Marketing Health Digitally Requires Fast AdaptationBy Rodrigo Brugada | Wed, 09/22/2021 - 13:21
A: We have 20 years of experience in the field and we were the first company in Mexico to work in healthcare marketing, so we witnessed first-hand the digitalization of healthcare services. This has allowed us to understand the market and its use of specialized tools, such as virtual consultation platforms or electronic prescriptions.
Marketing in healthcare operates under a completely different premise than any other industry because we do not create the demand, which completely changes the ethical aspects, execution and advertising strategy. Moreover, all advertisement must follow the regulatory framework specific to this sector.
We must also be particularly careful not to encourage bad practices such as self-medication or misconceptions that lead to the inappropriate use of health services. This also applies when targeting health workers because the message is different and can confuse nonspecialized audiences.
Q: How do you adapt to sudden changes in marketplace dynamics, such as that caused by COVID-19?
A: The sudden changes brought by the pandemic came as a surprise but did not change our schedule or ability to adapt to change. We are used to proposing new formats based on observed changes. We adapted quickly to the widespread adoption of smartphones or social networks in the past and now to the changes brought by the pandemic.
Q: How do your digital market solutions link producers to end-consumers to ensure high levels of engagement?
A: We have two primary approaches. The first is to focus on content as an evolution of advertising materials. We have transcended from just projecting an image about the brand; we now create content that focuses on the benefits the recipient may get from the product. The second is to focus on data by measuring everything we do and using the information as a guide for campaign optimization. The merger of these two approaches gives us a functional message for the user, while maintaining continuous optimization.
Q: What role do AI and marketing automation play in improving engagement? How do you define the type of content that may appeal to a specific consumer?
A: These techniques go hand in hand with the focus on data. We gather information and analyze it using AI such as machine learning to make it useful. These technologies allow us to have pre-programmed paths to identify a prospect and reach our target. In more sophisticated executions, they allow us to apply growth hacking techniques to grow fast through the mix of the creative component, analytics and technical mastery of platforms and systems.
To target specific consumers, it is necessary have an in-depth understanding of their concerns, interests and motivations. Once we segment and know the audience, the rest of the work follows a sequence of logical steps. The effort to reach the right audience is based entirely on knowing it. It is a job that never ends. Just as technologies evolve, so do consumers and their behaviors.
Q: Given that you make use of users’ data and behavior metrics, how do you tread the line between adequately protecting that data and maintaining relevance?
A: While the management of digital data is important to every industry, in healthcare it is even more so. When starting any campaign, we have to be careful with the data we acquire because it could be related to a person’s health.
In the digital world, utmost care is necessary in handling this data. We follow the best practices in the industry and incorporate data protection models used in the US or the EU. We are looking for the right balance between the benefits obtained through platforms and the nature of information we provide, as it can be leaked or shared to third parties for different purposes. Our agency has been participating for more than a decade in the development of guidelines and public policies that determine best practices.
Q: What is the impact of your courses for health professionals on pharmaceutical companies, retailers, medtech and medical devices businesses or specialized healthcare providers?
A: We decided to offer these courses for health professionals because they were not available anywhere else. In general, there are no structured professional services that merge technology and healthcare. Through these courses, our goal is to help commercial teams make better use of digital channels, help marketing teams to use advanced techniques and comply with regulations or help healthcare professionals to use technology to support their patients. Another objective is to help the general public make better decisions in their use of technology and solve doubts regarding conditions or symptoms. Our platform, Academia Central, is focused on trying to help through education.
During the past year and a half, we trained over 2,500 people in commercial teams to help them understand how the digital physician behaves, how digital channels differ from traditional forms and how the experience is enriched through these channels. We also conduct extensive market research to understand the digital habits of physicians so commercial teams have the tools to decide how to approach them.
We have also trained thousands of doctors to encourage a more effective use of digital platforms, health-tech, medical devices and telemedicine. In general, the medical community is eager to have this support that makes technology adoption more efficient.
Q: How will Central Media help providers navigate e-prescriptions given that regulations are still in progress?
A: One of the priorities of the digital health agenda is to define the role of electronic prescriptions, as they can have an enormous impact, from encouraging adherence to treatment to limiting the sale of counterfeit drugs. Another important issue is medicinal e-commerce, which became more relevant in 2020. We are creating proposals for the authorities to harmonize the regulatory landscape and generate a consensus among the parties involved.
Once the regulatory component has been resolved, more advanced discussions will take place, such as solving how prescriptions are entered into the clinical record or how they relate to the virtual medical consultation. We have seen that about a third of physicians use or have used some electronic prescriptions. Now, we have to figure out how we can expand the use of these records.
Q: What does your innovation process look like and how will it continue strengthening the healthcare sector?
A: Our model is based on up-to-date information. Our team has extensive experience in this industry and has been able to blend traditional business knowledge with technological innovations. We want to fuse these two worlds.
We also innovate by helping companies or brands be closer to the final customer through changes in their traditional business models and communication techniques. We adapt to the best practices available and focus on education, learning from other business segments that may be more advanced in their use of the latest tools and platforms or that may be innovating in other ways. In the healthcare industry, we might not have access to the experiences of other industries but we can learn from them.
Central Media is a Mexican digital agency specialized in healthcare, wellness and life sciences with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.