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The future is here. The digital revolution has led to the world becoming a global village connected by wireless technologies where people live experiences through social media. With 5G, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud services, and machine learning, the world is converging to digital. And so is healthcare industry and along with it are their marketing efforts. While the nation’s healthcare industry is poised for growth, the market and marketing conditions are changing. The change is in the customer’s perception and their view of the healthcare industry with the onset of the digital medium. Healthcare stakeholders are slowly realising the benefits of digital in solving their problems and are incorporating these technologies. India’s healthcare challenges and new trends are helping the digital revolution expand across the nation. Let’s take a look at the emerging trends in healthcare industry and digital healthcare technology trends to watch out for in 2019.

Consumer Awareness
In this day and age of social media, the consumer is growing increasingly aware of his surroundings and the world. Today consumers especially the ones who are digital-friendly and tech-savvy now look for information from the forums and discussion groups on the internet. Just a simple query-based search will provide him with all the information at his disposal. So imagine if a patient is sick, the first thing they do is search on the symptoms, followed by doctors, speciality hospitals and then make a decision to book an appointment. The decision to seek healthcare services for the informed consumer is search driven. The current trends in healthcare industry predict that your brand’s online medical marketing efforts need to be SEO focussed.

Accessible Technology
Nowadays the consumer base in India not only has the power to purchase but also has the power to access technology like 4G Services, Voice enabled devices, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Wearable technology etc. With such a powerful combo at disposal, the native audience is forever growing curious. Consumers that are growing increasingly health conscious are purchasing digital portable health monitoring devices like health monitors, pedometers, and paid health apps for preventive purposes as they suggest preventive measures in case of any health issues. These are technologies that consumers can wear, such as watches, that can collect/interpret data about the consumer. These have progressed from being watches to fashion accessory to monitoring people’s health, such as heart rate and BP, and have even helped them manage their health better.

Easy To Reach Consumers
Any medical marketing agency would tell you how easy it is to reach to your consumer through digital mediums. In fact, you can pretty much customise your audience to select your right mix. Pick and target your audience based on search queries, demographic and geographic profiles, their behaviour and interests. You can identify consumers down in your very own neighbourhood. Better segmentation and targeting help drive brand growth. A healthcare digital marketing agency becomes a catalyst in connecting with the right audience and communicating your message to them.

Growth of Healthcare Industry
Rising income, awareness and purchasing power for preventive can be key contributors when we predict the growth of the Indian healthcare sector to reach US$ 280 billion by 2020. The Indian healthcare sector is much diversified which translate to more opportunities for healthcare providers, payers and medical technology. With the increase in the competition, businesses are looking to explore digital health trends which will have a positive impact on their growth. The hospital industry in India, accounting for 80% of the total healthcare market, is expected to reach $ 132 bn by 2023 from $ 61.8 bn in 2017; growing at a CAGR of 16-17%. A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led study estimates the gross market size of Ayurveda sector at $ 4.4 billion with the industry projected to record a compounded annual growth rate of a robust 16 % until 2025. The medical tourism industry in India is expected to double its value to become a $ 6 bn industry as medical tourism in India has increased by over 50%. Even the market segments like the diagnostics industry and primary care are valued at US$ 4 billion and US$ 13 billion respectively.

Data and AI-based Future
Data is key to understand the patterns and behaviour of consumers and patients. With consumer data and artificial intelligence (AI) based predictive analytics, a smart marketing professional can help brand interact and communicate with the audience, and at the same time help predict the business revenue in terms of consumers, product cycle, and return on investment on marketing efforts. AI can also help in keeping health records & providing the best possible treatment to patients at the right time. Almost foreseeing the outcome of marketing efforts, the healthcare advertising agencies can help brands be cost-effective in their healthcare marketing initiatives.

Increase in Online Marketing Spends
India is set for an advertising boom with digital advertising industry estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.96% to reach ₹ 24,920 crores by 2021, said a report from Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN). Digital Ad Spends to contribute 29% to the ad market sector by 2021. Digital media is set on an unprecedented growth both in reach and consumption. In the last decade alone, internet advertising has jumped from 12% to 41%. Currently, social media takes the lion’s share of digital ad spends (29%) followed by search (25%), display (21%) and video (20%). Digital Video is expected to have the fastest growth, with CAGR of 37% that will touch ₹ 5,545 crores by 2021.

The above-mentioned trends if leveraged well by healthcare advertising agencies and online marketing agencies can help your business in the healthcare industry boom. Advertising on digital medium allows healthcare brands to send communications throughout the patient’s lifecycle, right from the discovery of symptoms to consultations, hospitalization, treatment and recovery.

Healthcare brands, be it hospitals, pathological labs, or wellness centres; all are devising strategies to leverage new trends in healthcare through the most interactive and popular digital medium – social media. Personalised creative communication and direct transactional relationship with consumer help humanise the brand with better retention and awareness. Digital marketing agencies and healthcare brands spend 29% of their digital budget on social media. Social media helps brands engage with customers, be on top of current trends, test new products and services, build brand equity and gain customer insights.

The web is where medical marketing and healthcare advertising agencies need to focus their efforts on. Your audience is everywhere on multiple digital platforms. It has become necessary to create enticing content to engage and retain them and make that connection with them. Businesses are spending 25% of digital ad spends purely on search as it helps brand visibility for their products and services to their audience and consumers. In this case prospective patients. Digital health care dictates brands to be available when the customers seek information and query in regards to diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment.

The other way these trends can help marketing in healthcare is by the way of digital video content. Video not only helps other healthcare professionals, but it is also a valuable resource to digital marketing efforts. Healthcare businesses with a video on their website have a greater chance of making it to page one on Google search results and enhances the opportunity for brand exposure and consumer confidence. Youtube also doubles up as a search engine too with over 4 billion searches per month. Making healthcare video relevant video content that helps visually educate internet users on medical conditions should be a part of your digital marketing plan as well. Videos can help personalize your healthcare brands and making them approachable as opposed to the general intimidation of doctors and medical equipment. As per another study, 82% of all the consumer internet traffic will be through video by 2021.

To sum it all up, a lot of healthcare companies including professionals are using digital healthcare trends to up their digital marketing efforts for patient acquisition. Individual professionals including physicians, pathologists, nutritionist are building an online community on social media platforms and generating leads through emailers and search. Hospitals benefit from having digital properties like website or a webpage. ORM is another tool of digital marketing used in healthcare sector to listen to and engage with online customers. The digitisation of healthcare will not only mean ease for the customers and patients but also will see creating more job opportunities for all the stakeholders involved.

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