Understanding the power of video and social media in healthcare, launching digital experiences fast, and recognising the muscle of storytelling, are the most powerful marketing tools in 2016 and beyond, according to industry experts speaking at the inaugural PRIME Academy’s Digital Excellence in Healthcare Sales and Marketing.
Last week’s PRIME Academy, developed by Cirrus Media and sponsored by Farmaforce and Healthshare, brought together healthcare marketing and publishing experts to discuss digital excellence and share key insights about how healthcare professionals engage with digital content.
Brad Bennett, head of technology at The Hallway, which specialises in content and technology, identified three critical areas for healthcare marketers: always design for mobile, launch quickly and evolve digital assets, and recognise the power of data.
Bennett said a good digital experience didn’t need to be a shiny new bauble – to establish continued relevance and ROI, it was about using existing technologies well, launching quickly and evolving based on user interaction.
“Stop wasting time on research and projects that confirm what you already know – that GPs are time poor. Focus your efforts on identifying what they will interact with. How do your users interact with your digital properties?”
“Good digital gets out the door quickly and evolves. Get it out there and find out if people use it. Then drop it or re-invent it. It’s better to launch and tweak based on the user interaction,” he said.
Bennett said good user experiences should focus on utility, and that key messages needed to be pithy to capture doctors’ attention in 1-2 seconds.
That message was reiterated by Matt Rowley, director of content at Cirrus Media, publisher of Australian Doctor, Medical Observer, 6minutes and Pharmacy News, who revealed doctors were engaging with digital 150 times a day and that 44% of doctors checked Facebook at least daily.
“We need to think about HCPs differently; GPs are people too, they’re like the rest of us. They’re looking for snackable content and they are looking to be entertained.
“Especially with video, it’s starting to punch above its weight and how else would you get to 5000 GPs in two weeks,” said Rowley, adding that through its reach and engagement, Cirrus was delivering cost per engagement as low as $9 per doctor.
Rowley also urged delegates to keep abreast of new capabilities, especially in Facebook. Cirrus has had success experimenting with ‘Canvas’, a multi-media platform in Facebook that featured various content types, which he described as a watershed moment in digital marketing.
Drawing on insights from the Cirrus mastheads, which have seen 300% digital growth in five years, Rowley said healthcare marketers should also focus on developing content around therapy areas, not just about brand or product.
David Cousins, founding partner and head of planning of Ward6, said that while creating buzz around mature products and therapeutic areas was challenging, the key was great story telling.
“We need to start thinking differently about how we do it,” said Cousins, adding that Australian pharmaceutical companies are too often “caught up in the minutiae what we can and can’t do”.
As the Prime Awards 2015 Marketing Campaign of the Year winner, Cousins used his winning campaign to demonstrate the power of storytelling which featured a patient-centred documentary approach.
“You don’t have to bombard GPs with hard-core technical medical information. That’s what we tried to do with this [campaign]; put forward something that was engaging first and foremost,” he said, adding that stories were powerful because they make ideas stick.
“This industry has a fantastic opportunity to embrace story telling. The more effective we are at embracing storytelling, the more effective our communications are going to be.”
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