Posted by Patrick McCafferty on April 18th, 2019

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published on and has been republished here with permission.

Like everyone else, healthcare professionals (HCPs) have changed the way they consume media. This presents marketers with the opportunity to reach HCPs where they work and play through social media and advanced TV. Between algorithm changes on Facebook and the rise of the streaming era, marketers are adapting TV and social plans to carry through 2019 with intention, thinking about the content environment their audiences are in and what messaging is most appropriate for that medium.

Optimize your messaging for context

The decision on whether your messaging is branded or unbranded depends on the channel and objective. When targeting physicians on Facebook or Twitter, for example, during personal time, unbranded educational content can be a more effective strategy. We see a lot of healthcare marketers going the unbranded, educational route and finding success with that approach. Valuable content gives HCPs a reason to follow and engage with you.

Other contexts and audiences may present you with the opportunity to share bottom-funnel messaging or close the loop on the patient-to-HCP communication channel. For instance, there are thousands of Facebook groups made up of patient communities that share medical conditions in common. HCP marketers can monitor these communities to get a sense of patients’ shared challenges and how healthcare providers can contribute to the conversation. They can then promote meaningful, unbranded educational and research content related to these conditions to the specific HCPs treating these communities of patients. This is an example of how social listening can be employed to close the loop on patient-caregiver communication.

HCPs love social media just like the rest of us. Think carefully about what message your audiences want to hear from you on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as where and how they’ll be most receptive to hearing it. Look to existing data when thinking about where your target audiences are. A MedData Group study revealed 80% of physicians are active on Facebook, 45% are active on Twitter, and 90% are active on LinkedIn.

Smarter TVs, better data of the consumer across all touchpoints

According to eMarketer, cord cutting is accelerating—the research group forecast that 50 million people will have dropped their cable or satellite TV subscriptions by 2021. Consumer trends and data in the TV space are driving marketers to adopt advanced TV as part of their digital strategy. There are four components that make up advanced TV: data-driven linear TV, addressable TV, streaming services and devices, and digital video. Available TV data enhances advertisers’ knowledge of consumer behavior in the cross-channel digital world, changing the way they allocate ad spend. This is an opportunity that few HCP marketers have experience with—now is the time to be a pioneer in this space.

Marketers who are farther along in their advanced TV journey may want to focus on TV addressability, attribution, and evolving the way people run and engage with TV ads. This advice was shared on the RampUp 2019 stage in the session Beginner to Expert-Level Advanced TV.

In HCP marketing, advanced TV provides an exciting opportunity to not only meet HCPs where they are engaged in video content, but also to target your messaging at the unique HCP level based on their National Provider ID (NPI). Just as programmatic and social can be targeted at the NPI level, so too can advanced TV. Understanding the specific endpoints and the process for launching advanced TV campaigns will be crucial in driving measurement and the overall impact of advanced TV as part of your digital strategy.

Marketing in the healthcare industry is ripe for innovation. If you’re just starting to build your social strategy for healthcare or another industry, remember to always keep in mind the context in which your audience encounters your messaging. This will help maximize how well your message resonates across newer as well as more traditional channels.