How to create effective B2B marketing strategies for healthcare sector? In the healthcare sector, B2B is a segment of considerable interest in terms of growth and investment opportunities, if you know how to approach it. As always, there is not just one rule, but six, that can support building a winning marketing strategy and improve brand image within a specialized context.
We know that the healthcare sector is constantly growing, thanks to the fact that spending in various countries, whether developed or developing, is not decreasing. Moreover, the dual nature of this sector makes it especially attractive in terms of investment. While other sectors generally follow market trends, showing phases of contraction or expansion, the healthcare sector always manages to position itself against the trend to guarantee stable growth and limited loss regardless of the phase.
For this reason, it is not surprising that financial analysts report that the sector is valued at around $4.2 billion and is growing at a rate double that of the rest of the world economy, which stands at 3.6% annually.
The same can also be said of the digital healthcare market, which is the segment that refers to digital solutions for the health and prevention sector. Thanks to the digital transformation that is allowing a practically continuous and constant technological innovation and thanks to the fact that the demand for digital tools for prevention and health care is increasing, both by individuals and by governments, even those that might seem to be niche markets are increasingly important.
It is enough to think, for example, of the number of start-ups born in this period, which have acquired a market share that is worth about $10 billion.
It is precisely in light of such economic data that explains the forecasts for the future of the digital healthcare market, which is expected to reach a global revenue of about $536 billion by 2025, against the expansive push thanks to the adoption of IT infrastructures and the spread of platforms that can be used via mobile for health monitoring.
Health is an opportunity
Such figures indicate that digital healthcare is worthwhile. There is, in fact, a clear trend, which sees individuals increasingly interested in caring for their own well-being in general and, as a result, they are increasingly willing to spend time and money on it.
The wearable devices sector proves it: 19.2 units of fitness wristbands were sold in the second quarter of 2019 alone, making them the second best-selling products in their category after smart headphones and earphones. However, there is one aspect that is often in danger of being overshadowed, but which is very relevant: the healthcare sector is also an excellent investment sector for both B2B and B2C.
Often, in fact, there is a tendency to consider the healthcare sector only from the consumer side, i.e. the patient/user. B2B in healthcare is becoming increasingly important.
According to the most recent forecasts, B2B healthcare marketing is expected to reach a value of more than $530 billion by 2025. This is also because the number of competitors has increased considerably. So, who are the targets that a digital healthcare marketing strategy would need to address?
First of all, there are professionals, who may be managing their own firm personally or with a few collaborators and who are interested in making themselves known locally and increasing their level of awareness and consideration by leveraging the close relationship with clients.
Secondly, there are the medium- to large-sized private organizations who need to distinguish themselves from the competition and who need to communicate the services they offer in a clear, effective, and understandable way.
Thirdly, B2B targets can also be public enterprises and national health structures who want to improve the treatments available for disease prevention by exploiting new research technologies, but also need to be able to effectively communicate relevant information to citizens.
For example, some public institutions may want to become points of reference for individuals, perhaps providing authoritative information or by transforming themselves into digital “first aid centers” through which to distribute information and updates in real-time, especially in difficult situations such as earthquakes or other natural disasters.
6 rules for effective B2B marketing strategies for healthcare sector
Obviously, if you decide to build a marketing strategy aimed at reaching a specialized target, there are some rules that you should follow. And while following the rules does not guarantee success, it will allow you to be more prepared to face sector challenges.
1. Content is king, even in B2B
As recent research by Hubspot shows, companies operating in B2B that follow marketing tactics aimed at creating specific strategic content are able to generate more leads than those who do not use them. This is because professionals also tend to pay attention to what brings them new knowledge or skills.
As a result, you’ll want to have a balance of content that is educational and self-promotional, favouring, of course, content that is educational and useful for customers. The more relevant you are, the easier it will be to create a relationship of trust with professionals and other sector operators.
In this sense, one must always be up to date with the latest news, both in terms of technologies and topics to be dealt with, so as to be the first to address a given issue or explore a specific topic.
2. Use the right channel
If the content is important, so is the “container.” Choosing the right communication channel is essential to ensure that you reach your target audience.
For example, integrating your marketing strategy with a social component is fundamental, but this does not mean that all social media platforms are equal. On the contrary, each social platform is functional for intercepting a specific audience or for distributing a particular type of content.
For example, in B2B healthcare marketing LinkedIn is a good choice because this social network connects professionals who are willing to network with each other and want to take advantage of updated sector content. Let’s look at some examples that demonstrate how the platform works.
Linkedin does not guarantee the same support in terms of visual performance that other social platforms offer, such as Facebook. However, one useful feature is the ability to create groups, which can bring together professionals from the sector. If properly managed, they provide companies with a great opportunity to expand their social network, while improving their reputation, and increase their ability to generate leads and customers online.
How? Among other things, you can think of involving experts or influencers in the sector who make themselves available to users and answer their questions, or perhaps create exclusive content for the LinkedIn group managed by a particular brand.
In any case, what counts is always finding new and not trivial communication solutions: in a word, being creative.
3. Get creative to be effective
Although B2B healthcare marketing is aimed at professionals in the sector, which means that a certain level of technical content is expected, this does not prohibit experimenting with more original approaches.
On closer inspection, even the healthcare sector, while dealing with complex issues, provides the opportunity to build marketing campaigns of great impact. This is demonstrated by a number of case studies from 2019, which explored health-related issues in an effective and original way, and which can also be found within the B2B segment.
What is interesting to highlight is that the most effective creative approach offers the same elements in both B2C and B2B, with great attention to the patient, intelligently exploiting new technologies and strategically identifying the best communication format.
The case of HIMSS podcasts is indicative of this trend. HIMSS is a company that aims to provide better healthcare education through IT solutions. To further this mission, HIMSS has integrated its content healthcare marketing with 13 different podcasts that have involved several industry experts and hosted many discussions on industry trends. Although the medium chosen is not one of the most common, the results were remarkable and highly appreciated by professionals, so the response was generally positive.
This was not taken for granted, although for some time now data has indicated that podcasts are a growing communication tool even within B2B healthcare marketing.
This was also confirmed by LinkedIn research, which found that B2B marketing strategies that employed podcasts increased by 50% in just one year. This is because such a touchpoint is able to intercept a very interested audience, composed of people who have a medium to high level of education and 50% of whom work in a managerial context.
What does this example demonstrate? That if you are supported by solid and reliable evidence or surveys, you can make even unusual creative choices and still be rewarded by the results.
4. B2B loves video marketing
Speaking of communication formats, one of the most preferable when building a B2B healthcare content marketing strategy is video.
Increasingly, healthcare marketers are using the video format to communicate their products and services to other professionals. The reason for this preference is easily understood: one of the most popular uses of the internet is watching videos.
Choosing this format, therefore, means intercepting a decidedly dominant behavioral trend. In addition, including videos on your company page ensures a better Google search response and represents a great opportunity to increase your brand exposure. Obviously, when building relevant video content, you have to carefully choose the theme according to the type of professional target to be reached.
One way may be to use innovative technologies, so as to show things in a way never seen before. In this sense, augmented reality represents a formidable tool to show, for example, one’s own machines at work. Or, employ effective storytelling in a way where you are able to talk about your products and services in a “human” way, perhaps using the words of other professionals or patients.
After all, it is quite natural to use such an approach, since the health theme lends itself to having an emotional (also) and communicative side.
5. Don’t forget to “be human”
It may not seem so, but even in the case of B2B marketing, emotional communication is very useful to effectively reach your target audience. What is emotional communication? It means describing your services and products through a story that is able to arouse positive emotions (joy, hope, gratitude), thus generating empathy in your target.
In this regard, there are many interesting cases to study, which take advantage of different touchpoints, messages, or tools but all lead to the conclusion that a positive emotional narrative improves the effectiveness of its contents even when applied to B2B healthcare marketing.
6. Numbers count
The last rule to take into account is to measure everything, at every stage of your B2B strategy.
You need not only to know everything about your audience, to know their quantitative and qualitative characteristics, but you need to monitor each activity in your marketing strategy. Knowing how to interpret the different result metrics is essential to understand if the path you have taken is correct or not. Obviously the answer changes depending on the parameter you choose, which must be identified carefully.
Among other things, it’s more effective to collect and interpret the metrics in order to more accurately profile-specific market targets, which can then be reached by increasingly personalized and relevant content.
Personalization, after all, is a winning approach, whether we are talking about B2C or B2B marketing.