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3 Reasons to Explore Programmatic Marketing in Healthcare

By Joanna JonesFeb 18, 2016

programmatic-marketing-in-healthcareIt’s not a revolutionary statement to say that the media-buying world has been completely upended in the last decade. Ever since online targeting became possible, and search engine optimization became a “thing” in the 2000s, mass media buying and channel marketing have become less and less favored. More effective strategies, such as programmatic marketing, have replaced older models of non-personalized mass ad placements.

Programmatic marketing uses tactics that rely on software and technology to process and convert large user datasets into real-time buying, placement and campaign optimization. Or, in plain English, programmatic marketing simply connects marketing teams to mass media placements based on specific user behavior. In the online realm, programmatic marketing is exploding: Purchasing online ads based on programmatic marketing strategies is expected to reach 70 percent of the total U.S. digital display spend in 2016.

Interestingly, some of the sectors that are well-suited for programmatic marketing are slow to adopt. Specifically, industries such as pharma and healthcare that seek highly defined segments can benefit the most from programmatic marketing strategies, yet they have been slow to embrace technologies that enable programmatic media buying. Concerns over patient privacy and HIPAA regulatory uncertainties certainly may contribute to marketers shying away from programmatic marketing in healthcare, yet new technologies specifically developed for the healthcare industry can mitigate any privacy risks.

In 2016, the healthcare and pharma agencies would be wise to consider programmatic marketing as part of a core strategy to attract, nurture and convert potential customers. Let’s explore why.

Reason No. 1: Programmatic marketing delivers highly targeted audiences

Gone are the days when marketers rely solely on throwing out mass messages, in hopes that their desired audience ends up in their nets. With programmatic marketing, media planners can buy audiences online; the technology can be linked with tools such as CRM and marketing automation software, so the media buy is not capturing those outside of a defined audience type. Furthermore, marketers can define campaigns based on a prospect’s response to content.

Reason No. 2: Programmatic marketing facilitates cross-channel opportunities

A secondary advantage to highly insightful audience views? Marketers can see where their audiences go online, allowing them to develop cross-channel content, including video, article downloads and blog content. This deeper glimpse into how people behave online, and insight into the sites that people favor, makes programmatic marketing iterative—teams can explore and brainstorm new ways to deliver personalized messages based on online behavior.

Reason No. 3: Social media is responding to healthcare communities

Finally, programmatic marketing is expanding into the healthcare sector thanks to new tools from social media juggernauts, including Facebook. Facebook is creating online support communities that connect members with health interests. Additionally, Google and Apple have indicated that they are likely to venture into online healthcare marketing opportunities. Online communities, through social media and on popular sites, give healthcare marketers expanded opportunities to invest in advertising and retargeting campaigns.

Programmatic marketing should be part of an overall inbound strategy

When exploring programmatic marketing in niche markets, such as healthcare and pharma, keep in mind that this strategy should be incorporated into an overall inbound plan that goes beyond ad placement, retargeting and keyword searches. Yes, a huge benefit of programmatic marketing is that it allows companies to buy ad placements for specific audience parameters, but health and medicine—just like other industries—are topics that benefit from careful nurturing through content.

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Joanna Jones
The Author

Joanna Jones

Joanna Jones is a qualitative researcher and copywriter. She works as the Director of Research at InterQ Research, where she guides companies in marketing research and strategy. Prior to working at InterQ, she co-founded a full-service ad agency, Jones & Quinn.
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