Healthcare Industry Preparing for Digital Marketing Boom: Are you Prepared?


Across industries, companies are expecting to grow their Digital Marketing (DM) budgets in an effort to better compete in this fast-growing sector. Despite this, the healthcare sector is lagging behind in their DM participation due to increased FDA regulations. Leaders in the healthcare field should be prepared; however, as a late-stage surge in Digital Marketing participation is expected. By studying key trends, executives can identify how to effectively manage their service costs and better serve their business units and their products.

One of Best Practices’ recent benchmarking reports identifies winning strategies for management, staffing, and budget allocation of these groups in order to help executives better understand the importance of the Digital Marketing function. Among the key findings identified in the research report, three focal areas are identified below. Takeaways to keep in mind from these sections include:

  • Investing to Keep Pace in Digital Marketing – In the past 24 months, nearly 75% of all respondents have increased their DM budgets. Half of all reported budgets have also grown more than 10%. In order to keep pace with non-healthcare companies, organizations must invest to innovate.
  • Measurable Analytics are the Key to Success – Most healthcare companies lag behind other industries in formally tracking digital marketing analytics. Those who track the greatest number of DM metrics are more likely to find metrics they use highly effective. In an article by McKinsey Quarterly, the growth of Digital Marketing in the healthcare industry still has many issues that need to be addressed for success. A key quote from the article included:

“Hobbled by nascent technologies, inconsistent metrics, and a reliance on outdated models, marketers are failing to tap the digital world’s full power. Unless this problem is addressed, the inability to make accurate measurements of digital advertising’s effectiveness across channels and consumer touch points will continue to promote the misallocation of budgets and to impede the [healthcare] industry’s growth.”

  -McKinsey Quarterly 

  • Be Aware of the Opportunities & Challenges Associated with FDA Regulations – In recent years, healthcare companies have been reluctant to increase their involvement in DM functions due to complications associated with current FDA regulations. Despite these worries, many companies have ventured into the environment. As an example, Bayer became one of the first large Pharma companies involved on the social media site, “Pinterest”. By effectively planning & reacting to the obstacles associated with the strict regulations, Pharma companies can reap major benefits.

Clearly there are countless benefits that come with having a sound DM function in place. It is critical to keep in mind that these benefits do not come without challenges. Despite this, further growth of DM budgets is anticipated in the future. As the healthcare industry becomes more familiar and comfortable with the FDA Regulations that are in place, the Digital Marketing function will continue to boom.

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