An omnichannel media strategy is crucial for meeting patients where they are with relevant health content that empowers them to take a more active role in their care. But with all of the digital innovations available today, how do you determine the best ways to curate your media mix, effectively support patients at different moments in their journey and maximize an omnichannel approach?
At MediaPost’s 2023 Brand Insider Summit: Pharma & Health, industry experts shared ways to make the most out of their omnichannel strategy. Here are three takeaways from their remarks.
1. Evaluate “patient centricity”
“Patient centricity” has become somewhat of a buzzword across the industry, which has created new challenges for healthcare-media professionals. At the conference’s opening session, Steve Smith, MediaPost’s VP and Editorial Director of Events, discussed how overuse of the phrase has begun to convolute its meaning.
Intended as an empathetic, authentic approach to care with the end user in mind, the concept of patient centricity is meant to remind healthcare media to place patients at the center of every engagement. Certainly, stakeholders should continue to pursue that goal and the positive outcomes it drives for patients. But it’s important to critically examine how the term is invoked and to hold companies accountable for following through on the “patient-centric” offerings they promote. To find a digital-media partner that truly keeps patients at the center of its efforts, brands need to pay close attention to factors such as how consent-focused a channel is for its end users, as well as its ability to support a continuum of important patient behavioral changes.
2. Find and leverage patient testimonials
Brands are increasingly focused on elevating the patient voice through testimonials, because patients want to see stories about individuals from similar backgrounds or who have overcome related health challenges. To meaningfully connect with the right populations, brands can get to know both patients who have had negative as well as positive experiences with their products. Understanding and incorporating their feedback creates opportunities to improve those products for all end users.
However, getting testimonials from patients is a complicated process, since it can be difficult to find those who have had the specific experiences you want to learn more about. Engaging clinically relevant patients at the point of care is a new way to gather authentic testimonials from highly qualified, niche audiences—and not just those who are already deeply engaged with the brand through advocacy groups or who come from similar demographics.
3. Prioritize representation and customize content for specific channels
Creating content that speaks to a diverse range of patients is key to expanding the impact of your messaging. And for content to resonate with specific patient groups, it’s vital that they feel represented. This is another case when patient testimonials can be especially powerful. If you’re trying to improve sentiment or change a behavior among a specific audience, highlighting authentic patient stories will go a long way toward driving action within that larger community.
In addition, crafting messages that resonate with audiences based on their state of mind when they see them is equally as important as considering their demographics and life experiences. In his keynote session on healthcare consumers’ demand for more personalization, Ryan Gang, Head of Social and Search Buying at Bayer, explained that the industry is no longer making ads, but rather creating content that can serve as either entertainment or education. Those distinctions are most often based on the channel: For example, when looking at a platform such as TikTok, it’s important to make entertaining content that also can function as an ad, since most patients are viewing it during their leisure time.
By contrast, channels such as the point of care can help you reach patients with educational messaging when they’re in a healthcare state of mind. Understanding the types of content that patients want to see based on where they view it can help brands make appropriate strategic decisions about which creative elements to incorporate into messaging to best support your brand-conversion goals.
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