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B2B medical marketing and healthcare branding spend that companies in the healthcare industry invest annually is slightly above that of other industries at 10% of revenues. But where that money is going and return on the investment are the real questions that take an accomplished medical marketing agency to answer.
Healthcare B2B and B2C marketing used to be completely separate, with the former focused on how to sell medical equipment to hospitals, how to sell medical devices to hospitals and how to sell medical services to hospitals — lead generation activities all focused on the hospital. Yet, lately, medical marketing services are having to focus instead more on how the end-user will experience their client’s products. After all, consumers now have more choice than ever about where to take their medical needs. In response, medical marketing agencies have begun tailoring branding campaigns and lead generation by integrating digital marketing tools from B2C more readily.
According to the Marketing Content Institute, healthcare B2B marketing is years behind the rest of the B2B marketing space. For example, 43% of healthcare marketing companies use print newsletters (versus just 28% of all marketers); 58% of healthcare marketers use blogs (versus 72% overall); and 56% use LinkedIn to distribute content versus 74% overall. That being said, we at Elevation Marketing find that one “old school” tactic is still very effective in this space — Account Based Marketing (ABM) is used effectively by about 40% of our clients in the space.
Still, there are a lot of new, digital marketing tools to implement for lead generation and branding this industry so that it catches up with the preferences of the modern consumer. Some progress is being made. For example, social media marketing, medical seo and mobile messaging are now being embraced by healthcare brands as an essential part of the marketing mix. And yet, there is an entire toolbox of marketing tools and tactics that are obvious to us, yet blow our clients away when first explained. Even such simple concepts as branding, unfortunately, don’t get their due attention in healthcare marketing. From consulting a number of clinics and other medical companies, we have seen that many C-Suite individuals undervalue the influence that branding and crafting a compelling brand story can exert on customers in the healthcare space, and how these techniques get people to resonate with your brand. That’s why you need an experienced healthcare branding agency by your side.
Content marketing is especially challenging for B2B healthcare marketing agencies, as peoples’ time is limited and there are lots of other publishers out there. You are constantly competing for the attention of your target audience. Some general reference sites – such as WebMD, have achieved a strong hold on being the first source of medical information for people, while a number of other publishers focused on more specific medical issues also get attention from the audience who is in search for medical services. Wherever you want your content to fall on the general versus specific spectrum, you need to find a way to stand out with your healthcare marketing strategy. That requires a well-researched and developed content strategy, in conjunction with the use of every marketing tool available to healthcare marketers including website design, social media, PPC, SEO, PR, digital marketing ads, native advertising, lead generation and the nurturing of leads, and even a solid sales strategy.
And it’s by no means easy. B2B sales cycles in the healthcare space tend to be the most complex ones of all B2B industries, taking on average 12-18 months. To make matters worse, the decision-making process can be very convoluted. It tends to include layers of selection committees, researchers, IT influencers, finance gate-keepers, administrators and even legal teams. Having had years of experience dealing with all of these decision-makers and decision-influencers, we at Elevation Marketing can help our clients navigate the intricate web of healthcare marketing.
B2B Healthcare marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are distinct areas within the health industry, each requiring a unique approach.
Healthcare products & services
By far the most common area in terms of everyday consumer interactions, marketing healthcare products and services faces stiff competition from a saturation of brands in the category. Since so many products can be bought over the counter, the consumer needs to be educated about not just the efficacy of your products but also about safety, brand trust and more. Here, branding is very important.
Medical devices, supplies & equipment sales
Clearly an important B2B channel, equipment marketing needs to take into account the long sales cycle of medical device sales, the role of personal relationships with doctors and other business to business considerations. At the same time, B2B equipment sales have gotten more transparent, so new marketing tactics can give you a distinct advantage.
Mental health services
This is a very sensitive area, where marketing claims need to carefully comply with federal guidelines and precautions need to be taken not to overpromise. At the same time, herein, emotional marketing based on empathy works well, opening the door to a number of interesting marketing tools.
Behavioral health marketing
Behavioral health marketing is both relatively novel and complex, so you need to have a solid marketing plan. Longer-term strategies may prove especially fruitful, but only if you do the kind of deep research for which Elevation Marketing is well regarded.
- Website Design
- Digital (SEO/PPC/Social Media)
- Product and Services Launches
- Market Research
- Public Relations
- Channel Marketing
- Application Development
- Lead Generation
- Case Studies
With so much catching up to do in terms of the latest marketing tactics, brand storytelling and focus on consumers — healthcare marketing is a special challenge that we are happy to help so many clients master.
Some of our clients within this industry: