Social Media — Shaping the Healthcare Marketing Landscape

Contributed by:

Teresa Shiang, Director, Social, Ogilvy Health

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The continuing rise of social and digital media has changed the landscape of marketing, and the impact of this on the healthcare industry is just as large as that of any other vertical. The digital and social landscape can feel overwhelming, with constant changes to social platforms, new digital media capabilities, and a constant influx of additional data to analyze. The benefits and the new opportunities this opens for clients in the healthcare space completely outweigh any teething pains. As the healthcare social lead at Ogilvy Health, I have a real-world lens on this complex issue and the impact it is having in healthcare marketing. Below I’ll take you through three major opportunities that the growth of digital in this space has presented for my team and my clients.

Audience Segmentation and Targeted Distribution

With the different consumer data points available through the rise of digital, marketers can now create unique audience segments in how we structure our communications. We can use the targeting capabilities of digital and social media to bring each audience group through their personal communications journeys. Marketers can build different consumer personas for each client to be able to not only speak to patient and HCP audiences differently, but also understand the varying archetypes of different patients and HCPs. We are then able to use the targeting capabilities of digital media, social media, email, and mobile targeting to speak to each segment with a distinctive voice and deliver unique content and experiences with the healthcare brand.

Data Intelligence

In a similar vein, marketers should be strategic about their audience approach through the analysis of data. I’m a big believer that digital and social intelligence are the foundations of any marketing campaign. The use of data essentially allows us to take everything going on in social — every data point — and turn it into a science. Marketers should be leveraging social listening and getting their arms around all first- and third-party client data to understand what patient and HCP consumers are saying about particular brands, and what their daily pain points are as they relate to various indications and disease states. Beyond that, we are able to use a suite of proprietary tools to tap into the data online to understand opportunities for our clients, including a LinkedIn intelligence tool to help determine what content behaviors individuals of specific specialties, job titles, and companies have on the platform. For one client, my team produces a quarterly data intelligence report to understand how their key audience — neurologists and mental health specialists — behaves and what they consume online in order to map out future opportunities for them. This allows them to be proactive rather than reactive with their social media marketing.

Content and Creative Testing

Content defines the quality of digital consumer interactions. Therefore, an insightful social content approach needs to be at the center of everything we make as marketers. Content can take many different shapes, be executed in a myriad of formats, and play a role across the customer journey from building brand awareness and preference to driving sales and advocacy.

The current digital marketing landscape allows healthcare marketers to conduct creative testing in a much easier and quicker way compared with traditional marketing tactics.
Because we’re able to create many more creative and messaging versions for digital media, we’re able to quickly learn what’s working and prioritize top-performing content. It’s a good idea for agencies to work with partners at the different social platforms to conduct Brand Lift Studies, which measure the impact of key metrics like awareness and perception, not just for each healthcare client, but at the campaign level as well. These platforms allow marketers to measure the effectiveness of their ads through customer feedback, based on customizable questions. This is a much faster way to gauge response and quickly determine what is working — and what’s not — compared with traditional surveys.

Overall, the meteoric rise of digital and social and the ongoing rise of data continue to significantly influence the way patients, consumers, and HCPs engage with disease and health information. Those marketers who not only recognize the value there but fully embrace and utilize these tools to help their brands navigate the complex landscape are far better poised for success and will ultimately be in a position to distinguish themselves, even in the most competitive markets.(PV)


Ogilvy Health is a global network that delivers insight, creativity and innovation to drive growth and impact for our clients’ brands.
For more information, visit ogilvyhealth.com.

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