9 Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2024—Beyond AI

Our readers share the trends they feel life sciences marketers cannot ignore in 2024 without risking falling behind the times.

Trends are tricky, especially in marketing.

You don’t want to be so obsessed with chasing the shiny new toy that you ignore more proven tactics, but you also don’t want to be left behind as your audience and competitors move on to new channels or smarter tactics. So, what’s a marketer to do?

For starters, you can listen to our readers who shared the trends they think will have the biggest impact in 2024. As you would expect, artificial intelligence (AI) certainly came up a few times.

“We’ve already seen significant growth in the AI industry over the last 12 months, and with the potential of AI yet to be fully realized, we anticipate 2024 to be a groundbreaking year,” says Ryan Quigley, COO, Inizio. “However, navigating the world of AI will come with challenges—operational changes can be burdensome and organizations must invest not only in the technology but their people, processes, and business models to unlock its potential. Companies should also consider how to protect their intellectual property, the model and interface being used, the underlying data, and the knowledge store. Appropriately satisfying all of these expectations will be paramount to pharma’s success for years to come.”

Considering AI has both promise that makes it worth exploring in 2024 and challenges that may prevent you from seeing true value from it in the year ahead, let’s focus on nine other trends our readers are dying to talk about.

1. DISEASE LEADERSHIP

“Companies have recognized that in increasingly complex and competitive markets, innovative
medicines require much more than awareness to integrate successfully into health systems. Many are therefore pursuing initiatives that drive equity ‘above brand,’ positioning themselves as leaders in specific therapeutic areas where they have a broad portfolio,” explains Claire Gillis, CEO, VML Health. “Disease leadership forces organizations to break away from working in brand or functional silos, inviting collaboration across the ecosystem. That bigger picture awareness is helping companies shape markets, change mindsets, and leverage their portfolio to improve patients’ lives.”

2. THE NEXT GENERATION OF HCPS

“According to Zippia, 27% of physicians in the U.S. are 30-40 years old. While these numbers can skew by specialty, it’s still safe to say the next generation is here and growing,” says Christina Stolfo, Vice President of Digital Experience, imre health. “The way this new generation of physicians likes to learn and connect is different from what traditional pharma peer-to-peer tactics currently offer. This generation expects relevant information to seamlessly flow into their daily digital behaviors
without the need for reserved time. This means leaning on DTC trends for HCP marketing, such as using credible HCP social influencers to engage and educate their peers on channels and through content types they are already locked into.”

3. SHORT-FORM VIDEO

“Be it TikTok, YouTube Shorts, or Instagram’s Reels, marketers are increasingly doubling down on short-form digital video, with one report indicating that nearly one-third of social media marketers are planning to invest the most in this rapidly emerging format,” offers John Kenny, PhD, Head of Strategic Planning, EVERSANA INTOUCH. “Historically, video has meant TV, and TV has meant large media budgets, leaving the best brand-building tools to the biggest brands. But these short-form platforms offer even the smallest pharma brands full-screen, audio-on formats, giving these brands the opportunity to combine targeted communication with messaging that can better deliver memory-building, emotional storytelling.”

We’ve already seen significant growth in the AI industry over the last 12 months, and with the potential of AI yet to be fully realized, we anticipate 2024 to be a groundbreaking year.

4. “RETAILIZATION” OF HEALTHCARE

“The shift of the healthcare industry away from a physician-centric model and toward a more consumer- centric one is now in full effect with patient convenience as its primary goal,” says Paul Trager, SVP, Group Communications Planning Lead, CMI Media Group. “This shift has been punctuated by Amazon’s entrance into healthcare, the evolving role of traditional pharmacies, and recent reporting that even Apple has considered including health clinics within its Apple Stores. The true implication of this shift for marketers is the need to rethink our traditional comms strategies for reaching healthcare consumers, which begins with re-envisioning the patient journey and how customers move from the recognition of a problem and on through to diagnosis and treatment.”

5. DATA PRIVACY

“According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, five states have comprehensive privacy laws in effect as of the end of 2023. More than a dozen others have either passed or introduced comprehensive privacy bills, and an additional handful have enacted or introduced narrow privacy legislation,” explains Scott Schappell, Chief Revenue Officer, Health Union. “With this changing landscape, it’s important for marketers to understand the dynamics and seek out proactive approaches, in order to not find themselves flat-footed in 2024.”

6. CONSOLIDATED PURCHASING POWER

“This year, we’ll see the results of the recent flurry of merger and acquisition activity among healthcare providers in the form of consolidated purchasing power, especially for integrated delivery networks (IDNs),” says Michael Monovoukas, CEO and Co- Founder, AcuityMD. “To streamline marketing, MedTech companies will expand their national account teams to provide a single point-of-contact for IDNs and will further centralize their engagement with IDNs to offer bundled offerings to stay competitive and increase product adoption.”

Google actually following through with deprecating third-party cookies from their Chrome browser (60%+ of the browser market) will have a significant impact on programmatic advertising.

7. GOODBYE COOKIES

“Google actually following through with deprecating third-party cookies from their Chrome browser (60%+ of the browser market) will have a significant impact on programmatic advertising,” explains Justin Thompson, GM, Identity and Healthcare Services, Semcasting. “A lot of marketers are ignoring Google’s announcement because they’ve extended the deadline so many times, leading to a lack of preparedness in the industry. This time feels different.”

8. TRUE OMNICHANNEL

“Our industry has reorganized internal teams to enable orchestration across all channels and is making good progress in collecting granular/360 data and setting up the right data structures, technologies, and algorithms to make this happen,” exclaims Vandana Singh, Principal, Omnichannel Practice Lead, Axtria. “We have moved beyond siloed experiments on just digital channels or field force next-best-action suggestions and are leveraging platforms and processes to orchestrate across all channels at scale! This includes dynamic target lists for digital agencies and field forces from common algorithms, time-sensitive alerts, as well as mid-flight campaign optimizations based on more frequent channel/message attribution.”

9. PERFORMANCE MARKETING

“Instead of obsessing about channel measurement, creative analytics digs into the creative assets to isolate design features in ads that have disproportionate effects on sales,” says Richard Wheaton, U.K. Managing Director, 55. “For example, Bayer found that their traditional advertising reporting focused too much on cost and reach metrics and not enough on creative insights and business metrics. All companies should be equipping brand managers and creative teams with real-time access to performance data and a constant feedback loop to enhance creative effectiveness and deliver better ROI in 2024.”

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