How to Become a Thought Leader in B2B Healthcare Marketing
By Sarah Threet, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
Fostering relationships with key decision-makers in the healthcare industry is difficult given the intimate nature of healthcare professionals’ work. Physicians and their respective hospitals/clinics are focused on very personalized care for their patients. One bad experience with a physician or a clinic and a staggering 76% of patients will not hesitate to cut ties, so your healthcare prospects deeply care about their patient experience and their public reputation.
More than likely, your target audience is not in search of a vendor, product, or service; they are already likely in a contract with another vendor or may be testing a competitor’s product/service. You will need to spend more of your time and energy generating demand rather than capturing it; creating educational content and positioning yourself as a thought leader rather than developing promotional content.
The Digital Shift
Traditionally, the best way to win over your leads in the B2B healthcare marketing space was to meet one-on-one typically through some kind of event, however, because of the pandemic, the healthcare industry took a huge digital turn, providing telehealth and attending conferences over video.
Healthcare marketing strategies, from both a B2B and B2C perspective, have shifted digitally. Healthcare professionals know their prospective clients are online doing their own research, so they need to be online doing research as well. That means in order to win over your healthcare prospects, you will need to hang out in the same space they frequent.
Social Media Marketing
Contrary to what may seem logical, employees in the healthcare industry spend over three hours a day on social media, and additionally, they are more likely than any other profession to use Facebook for professional purposes. Healthcare professionals feel inundated by emails and have found they build more valuable connections with prospective patients, other professionals, and even vendors through the digital space.
When it comes to healthcare b2b marketing content, less is more. The kind of media healthcare professionals are more likely to engage with are webinars, educational videos, and whitepapers. Invest more of your content development capacity becoming a thought-leader/educator, staying on top of ever-changing healthcare industry trends, and being mindful of what kind of content your prospects (and the people they follow and admire) reshare, write about, or find engaging.
If you choose to directly reach out to these professionals via LinkedIn or Facebook, you will have a significantly higher chance of getting your message read if you make your connections with a personal account rather than a faceless brand account.
Influencer marketing yields a much higher ROI than other forms of promoted content. Particularly regarding healthcare, prospective patients weigh reviews and recommendations for physicians and clinics very heavily – in fact, they even weigh a stranger’s opinion about a clinic equally to the opinion of someone they personally know. Healthcare professionals also understand this.
Choose an appropriate kind of influencer for your product or service: physicians, patient advocates, and other professional medical workers who have a large and engaging presence on social media. Healthcare professionals tend to also weigh the opinions of their colleagues heavily, and having someone who speaks their language advocating the efficacy of your product/service will keep you top-of-mind when they are ready to buy or be a champion for you.
Videos and Digital Advertisements
Healthcare marketers themselves are investing more in digital videos and advertisements to capture their own prospects: a spending increase of 11.5% in 2022. This medium accounted for 46% of all healthcare ad spend.
2020 shifted interactions from in-person to digital, so video marketing has increased in efficacy and social media and search platforms have provided these mediums with more visibility through algorithmic preferences. Healthcare professionals are also in this demographic, having converted to telehealth and attending conferences over video, they have become acclimated to the digital shift.
Video strategies to consider:
- B2B buyers do a lot of research before reaching out to a vendor, so explainer videos provide a basic understanding of what your company does and what your value is to the buyer.
- Webinars and educational video content are a must, because healthcare professionals tend to pay more attention to content that provides them new with skills and knowledge.
- Be mindful to balance your promotional content with educational content, because the more relevant you are, the easier it will be to foster good relationships with healthcare professionals
- Personalized 1:1 videos are also key in healthcare B2B because your total target market may be very small. Keep these videos as assets to send in cold email outreach or engagement follow-ups.
- Remember to stay on target and develop your content specifically for the people and companies on your ABM list.
Concluding with Customer-Centricity in Mind
Prospective patients for your healthcare prospects are trending towards a need for more personalization, better customer service (for which they are willing to pay more), and more time with providers in person and over the phone. They do their research, they read reviews, and they call when they are ready. Your very niche target audience has a target audience that is as diverse as health conditions themselves, and they need to speak and market to their prospects with special intention.
Consider the needs of your target audience:
- They want to improve their patient experience, in person and digitally.
- They want more administrative efficiency and to reduce friction points.
- They want to remain compliant and keep patient information private.
- They want to lower overhead costs.
- They need to have a strong recommendation and review management strategy while remaining transparent.
- They want to address staffing shortages and clinical burnout.
- They want to recruit more people of color as patients and for staffing, and they want to address social determinants of heath.
- And they want to build more human connections since their role is to provide care and save lives.
Be mindful of your persona pain points, what they find important, where they spend their time doing research about their own prospects and healthcare trends, and what kind of content they find most engaging.