Healthcare marketers that are tasked with targeting both patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) have a challenging task in front of them. How can they effectively plan and execute campaigns that reach these two audiences?Communicating consistent, effective messaging to patient vs HCP audiences requires careful consideration and cross-functional cooperation. After all, patients’ awareness of and familiarity with your brand, education level, and receptiveness to healthcare marketing are more likely than not to differ significantly from that of your HCP audience.Executed successfully, HCP and patient-targeted campaigns can help healthcare organizations significantly increase the return on investment of their digital marketing and advertising investment. And the first step is setting a solid foundation – developing messaging based on each audience's known behavior, pain points, and understanding of your brand.Ask yourself these three questions to build healthcare marketing campaigns that are truly tailored for your patient and HCP audiences.
1. Is Your Audience Ready to Engage with Your Messaging?
Before you can build a campaign, you need to know what messaging your ideal audience would find valuable or meaningful about the products or services your healthcare organization has to offer.Just like any product, your messaging has to match what your target market is looking for. Even with the flashiest creative assets and the most precise segmentation methods and analytics, a poor audience-messaging fit won’t get you far. But developing persuasive messaging is only part of the story.When it comes to creating healthcare marketing campaigns, you’ll often find that patient and HCP audiences can have incredibly different responses to the same information or value proposition. If your audience isn’t receptive to your brand or adequately prepared to understand your messaging, your digital content or ads is unlikely to have the impact you’re looking for.How you package your messaging matters. Patients may need significantly more education on your therapeutic area before they’re ready to engage with ads that highlight your offering’s benefits. We’ve seen pharmaceutical, insurance, and other healthcare brands launch microsites, newsletters, webinars, and more – all in the name of streamlining the patient journey with accessible education.On the other hand, HCPs are more likely to want to start by diving into evidence of how your product or services can help them help their patients before they’re ready for further engagement. From peer-reviewed research to practical professional resources, HCPs are looking for useful information that actually helps them improve outcomes for their patients.
2. What Channels and Tactics Appeal to My Audience?
Once you’ve understood how to tailor your messaging to each audience, it’s time to develop campaigns that target these patients and HCPs at various stages of the buyer’s journey. Whether building campaigns for HCPs, patients, or both, you need to ensure that you're targeting the right audience and that you have sufficient data to segment that audience appropriately. Otherwise, your media plans won’t deliver the results you need, wasting ad dollars – a common problem in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing.These realities make it especially important that each campaign is designed with a specific marketing or sales goal in mind, supported by strategic tactics.That purpose may include one or more of the following:
Building brand awareness
Educating your audience on your category or therapeutic area of concern
Product or portfolio marketing that highlights specific benefits
Conversion and retention
In practice, each of these campaign goals will look very different depending on whether you’re targeting patients, HCPs, or both.For example, if a healthcare organization is early in its growth, building brand awareness may be top of mind for both patient and HCP audiences.In that case, it might make sense to allocate budget to search engine marketing, paid social, and programmatic ads to target new patients. Then, to reach HCPs where and who are most receptive to your messaging based on location, area of specialty, and patient base, a parallel campaign could use a combination of custom programs, print advertising, programmatic ads, and sponsorships.
3. Am I Tracking the Right KPIs to Understand Patient vs HCP Engagement?
You have your messaging, channels, and tactics chosen and tailored to your desired audience – but you’re not done yet. Successful campaigns often don’t start out that way. They’re usually the product of careful analysis and adjustment over time.That’s why it’s essential to clearly define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the behaviors and journey of the target audience. Metrics for success that make sense for patient-focused campaigns – such as views, click-through rates, leads generated, and acquisition costs may not make sense for campaigns that target a limited pool of HCPs.Instead, you might want to focus on metrics that show the quality of HCP engagements, such as scroll depth or watch time, sales cycle length, or win rates among marketing or sales-qualified leads.Contact us to learn more about OpenHuddle’s approach to persona-driven campaign planning, performance tracking, and optimization.
Podymos (2022). Medical device marketing strategy for HCPs vs. patients
OpenHuddle (2022). A Winning Brand Plan: From Insights to Audience Strategy
Anna Rzhevkina, Content Grip (2022). Digital advertisers waste more than US$134.3M in Q1 (report)
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