Blog >> Healthcare/pharma

Darcy Grabenstein Jan 3

8 Trends Destined to Impact Marketing in 2017

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Annodyne T-shirt design

Yes, it’s time for the obligatory end-of-year trends blog post. Typically, these posts focus on topics such as marketing trends for the coming year.

I’d like to take a slightly different approach. I’ll be looking at upcoming trends and their impact on marketing.

1. Virtual Reality

Like it or not, virtual reality (VR) is here to stay. So are its counterparts, augmented reality and mixed reality. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. This video explains the difference between all three concepts.

How this impacts marketing:

For travel marketers, VR can be at once a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, VR can be used to give prospective visitors a real taste of what they can experience at a tourist destination. On the negative side, prospects who “visit” a place via VR may feel they can skip the real thing. It’s up to marketers to use VR selectively, giving prospective tourists just enough of a preview to make them want to see it all in real time.

2. Anonymous Consumers

TrendWatching refers to this as Incognito Individuals. Lest you jump to the conclusion that big data is “so yesterday,” think of it more as a deconstructing of data. On the one hand, the article notes, you’ve got non-traditional audience segments. On the other hand, you’ve got companies marketing to a “segment of one” at a mass scale.

 How this impacts marketing:

Non-traditional audience segments (TrendWatching cites the first male face of Covergirl as a case in point) must be taken into consideration when developing marketing campaigns. Once you’ve defined your segments, then you need to create ultra-targeted content to meet that segment’s needs. With all the data at our disposal, you’re doing your audience a disservice if you rely on mass marketing.

3. Love for Millennials

Inc. magazine says that businesses will begin to embrace Millennials instead of rejecting them. The stereotypes of selfishness and materialism will fall by the wayside.

This mindset is particularly important in higher ed marketing, where Millennials make up a majority of the audience. And in terms of graduate education, where Millennials are becoming a larger part of the demographic, marketers must shift gears in order to appeal to this segment.

4. Drones

Fortune predicts that drones will be increasingly used to make deliveries of fast food and similar items. While the FAA has eased up on restrictions for drone use, companies still face significant limitations.

How this impacts marketing:

For companies that deliver products, drones take quick, personal service to a whole new level (pun intended). Careful messaging will be needed to overcome consumers’ fears of drones, particularly fears surrounding privacy and safety issues, and focus on how the benefits far outweigh the risks.

5. On-demand work

According to a Forbes article referencing a prediction by the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway. Both workers and customers are freeing themselves from the traditional 9-to-5 workday.

How this impacts marketing:

There will be an abundance of freelancers, available to agencies and other businesses that typically hire them. A glut of freelance talent could cause rates to drop, and agencies can pass those savings along to their clients. Agencies that once shied away from hiring freelancers might find it cost-effective to do so. In addition, remote employees will be more commonplace, allowing agencies to remove geographical constraints, expand their staffs with top candidates and hire talent with the skills that match specific projects.

6. Patients as partners

Pharma will have a new strategic partner: patients. PwC Health Research Institute’s annual report says that pharmaceutical companies will better engage with patients in the coming year. Patients, faced with higher medical insurance deductibles, will be demanding better value from their prescriptions.

How this impacts marketing:

Pharmaceutical companies will need to forge more meaningful connections with patients. In order to do so, they must better understand their customer base. At Annodyne, we’ve helped pharma clients do this by mapping the customer journey and launching social listening initiatives. We’ve also created closed online communities that serve as a support group and a three-way source of information among the pharma company, patients and healthcare providers.

7. Less is more

Call it what you want — retro, nostalgia, form simplification, minimalism — the more people are
inundated in their lives with technology, the more they retreat to simplistic themes. Annodyne’s most
recent T-shirt design, shown above, is a nod to the nostalgic look. And it’s no surprise that logo design trends for 2017 harp on simplicity.

Pantone Greenery

Even Pantone’s color of the year for 2017, Greenery, reflects this trend. In choosing this color, Pantone noted: “The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.”

How this impacts marketing:

For marketers of environmentally friendly products and services, this trend is good news. Marketers of any product/service should use technology prudently, not just for the sake of technology itself. Designs should be clean, copy clear and concise. The glut of promotional content people are exposed to on a daily basis means that advertisers who cut back on bells and whistles may garner more attention in the long run.

8. The voice of Middle America

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the election’s impact on marketing. If we learned anything from Election 2016, it’s that Middle America — which felt marginalized for a long time — finally found its voice and is demanding to be seen and heard.

How this impacts marketing:

Marketers must understand the pain points of this segment of American society and address them in an authentic manner. Anything less will be looked upon with disdain.

So there you have it. The upcoming year will be filled with immense challenges and opportunities for marketers. Let the games begin.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

Darcy Grabenstein Apr 12

Empathy Key to Successful Healthcare Outcomes — and Successful Advertising

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Holding handsAs someone who has dealt with health issues for both my parents, who are now deceased, I can attest to the import-ance of empathy in healthcare settings. However, because
my personal experience with health issues is, fortunately, rather limited I cannot understand exactly what others are experiencing when they face their own mortality.

This is the premise behind the Cleveland Clinic’s focus on empathy. To get an idea of how the Cleveland Clinic makes patient empathy a priority, check out its empathy video series on YouTube. The underlying theory is that, beyond medical intervention, the human connection is what makes a difference.

Empathy is more than just a buzzword at Cleveland Clinic. Empathy is part of the employee culture, as evidenced in this video.

The Cleveland Clinic shares its focus on empathy with other professionals in its annual Patient Experience: Empathy & Innovation Summit. This year marks the summit’s seventh year. More than 2,100 people attended the 2015 Patient Experience Summit, from 45 states and 37 countries, representing hundreds of hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses from around the world.

There’s something to be said for a doctor’s “bedside manner.” Studies have revealed that physician empathy is linked to improved patient outcomes. Nurses’ empathy has been shown to affect distress levels in patients.

Paul Rosen, clinical director of service and operational excellence at Nemours, delivers a compelling TEDx Talk on The next revolution in healthcare? Empathy. “My loved one,” he said, “does not feel he’s being treated like a human being. Something is broken.”

It should be no surprise, then, that empathy is equally important in healthcare marketing. Empathy is a powerful emotion, one that helps brands connect with their audiences. Whether you’re advertising a hospital and its renowned doctors, a cutting-edge pharmaceutical drug to relieve pain or say, a home for first-time homebuyers, empathy goes a long way in conveying your message.

So how do you express empathy in healthcare promotions if you haven’t had the same experiences as patients? It’s all about storytelling. Let the patients and caregivers tell their stories. Note that patients’ stories are not necessarily the same as testimonials. Patients’ stories give a glimpse into their lives and their outcomes. In short, storytelling should be about the end consumer, not about the organization or product you’re promoting.

Empathy can have an impact across audiences. Empathy addresses a patient’s or loved one’s pain points (and we’re not only talking physical pain). For a parent, it could be how to protect a child. For a spouse, it could be advocating for one’s partner. For an individual, it could be the fear of the unknown.

Empathy in healthcare advertising not only recognizes these pain points, it validates, addresses and never dismisses them. Empathy begins with really listening to patients, understanding their concerns, discovering how to allay those concerns and then communicating this in a caring way.

Approach all communications from the patient perspective. It’s a tall prescription to fill, but it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.