From predictions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that health expenditures will increase by 5.4% by 2031 to forecasting by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that employment growth in the healthcare sector is expected to outpace growth in all other occupations, expectations for huge growth in the medical sector seem to be supported by many forecasts and benchmarks. With this type of forecasted growth comes an opportunity for companies within the medical sector to position themselves well within a growing vertical. So today we’ll discuss special marketing considerations for these companies based on our experience marketing for medical service companies for decades.
Based on our experience working with providers of B2B and B2C medical products and services, including clinics, ERs, medical software, and other medical products and services, we know firsthand that marketing within the growing medical industry in the United States comes with unique challenges and considerations due to the highly regulated and sensitive nature of healthcare. So we offer these four tips as special considerations for companies looking to market themselves in the growing U.S. medical industry.
messaging should be patient focused
Most importantly, marketers within the medical field should remember this: it’s not about you. It’s about them. Focus on the benefits to the people intended to benefit from your product or service. Be open and clear in communicating how your products or services can improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Patients and providers often research healthcare options extensively, and they value transparency and information. This means that you, as a marketer, should have a clear understanding of what your competitors are doing. You should be prepared to articulately differentiate your product or service from the competition in meaningful, patient-focused messaging. So be thoughtful in your messaging, remembering that you’re addressing the needs of human beings.
utilize inbound strategies and content marketing to educate patients and providers
With the rate of growth in the medical sector, providers and patients generally appreciate the opportunity to understand your product or service on their own terms, through their own research. Our experience supports the idea that inbound marketing strategies can be very effective in the healthcare industry.
So it’s up to you to make sure you’re providing high-quality, informative content that helps patients and providers become educated about the needs your product or service addresses. Help them understand the pros and cons of different options, including your competitors. (HINT: This provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain trust by acknowledging the things your competition is doing well, before demonstrating what your product or service may offer additionally that the competition does not.)
Provide educational materials and resources to healthcare professionals, ensuring they understand the benefits and proper use of your products. Highlight clinical evidence to support your claims. In the medical industry, scientific research and clinical trials carry weight with healthcare providers and patients. You may also consider sharing genuine patient testimonials. These can be a powerful marketing tool, but you’ll want to ensure they comply with any applicable regulations and maintain patient privacy.
maintain a strong reputation
In an industry where trust is so important, medical marketers should be diligent in monitoring their company’s reputation. You may consider using social media, but use caution in doing so. Monitor online reviews and manage your online reputation, as healthcare consumers often rely on online information and reviews. Be sure to promptly and politely respond to any negative reviews, and work to truly incorporate feedback from patients/providers who encounter issues with your product or service.
You should also be sure to stay updated on changes in healthcare regulations and industry best practices. This will help you speak authoritatively and expertly on industry trends and show you care about the people you serve enough to know what’s going on.
Form connections and build relationships on behalf of your company by attending relevant conferences, engaging with industry associations, and collaborating with healthcare providers and institutions. Building partnerships with hospitals, clinics, and medical practices and within important associations can be a significant part of your marketing strategy.
Make Sure All Messaging is Evaluated Through the Lense of Ethics, Privacy and Regulatory Compliance
Because of the sensitive nature of medical information and the importance of providing accurate information to the public, the medical industry is subject to regulations and privacy laws that other industries don’t deal with.
As a marketer within the medical sector, you will need to give special consideration to applicable regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs patient data privacy, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Ensuring compliance is critical to avoid legal issues and fines. You will also need to adhere to FDA regulations marketing. The FDA issues warning letters to companies for non-compliance with regulations. These can damage your reputation and business. Stay informed about FDA guidance and best practices.
With the rise of telemedicine and electronic health records (EHRs), companies should prioritize data security. Patients and healthcare providers need assurance that their data is safe from breaches. Protecting patient information is paramount. Any marketing efforts involving patient data must be HIPAA-compliant. Unauthorized access to or sharing of patient information can lead to severe legal consequences.
But privacy and regulation aside, as a business providing a medical product or service, you have a pretty crucial responsibility to be ethical in your marketing. Steer very far from false claims, misleading advertising, and any marketing tactics that might exploit patients' fears or vulnerabilities.
In conclusion, with great growth forecasted for the medical vertical, marketers in the industry have a growing opportunity to pursue growth within their own companies. However, you’ll need to make sure you’re being thoughtful in your approach by keeping messaging patient focused, offering clear and transparent informational resources for providers and patients, ensuring ethical communication by adhering to regulations and privacy laws, and safeguarding your reputation.
If you’d like to speak about special considerations for your company, Bonafide’s team would love to put our experience marketing in the medical sector to work helping you take advantage of growth opportunities and see if HubSpot can support your marketing efforts. Read reviews from our satisfied clients here.