Major Health Care Marketers Boosted Ad Spending 26% Last Year

BY Kathy Crosett
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Operators in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, device and diagnostic tool sectors focused heavily on advertising to differentiate themselves last year. These results come from the 2019 MM&M/Deloitte Consulting Healthcare Marketers Trend Report and are based on the responses from over 200 senior executives who participated in the annual survey.

Average Marketing Budgets

The average marketing budget for these large companies was about $10.5 million. Some sectors spend more on marketing than others, as these figures show:

  • Pharma $11.56 million (average per business in the sector)
  • Biotech $9.05 million
  • Devices $7.82 million

This year, 91.9% of surveyed marketers plan to increase spending again on their efforts to connect with health care professionals, insurance payers and end consumers who will use their products. Over 93% of pharma businesses, which also spend the most on direct-​to-​consumer advertising, will boost their marketing budgets. The corresponding figures for biotech and device makers are 92.2% and 78.6%, respectively.

Key Audiences for Health Care Marketers

Most health care businesses budget for and separately target the audiences they need to reach with their marketing messages. In the next 12 months, the following percentages of medical marketers will increase spending to reach specific audiences as follows:

  • Physicians/​specialists 65.63%
  • Patients/​consumers 63.90%
  • Payers/​managed care 57.1%

Media Mix

Health care marketers believe they need to use a mix of media formats to connect with consumers. Specifically, 84.7% use some form of digital advertising and 82.6% use traditional.

The number of marketers using digital:

  • Mobile/​tablet apps 51.4%
  • Social media 42.8%
  • Digital ads 38.9%

Traditional media formats are used by the following percentages of marketers:

  • Print 51.9%
  • TV 33.9%
  • Out of home 39.5%
  • Radio 22.7%


In his article for MM&M, Chris Daniels, cautions that the budget allocations for marketing spending in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry could soon be clipped. Before long, industry operators may have to reveal drug prices in TV ads.  In addition, some fear that Congress may change the law and no longer allow these businesses to deduct the cost of advertising as an expense when calculating taxes. 

For now, health care companies plan to increase ad spending in 2019. Check out the AudienceSCAN profile on consumers who respond to this type of advertising. The profile is available on AdMall from SalesFuel​.com. Armed with that information, pitch a new prospect on an ad campaign to reach consumers and medical professionals.