Health Marketing survey reveals three key trends for 2022

Pulse Issue 2 2022

"Health Marketing survey reveals three key trends for 2022"

Bastion Brands’ benchmark health marketing survey, just completed for the third year with a selection of Australia’s pharma marketing professionals, has pinpointed the evolving direction pharma marketing is taking in a Covid disrupted market.

The results show three consistently clear trends:

> The emergence of digital as a cornerstone
> The rise of digital content and Video on demand (VOD)
> The increasing importance of Med Ed

However, feedback from survey questions asking ‘where the future was heading’ stopped short of saying the digital landscape would be the formula for every marketing need.

The emergence of digital as a cornerstone in marketing

If it wasn’t already apparent, the Bastion Brands survey confirm digital is increasingly becoming the key medium of most healthcare marketing activity.

In the past three years, the importance of digital has risen dramatically. When asked what activity they spent most time on, whilst sales team engagement and materials scored highly, (6.8), digital marketing was the next with 6.6.

In terms of most effective channels, digital content topped the list with 91% of respondents rating it as the most important digital channel, with eDM communication at 80% and virtual conferences at 43%.

Importantly, the role of digital within multi and omnichannel mixes became even more dominant, with one respondent revealing, “(we) pulled planned investment in conferences almost entirely and reallocated this to online webinars.

Looking ahead, respondents raised concerns around the “continued lack of customer rapport building, increased virtual fatigue from customers, (and) maintaining message momentum.”

Many were understandably happier to be able to not rely so heavily on digital and start imagining the ability to “cut through to HCPs and maintaining engagement with them in a hybrid future.”

The rise of Video on demand (VOD)

VOD has seen a large increase in priority and has become an important marketing tactic. One respondent reporting a video 40% increase in viewership during Covid.

Most respondents also predicted VOD and Online content in general as a trend that would not change focus in 2022, as one respondent added: “(digital resources, rep emails etc), is essentially an evolution of how we provide content.”

Another comment showed the shift in thinking, with one respondent saying “(we) pulled planned investment in conferences almost entirely and reallocated this budget to Online and digital comms with a focus on reduced length, and snackable content.”

The digital content strategies also favoured marketers who were prepared to work at being flexible with content to shift with rapid changes, saying “ongoing adjustments of content, timings and channels rather than having the year locked in.”

The increasing importance of Med Ed

The lack of face-to-face opportunity in the vital area of Med Ed has also given rise to the reliance on digital channels. It’s clear that during the past three years, Med Ed has officially shifted to Web Ed.

One respondent said Med Ed is “always important as that’s the key value that we offer (aside from simplification of data). The strategy has refined since COVID to do less, but better, and will continue like that going forward.”

KOL videos and webinars still lead the way, with online learning modules, advisory boards and conference symposiums becoming more popular.

Many believe strongly in the ‘hybrid’ future – offering both F2F and digital options for participants and in particular small meetings/dinners where possible – as face to face is prized at the moment!

Another respondent commented: “Direct to patient media (radio) – was chosen to generate patient awareness for new product launch.”

An underlying commitment to patients 

Covid has helped many to feel more empathy toward each other. In particular, it has given rise to genuine care and support for patients.

Many respondents suggesting that social media campaigns and connecting with end-users would be an increasingly important part of their marketing spend.

One respondent saying they saw increased value in “delivering Patient Focus Initiatives – improving the value to patients and seeing customers with purpose.”

Another respondent listed patient focussed activity in their top three ‘most valuable tactics’, placing ‘Patient focused campaigns’ at number two behind digital strategy and ahead of webinars.

While the pandemic has physically shifted our focus, it seems that emotionally we are still – as an industry – firmly entrenched in delivering better outcomes to patients.

But the way we get our messages across – for now at least – remains firmly entrenched in the plethora of digital and virtual options.

If you would like to share the results of our benchmark health marketer surveys in more detail, please contact us for more.

Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545
Dan King
M: 0439 190 700

We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.