In a global pandemic crisis, doctors are the vital link between pharmaceuticals and patients.

But, when in-person visits are shut down, how do medical marketers gain cut-through?

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Ray Rosti, chief digital officer of healthcare marketing agency Publicis Health Media, explains how health brands are overcoming the modern ailment of COVID-19.

The virtual physician’s appointment

“The things that we’re concerned about as marketers within this landscape is patients potentially ignoring symptoms or delaying doctor’s visits, which could have negative ramifications to their health,” Rosti says.

“From a marketing perspective, I think the biggest impact is probably to our client’s sales reps, who historically would be able to go in, and visit and talk with physicians.

“With offices being closed, that really limited the ability for personal promotion.”

Marketing for medicine

PHM clients include some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical brands.

But healthcare marketers already faced institutional challenges before COVID-19.

“From the patient side, obviously from a restriction and regulatory perspective, we’re really limited in what we can do,” Rosti says. “At the basic level, a lot of what we’re doing is site retargeting and contextual targeting. And using that contextual targeting to understand where that patient is within the journey.

“On the physician side, obviously we have a little more flexibility. (We are) marketing to that physician through email and through direct conversations.”

COVID-19 and the Changing Nature of Patient-Physician Relationships

Data for doctors

That is where things get interesting, because, in the new quest to reach those doctors, Publicis Health Media is rolling out data.

“We’re being asked (by clients) to bring data partners forward to solve some of our client challenges,” Rosti says.

“Some of our clients who are more advanced have direct data partnerships that we would obviously work within or augment with other data partners that might allow us to drive a little more precision when it comes to targeting, or messaging or even segmentation.”

That tactic is now spreading across connected TV, where Rosti notes an uptick in ad spending.

Supply paths to physicians

But he says the goal of reaching physicians with data, there are unique considerations that require solid partnerships.

“We need partners that really understand that landscape, and give us the ability to think about segmentation in different ways, based on the physicians that we know are seeing patients with certain conditions,” he says. “(Then there is) marrying that with some of the offline sales strategies and sales segmentations.

“Partners like DeepIntent understand that landscape, are able to do some of those things and bring data forward, as well as connect us into the right inventory that allow us to connect in the right way through data, as well as through contextual targeting.”

You are watching “Embracing the Future of Healthcare Marketing,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by DeepIntent. For more videos, please visit this page