Healthcare marketing has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems there is an article, podcast, blog, or video being released every minute on the topic. We offered an executive outlook in a recent post, “Modernize Your Sales Process in a Changing World”, and we wanted to expand upon the theme of modernizing healthcare digital marketing as it relates to medical conferences and events. Now that government lockdown restrictions are being relaxed and we begin to get back to “normal”, live and in-person events will become relevant again.
Medical Conferences = Digital Marketing Opportunity
Medical conferences are vital for physicians and other healthcare practitioners to discover and learn about new treatments, clinical trial results, product updates, attend critical symposia, secure medical education credits, network with peers, and so much more. But the COVID-19 crisis effectively halted all live, in-person meetings for most of 2020 and well into 2021, ushering in a new reality – and a glorious opportunity for marketing to these physicians.
More than ever before, the treatment community is clamoring for education and knowledge. In October 2020, the healthcare professional social media platform Skipta took the pulse on its community and asked about key challenges facing their practices in 2021. Here are some highlights:
- 75% of physicians report finding it more difficult to receive new information on pharmaceutical products
- 61% of respondents say they have MORE time for online interactions, education, and learning
- 86% of physicians note that using ONLINE lectures will be important for disease education, treatment, and new drug information in 2021
- 93% consider peer to peer education as an EFFECTIVE MEANS OF COMMUNICATING new treatment information to them
- 75% of respondents ranked VIRTUAL EVENTS AS IMPORTANT CHANNELS for disease education, treatment, and new drug information
The responses are not a surprise – they are affirmation that healthcare providers crave continued learning and education and are willing to spend the time online to do it. Like many organizations, the clinicians, nurses, and the medical community at large have had to rapidly adapt to changing the way they conduct business. We covered this impact on B2B businesses in a recent post, “Adaptation: The Biggest Driver of Business Success in 2020”. The acceleration of digital tactics, whether it’s seeing patients via telehealth or utilizing virtual platforms for meetings and online learning, has created an evolution in the digital marketing ecosystem – an ecosystem ripe with opportunity.
A Defined Place, Time, and Platform to Reach Your Target Audiences
It’s already almost summer and with many conferences planned, the time is now for planning and creating a marketing campaign that can be used to reach your target audience. Whether the conferences are virtual or live – many of them will be in-person events later in the year – they represent the biggest opportunity of the year for marketers to offer compelling personal and/or non-personal promotions to a captive, engaged and relevant audience. It’s why pharmaceutical and medical device companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to support these conferences, from designing highly interactive exhibition booths to building a product theater showcasing the very latest in science. The best part is that using digital marketing, you can ride the wave of the cumulative event marketing dollars to capture attention for a fraction of the price.
How to Get Started with Digital Marketing
Getting started can mean something as simple as launching a social media campaign targeting attendees of a conference with advertisements. Or it can mean working with a team of marketing professionals to develop a fully integrated marketing campaign that will utilize both modern digital marketing and traditional in-person marketing to develop a relationship with potential customers.
The truth is that all of this takes time and does not happen overnight. And to take a step further; this all requires a long-term investment in the growth of your organization. As a performance marketing agency that focuses on revenue growth, our opinion is that the right agency can help take you from 0 to 100 much quicker than hiring your own team. In addition to time, the marketing expertise you have access to is much higher when partnering with an agency compared to hiring an individual.
Although it may not be simple to create and launch a complete digital marketing campaign, it is becoming a necessity for a business that is trying to build sustainable growth (and not just collect leads). Business leaders with a long-term vision for their company want to provide value and build relationships with their customers. They understand that investing in their customers is the best way to increase their lifetime value, and that all begins with an effective marketing strategy.
To help you get a head start, here is a list of some of the most influential healthcare conferences/meetings and when they’re taking place – and where, if they are live.
2021 Medical Conferences
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI)
- November 4 – 8 (New Orleans, LA)
- American Heart Association (AHA)
- November 13 – 15 (Boston, MA + Virtual)
- American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Summer Meeting
- August 5 – 8 (Tampa, FL)
- American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions
- June 26 – 29 (Virtual)
- American Society of Hematology (ASH)
- December 11 – 14 (Atlanta, GA + Virtual)
- Infectious Disease
- IDWeek – Infectious Disease Society of American (IDSA)
- September 29 – October 3 (Virtual)
- Kidney Week – American Society of Nephrology (ASN)
- November 2 – 7 (San Diego, CA)
- American Neurological Association (ANA)
- October 17 – 19 (Virtual)
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
- June 4 – 8 (Virtual)
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
- August 31 – September 3 (San Diego, CA)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Experience
- October 8 – 12 (Philadelphia, PA)
- Primary Care
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) – Family Medicine Experience (FMX)
- September 28 – October 2 (Virtual)
- Psych Congress
- October 29 – November 1 (San Antonio, TX)
- CHEST – American College of Chest Physicians
- October 17 – 21 (Orlando, FL + Virtual)
- American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence
- November 1 – 10 (Virtual)
Take a look at some of these shows and visit the exhibitor opportunities and/or advertising/sponsorships they offer to see what aligns with your current promotional plans and whether you can use existing tactics to provide value to these healthcare professionals attending the meetings. Seeking the advice of experts to ensure your data and the customer experience (CX) are at the center of everything will be key to your success.