Shifting priorities and budget cuts have been the hallmarks of the coronavirus pandemic for healthcare marketers.

A survey from reputation management platform Binary Fountain found the biggest areas where healthcare marketers are cutting spend were media spending and paid advertising (down 38.5%), contractors (down 36.8%) and team members (down 36.2%).

The pandemic has also driven a shift in the type of marketing initiatives healthcare marketing teams prioritized. Before the pandemic, content marketing, email marketing and paid advertising topped the list. But after COVID-19, these priorities shifted.

Crisis communications surged, according to the survey, with 48% saying it was the top initiative post-COVID-19 compared to 32% before. Content and email marketing remained in the top three priorities, but fell significantly. 

Content marketing was a top priority for 32% of respondents after COVID, compared to 48% before, and email marketing also fell to 32% post-pandemic, compared to 40% before. The two biggest drops due to the coronavirus were in paid advertising and branding.

Going forward, healthcare marketers are focusing on new areas and projects. Half of healthcare marketers surveyed said their teams were planning telehealth initiatives post-coronavirus. With relaxed telemedicine regulations and a large number of patients using telehealth during the pandemic, these marketers expect interest to continue once the emergency is over.

In a similar vein, 42% are planning projects around physicians directories and online appointments, to prepare for a world where more patients see their doctors online. These marketers also expect a return to normal advertising strategies, with 36% are planning to resume paid advertising after the pandemic.