Feb 15, 2024



From Personalization to AI-Driven Insights: A Look at Pharma Marketing Dynamics in 2024

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, pharma marketing strategies for 2024 face significant changes. Here’s how you can stay ahead of those changes and excel in your patient acquisition efforts.

Healthcare is constantly evolving—and we can expect to see significant changes in pharma advertising transform patient experiences this year. From predictive technologies and more streamlined administrative processes to increased direct-to-consumer (DTC) and direct-to-physician (DTP) digital ad spend, one thing is certain: Reaching qualified patients and physicians as a pharma brand is going to look a lot more different than it did in previous years.

Digital advertising expenses in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are expected to reach $19.66 billion this year—a sign that marketers are ready to invest more in the future of advertising. As a pharma marketer, the best way to plan for success this year is to bridge the gap between what consumers want and how evolving technology can help address these needs. Here’s how.

1. The Power of Personalization

Not all conditions affect patients in the same way. Social determinants of health, lifestyle choices, and one’s genetic makeup can dictate patient outcomes and the symptoms they experience. In fact, it’s why personalized medicine is on the horizon. Also known as precision medicine, this form of treatment hinges on the individual patient, taking into account the specific factors that contribute to how a disease uniquely manifests within one’s body. It’s a revolutionary approach that can improve prognoses and lead to healthier lives.

Not only should you consider developing marketing campaigns to educate healthcare professionals and patients about this innovation, but you should also draw inspiration from it and make personalization the foundation of your advertising strategy. For example, provide custom content on conditions and treatment in a more digestible format that physicians can easily share with patients, such as interactive quizzes that assess symptoms, medication reminders, and educational materials tailored to specific conditions.

But be sure to connect with diverse audiences by acknowledging that certain conditions disproportionately affect different populations. Focus on conscious editorial language, culturally relevant topics, and diverse ad casting to demonstrate your brand’s cultural competency in healthcare. It’s also essential to make this information accessible, so be sure to translate all materials into various languages.

2. New Ways of Reaching Patients Remotely

The allure of remote care, including offerings like telehealth and asynchronous care, is the convenience and expanded accessibility it provides. While telehealth has slowed down in growth over the past several months, it’s still an incredibly useful feature most patients want—research from McKinsey & Company shows that 55% of patients prefer this virtual option over in-person appointments.

The problem is pharma brands don’t have as many opportunities to reach patients in physical waiting rooms with educational information. But this challenge is quickly changing with virtual waiting room messaging. Marketers can leverage intake data to create and present relevant information as patients are on hold to speak with a healthcare professional.

Plus, with the rise of remote care, particularly remote patient monitoring, the use of wearables and other connected devices will help doctors deliver more holistic care beyond simple virtual consultations and better understand patient needs inside and outside their office. What does this mean for pharma marketers? This increase in touchpoints throughout the consumer journey lends itself to more opportunities where your brand can reach patients with compelling messaging they’ll want to speak to their doctors about.

3. Growing CTV Audiences

Even with streaming dominating traditional television channels in popularity, ads have started to trickle into these subscription-based platforms, opening up an avenue for pharma advertisers to leave an impactful impression. Known as connected TV (CTV), these internet-powered entertainment hubs are the best way to reach the widest audience of qualified consumers, with global subscriptions reaching 1.8 billion in 2023. But they’re also valuable sources of viewer information, giving insights into the demographics, interests, and behaviors of potential consumers. Using this data, pharma marketers can customize campaigns to address specific medical conditions, age groups, and other criteria relevant to their audience. 

Note that when adding CTV marketing to your strategy, you’ll need to pay attention to new FDA rules surrounding how you can craft your campaigns. Here are a few that you’ll need to incorporate into your CTV messaging:

  • Avoid complicated jargon—use language that’s easy to understand.
  • Present all text in easy-to-read formats.
  • Ensure that audio and visual elements in ads do not distract the consumer from understanding the content.
  • Present major statements in both audio and text, with the statement shown long enough to be read.
  • Abide by existing privacy regulations.
  • Check that all marketing materials are accurate, balanced, and transparent.

To stay ahead of the curve and avoid costly penalties and reputational damage, it’s a good idea to partner with legal and compliance experts so that your pharma brand is always aligned with regulatory requirements, even as they change.

4. Less Cookies, More Context

From third-party cookies crumbling to stricter regulations around patient privacy, marketers have to get more creative when it comes to pharma advertising. This is where contextual targeting can help. A less invasive approach than cookies, contextual targeting uses keywords and SEO-backed data to naturally drive interested visitors to a brand. While many marketers may hesitate to shift to this new process, it has proven more effective than cookie-generated ads.

According to a study by Seedtag, 82% of consumers have a greater appreciation for brands that have stopped using cookies. Plus, physicians who work hard to keep their data confidential will respect pharma brands that use contextual advertising to move away from more controversial methods like cookies.

5. New Avenues for AI

2023 was a big year for artificial intelligence (AI), and this momentum isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. With the help of ChatGPT, Lumen5, Soundraw, and other advanced tools, people are learning how to leverage this technology to increase productivity and even jumpstart creative endeavors. AI can be used in various applications, but in the pharma space, it can help marketers analyze vast amounts of data to identify patient segments, optimize campaign performance, and respond to patient queries. Plus, AI-driven patient research allows marketers to gain a more sophisticated perspective of patient interactions across various platforms to keep campaigns personalized, intuitive, and responsive.

AI can also be used to identify doctors and specialists who are most likely to be interested in a particular prescription treatment or therapy, as well as those who are most likely to change their prescription of choice. While AI is still relatively new, it promises great potential in reducing manual loads and enhancing insights into crucial data.

6. Bigger Investments in DTP Marketing

When it comes to prescription medications, doctors have the final say in what treatments a patient can consider. While most pharma marketing budgets are allocated toward direct-to-physician (DTP) advertising, not all physicians are the target audience for your brand. Make the most of every dollar by targeting high-value healthcare professionals who can help qualified consumers find your brand. However, be sure to alleviate the mental load doctors bear—educate and empower them by providing digestible content that they can share with patients interested in your brand’s treatment options.

An easy way to do this is by partnering with a third-party site like Healthgrades, the leading platform for doctor-patient connections. Through our HG360 offering, we use our business intel to target consumers and help them connect with the right specialist. We then deploy compelling, multi-touch campaigns to those specialists of interest to close the loop.

It’s never easy to attract and engage doctors who are busy saving lives, but with HG360 and further tech breakthroughs to come, DTP marketing becomes more accessible and effective.

Refine Your Pharma Patient Acquisition Strategy for 2024 with Healthgrades

Healthgrades is America’s premier platform for connecting individuals with trusted healthcare professionals, empowering them to take swift and informed steps toward better health. When you advertise with Healthgrades, you gain a unique opportunity to engage with patients at a pivotal moment—just before they consult with a doctor.

Our platform directly connects with low-funnel consumers, whether through medically-reviewed editorial content or our PatientConnect Hub, where they interact with highly tailored information related to their conditions and treatments. Embedded within every program is our Guided Physician Search (GPS), a doctor directory tool that enables consumers to schedule appointments while your brand is top of mind. It also seamlessly integrates with your brand’s website, offering convenient access for interested consumers.

We also provide appointment guides that empower patients to confidently discuss potential treatment options, including your brand, with their doctors. To expand your reach, Healthgrades PatienTarget identifies qualified patients who have already connected with specialists on our platform. Utilizing predictive modeling, it extends your outreach to individuals most likely to require treatment for your target conditions.

Our latest offering, PatienTarget TV, allows your brand to reach your desired audience across major television networks and platforms precisely at the critical point between appointment scheduling and the actual visit. This feature utilizes insights from Healthgrades intelligence, targeting qualified patients who have engaged with relevant specialists on healthgrades.com. With over 100 channels and various CTV device types at your disposal, you can deploy your TV ad with precision and scale, even incorporating QR code calls-to-action for immediate viewer engagement.

Lastly, designed to augment marketing efficiency and drive NRx, our WriteMD digital list-match solution engages patients and caretakers of high-value prescribers at precisely the right time. WriteMD strategically positions your brand’s advertisements directly onto the healthgrades.com profiles of your most valuable prescribers throughout your campaign, ensuring lasting visibility and impact. 

With Healthgrades, you have a comprehensive suite of tools and strategies at your fingertips—are you ready to use them to conquer the 2024 pharma landscape? Get in touch with us today.