December 15, 2021 | Lynn Schear
The changing face of healthcare in the U.S. and worldwide means more automation technology to address staffing shortages, security systems to prevent hacking, and a digital–first approach for marketers. The pandemic moved more sales decisions online for companies looking to sell healthcare institutions just about anything, from advanced medical devices to pharmaceuticals to gowns and gloves.
In 2020, healthcare institutions were forced to expand existing technology to accommodate virtual care or implement new systems. According to a recent report by Healthcare IT News, healthcare executives are wary of making other long–term technology investments in the face of financial pressures caused by the pandemic. They may not have a choice, thanks to hackers: Around 75% of healthcare facilities view themselves as unprepared for cyber–attacks.
In the meantime, "everyday" expenses like building supplies, PPE and disposable medical equipment have been affected by the global supply chain disruption currently causing backups of shipping containers at U.S. ports, turning eyes toward smaller, domestic suppliers offering more flexibility and access.
While these trends can be dizzying and difficult to keep up with, here are some insights to help you better navigate selling your products in the healthcare space.
It's a group effort
Virtually zero healthcare buying decisions are made by one person anymore. Institutions providing care utilize buying committees, with doctors, administrators, supply chain experts and other job titles all the way to CFO taking a seat at the table. There is also no standard structure for these buying committees, although research has shown that they operate through a series of stages before they start writing checks. Although doctors and other direct care providers might have less clout than they once did, they are still major influencers when it comes to purchasing.
What happens after a need is identified
Once a hospital or outpatient center decides that a purchase needs to be made, they start narrowing down their options. This is where effective marketing makes the difference.
Think digital, with video first
Gone are the days of gatekeeping receptionists and swanky lunches with sales reps. The coronavirus pandemic decimated the in–person sales model, and buyers are doing their research on their phones. That doesn't mean that engaging product demonstrations have to be a thing of the past, however.
Google's study reported that 100% of its respondents were watching online videos to see product demonstrations, with eight in 10 returning to a specific product's site after watching a video. More than 60% contacted vendors directly after video viewing, and 42% requested a proposal.
"I would rather watch a demo online to decide if I even want to get in front of a salesperson," said one healthcare technology buyer.
As healthcare follows other industries in attempting to create more socially responsible business models, they're looking for suppliers who can help them achieve their goals across a range of factors, including environmental sustainability, supporting women– and minority–owned businesses, and supporting domestic suppliers offering greater resilience amid supply–chain disruption. For products that offer an edge over competitors when it comes to equity or the environment, that messaging can be a real differentiator for brands.
Healthcare marketing, like healthcare itself, must constantly react to changing care models and financial stressors. Healthcare continues to be a field with high turnover, with new jobs and job titles created every day to respond to funding opportunities, regulation and public health crises. Updated, verified data for the right personnel within institutions is more important than ever.
Ready to explore expanded healthcare data offerings from MCH? Learn more about our insights into hospitals, outpatient centers, residential care and more.
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