COVID-19 cases are back on the rise. As a result, many states have opted to revert back to phase 1, closing down bars and restaurants, halting elective surgeries and enforcing mask mandates, among other measures. These second-round shutdowns come just four months after the World Health Organization officially pronounced coronavirus a pandemic. Since then we’ve seen hospitals, health systems and healthIT companies alike struggle with declining sales, rounds of layoffs and overall impacts to their bottom line.
While it’s true that our healthcare providers need new, innovative healthIT technologies that enable them to work more efficiently on the front lines to flatten the curve and improve outcomes for patients, adopting them is not so simple. Healthcare marketers are facing their own set of unique challenges, especially as it relates to launching new solutions in today’s healthcare environment.
For starters, news cycles are now changing by the hour, and both media and healthcare professionals are caring less about a sales pitch and more about product value propositions and how it actually impacts customers and patients. Additionally, communicating and selling to an audience of physicians and providers – and doing so with empathy – during a global health crisis is not easy.Many are working around-the-clock in an effort to combat the pandemic, and are facing burnout and financial challenges.
As a result, pre-COVID go-to-market approaches must be reworked in order to cut through the clutter and engage your audience in a meaningful way. Below are three main considerations in order to ensure success:
1. Rethink the Needs of your Target Audience
As with any new product launch, it’s imperative to define your target market. But during COVID-19, your customers and prospects are distracted like never before. When developing your HealthIT Marketing Launch Plan, start by identifying your current customers’ unique needs, pain points and buying behaviors. Those stakeholders are likely to not only reach out with specific challenges, they will also be most willing to spend time engaging with your content and learning about your new product or service offering. Consider a customer survey to better understand the specific needs and desires of your buyers. This knowledge should then inform key messaging, marketing content, additional audiences to target and the overall roll-out strategy.
2. Develop Concise Messaging that Demonstrates ROI
Messaging is key in a saturated healthIT market, and especially so during a global pandemic. It’s critical to explain exactly how your solution solves niche challenges while also providing relief – both from a financial and productivity standpoint. Your content must be concise and data-filled in order to demonstrate how yet another health tech solution or tool can provide valuable ROI while also streamlining workflows. Many healthIT buyers are focused solely on the bottom line right now, not bringing on new products for innovation's sake.
3. Prepare a Proactive yet Nimble HealthIT PR Strategy
With such rapid COVID-19 news cycles, the challenge will be getting your message out while the topic is still relevant. Ongoing monitoring of the COVID media landscape is imperative as you begin to simultaneously map out dates for the official product launch. While you want to develop a content calendar to stay organized and to ensure all marketing needs – from the press release, thought leadership articles, email marketing campaigns, webinars and social media content – is incorporated, you also must be able to quickly pivot and adjust pre-planned initiatives based on what media and influencers need. A key tactic to use to accelerate impromptu marketing priorities is newsjacking, a rapid response media relations technique in which brands attempt to insert their key messages into the narratives that are consuming the news cycle. When successful, newsjacking can bestow brands with invaluable third-party validation and heightened perception during times when people are focused on an issue of relevance to them. And according to Sprout Social, newsjacking also “boosts SEO by giving you more keywords and phrases to rank for.”
By adjusting your typical, and maybe already established go-to-market strategy, your healthIT marketing team can successfully launch new products and solutions, landing top-tier headlines and above-average website conversions -- even during COVID-19. For additional insights and helpful tips on tech marketing during our “new normal,” visit arpr.com/insights-blog/covid19/ and read more about how we helped one company establish industry leadership and drive customer engagement during the pandemic.