The healthtech industry is a highly competitive market and is forecast to be worth $1.3 trillion by 2025 (PitchBook). The demand for innovative technologies and digital solutions in healthcare has increased significantly in recent years, especially for telehealth services due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In fact, McKinsey & Company assessed the number of consumers interested in using telehealth before and after the first wave of the pandemic; in 2019, only 11% of consumers were interested in using such services, while in 2020, that figure rose to 76%. In addition, 80 new services have been approved for telehealth under US regulation.
The global market for medical wearables is forecast to reach $83.9 billion by 2026 (Statista). These and many other innovations in the field have led to a surge of new startups, as well as established companies starting to provide more advanced solutions.
With competition comes the need to differentiate oneself and have a comprehensive marketing strategy in-place. This article reviews some important considerations for healthtech marketing to help startups and well-established companies make their mark in the industry and maximise performance.
Clearly Communicate the Value Proposition and Vision
As mentioned, differentiation is key in this competitive market. That’s why it’s essential for organisations to ensure they have a strong brand, and that their value proposition is powerful and is communicated with clarity.
This also helps to build trust by demonstrating that the company understands customer needs and can offer solutions that meet those needs – and that they can do so better than competing businesses. This is especially important in B2B health tech as well as pharma marketing, where the competition can be particularly aggressive.
Here are some ways that healthtech companies can effectively communicate their value proposition:
- Explain how the organisation solves customers’ problems in a unique way: Clearly articulate the problem being addressed, how their product or service solves that problem, and how it does so in a superior way to competitors.
- Highlight the benefits and back it up with data: Companies should clearly communicate the benefits of their product or service, such as improved patient outcomes, reduced costs, or increased efficiency. They should also quantify these benefits whenever possible, using statistics to support their claims. While this is important for any type of business, it is even more so when medical data is involved. Again, trust is a vital component in how prospects need to perceive health tech companies. (In some regions, backing up healthcare marketing claims with data is a legal requirement – more about that later).
- Use clear language: Avoid technical jargon and use clear, concise language to describe the product or service. This can help potential customers understand the solution and how it can benefit them.
Once the value proposition is clear and has been written up in a well-articulated manner, it is important to reinforce that message consistently through different marketing materials and channels.
Bring the vision into the equation as well, in terms of gaining the audience’s interest and trust. When a business has a compelling reason to exist – a powerful driving force behind their activities – it sets them apart. Crafting a powerful story around the vision will help to win over consumers.
Content Marketing for HealthTech
Content marketing is a powerful tool for healthtech companies. By creating valuable, expert, authoritative content, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry.
What types of content should health tech companies create in terms of subject matter? A few suggestions are:
- Case Studies: Case studies are some of the most effective types of content that health tech companies can use. In fact, 73% of the most successful content marketers use them (Content Marketing Institute). Case studies demonstrate the success of a product or service, giving potential customers detailed insight into how the product has helped individuals or companies in specific circumstances.
- Educational content: This content would be designed to help the target audience to better understand the company’s products or services. Educational content can include blog posts, videos, and infographics that explain the features and benefits of the product or service.
- User-generated content (UGC): Businesses should encourage customers to share their experiences with the product or service. These can be in the form of case studies, or shorter testimonials to include on web pages, social media, and on other channels. For B2C healthtech marketing, companies can take inspiration from the businesses out there boosting social media engagement by setting up challenges and contests that involve UGC.
- Thought leadership content: Publishing whitepapers, research studies, and reports that provide insights and analysis on industry trends and topics helps to establish authority. This type of content provides the perfect opportunity to capture leads by requiring website visitors to sign up and provide a few details about themselves/their company before being able to download the file.
- Good-feeling content: What does the customer want to hear about their health and wellbeing? Various studies have shown that content that generates positive emotion is more likely to go viral that negative content. Moreover, anyone looking to improve their health likely wants to be uplifted. Creating content that inspires positive emotions, laughter, and so on, will create a positive association between the organisation and their audience (and brighten someone’s day). An example of this in-action (though not for marketing purposes) was the #RRHSpreadJoy campaign by Rochester Regional Health, New York. This campaign required users to generate their own content and spread hope and boost morale during the pandemic.
Finally, always update or remove old content often as new discoveries are made and as technology changes. This practise is called content pruning and improves SEO results and customer experience.
It’s important to highlight the benefits of using LinkedIn as part of one’s social media strategy. As LinkedIn is a professional social network with a user base primarily made up of professionals and decision-makers, it’s an ideal platform for healthtech marketing. Businesses can then reach a relevant audience who may be interested in their products or services, thus improving brand awareness and lead generation outcomes.
In addition, the platform provides networking opportunities – not just with potential customers, but potential partners and other industry experts. Having such connections is helpful when it comes to various aspects of marketing. A simple example is that it can provide opportunities for guest posting on other websites, which could earn backlinks for the company website.
LinkedIn advertising also enables precise targeting based on factors that are highly relevant for B2B products/services, such as job title, industry, company size, and so on.
Stay Up to Date on Regulations
With healthtech, pharma and healthcare marketing, regulation dictates what companies are and are not allowed to do within their marketing campaigns. Therefore, it’s important that legal teams work closely with marketing teams to ensure compliance.
US HealthTech Marketing Regulations
A few examples of how regulation may affect healthtech marketing in the US are as follows:
The Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2017: One requirement of this act is that healthtech and healthcare companies must ensure that their marketing claims are truthful, not misleading, and are supported by scientific evidence.
- HIPPA-compliant web forms and social media marketing: Written permission must be obtained before using customer case studies and testimonials. Patients must be aware of exactly what is being posted before giving permission, and of course, personal information must be protected at all times. When data is captured through web forms, companies must use HIPPA-compliant security measures.
- State regulations: There are also regulations on marketing and advertising on a state level. For instance, some states have laws that regulate the marketing of telemedicine services.
Some key considerations for healthtech companies in the UK are:
- MHRA regulations: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates medical devices, software, and other healthcare products. Their regulations state that companies that sell medical devices must ensure that their products are CE marked and registered with the MHRA.
- CAP and BCAP Codes: The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) set out rules for advertising and marketing in the UK. Health tech companies must comply with these codes when creating and distributing marketing materials.
- Other regulations of interest: Human Medicines Regulations 2012/1916, the Medical Devices act of 2021, the Medical Devices Regulations of 2002, and general advertising laws. For pharma marketing, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Code of Practice may be of interest. Changes to regulations are due this year, or in 2024.
The best way to stay compliant is to work with a marketing agency that is experienced in working with healthtech campaigns and navigating the restrictions.
Optimise for Local Search
Any business looking to target customers in a specific geographic area benefits from optimising their website for local search. A classic example would be a telemedicine service, where patients want to consult with healthcare professionals with a view to potentially have treatment at a clinic.
Local SEO can help the website appear at the top of search results when potential patients in the area search for healthcare services, increasing visibility and attracting more targeted traffic.
The convenience of being able to find exactly what they need where they need it improves the patient experience, ultimately leading to increased patient acquisition and revenue.
In addition, patients are more likely to choose a telemedicine platform that is located in their area as it can offer a better experience in terms of familiarity with local healthcare providers and regulations – important in countries such as the US where regulations can vary a lot by state.
Host and Attend Events
Organising or participating in industry events such as trade shows, conferences, and exhibitions is a great way to showcase a company’s offerings and connect with relevant audiences. Events are also an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and thought leadership, – for example, by presenting at conferences or leading discussions on relevant topics.
In addition, events allow businesses to connect with other industry professionals, potential partners, and investors. By participating in panel discussions or hosting social events after the main event, companies can build relationships that can lead to new business opportunities and collaborations.
Events also provide a way to engage with potential customers more deeply and generate leads. Offering demonstrations, product trials, or other interactive experiences helps to identify interested prospects and begin building relationships that can lead to future sales.
Finally, events are an opportunity to gather market intelligence and stay up to date with industry trends. Attending sessions and engaging with attendees gives companies valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, as well as emerging technologies and solutions.
Health tech is a highly competitive industry with tremendous growth potential. This highlights the importance of inspiring trust and having a clear value proposition and vision, which must be clearly communicated through various marketing materials.
Areas to consider within a healthtech marketing strategy include content marketing – this may include case studies, white papers, research studies, educational material, and user-generated content. LinkedIn is an important platform for such businesses to use for marketing and networking purposes.
Organisations should also keep a close eye on regulations affecting healthcare marketing. optimise for local search where relevant and attend and organise events.
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