Media mix questions – and answers – for 2023

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Media mix questions – and answers – for 2023

By Terrence Brown

2023 promises to be yet another year of uncertainty for marketers in general, but what about healthcare marketers? In light of continuing COVID-19 issues, inflation that seems to be improving at a glacial pace, and a slouching economy with a looming recession, the healthcare marketing industry is looking at a possibly bleak year. But pharma companies and healthcare marketers should not give up hope because there are many positive trends and opportunities to advance marketing and media efforts and increase reach and effectiveness this year. 

Here are a few questions that are probably on all our minds: 

  • Will pharma brands in 2023 fully embrace channels they may not have used extensively before? 
  • Will they trust digital channels and tactics that may be new to them but proven in other industries?
  • Will they be bold this year, like in 2020 and 2021 when a global pandemic took traditional activities away? 

This could become the year we move outside our comfort zones and leverage today’s sophisticated technology to explore new and exciting communication channels.

Yet, when belts are tightened, every dollar counts and healthcare marketers will want to optimize media spend and focus on their best-performing channels rather than gamble on new approaches. Doubling down on proven strategies that have shown their value time and time again is how most marketing campaigns will be run this year.

For example, if an organization has historically relied on LinkedIn as an effective social marketing channel, the risk is minimal because, from experience, they know what the right balance of spend, measurability, and return should be. It may not appear to be the right time to try new social channels like TikTok because the impact of investing time and budget into them is less certain. 

That’s unfortunate because there are plenty of opportunities to explore and test without breaking the bank. The one major shift that’ll quickly stand out from other tactics in 2023 will be short-form video. It’s certainly not new, but pharma brands that embrace it this year can reap the benefits from multiple channels. All social channels prioritize video content, and even LinkedIn is elevating video content. We’ve all collectively fallen victim to our short attention spans over the past few years, and short-form video, thanks to the success of TikTok, is now the content of choice. This doesn’t mean brands need long-term influencer contracts with questionable creators, either. That wouldn’t be a smart move no matter the economic climate.  

But creating simple, informative short videos can be done inexpensively and look great. More importantly, pharma brands can leverage UGC (user-generated content) more in 2023, with a healthy vetting of content and content creators being critical for success. Patient testimonials and product reviews pack more of a punch with target audiences and will command more attention and a larger portion of budgets this year, especially for any brands with similar experiences and those willing to trust the data. As a result, the challenge will be determining the best way to use UGC in branded campaigns to reach target audiences. 

Also, don’t forget to prioritize YouTube Shorts. Never forget that YouTube is the No. 2 search engine. The only one bigger is its parent company, which is already dropping shorts videos in search engine results pages. Brands that tag their videos well will see faster results as people see them, click through to their websites, and engage. 

Will TikTok content and short-form videos in general influence pharma marketers in 2023? Will marketers, known for being cautious and measured, trust the data and run their own tests to their target audiences in 2023? There are so many more areas of opportunity, of course, like AI and data collection. Let’s hope that at least one – short-form videos – really catches on with health care in 2023.

Terrence Brown is VP, digital strategy, at CrowdPharm