Healthcare Marketers to Change Strategies

In recent decades, big ad spending in the healthcare industry was fueled by pharmaceutical companies that were promoting the latest pills. The industry has started change and it’s not just about the digital transformation. Companies in the biotechnology and medical device sectors are kneebraceramping up spending to promote their solutions to healthcare problems. The details in the MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Health­care Marketers Trends Report show just how significant the shift in spending will be.

This survey studied small businesses (under $500 million in revenue) and large businesses (over $500 million in revenue). In 2013, the average company in this survey pool of over 100 businesses will spend $16.8 million on marketing which is down slightly from last year. By business size and market type, ad spending breaks out as follows:

  • Pharma $23 million
  • Biotech $7.7 million
  • Medical devices $14.4 million
  • Small $3.8 million
  • Large $31.6 million

Consumers may feel they are being bombarded by pharmaceutical advertising, in particular, but only 25% of total spending is directed toward them. The remaining 75% is aimed at physicians. Analysts believe that the number of primary care physicians will continue to dwindle. As a result, more marketing will be aimed at nurse practitioners and physician assistants, two professional groups that will play a big role in patient care going forward.

Currently, most ad spending directed at both consumers or physicians goes to meetings/​conferences (18%), direct marketing (14%), print/​TV/​radio (14%) and content development (13%). These marketers indicate that they will increase spending on digital ads, websites, and social media this year.

Kate Cronin, Global Managing Director, Ogilvy CommonHealth Public Relations, says changes in the healthcare industry and in marketing mean that pharmaceutical firms will be “showing customers that they understand them and that they are giving them what they need.” The same holds true for biotech and medical device operators. These companies will seek to personalize their relationships with patients, especially those that suffer from lifelong chronic conditions.

To learn more about pharma advertising responders, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.