Clear your mind for some simple thought exercises to question what and how you are marketing your product. We know 2024 will be a year of unprecedented opportunities for healthcare marketers, and for many, that means finally getting your act together. I want to share 8 thought exercises worth your brain's bandwidth. Indeed, you may have thought through many of these, but as a digital healthcare marketer, all of them are worth contemplating again from this point of view. For me, a light bulb begins glowing only after I've heard something 25 times. My list leaves the most crucial thoughts till the end. The order is based on my observations, having worked with hundreds of healthcare marketers and seeing their struggle.
8. Generative AI– You have yet to think about and explore all the possibilities here. Yes, AI revolutionizes digital marketing by generating text content, images, animations, and video in seconds. Yes, marketers are encouraged to nurture new skills and learn to co-create with AI, including advanced prompting techniques and leveraging AI's capabilities while adding human creativity and reasoning. We used to spend all our time coming up with many marketing concepts and then choosing one to implement - but with AI, along with Martech, we can create many concepts and try them all. AI should help you develop lots of content and ads, all of which can be tested to see which versions move the needle, convert the best, or land on page one of Google SERPS. Embrace these tools to create immersive, impactful campaigns faster and less expensively and prove that how you have been doing it is still the best. Also, remember that the novelty of AI is already wearing off, so we're back to what's most relevant to the customer - quality over quantity.
7. Stop Imprisoning Your Offer in Banners– In 2024, DTC and HCP marketers will allocate even more of their budgets to native ads, video, social media, search, and other non-banner engagement mechanisms. There's a reason for this: chronic patients and HCPs are among the most heavily marketed groups on the Web. Banners are bombarding your target audience like never before, and many now have a nasty case of banner blindness. All those healthcare DSPs you use are excellent platforms, but they all carry your standard 300x250 or 300x600 through the identical programmatic pipes to the same banner positions, most of which are easily dismissible as they load in the right rail. And yet, you're still paying for impressions, not engagement. Healthcare marketers agree that content marketing works. Content marketing never starts with a banner. Healthcare content marketing begins with content-style vehicles in content-style placements on health, medical, and wellness sites where target audiences are in the frame of mind to discover your offer. Content marketing means driving users to an editorial, an advertorial, earned media, or a product landing page. Consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than banner ads. 25% more were measured to look at in-feed native ad placements (the most common editorial native ad format) than banner ads. Native ads' average cost per click is considerably lower than a banner's eCPC, and most native ad vendors sell on a cost-per-click basis rather than a cost per 1000 impressions (CPM). For RX marketers, two styles of FDA-approved ads are well suited to native: Help Seeking Ads and Reminder Ads. In 2024, think inside the content where your target audience is engaged.
6. Marketers Must Understand Operations– As a marketer, you should know every detail about how your product is created and delivered because those details are at least half the marketing. Remember the "It's Toasted" scene in Madmen? If you don't, you can watch it on YouTube. The point of the scene is that the most minor, even commodified, details about your product's creation or delivery can become the most compelling marketing message. The more you know about your operations and fulfillment, the better equipped you'll be to make suggestions for improving the value proposition and your marketing message. Talk with your colleagues about your organization's entire creation and fulfillment process over and over until you spot the opportunity to do things better, faster, and less expensively and to identify a marketing message that fundamentally changes the value proposition.
5. Automating Customer Acquisition Systems– Think about customer relationship management (CRM) software and CRM systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Zoho CRM helps in managing leads, tracking interactions, and nurturing client relationships. They automate the process of gathering lead information, scoring leads based on their potential, and assigning them to the right sales personnel. Think about tools like Marketo or Mailchimp to automate ads, email, and social media posting. They enable targeted marketing based on customer behavior and preferences and track the effectiveness of different marketing strategies. A big one is Chatbots and Virtual Assistants. Remember that every site visitor wants an answer now! You can see that clearly when you learn your visitors spend 27 seconds on your site. AI-driven tools can interact with visitors and provide instant responses to questions, then nudge them into the funnel before the inevitable bounce. Content management systems (CMS) are becoming crucial. These systems automate creating, managing, and optimizing how content is displayed and featured on your site. These functions are essential for attracting and retaining customers and providing an intuitive site experience. Think about powering lead nurturing campaigns, automated email cadences, and showcasing similar content that helps boost leads over time, keeping users engaged and informed. Now, think about the analytics and using APIs to ingest relevant data. Integrating key platforms ensures data flows seamlessly across your dashboards, making the client acquisition process more efficient, trackable, and measurable. By leveraging these tools and strategies, organizations can create a more efficient and effective customer acquisition system, reducing manual effort, improving conversion rates, and reducing customer acquisition costs. Where are you spending time doing the same things over and over? Automate that shiznit.
4. Ethical Marketing is Cool– Privacy concerns are growing in healthcare, and ethical marketing has become vital. Show your audience you respect their data and prioritize their well-being. Make that a part of your message, especially where PII is collected. Get your stuff straight here and make it transparent on your privacy page. If you need to figure out what that looks like, look at the privacy pages of sites that market a similar offer and always over-communicate what you do.
3. Push Outside the USA– For nonregulated products, more marketers are finding fertile pastures in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. India and China also have large swaths of English speakers, so it's worth dipping your toe. You can translate your site into any language, but adding English-speaking countries to your marketing plan is a no-brainer. International traffic is less expensive, too. On Tap Native (Insert shameless plug), non-US traffic is around 50-60% of the cost, and some markets are 20% of the cost of US markets. Momma always said to try new things; you might be surprised by the results.
2. Clarify the Value Proposition– You can only do this effectively once you thoroughly consider everything mentioned above. Marketers must articulate how their product or service can improve a customer's life. This piece is easy to say but incredibly challenging. I have clients who have been advertising with us for five years but are only beginning to understand what their product does for the customer and how to showcase it. This involves understanding every unique selling point, boiling them to their essence, and ensuring the value proposition resonates with the target audience by allowing all the data to guide you. Clarity of your offer means you can't be sentimental about what you thought it was or want it to be. You know dam well whether you've fully baked your product. If you have not, spend time with colleagues going through the value proposition and message points again until there's no doubt it's fully baked.
1. Adopt Performance-Focused Marketing Tactics and Nomenclature– Consider your marketing messages, ad creative, pricing model, and what you're measuring or not measuring. Have you created a unified customer acquisition cost (CAC) for each marketing channel and vendor? How can you compare vendors if you don't assign each one a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) figure? We had a hair loss marketer driving men and women to the same landing page. When they bifurcated ads and landers, one set for men and another for women, the conversion rate went up 33%. Yup, women want feminine-themed hair rejuvenation products, and men want manly-themed hair rejuvenation products. Is anyone surprised by that? Do you have dedicated landing pages explicitly built for different genders, geos, seasons, or demos to which they might relate better? FYI, teens don't want grandma skin creams. Are your landing pages dynamic and changing when a user has previously visited? If they've seen it already, the bounce rate is twice as high. Are you using lead generation pages or click-through pages when you should use squeeze pages or even paginated articles? Case studies have shown that dedicated landing pages with a single call-to-action (CTA) can significantly increase conversion rates. Enhancing the user experience on landing pages, including clear CTAs and responsive design, can encourage conversions and engender a positive perception of your brand/offer. Check out Carrd, Unbounce, Swipe Pages, Leadpages, Landingi or Zapier for landing pages. Consider removing your site's NAV bar and footer from paid traffic landing pages. Do you want visitors exploring your site or transacting? Have you tested both? Sometimes, you can offer too much information, so reduce the experience and sharpen the funnel. Explore performance-based pricing models with ad tech vendors, who are more apt to share risks instead of placing 100% of the risk on you. Avoid vendors that ask for significant upfront investments. There's a reason they're asking for a mountain of cash up front - they know you're unlikely to buy again once you see the results. You should be able to spend $2500 and gauge whether you're in the ballpark. And yes, get a little cynical! Start tracking actions that occur further down the funnel, starting with clicks and visits, time on site, ad macros like domain referrer, most popular pages consumed, form fills, videos watched, registrations, CME courses completed, discount savings cards downloaded, doctor discussion guides viewed, sales, or other trackable actions which move the needle and can be traced back to the creative, channel or vendor. Google Analytics is free, so why aren't you using it? The more you understand who is buying, when, where, from what channels, and why, the better equipped you'll be to pause what's not working and scale what's crushing it.
The Future is Bright! In 2024, we're not just marketing products but enhancing lives through technology and empowering consumer patients and HCPs with direct access, guidance, and empathy. Those relationships are becoming direct, and that's a real opportunity and responsibility. It's time to get your act together for real. Now is your chance to participate in a meaningful pivot in digital healthcare. Stay innovative and inspired by pushing the boundaries of your imagination. Timing is everything. Technology, systems, and user behavior are coalescing to create new and more significant opportunities, so avoid letting past marketing disappointments deter you from testing as a new day is here. Remind yourself and your colleagues that somewhere in a galaxy not that far away, there is a real possibility that you'll "crack the code" and discover a better way to engage and convert your target audience.
Rafael Cosentino is VP of Business Development with Tap Native. Email: rcosentino at tapnative dot com.