In recent years, the digital frontier has allowed patients and practitioners to take healthcare and pharmaceutical research into their own hands, providing information resources outside of just pharmacists and doctors. And although accessing information via the Internet has never been easier, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing professionals continue to miss out on a huge opportunity for reaching these consumers on the go. While other industries have effectively embraced and grown their businesses by implementing a mobile marketing strategy, mobile-enabled healthcare remains a struggle. According to eMarketer, though, that may change over the next few years.
By surveying mobile health developers and marketers worldwide, research2guidance found that in 2015, smartphones will provide the key to mobile healthcare business opportunities, followed closely by tablets. This isn’t entirely surprising considering previous research from Pew which found that of the 74% of adults who use the Internet, a whopping 80% of them have used the Internet as a primary source of information on healthcare topics. As consumers increasingly move away from desktops and closer to mobile as a way to access the digital world on the go, it makes sense that healthcare research performed from smartphones and tablets will also increase. Through a mobile healthcare marketing strategy, the opportunity to personalize the delivery of healthcare information and encourage healthier behaviors unfolds.
Additionally, the Pew Internet & Research Life Project found the following demographics were most likely to use the mobile web and apps for healthcare research, tracking and management:
• Black and Hispanic consumers
• Consumers living in urban areas
• Adults ages 18 to 29
With the healthcare industry ripe for m-health opportunities in the near future, it has a lot to work through over the next few years if anyone expects to fully take advantage of it as a means to market to and communicate with patients and practitioners alike. As it stands, communication via digital channels remains low due to regulation, privacy issues, a lack of mobile standards and no effective way of measuring success.
Without the support system from a unified industry, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing professionals should consider seeking out a digital marketing partner to help them develop a mobile marketing strategy if they hope to take advantage of this monumental opportunity to reach their audience on the go.