Each year, Publicis Health Media publishes its Disruptors report that identifies five trends that will shake up the industry in some way and dives into how healthcare marketers can best tackle the changes.

At a Wednesday afternoon panel at DPE 2023, Publicis Health Media president Andrea Palmer “soft-launched” the disruptors they’ve identified for 2024 – and discussed what marketers can expect to see in the coming months. 

Here’s a recap of the panel, and how some of these disruptors will impact healthcare marketers well into 2024.

1. Sports

Pharma ads and football games go together like bread and butter, but sports has changed in recent years in terms of where it streams and how many people watch it.

Currently, sports is one of the most popular things to watch on live television. Palmer referred to a statistic at the start of the panel, noting that 100 out of the top 116 programs that people tune into live television for are sports programs.

“That’s extreme,” Palmer said. “That is a huge percentage of the total number of people watching any live programming who are turning on sports.”

As a result, it’s “important to have a presence in sports,” Palmer said. Of course, most healthcare marketers are already advertising in sports – but “if it’s running and streaming in different places, we have to know what that trend looks like.”

2. The writers’ strike

For several months now, the strike led by the Writers Guild of America and the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union has disrupted the entertainment industry and halted the production of countless TV shows and movies.

“I’m sure it’s something that’s keeping all of you up at night,” Palmer said. “The writers’ and actors’ strike and what it’s going to do to programming. [There’s a lot around] the role of content, how content is shifting and how it creates opportunities for brands.”

3. Retail

In recent years, perhaps sped up by COVID-19, the shift of the healthcare industry from a physician-centric model to a consumer-centric one – where healthcare is delivered to patients the way retail goods traditionally have been – has been in effect. Known as the “retailization” of healthcare, it can include sweeping changes with telehealth, Amazon’s entrance into health, and Walmart and CVS Health’s expansions offering health clinics and pharmacies.

“The retailization of healthcare has seen a ton of movement over the past couple of years,” Palmer noted. “But as we go into 2024, what that means continues to evolve into change. We’re excited to look at what that means and how that plays a role in new channels and new activations and new strategies in the way consumers experience healthcare.”

4. Social

From Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, or X, and the subsequent brand safety concerns, to TikTok’s emergence as the most popular social media platform, to Threads appearing seemingly out of nowhere with millions of users, the only constant in social media appears to be change.

“If anyone can agree on one thing, it’s that social as a channel has seen an incredible amount of disruption already,” Palmer explained. “Changes in the ways that you can access platforms, the use of data on different platforms. We’re starting to see new social channels emerge. But we can all agree that social is the place where people are consuming content. We have to stay with the trends and figure out how to work in these rapidly changing landscapes.”

5. Data exhaust

Echoing plenty of other discussions at DPE 2023 about the vast amounts of data in healthcare, Palmer pointed out that 30% of the world’s data is actually healthcare data. Still, in line with past panelists, the healthcare marketing industry still hasn’t quite figured out what to do with it. 2024 is the year that may change.

“We are not at a shortage in this industry for having data – but it’s about what to do with it, how to package it, when to layer it, when not to layer it and how much of it we should buy,” Palmer said. “The amount of data exhaustion is truly exhausting. This next trend is about how to use and make sense of all that data.”

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