The State of Healthcare Marketing in 2017

This article originally appeared on the Wolters Kluwer Healthcare Marketing blog at

The newest Kantar Media Sources & Interactions data just was released, and journals are still king of content: A whopping 97% of physicians reported that they read the current issue of medical journals.* The data also affirms that email marketing is effective, more physicians are reading the digital versions of journals, and physicians actively seek information from pharma and device sales reps.

Here’s a rundown of the health of pharma marketing, according to the new Kantar data.

Print vs. Digital

Print retains its hold on the market: 61% of physicians said they preferred the print version of medical journals.* Furthermore, 91% read the print edition, but only 50% read the digital version.* A plurality of respondents prefer the print edition because they easily can take notes or tag pages for future reference.

Yet readers more frequently are supplementing the print version with the digital version, as evidenced by a five percent increase in the number of physicians who read both print and digital versions of the current issue of medical journals (up from 68% in 2016 to 73% in 2017).* Readers prefer the digital edition because they easily can find what they're looking for, and they enjoy the interactive design; it’s therefore unsurprising that more physicians read the digital edition of past journal issues than the print version. 1

Email Marketing

Physicians receive an average of 5.6 email newsletters per week and read an average of 2.4 per week (that’s a 42.9% open rate!), which is roughly the same as last year’s results.* Upon receiving an email newsletter they find interesting, 20% of physicians open it right away, and 58% read it within 24 hours.* According to Smart Insights, emails in the healthcare industry are opened about 26.1% of the time, so it appears that physicians are much more responsive to emails than the rest of the market.

Advertising at Conferences

Although a plurality of physicians view advertising as a necessary compromise that keeps costs manageable, 34% see conference advertising as a useful component of a conference and notice ads relevant to their practice.* Another 21% believe that conference advertising is a useful component, but only pay attention to ads that offer new products.*

Despite their skepticism about conference advertising, 70% of physicians who attend conferences visit exhibit halls to learn about new products and procedures of which they were not previously aware.* And a majority of conference attendees also seek out information about products and procedures of which they already were aware. So be sure to bring materials to conferences that will raise awareness and educate physicians about your new products.

Seeing Sales Reps

Did you know that four out of five doctors meet with pharma or device sales reps? The problem, however, is that physicians often are unsatisfied with the information sales reps present. According to a study conducted by DRG Digital/Manhattan Research, pharma sales reps present information physicians already have seen in more than half of all meetings.

One way to charm physicians is to leave behind educational materials they can give to patients. Print magazines and print materials such as brochures are found at 59% and 51% of physicians’ practices, for use as patient education materials.* This suggests sales reps should bring information for the physician, as well as branded educational materials such as anatomical charts for their patients.

The state of healthcare marketing is robust, and the newest data is unequivocal: Multichannel campaigns work best. Place your ads in reputable journals—print and digital editions—and their email newsletters, equip your sales reps with patient education materials, and train them to present information that physicians can’t find elsewhere. This new data from Kantar Media buttress the effectiveness of marketers who operate by consistently engaging physicians via journals, digital materials, and in-person touchpoints; it should encourage everyone else to adopt just such a multichannel approach to engaging physicians.

1According to the data, 77% of physicians cited the “ability to find what they are looking for” as to why they prefer the digital version.* Another 33% noted the interactive audio, video, an links as a reason for why they prefer the digital version.*

*Kantar Media, Sources & Interactions: 2017 Medical/Surgical Edition
†Kantar Media, Sources & Interactions: 2016 Medical/Surgical Edition

View the original article on the Wolters Kluwer Healthcare Marketing blog

You might also be interested in...

Healthcare Tablet
Tech Is Revolutionizing the Exam Room Experience
Read more
Healthcare Research
Healthcare Research
Read more