David Line | March 11th, 2021

As in any sector, understanding the audience is at the heart of creating effective content for healthcare companies. With industry-shaping trends evolving so rapidly, that has never seemed harder. Yet even while recognising that each healthcare provider (HCP) will have different priorities (why an account-based marketing approach often pays dividends), our research suggests that certain core themes will have a broad appeal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an obvious driver of change, notably in the need to understand its pathology, treatment and prevention. But in many cases it has also accelerated or magnified the importance of longstanding commercially crucial issues like telehealth (the global market for which is estimated to quintuple in value by 2026), data management and minimising administrative costs, to name just three.

So perhaps it’s not as hard as it first appears to identify the thought leadership themes that might serve to underpin a campaign. But this is putting the cart before the horse. For marketing teams seeking to maximise the impact of their content, it’s still of vital importance to ensure they have the basics right before they begin – something that in our experience many fail to implement.

So allow me to repeat myself and dig out a graphic that fellow N/N Partner Lorraine Cushnie and I always use at the start of our B2B Marketing Basics presentations: the five-step decision flowchart.

B2B Content Marketing Decision-Making Flowchart

This isn’t rocket science, but it bears repeating. If healthcare content marketers follow this flowchart – with each step ranked in order of priority – and get buy-in on each decision before they embark on a campaign, then they are much less likely to go wrong (in terms of strategy at least; as to actually producing quality content, that’s a different matter.)

Everything flows from the commerical aim of the campaign, whether this is broad brand-building at the top of the sales funnel, lead conversion at the bottom, or anything in between. That decided, the next most important decision is the audience: nowadays you can be very precise indeed about specific HPC personas you might want to target and, of course, which channels are suited to reach them.

Only then should healthcare marketers think about the type of content to produce. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s crucial to remember that this is subordinate to those first three decision points. In our experience, content campaigns that don’t follow this decision-making hierarchy are far less likely to succeed.

This brings us to the last decision point: how will you define success? Since the commercial aims of a campaign may vary, so too do the means to measure ROI. There are hundreds of thousands of potential KPIs to choose from (not least metrics from social media) but this doesn’t make the job easier, since budget decision makers won’t be impressed with a disordered jumble of stats.

That makes it doubly important to agree on this in advance. Of course, you need the flexibility to adapt, especially in a long campaign. But if you get the basics right, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals.


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