The best healthcare and pharma marketing trends of 2021 and what to expect in 2022

Healthcare & Pharma Marketing
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Pharma advertising spending in 2020 sat at £4.9 billion pounds but recent projections for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry highlight that advertising spend will have surpassed a mammoth £8.1 billion pounds in 2021. So, in a ‘post-corona’ world which sees healthcare predicted as one of the most disruptive sectors, including the potential of Amazon growing into one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, is your healthcare brand ready for 2022?

At Guerilla we have over twenty-five years’ international marketing experience within the Healthcare and Pharmacy Industries. We have a very solid track record, such as our branding work PHOENIX GmbH & Co where we created a Pan European brand ‘Benu’, which achieved the Global Brand Strategy of the year award. We have also created new brands and marketing strategies for the likes of PSUK, Nucare, and Rowlands, alongside thousands of packaging designs for leading brands such as Numark and Livsane. Our branding and campaign work for Holland & Barrett involved taking their brand from 600 stores to a global giant, where our involvement also involved the invention of the now infamous Penny Sale. Our experience doesn’t end there though, as we’ve also created some award winning Smoking Cessation and Sexual Health campaigns for the NHS.

Even though we have pockets full of Pharma and Healthcare experience, which includes launching brands like Kim Kardashian’s Quick Trim brand in the UK, we are always looking to the future so that we can continue to provide our clients with the edge over their competition. The one thing that we know for sure is that it takes a special kind of bravery to steer your brand through a pandemic, and now is the time to really push the boundaries with your brand communications as we are potentially coming out of the other side.

You might ask why? Well, it’s like this, when we undergo any traumatic life event, such as a divorce or bereavement, we give ourselves license to step away from our old lives. This means that the probability of trying new brands increases by at least 75%, with research showing that post-lockdown, on average, people were x2.5 times more likely to have tried a new brand. This means that for both B2C and B2B in retail and wholesale, the purchasing habits of customers are changing – and will continue to change for a while after restrictions end. Your customers are more likely to switch to your competitors, and your competitors’ customers are more likely to switch to you – it’s important that you maximise all possible opportunities.

The most successful Healthcare & Pharma marketing campaigns of 2021

If the successful Healthcare and Pharma marketing campaigns of 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that stirring emotion and engaging your audience is key. But success cannot be measured by emotion alone, setting clear defined KPI’s that align with goals is crucial to creating truly effective campaigns. It’s no secret that the most successful campaigns of 2021 recognised and optimised the accelerated transition to online, with new forms of digital platforms emerging post pandemic now that customers are spending more and more time online.

For example, take the Breath of Fresh Air campaign by GlaxoSmithKline, which combined beauty, creativity, cultural relevance, and technology effortlessly to become an awareness award winner for the invention of a simple diagnostic tool that addresses a complex health problem. ‘Breath of Life’ was housed on WeChat app, where people can simply tap to blow into their smartphones which created a traditional Chinese blow painting of a tree with flowers, whilst testing the user’s lung capacity at the same time. Within two weeks of launching the app it had already achieved an impressive 10,000 click throughs.

A key theme we noticed by working closely with clients such as Numark and Rowlands throughout 2021 was that the most successful communication campaigns had moved away from considering customers as either online or offline. We worked hard with our pharmacy clients to deliver campaigns that utilised our armoury of design, packaging, digital, branding, advertising and social resources to create solid 360 omni-channel joined up communication strategies. This was showcased in our Intervention campaign for Drink Aware, where a patient was exposed to messaging across media channels involving, physical reality pharmacy environments, online gamification, augmented reality, and social media platforms.

The #RosaceaUnmasked social media awareness campaign also highlighted how an omnichannel approach to medical marketing, which is always-on and optimizes campaign focused communication tools creates real results. Launched across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook during the Rosacea Awareness Month, the campaign encouraged people to share their experiences with mask wearing by posting mask on and mask off selfies. User-generated content was incorporated into the customer journey to start conversations around the true burden of Rosacea…. Pretty smart right?

What makes a successful Pharma brand communications?

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So, we often get asked what makes successful brand communications? The truth is, there are several ingredients that make for a successful marketing campaign, not just in pharmacy, as our award-winning campaign for pharmacy dentist direct demonstrated. An important component is the creation of clear and engaging creative that cuts through the noise, engaging with your audiences, whilst creating a positive behavioural shift towards your brand. A compassionate tone of voice (that mirrors community initiatives) as shown in our recent campaign creation for AMTS Apotek has also become much more significant recently.

In an age where consumers can verify commercial claims with quick online searches, brand transparency is more important than ever. In Pharma, customer cynicism of marcoms means that companies must build a solid foundation of trust with their customer base. Then there is the pandemic, which has focused the need for reliable brand partners, especially as the Government’s role in assistance looks evermore uncertain.

We have found a direct link between successful communications and a heathy data relationship between brands and their customers, which is vital in building up trust. Whilst most customers understand that Pharma brands do use personal data to skew the advertisements and offers, as well as supplying free online services, they also want more concrete incentives for sharing their information data.

We touched on the gaming sector earlier and in addition to creating an increased number of gaming show brands for Rusty Quill, we have seen recently that traditional media is now competing with gaming for customer attention and spend. Pharma comms that has links to gaming or virtual reality devices and their platforms have captured more market share of customers, due to the amount of people that are spending more time in immersive environments. Take these technologies together and we now have brands taking advantage of the emerging channels to create targeted marketing outputs, facilitating novel influencer strategies and online experiences.

Healthcare and Pharma marketing trends for 2022

Sociocultural shifts, consumer empowerment and a collective health crisis have stimulated an environment where Pharma brands can no longer be passive bystanders to the key and immediate issues. Historically, Pharmaceutical companies marketing efforts were focused on creating as much value as possible for their shareholders, but in 2022 Pharmaceutical brands will be expected to fulfil an important societal role too. The pandemic and streaming of pharmacy content has helped the public to understand healthcare and pharmacy more, researching and appreciating good solid content to help them take more responsibility for their health. Coronavirus has accelerated many existing trends but one of the key challenges is to successfully navigate the massive amounts of data to make sense and highlight the main areas of focus.

Remember the customer is always right? As 2022 approaches the consumerisation of medicine will mean consumers become even more empowered to make informed healthcare decisions. The pandemic has made consumers well and truly in the driving seat, having gained the confidence to ask questions and seek the best possible treatments due to their exposure to a vast amount of medical information. Consequently, consumers want to have the same experience in healthcare that they have from other businesses – this requires a rethink to your marketing strategy for 2022. To be successful, you have to ensure you are not only reaching and engaging audiences but also driving conversion to sales while encouraging repeat business. As one of the leading healthcare marketing agencies, strategy is in our blood and we always shape for results.

With a rise in misinformation and disinformation, consumer empowerment may not always be an advantage if this leads to confusion and anxiety. However, we believe this presents the perfect opportunity for healthcare brands to cut through the noise and deliver genuine value through legitimate and useful content. Your content should build trust and support decision making of prospects and existing customers. Search engines such as Google have and will continue to prioritise quality content for firms, so doing this could improve rankings, leads and conversions. Creating a patient information journey can also help to understand customer goals and what type of content helps them to achieve their goals. Why not tap into the top Google searches (1 in 20 regarding healthcare) and plug this into your patient information journey in the form of an informational video.

As an agency we work across many different sectors, working on branding and campaigns for cutting edge clients such as Rigel Medical and Husqvarna, who own brands such as Gardena and Flymo. This gives us the advantage of bringing new strategies and creative from other sectors into the Pharmacy and Healthcare sectors. As an industry Pharmacy is not at the forefront of the digital environment, but our offering can bring a huge advantage in the arena of digital, including website design and development, e-commerce, social media, SEO and PPC.

At the heart of successful Pharmacy marketing in 2022 will be the need of a customer centric vision that provides a holistic understanding of the customer. At Guerilla we have been working for some time with our Pharmacy and Healthcare clients to achieve this through the loop of acquiring and aggregating data. Alongside this, we are designing creative omnichannel strategies and communications that consistently deliver the required results and generate a positive return on investment. We strongly believe that in 2022 these three components will be at the heart of any successful Pharmacy and Healthcare marketing campaign.

The best way to achieve your Healthcare and Pharma marketing targets

It’s important to make sure that your brand is ready for 2022, but unfortunately it isn’t as simple as just saying ‘yes’. Here at Guerilla, we strive for results and the best way to achieve them is by working closely with our Pharma and Healthcare clients, using a potent combination of our extensive sector experience blended with creativity and innovation to achieve effectiveness in everything we do. We have won many awards over the years, ranging from Global Brand Strategy, Advertising Campaigns, Internal, Events, Integrated Communications, Social Media, Digital, and Creative Strategy. Offering a wide range of services, purposefully focused on Pharmacy and Healthcare, we build bespoke packages around our client’s requirements to ensure that their marketing spends achieve real value and that their return on investment is always optimised, particularly during turbulent times.

If you are looking for innovative marketing strategies to help navigate and succeed in 2022 and beyond then please do get in touch. We are offering two free, one-hour face-to-face consultations where we will discuss your challenges and objectives, offering you our insights and advice designed to help you get your brand communications fit for what we hope is close to being a post pandemic landscape.

To discuss your project needs get in touch with our team today

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