This article originally appeared in Health IT Outcomes.
Healthcare innovation has expanded to impact everything from financial management and operational efficiencies to patient engagement and care delivery. And these technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated thanks to AI and machine learning and even the entry of non-traditional competitors like Apple, Google and Uber into the mix.
Just as the healthcare landscape is experiencing a dramatic shift, so too is the HIT buyer, who is significantly impacting today’s B2B healthcare sales and marketing teams. And while the enterprise customer’s goal is to make healthcare better, faster, cheaper and more accessible, the modern MedTech marketing team is also being asked to generate corporate results at a higher velocity and with greater efficiency. Simply put, chief marketing officers (CMOs) at HIT companies are facing both internal and external demands like never before.
Here are the three top challenges facing them today:
Expanded Pool Of Personas
The healthcare industry was slow to embrace the cloud, but that’s changing. VansonBourne reports that hybrid cloud adoption among healthcare providers is expected to jump from 19 percent to 37 percent over the next two years. This digitization is forcing healthcare software and medical device companies to sell their solutions to an expansive variety of buyers. While the primary persona used to be a hospital’s chief technology officer, it now ranges from NICU nurses to ambulatory care physicians to CFOs at large health systems.
As such, each buyer persona requires customized messaging and a unique marketing strategy. For example, nurses and practice administrators fit the demographic of active Facebook users, while CMOs prefer long-form, clinical content. And since nearly half of all B2B buyers view three to five pieces of content before engaging a company sales rep, HIT marketing teams must produce a greater volume of distinctive content for a multitude of channels.
In order to tackle this challenge, health tech marketers should:
- Research each of their buyers to understand their IT acumen, their sentiments about new technologies, how they consume content, and more.
- Turn this research into a ‘persona book’ that succinctly details each persona. This book will be a helpful guide for both the marketing and sales teams.
- Develop a content calendar that organizes all topics and themes by persona and format.
But, having a plethora of content to reach an increasingly expanding pool of healthcare tech buyers is only the starting point.
The Distracted Buyer
In today’s healthcare landscape, there is a point solution for just about everything. As a result, buyers are officially overwhelmed with options. Several factors are contributing to this influx of solutions. Last year was a record year for healthcare investment as venture capital fueled new medical technologies. Governments and regulatory bodies are demanding more security and safety in healthcare, creating new opportunities for IT solutions. Lastly, consumerization has finally reached healthcare, driving the need for innovation to improve the patient experience.
This flood of point solutions has brought along a wave of corresponding product marketing. Inboxes, tradeshows and the internet are all cluttered with lofty promises, use cases, demos and peer reviews. The result? Your buyers are distracted, making it harder to cut through the clutter.
Given this cacophony, thought leadership content can be a breath of fresh air. It enables healthcare innovators to lead with authenticity and honesty, ultimately providing a bridge of trust for inundated, skeptical and risk-averse buyers. In fact, Forrester says thought leadership (clinical studies, byline articles, blogs, etc.) has a greater impact of ideas on potential buyers than all other forms of content marketing (case studies, collateral, advertising, etc.).
But more personas and competition aren’t the only challenges facing MedTech marketing teams today. There are also internal pressures.
Demonstrating A Ramped-Up ROI
Just as the inputs for modern marketing campaigns have evolved, so too has the way outputs are measured. After the need for generating traffic and leads, proving ROI is now the top marketing challenge among company execs. However, HIT marketers have to meet an elevated set of expectations from C-Suite leaders who come from a technology background compared to their counterparts in the frontlines of patient care. By nature, health technology leaders are used to seeing nearly real-time metrics that shape product development, having applied those core principles in how they run their company. Expectations for data-backed measurement, including marketing spend, is now needed at every turn.
They say data is becoming the new healthcare currency, and the same can be said for justifying marketing programs and budget. Today’s marketing intelligence tools, like MOZ, SEMrush and Datorama, can capture measurement, assess competitors and identify new opportunities. Beyond internal MarTech software programs, marketing leaders should ask their healthcare PR agencies to demonstrate value past the table stakes of earning results, too.
Marketing leaders at MedTech brands are no doubt challenged today in ways they weren’t just a few years ago. More buyer personas, more clutter in the marketplace and higher internal demands to prove ROI are a recipe for stress. But with proper research, strategic content development and a modern MarTech stack, CMOs can guide their teams to success during one of the most interesting and impactful moments that the global healthcare industry has ever seen.
About the Author
Anna Ruth is CEO of ARPR, an award-winning technology public relations firm at the epicenter of the future of PR. Under her leadership, the agency’s HealthIT Practice Group has served some of the biggest names in MedTech and was named PRDaily’s Healthcare Agency of the Year Silver Award Winner in 2018.