Digital Marketing in Healthcare

The Growing Role of Digital Marketing in Healthcare Business

Healthcare professionals (HCPs), like many others, have been profoundly affected by the shift to remote work triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As they have become more comfortable with remote work and digital communications, MedTech companies have realized the importance of adapting to digital to better engage with HCPs, including digital marketing, e-commerce, and virtual sales channels. In this article, we explore how leading MedTech companies are using digital marketing and analytics tools to tailor the content, timing, and format of their interactions with HCPs to improve the quality of engagement and the returns on their marketing investments.

To understand how digital marketing is evolving in Medtech, McKinsey conducted a survey of 100 companies (44 in the United States and 56 from the EU5) in early 2021. As recently as five years ago, the majority of MedTech companies (65 percent of the survey sample) spent no more than 20 percent of their marketing budget on digital marketing. However, by 2020, most of the companies surveyed (84 percent of those based in the United States and 74 percent in the EU5) had shifted more of their budget to digital marketing. What’s more, about one in five of this group had redirected at least 50 percent of their marketing budget to digital marketing. So, how are Medtech marketing teams using these increased budgets?

Product launches. With most trade shows and conferences cancelled because of the pandemic, Medtech product launches have largely shifted to digital channels. Among the companies in our survey, 80 percent reported having used email and social media campaigns to launch a new product in 2020, while 65 percent had launched products at online conferences. US and EU5 companies used much of the same digital platforms to launch their products, except that US companies were more likely to use online conferences than their peers in the EU5.

Lead generation. As HCPs embraced remote interactions, MedTech companies intensified to use digital marketing for lead generation. Among the companies in our survey, 45 percent believed that email campaigns were the most effective digital channel for generating new opportunities during launch, while another 40 percent favoured social-media campaigns.

‘Next-best-action’ analytics. In recent years, it has become important to convey a value proposition that goes beyond a single product to a broader portfolio of solutions. “Next-best-action” analytics can help enhance digital-marketing campaigns to work closer together with other marketing and sales channels. There is a strong need for that, highlighted by 74 percent of respondents.

Omnichannel campaigns. By using a coordinated, multichannel approach to marketing campaigns, MedTech companies are able to engage with HCPs at the right time with the right message in the right format. Successful companies are including digital campaigns along with more traditional channels, such as inside sales and face-to-face rep visits, as an important component of their omnichannel strategy to reach HCPs.

The Medical Device industry is only just taking the first steps in the development of a proper Digital Marketing strategy and our approach is far less sophisticated. In addition, the budget invested is, in most cases, far from the percentages seen in the Pharma business. A true Omnichannel approach is far from being a reality in 99% of the medical device industries. Most of them are just exploring the opportunities offered by LinkedIn, often not at full speed. As the trend evolves and digital marketing strategies prove their efficacy we expect growing resources and focus even from the Medical Device Industry.