratta | On December 12, 2018

Last week I attended a healthcare marketing & advertising event hosted by Silverlight Digital, where experts from Google, Verywell, YouTube and others shared the latest healthcare search data and their predictions on where the industry is headed in the coming year. Not surprisingly, the overall key takeaway from the event was that as marketers, we cannot base our plans solely on what has worked in the past or what we think might work going forward – our plans really must be rooted in data.

Here are 4 key trends for healthcare marketing in 2019 based on the many presentations of the day:

  1. Video is (still) huge: The average person spends 5 ½ hours per day watching video. If you’re not creating video content in 2019, you’re not effectively engaging your audience. Video is especially effective on Facebook, but it’s also becoming popular on LinkedIn. And, don’t disregard YouTube – if you think it’s all about funny cat videos and makeup tutorials, think again. About 56% of patients research a health concern on YouTube, and the 45+ demographic is the fastest growing segment on the platform. A few tips for creating video content: be authentic, highlight people rather than places, develop for mobile, and grab people’s attention in the first 5 seconds – and, once you have it, keep the pace quick and the messages short.
  2. Caregivers take priority: The data – particularly online search data – overwhelmingly shows that many healthcare decisions are made by caregivers. It’s a huge mistake to only target patients. Healthcare organizations should also develop content specifically designed for caregivers; by doing so they can attract a bigger audience, position themselves as a resource, and provide the information and tools to help enable caregivers to make informed decisions for their loved ones.
  3. Content based on data insights is key: There is so much meaningless content out there – created just for the sake of it. It’s time: no more click bait, no more content just to get your brand out there, and no more fluff. When creating content, don’t ask, “How can I get people to click on my report/byline/ad, etc.?” Instead, start by doing research on what people are actually interested in. What questions are they asking? What challenges are they having? What do they need from you? If you have the capability to do your own research – by surveying your customers for example – great. Otherwise, you can leverage third party data and reports that already exist, commission a survey through a vendor, or gather insights from an alternative data company.
  4. “Hearables” will change patient behavior: Hearables – a new wave of wearable in-ear devices that not only enhance the listening experience, but will be able to monitor vital signs, activity tracking and more – will fundamentally change patient behavior. This is especially true for seniors, who may have a more challenging time with emerging tech and are not necessarily big adopters of wearables like the Apple Watch or Fitbit. Hearables will provide a better healthcare experience for these patients, and will not only change the landscape for physicians, but will provide a new opportunity for marketers as well.

Finally, a bonus tip: take inspiration from other industries. It pays to look outside the category at what other companies are doing in order to get creative. Then figure out how you can adopt it successfully in your own company.

Of course, developing your plans based on data is important, but measuring the success of how your video, content, or caregiver marketing campaign actually fared is critical as well – so don’t neglect to incorporate metrics into your 2019 plan as well.

If you’re still developing your PR & marketing plan for next year and looking for some fresh eyes, shoot me an email (mbaratta@affect.com) – Affect would be happy to work with you on some ideas.

Melissa Baratta

Melissa is a Senior Vice President at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with technology and healthcare companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa served as Managing Director for Ricochet Public Relations.