Digital marketing is responsible for reshaping the way companies sell products to customers and the channels they use to do so. Although this shift is especially prominent in the B2C space, even B2B companies have been swept up in the sea of change. Regardless of B2B or B2C, buyers have come to expect an omnichannel digital experience.
This marketing shift has led to several new B2B healthcare buying trends. As a result, marketers are moving away from old outbound sales strategies. Instead, they’re utilizing more inbound tactics that meet target audiences where they are. Marketers would do well to stay apprised of these B2B healthcare marketing trends to enhance their sales performance.
The Path to Purchase is Changing
Outbound sales strategies used to dominate B2B healthcare marketing. Under this model, sales teams would initiate the first steps of the sales cycle. Now, a customer’s path to purchase is changing and moving inbound.
Like in B2C marketing, most B2B healthcare buyers enter the sales funnel through a simple search engine query—just as if they were shopping for a TV or searching for a nearby restaurant. Because of this shift, buyers might be up to 90% through the purchase cycle before the first contact with a vendor!
These healthcare marketing trends indicate that marketers must be better than the competition at meeting buyers where they’re at and providing them the information they seek online. Therefore, your website needs to be optimized for SEO, as does your content. And, to truly reach customers where they are, your content needs to cover the entire funnel, from top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) content like blog posts and videos to bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) content like white papers and eBooks.
Below, let’s take a closer look at five inbound trends in B2B medical marketing and consider how your organization can use them to its advantage.
Building a Cohesive Brand Experience with Omnichannel Marketing
As digital marketing becomes more prominent, buyers expect a unified purchase experience across all their devices and channels. For example, a customer might begin the buying cycle with an internet search. Still, that cycle will grow to include your website, social media channels, PPC ads, product information pages, reviews, etc.
This “omnichannel” experience is one of the most prominent B2B healthcare marketing trends for 2023 and beyond.
With this in mind, marketers need to create a cohesive experience across all channels. Every touchpoint a customer interacts with should share a consistent look, feel and message. To ensure your strategies are effective, you’ll also want to include other marketing initiatives, such as email marketing.
How to Leverage Omnichannel for B2B Healthcare
- Ensure all your marketing channels are branded and share a cohesive look and feel.
- Use customer data to customize messages and retarget across platforms (i.e., deliver targeted ads on LinkedIn after a buyer views a product on your website).
- Put marketing automation tools to good use to simplify and streamline your omnichannel strategy.
A Borrowed Audience: Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people the general public trusts to make recommendations on a specific topic. Influencer marketing is nothing new in healthcare, and it can—and should—be used to attract a B2B audience. The proof is in the numbers. Statistics show that influencer marketing campaigns yield 11x higher ROI than other forms of promoted content!
What’s most important is employing the strategy correctly. The first step is to find influencers with large, engaged audiences. In B2B healthcare marketing, influencers might be physicians, patient advocates, or others in the field. You’ll want to make sure your influencers aren’t relying on bots and paid likes to pad their profiles. To weed out potential bad actors, be sure to look at the comments and feedback from their followers. High engagement is a good indication of a strong influencer with an authentic following.
Also, consider the channels the influencer uses. It’s best to recruit active influencers on many social media channels beyond LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s even better if the influencer has a broader reach through television or print media. These days, influencer marketing is not limited to celebrities. For B2B healthcare, marketers can also turn to micro-influencers in the wellness space, for example, or in other complementary verticals.
How to Leverage Influencer Marketing
- Look for influencers with extensive experience and authority in healthcare, wellness, or other complementary industries.
- Recruit influencers with audiences on different marketing channels.
- Carefully choose which products you pair with which influencer and consider their core audience’s needs.
Social Media Marketing in B2B Healthcare
Social media is often overlooked in B2B spaces. However, social channels are an essential component of any inbound marketing strategy. Social profiles can drive traffic to your other marketing initiatives when used correctly, sending buyers further down the sales funnel.
LinkedIn is perhaps the most critical social platform for B2B healthcare marketing. Sharing industry-related content can attract new customers, whether of your own or from other sources. Other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram are also important. These platforms offer great opportunities for B2B marketers to make personal connections with target buyers.
In addition to organic posts, pay attention to these social media platforms’ paid ad features. Thanks to highly granular targeting options, marketers can promote their social posts and target specific customer groups to ensure increased visibility by just the right audience.
How to Capitalize on Social Media Marketing
- Make sure your social profiles have similar branding and messaging to other channels and are consistently updated.
- Direct social followers to your website, mailing list, and other channels through outbound links
- Engage followers by replying to comments and questions in a personal manner
Educate B2B Healthcare Buyers with Content Marketing
Buyers across industries don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements. They expect brands to offer value in exchange for their attention. Content marketing is a fantastic way to provide real value to customers while pushing them further into the sales cycle.
B2B healthcare organizations have many options when it comes to content creation. Blogs and videos are two of the most popular mediums right now. Concise, compelling blog content can teach buyers new things, answer questions and make them think in new ways. Videos do the same; however, video can also demonstrate more complex concepts.
Content marketing is also instrumental beyond the sales stage. Blogs, videos, and other content play an essential role in the onboarding and retention phases of the buyer’s journey. This strategy minimizes customer confusion and keeps buyers loyal and engaged with your organization.
How to Get Started With Content Marketing
- Optimize content for SEO to maximize search results that direct leads to your website
- Use video to quickly demonstrate and explain products and services to buyers in the research stage
- Address customer questions and challenges through content like webinars, Q&As, and informative blogs posts
Thought Leadership in B2B Healthcare
To maximize effectiveness in the B2B healthcare space, marketers must position their brands as thought leaders in the industry. A recent LinkedIn study revealed several reasons why thought leadership is so important.
Thought leadership content helps a company receive more requests for proposal invitations and strengthens its reputation. Conversely, companies that don’t position themselves as thought leaders—or don’t do it well—lose business opportunities.
That same study shows that 55% of C-Suite executives give information to marketers whose organizations are perceived as industry thought leaders. Moreover, 89% of decision-makers indicate that thought leadership impacts their perception of an organization.
Content marketing is one path to establishing your brand as a B2B healthcare thought leader. By creating engaging, timely, and thought-provoking content, marketers can position their organizations at the healthcare industry’s leading edge.
How to Leverage Thought Leadership
- Create fresh content that addresses timely topics or presents a new angle on an issue
- Invest time in creating high-quality, evergreen content with real value, such as white papers
- Collaborate with subject matter experts to expand and reinforce your ideas and build respect
Put B2B Healthcare Marketing Strategies into Action
Understanding the changing trends in B2B healthcare marketing is only the first step. Now it’s time to put these healthcare marketing trends into action.
Consider how your sales pipeline is aligned with the shift toward inbound buyer behavior. Identify customer pain points in your pipeline and rectify these by educating and solving problems using your marketing campaigns. Create an omnichannel experience, recruit the help of influencers, bolster social media and content marketing and position your brand as an industry thought leader. And, above all else, reinforce the value you provide over that of your competition.