At its core, healthcare marketing is about connecting with people and providing the features and benefits of products, devices, and services that can change physician behavior and improve patient outcomes.

Here’s a helpful explainer of these key differences.

The Audience & Offerings

The major difference between HCP and patient marketing is the audience you are targeting.

While patient marketing is directed at healthcare consumers, specifically those people that are likely to need treatment for certain conditions and diseases, HCP marketing targets healthcare providers and representatives at hospitals and medical facilities that provide treatment for these patients.

As a result, patient marketing tends to be more transactional in nature, whereas HCP marketing fosters longer-term relationships with clients, in the hope of building lasting engagement with your brand.

For example, hospitals will stock hundreds of prescription medications and medical devices for the treatment of their patients, but a single patient or consumer will purchase only what they need. Patients can obtain OTC (over-the-counter) products right from their pharmacy shelves, but prescription medications can’t be sold directly to consumers and need to be written by their physicians.

As such, while patient marketing can be tailored to an individual consumer, companies in the HCP space are often dealing with multiple decision-makers across a variety of roles and departments.

These are important distinctions that will greatly inform the majority of your marketing strategies.

B2B vs B2C Healthcare Marketing Strategies

The marketing methodologies used for marketing to patients and HCPs differ greatly, despite sharing the common goal of connecting with your optimal audiences.

Patient marketing can utilize various techniques and approaches to attract potential customers and build awareness for your brand and offerings. The goal is to appeal to the right consumers by making them aware of your brand and providing a product solution to their specific issues.

This is commonly done through methods like direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) with TV, radio, social media, and print ads. DTC ads are typically aimed at bringing people’s attention to a particular health condition or treatment option and encouraging patients to follow up with their doctors.

There are also various digital marketing strategies designed to capture your audience’s focus and drive engagement and conversions such as content marketing, social media marketing and even testimonials from satisfied patients.

By contrast, HCP marketing in the healthcare industry is notorious for its long sales cycles, and requires a comprehensive understanding of your healthcare audience and how to effectively lead them through the various stages of the buyer’s journey.

This requires marketers to forge longer-term relationships with targeted HCPs using relevant, data-driven content informing them of the benefits of your products, while helping establish your brand as an option offering high efficacy. HCP marketing material can take a variety of forms, from unique and eye-catching direct mailers to personalized emails and editorial campaigns designed to build trust and ingratiate your brand with the right HCPs.

HCP vs Patient Healthcare Marketing Channels

The most effective communication channels and engagement platforms to connect with your audiences also depends on whether you're targeting patient-level consumers or HCPs.

For patient audiences, effective strategies include broadcast marketing such as television and radio commercials, billboards, advertisements in print publications, and a wide variety of digital engagement strategies, from paid search and native advertisements to social media campaigns and contextual advertising.

They’re typically more responsive to messaging that speaks to their individual needs, so patient content is focused on raising awareness and motivating customers to purchase a product or service that can help improve their lives.

When it comes to physician marketing, the best channels for connecting with HCP audiences in an impactful way are email and direct mail.

Email marketing is one of the preferred methods of communications for busy HCPs, serving as a highly personalized and reliable engagement tool for keeping them abreast of specific products, services, and offers.

Direct mail is similarly personalized and extremely customizable, available in a wide array of eye-catching shapes, sizes, styles and textures to reach HCPs in a meaningful and memorable way.It also serves as a great alternative deployment option for prospects with digital fatigue who may be less receptive to virtual marketing channels.

Ultimately, whether you’re targeting patient or professional healthcare audiences, the best strategy is to utilize multiple channels in conjunction, to expand your brand awareness, reinforce the impact of your messaging, and provide ample conversion opportunities to turn prospects into loyal customers.

Be sure to optimize your landing pages and calls-to-action to more effectively help lead prospects through their buyer’s journey and secure customer conversions!

Partner With PDQ to Maximize Your HCP Marketing

PDQ Communications specializes in healthcare professional marketing and can help you reach your ideal HCP audience with the best messaging and deployment strategies to maximize results.

Our expansive and well-segmented HCP contact lists comprising millions of healthcare professionals spanning hundreds of specialties from across the industry will connect you with the perfect audience.

Our experienced team can help produce and deliver relevant and valuable content for each of your audience segments to ensure you connect with them at the right time, every time.

Contact PDQ Communications today to get started improving your HCP marketing results!

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