Business as usual. It’s a term frequently being used as organizations across all industries attempt to navigate the current global health crisis. While some industries have visions of returning to relative normalcy soon after experts discern how to curb the spread of COVID-19, other industries like such as healthcare marketing stand to be permanently transformed by this pandemic. 

The need to adapt and evolve our industry to best serve customers didn’t originate with COVID-19, but it is causing organizations to have conversations they should have already have been having. As more in-person patient appointments, rep visits, and medical conferences are postponed for the indefinite future, we’re being forced to accelerate the pursuit of more efficient, effective ways of driving patient and healthcare professional (HCP) engagement. 

How can healthcare marketing emerge stronger from these unprecedented times?

Those organizations that figure out how to shift their perspectives and evolve their offerings will now be the ones leading the pack on the other side of this crisis. Specifically, here are a few segments of the healthcare marketing business to keep an eye on as we seek to redefine business as usual:

1. Focus groups and live market research.

Anticipate virtual interaction replacing in-person discussion as a major source of insight gathering and decision validation moving forward. To supplement the inherent limitations of digital focus groups, marketers will need to rely more heavily on artificial intelligence for data and sentiment mining.

2. Advisory boards.

While there’s no true substitute for a good, old-fashioned board meeting in terms of relationship development, now is the time to experiment with more cost-effective alternatives for curating, producing, and reporting on interactions with key opinion leaders (KOLs).

3. Medical congresses and industry conferences.

With hundreds of massive industry gatherings already postponed, we have an opportunity to explore virtual education and training programs as other avenues for engaging with HCPs. Perhaps we can even take a cue from Adobe, which just announced its MAX 2020 conference will be available to everyone online at no cost

4. Fax- and e-mail-centered multichannel.

Many marketers are quickly learning that not all multichannel programs are equal in reach or quality to personal interaction. Consider shifting budget dollars away from fax and email and experimenting with other engagement platforms and tools to find your organization’s perfect multichannel mix. 

5. HCP peer-to-peer.

Already undergoing a much-needed evolution prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the days of P2P strategies defined by doctor dinners will increasingly become a thing of the past. In their stead, we have the opportunity to usher in a new era of community gatherings that leverage augmented reality and other cutting-edge technologies to facilitate meaningful dialogue. 

Ross Toohey, CEO, 2e