Healthcare is increasingly becoming one of the most important consumer markets, and the trends for 2017 are moving more and more towards digital marketing. It’s becoming clear that what consumers relationship value is relationships. Whether they are new or old, patients want to establish a level of trust, and with the increase in research means healthcare marketing strategies are changing.
Changes to China’s FDA regulations on foreign drugs laws mean that drug companies don’t have to go through separate drug trials for China or include them in their global case studies. As long as they have reached Level 2 of testing they can now start marketing in China.
Not only is this set to increase the level of pharmaceuticals available for Chinese customers, but more and more health care companies will be given access to the Chinese markets.
According to the World Health organization, by 2020 China will have 250 million senior citizens, accounting for around 17.6% of its population, suggesting that their population will be needing more health care options than ever before.
There are also around 315 million smokers in China and 740 million people are exposed to second-hand smoke. The increase in smoking related illnesses will be ever increasing.
However, we are also seeing an increase in wellness trends and longevity in the younger generation. Digital marketing strategies should reflect this. When looking to the future, businesses should be looking to capitalize this.
Digital marketing strategies should reflect this. When looking to the future, businesses should be looking to capitalize this.
While we are certainly becoming an ageing population, the younger generations are increasingly taking a more holistic approach to health. Wearable calorie and step counters are incredibly popular, demonstrating the move towards a more digital approach.
Trends for 2017 encompass these views. People want to maintain healthy lifestyles, and rather than looking towards healthcare professionals as the sole authority, they are researching more and more.
It is important to remember that the Chinese healthcare structure differs massively from other countries. See the graph below for more detail.
2017 Healthcare Trends-
1. Live Video
Live video is fast becoming a great way to connect with patients. Since trust is so key, patients want the opportunity to chat with a doctor before they commit to a new practice. Utilizing live stream, and making use of apps such as Meipai and Taobao, will be key for 2017 healthcare marketing trends.
These apps provide a way for patients and healthcare professionals to connect and communicate, as well as being a good way to sell products. When looking to these apps, it’s important to keep the language as informal as possible, these are social media apps after all.
Consumers appreciate the personal touch, and they appreciate being able to talk to people.
2. Online Diagnosis
With the rise of research and medical websites, an online diagnosis will be a key strategy for healthcare marketing trends in 2017. If you are able to programme a chatbot on your website then you will be far ahead of your competitors.
In October 2016, Baidu launched a chatbot that was pre-programmed into their doctor app, which allowed customers to tell their symptoms to the chatbot so that doctors found it easier to diagnose them.
This streamlining of services makes it easier for both patients and doctors. In recent months AliHealth has seen its share prices drop by 70% because they did not adequately create a sense of trust between its patients. Thus, when employing this service, you need to be conscious of maintaining an adequate level of trust between you and your consumers.
Carrying on from this, purchasing online programmes that can play your video when your website pops up is a great investment. When doing research, consumers will probably get bored of reading the same boring format. Video breaks up the monotony and will make consumers sit up and take notice.
Marketing in 2017 needs to be focused on the customer, and targeting their core values. If you are able to produce a service that gives customers tailored information, or information that is illness specific then you will be moving traffic away from other health websites.
3. Convenience For Customers
Following on from this, consumers are becoming more and more focused on convenience. We all lead busy lives, and we want our services to reflect this. Having to wait for 15-30 minutes in doctors offices will not make consumers happy.
Strategies that focus on providing a convenient service will have a big boost over their competitors. Being able to video chat your healthcare professional will be a big boost to people, and they will definitely pay more for this.
Marketing your healthcare product as a convenient alternative to the other products or services on offer will be a great way of embracing the new convenience culture.
4. Digestible Content
The rise of self-diagnosis websites means that research is becoming the norm for people. Access to large quantities of literature on health suggests that consumers are coming to healthcare professionals with a larger breadth of knowledge than in previous years.
To capture this market, businesses should be looking to producing blogs with excellent content. Consumers want quick, easy and digestible content that provides them with both answers and solutions.
This seems counter-productive, right? Why should you tell them what’s wrong with them online and risk them not coming to you at all?
Consumers in 2017 want to do research before they seek out professional advice because it makes them feel more in control of the situation. Trust and control are key aspects to focus on when creating content for online marketing.
Content should also be personal. There is so much out there on the Internet available to consumers, so make yours unique to your profession. If you specialize and differentiate then you will be embracing a more individual approach, stimulating a sense of trust with your target audience.
Content should also adapt to mobile phone screens. Most customers will do research on their way to and from work on their phones. Making sure that your content loads quickly and is adapted to fit onto mobile phone screens will be essential for marketing in 2017.
5. Embracing Niche Markets
Everyone, no matter what age or walk of life they come from need healthcare. However, in 2017 it’s becoming increasingly clear that different demographics want different things. While this seems like a basic idea, it’s rarely embraced widely in healthcare.
Catering to a different niche market, such as young mothers, active members of the elderly generation or new families will give you a competitive edge. Research allows your target audience to compare different methods and solutions so you need to embrace the idea of specialization.
Targeting niche markets allows you to build a set of clients who will have access to potential leads. If you can build up a large following of certain groups this will give you a greater edge over your competitors.
6. Social Media-
Social media is king in 2017. One of the hottest healthcare trends of 2017 will be using social media to communicate with consumers.
Obviously, everyone is aware of the traditional platforms, but using apps like WeChat to directly communicate with consumers will a great way to build up trust and to generate more leads.
Social media is also an excellent platform for giving patients info. Why not offer a service that gives patients all the information they need on WeChat. Embracing the concept of convenience within social media kills two birds with one stone.
Telemedicine is probably the key health trend for 2017. The rise of internet culture and convenience means that consumers want to see immediate results, and they want results fast.
Telemedicine will become increasingly important as resources become scarce but health issues rise. Essentially, this service will provide consumers with access to healthcare professionals, anywhere at anytime.
Providing you have the resources, this should certainly be your top priority for 2017. No matter what your sell, you can always benefit from extra exposure online.
A good start would be creating ‘call in hours’, an hour a day where consumers have access to healthcare professionals on WeChat or a live stream apps and are able to ask any questions they want.
Not only will this allow you to control the information that your target audience receives, but it will give you the opportunity to directly communicate with potential leads.
8. Location-Based Marketing
Healthcare professionals should be looking towards location-based marketing in 2017. Regardless of what you offer, being able to target a local audience will be much more beneficial than a wider, but not available audience.
While this seems like a simple task, consumers are bombarded with information about different health options. If you are able to target your local audience effectively, you will be ahead of the game.
When focusing on this strategy, make sure you know what kind of access to state healthcare is available. See the graph below for more details.
Location-based marketing is also key because consumers are increasingly valuing comfort and convenience more than any other factor.
Selective advertising and targeting will appeal to consumers who may have non-essential health issues, but who want to encourage a more holistic approach to health-care.
Overwhelmingly, the key 2017 marketing healthcare trends are digital based and focused on personalised and quick content. Consumers are increasingly becoming more informed about health issues due to widespread research. Since consumer research is such a key part of Chinese culture anyway, this trend is set to only increase.
Key trends for 2017 essentially include making sure content is digestible, making sure you taking full advantage of different social media platforms, and creating a convenient and location-based strategy.
The ageing Chinese population coupled with the younger generations increasing interest in health, wellness and longevity will mean that the Chinese health-care market will be growing rapidly.
Trends for 2017 need to focus on convenience. Lives are becoming busier and social media is becoming more and more cluttered with different services.
Streamlining apps and content will provide a smooth and effective service push your business beyond your competitors.