Developing your plan for telemedicine marketing

In a recent post, we made the case that pharma marketers would do well to factor the unique potential of telemedicine into their branding strategies, rather than pretend it will go away when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

In this one, we'd like to do a deeper dive, discussing how pharmaceutical companies can arrive at SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely) goals for achieving telemedicine growth. The process, while highly variable, consists of 4 basic steps: define KPIs, determine customer personas, figure out your patient care journey, and build a narrative strategy.

Step 1: Define key performance indicators

As the old saying goes: if you don't have a destination, no wind is favorable. As your first step toward developing a telemedicine marketing campaign, decide what success will look like. Are you aiming for sheer reach? Do you want to capture a certain number of leads? Or will you measure success by an increase in revenue?

In the end, it's up to you. So long as you pick SMART goals and stick with them, you'll be able to use them as a guiding star for the rest of your campaign.

Step 2: Determine customer personas

In healthcare marketing, this means first deciding whether you're targeting your ads at HCPs, patients, healthcare administrators, or a cross-section of each. From this basis, extrapolate the preferences, requirements, habits, and goals of a wide range of hypothetical customers.

For this step, it helps to work with robust data sets generated by each potential customer's online activities. What a person reads, and how they read it, can tell you a lot about what they want. Watson Clark uses proprietary data to build profiles of HCPs, making it easy to tailor each campaign toward a specific customer persona.

Step 3: Build patient care journeys

As a broad trend, healthcare marketing is increasingly focused on experiences, instead of just treatments. Once you've established several customer personas, think about how those perspectives will evolve over time. In telemedicine, this means starting with a limited knowledge of remote care, and ending when it's an essential part of the customer's life.

An ob/gyn, or their patient, will go through treatment stages far distinct from a cardiologist or their patient. Understanding care journeys helps make sure your ads will feel like companions to those you target, rather than burdensome spam.

Step 4: Build a narrative strategy

The final step is to transform the care journeys of your ideal customers into narratives. A telemedicine narrative has a few essential traits:

  • Accepts that telemedicine is an adjustment for most patients and HCPs
  • Understands the unique needs that lead a customer to telehealth (not just Covid)
  • Reaches HCPs and patients in contexts where they'll be receptive to your messaging
  • Tugs on the customer's emotional strings