The Prescription for a Crowded Market:
3 Strategies to Boost Your Healthtech Marketing
Healthcare technology is a booming vertical—and for good reason. The opportunity for innovation is abundant, with many hospitals and health systems either using legacy technologies or struggling to find the right technology stack.
Even with the market downturn and economic pressures, investors anticipate that the digital health sector will generate an estimated $15 billion to $25 billion in 2023.
There’s a whole lot of capital ripe for investment, and the potential is only growing.
The pandemic showed the success of virtual health channels, a model that young, healthy patients will likely embrace. As a result, virtual health could climb to 20% of market penetration by 2030.
Additionally, the market for healthcare services outsourcing, including logistics, payment solutions, and data and software platforms, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 10%.
As healthtech is used more frequently in care delivery, these and other new and emerging technologies will play an essential role in shaping the future of healthcare. But because that dramatic shift happened so rapidly, the healthcare sector is still scrambling to determine the role of technology vis-a-vis cybersecurity and patient privacy. In addition, healthcare systems and providers are looking for technology that not only delivers desired outcomes but also assuages their long-held fears about combining technology and care administration.
Everyone (from scrappy startups to tech behemoths) is ready to realize the potential of the healthtech sector. Is your company prepared to compete in this crowded space?
Keep reading for insights from healthtech marketers who know how to market your product to your ideal audience and deliver results.
It’s getting harder for healthtech companies to reach their ideal customers—here’s why.
With such a crowded marketplace and competition for investment, how are you supposed to get the attention of healthcare staff? It’s pretty tough without a solid healthtech marketing strategy (but more on that later).
How tough? Here’s what you’re up against.
Physicians aren’t always your ideal buyer.
Physicians seem like the ideal customer for any sales team member at a healthtech company. The average physician in the U.S. controls about $2 million per year in healthcare costs; physicians control roughly 80% of all healthcare spending.
They’re also sometimes the ones actually using (or at least benefitting from) your product, so it makes sense to target them, right?
Here’s why physicians are so dang hard to market to.
- Physicians aren’t on their computers all day—and when they are, they are difficult to reach.
- The reason why they aren’t on the computer all day is that they have hectic, high-pressure jobs.
- After umpteen years of medical school, they really don’t want to hear your marketing fluff (don’t worry, WE know it’s not fluff, but still). They need facts.
- It can feel tough for fun, charismatic brands to stand out when marketing to a more conservative, numbers-based audience.
Healthcare execs are swamped with sales outreach.
Okay, physicians are a hard sell. But the health system execs are the ones who really want to hear about how your healthtech improves patient care or reduces employee burnout, right?
Sure they do—and they hear about it all day. According to a survey of 100 hospital execs, 55% receive more than 11 calls and emails from digital health vendors per week. These people are incredibly busy, and the response rate is likely next to none in all channels.
Meanwhile, 95% of hospital execs said it is challenging to narrow the list of digital health products to evaluate. There are a lot of options out there, and most companies are targeting the same decision-makers and saying the same things. Being unique is more important than ever.
Let’s say it works and you get the sale (yay!): 66% of hospital execs said the technology implementation process, from search initiation to contract finalization, usually takes six months or more. Of those respondents, 20% said it takes more than a year.
With such low response rates and 6–12+ month sales cycles, marketing effectiveness is critical for getting leads in the pipeline ASAP. Many healthtech companies barely have a chance to impact 2023 sales anymore—they need to act now to start making big sales.
Sounds like a job for your marketing strategy.
3 foundational healthtech marketing strategies that buyers can’t ignore
1. Enter the minds of your buyers
Want to know what your buyers are looking for in a software solution? The easiest way to answer the question is to ask them—yet, for some reason, marketers miss this step over and over again.
We get it: you spend so much time on the tech that you forget what it’s like for the person who isn’t in it every day. But you need to consider the buyer who may not know your solution even exists, let alone your brand.
Additionally, there often isn’t a lot of research out there for B2B marketers. So, we have to do our own research. This is where stakeholder interviews come in. A deep understanding of the customer offers insights that not only help you win sales but can also help your product team with future enhancements.
Stakeholder interviews: How to get the research Google won’t give you
Accelity VP of Client Services Stephanie Sabel has over 15 years of marketing experience in hospitality and healthcare, from start-ups to Fortune 500 brands. She previously managed marketing for Virgin Pulse, a leading healthcare technology company. Here she shares her tips for digging deep to get the info you need from key stakeholders.
Start by talking to the people who matter most: your clients and prospects. What are their biggest challenges? Why are they buying your solution (or not)? What do they think about your brand and your product?
Scour your network for internal and external resources who may be willing to share even a few minutes to help, and be prepared to buy them coffee in exchange for their assistance.
When writing stakeholder questions, strike a balance between being conversational and structured. You want to get to know the person and make them feel comfortable, but you must also know exactly what information you want. Be prepared to pivot and ask follow-up questions based on the conversation.
Bonus: you can also use stakeholder interviews as a marketing tool. With permission, you can use their words, attribute quotes, or even take a video of the interview to use in future marketing.
If all else fails and you can’t find a physician who wants to chat, get creative and make a doctor’s appointment just to ask questions. Hey, we’re just trying to keep you healthy and competitive!
Don’t write your messaging in a hole. Get help from your most important audience: stakeholders.
2. Make sure your benefits are clear and ROI is immediately evident.
If there’s one thing physicians, providers, and other healthcare workers are lacking, it’s time. That means they won’t dig around your website to understand how your healthtech works.
Unfortunately, most healthtech companies’ websites are filled with confusing, unsubstantiated claims and jargon that make them all look identical. If your prospects can’t immediately see the value you deliver, you’ve lost your audience.
Value proposition: The WHY behind your brand
Accelity Marketing Account Director Stephanie Roland has nearly a decade of marketing agency experience working with various clients—B2B, B2C and nonprofit—and 13 years of sales and advertising experience. Here she shares a proven framework for determining your healthtech company’s value proposition.
The challenge lies in articulating your WHY and not just your WHAT. Yes, your audience needs to know what your product does. But the reason they buy is because of your why.
To write a strong value proposition that resonates, start with the Golden Circle. Coined by Simon Sinek, the Golden Circle outlines WHAT a company does, HOW they do it, and WHY they do it. In his famous TED Talk, Sinek explains that a clearly defined WHY conveys your purpose and the very reason your company exists. Done well, your WHY will inspire others to action and help them develop strong brand loyalty.
Think about the brands you love most. Is it just the product you love, or do you feel passionate about the brand?
Once you have your WHY, it will translate across your brand presence—most notably on your website. The value prop should hold valuable space on the website, ideally right on the home page header. All audiences should be able to tell immediately what your company is all about, but this is especially true for doctors.
Remember: there are only so many times you can say why your business is valuable to users. You need to be able to back it up too. Add statistics, testimonials, case studies, and reviews to prove the real-world value.
3. Stop flooding physicians and providers with generic content
A physician’s identity is often tied to their specialty; they spent a long time becoming experts in a specific field, and they want solutions tailored to that discipline. Two-thirds of medical professionals complain they are “bombarded” with generic content. They would prefer personalized, tailored, user-friendly information (honestly, who wouldn’t?).
Personalization: Creating custom content that resonates
Accelity Strategic Marketing Director Michael Ray has seven years of agency experience and 13 years of strategic marketing experience. Here are his top strategies for creating personalized content that will grab your audience.
Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Which is more likely to resonate:
- An ebook about how physicians, providers and other medical professionals can increase workplace efficiency? OR,
- An ebook about how orthopedists can improve their workplace efficiency?
If you’re an orthopedist, that second offer will be much more eye-catching.
Reminder: if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.
As marketers, it’s tempting to default to marketing to everyone.
So, how do you personalize at scale?
- Look for issues that apply across healthcare broadly.
- Create one master document for your content.
- Find places where you can make small personalization tweaks.
E.g., where it says “physician” in the master doc, swap for “orthopedist” in that audience’s version of the offer.
Add facts and data specific to that industry.
You can save time and money by making those tweaks across several different versions of an offer and still make it feel customized for each audience.
It’s not just what you say, but where you say it
As the saying goes, the medium is the message. Personalization isn’t just about what you say but which channels you use.
Which channel is most effective for healthtech marketing depends on the amount of information you already have about your audience. If you have a lot of email addresses for prospects and you’ve been building those relationships, physicians prefer email. (A well-written, well-designed, and well-thought-out email with supporting evidence for your claims.) Doctors average almost an hour a day on inbox management.
Today, physicians globally spend at least 1.5 hours online per day conducting research, with at least half of that on social media. LinkedIn is an excellent place to start, especially if you’re still early at building relationships. How likely a physician is to use Linkedin depends on their specialty, but LinkedIn can be relatively cost-effective for lead generation. You can also try Doximity, a networking platform for medical professionals. It’s a larger investment but much more highly targeted.
Since doctors are so busy, you’ll need a multi-channel approach to get your message across. If you can only grab their attention 5 seconds at a time, you want as many opportunities to reach them as possible.
Create a healthtech marketing strategy your audience can’t ignore
The past few years have seen unprecedented healthcare challenges and unanticipated technology adoption. As the industry adjusts to new ways of working, the opportunities for healthtech companies to thrive are numerous.
But it doesn’t matter how great your product is if you can’t grab your audience’s attention. Buyers in this market are some of the busiest, most in-demand people. Your marketing needs to be direct, powerful and distinctive to be competitive in the billion-dollar gold rush that is healthtech.