Digital Marketers: What’s the Line Between Offering Hope vs. Promising a Cure?

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What’s the difference between offering hope versus promising a cure? If you are a digital marketer in a highly regulated industry like healthcare, understanding where that line is could mean the difference between a successful campaign, and a steep fine.

To shed light on this important topic, I recently had the pleasure of presenting alongside Cramer’s Darren Ross, executive vice president of solutions, at an AMA Boston event. The presentation, “Five Tools to Increase Digital Engagement in a Regulated Environment,” shed light on what marketers need to know before engaging with customers and prospects across multiple channels, particularly in the sticky world of social media where transparency on sites like Facebook is not only a “good to do,” but also strictly enforced.

Following are a few highlights from the presentation that not only focused on overcoming marketing sensitivities and fears in healthcare, but also in industries such as finance, insurance and pharmaceuticals.

  • Make Friends with Industry Regulators: Yes, friends. Understandably, your first thought probably evokes vivid “oil and water” analogies. But, the fact is, without eating and breathing the content regulators are consuming, and without being at the events they attend, marketers face an up-hill battle. The marketer/regulator relationship must be built on trust and marketers’ ability to provide context for key messages and campaigns.
  • It’s All About the Data, But Within Reason: It won’t surprise many to hear that data is at the core of the next generation of marketing, but in highly regulated industries, there is a limit to what data can be accessed and how it’s used. Marketers need to know and understand regulations like HIPAA and learn to only collect information that is necessary to support a campaign. You may be surprised to learn how powerful a simple zip code can be when connecting patients and doctors related to specific procedures or therapies.
  • Avoid Channel Overload: Darren was very specific to point out that social is indeed a channel that can be used in this space, but it’s certainly not the only channel, and great care must be taken in terms of balancing brand transparency with doing what’s right for the customer. Bottom line: choose wisely. One suggestion was to use social for listening and acquisition, then move to more secure channels for conversion, loyalty and relationship marketing initiatives.
  • Content Strategies – From Impact to Approval: It’s very popular these days to talk about the importance of building a content strategy. These industries are no different. Indeed, the right messaging and well-orchestrated timing can vastly improve the customer experience. Darren’s sage advice was to work on content that passes muster with regulators, then reuse it as much as possible – not only for consistency sake across channels, but also to trim down approval cycles.

Overall, I feel strongly that while primary goals for marketers haven’t changed, the dynamic created by consumers seizing power in the marketing conversation has created new challenges, in all industries. That’s why re-establishing customer intimacy and redefining the way brands engage with customers will truly shape the world in which digital marketers operate…at least for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about how Neolane and Cramer work together, read this press release about how we helped one biopharmaceutical company improve the results of an on-going patient communications program that relies on targeted, personalized messaging across multiple channels to support patient therapy.

What are your top strategies for navigating marketing strategies through highly regulated environments? We’d love to hear your stories!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kristin Hambelton
Kristin Hambelton is responsible for all marketing efforts for Neolane including corporate communications, branding, product marketing, demand generation, partner marketing, and operations.

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