The first quarter of 2024 is over and medical marketers are navigating several key trends shaping the industry.

According to a recent blog post from marketing technology resource Martech Cube, there are five major medical marketing trends worth keeping an eye on as the year presses forward.

As AI takes hold in nearly every aspect of healthcare, there will be a continued push towards personalization in marketing, Martech Cube argued.

However, healthcare marketers can also expect to see an increased emphasis on HIPAA-compliant marketing — as well as emerging trends in social media, reputation management and telehealth marketing.

These trends can shape the healthcare sector by “developing a strategic approach to stand out” in the increasingly competitive environment and embrace the era of digitization, the blog post noted.

Here’s a breakdown of the five key trends marketers can look out for in 2024.

1. Medical marketing personalization, powered by AI

With the emergence of generative AI and chatbots, medical marketers can expect to take their personalization efforts even further.

Still, in order to best develop that personalization, medical marketers should concentrate their efforts past conventional segmentation and leverage data analytics by comprehending users’ needs, preferences, behaviors and demographics.

Generative AI can also assist in making content creation more efficient, which in turn makes it easier to tailor it to individual patients. AI will help develop a better understanding of patients’ purchasing decisions going forward.

2. Data privacy and HIPAA-compliant marketing

Data privacy serves as an increasingly key consideration for marketers to grasp, especially as state and federal laws are shifting and being implemented in different ways.

Medical marketers will need to get a handle on “compliant marketing” by protecting patients’ health information and familiarizing themselves with laws like HIPAA, California Consumer Privacy Act and General Data Protection Regulation.

Compliant marketing will be defined by prioritizing patient confidentiality and the integrity of healthcare providers through the use of anonymized data, advanced encryption and blockchain technology as well as explicit consent for data use, according to Martech Cube.

3. Social media marketing

While AI is the latest buzzword in the industry, social media will continue to be just as important as it was in previous years.

Platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook can still capture audience attention and reach patient communities. 

That means “sharing useful content, building a loyal community, sharing authentic medical and awareness stories, and engaging in quality discussions on relevant health topics,” according to the blog post.

4. Reputation management

Big Pharma’s reputation rose significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, following decades of public mistrust. 

However, once 2023 rolled around and the pandemic was largely in the rearview mirror, the industry’s reputation dropped to pre-pandemic levels, with both Pfizer and Moderna falling in the ranks.

It continues to be a challenge for marketers to manage company reputations given that context. 

Still, it all comes down to the patient.

Marketers can focus on remaining vigilant about patient experiences in order to “improve their services, offer patient-centric care and benefit the brand’s appeal,” Martech Cube noted.

5. Telehealth marketing

Following a surge in telehealth and remote patient monitoring four years ago during the early days of the pandemic, the industry has continued to rely on these channels — even if in-person care and marketing has largely returned.

Telehealth will continue to be important in 2024 and medical marketers need to highlight the convenience and accessibility of AI, wearables and machine learning technologies for patients. 

Patients in marginalized communities or areas that lack access to healthcare — such as rural parts of the U.S. — will be able to benefit from these technologies.