COVID-19 and a shift in content engagement strategies

COVID-19 and its devastating spread is affecting lives, livelihoods and our very way of life. In light of such unprecedented challenges all we can do is carry on as best we can, focusing our energies on giving support, reassurance and practical help, exactly when it is wanted and where it is needed.

Our relationship with technology, the way in which we access content, and the content we most need to see, has shifted as a direct result of the pandemic. There is subsequently a need to adjust to these changes in our consumption, engagement and communication strategies. HCPs are staying connected to colleagues and keeping abreast of the latest news and studies – and they are doing so predominantly online. With conferences postponed or cancelled and healthcare systems under immense strain, digital platforms are expanding their reach. A spotlight has been placed on the mix of digital channels that can best provide tailored content, and also how best we can disseminate information efficiently via these channels. Whilst resources are stretched and movement is restricted, the need for educational access and support remains as ever before.

As we pinpoint how best to reach audiences quickly and contextually in these times of uncertainty, the insights gathered will likely have a lasting impact on future customer engagement strategies. The industry continues to maintain its duty of care to those with comorbidities, pre-existing, and chronic conditions and as such, communication remains essential.  Information, reassurance and education are indispensable as HCPs and patients seek guidance on medicines, supplies, treatments and ongoing disease management. Content both educational and branded that is relevant, timely, cuts through the noise and answers a specific need, is crucial in supporting HCPs and communities during the crisis but will also be of value when understanding best practices in the long term.

Digital mediums and platforms that were once non-essential are now integral. This is resulting in more screen time as everyone gets further used to digital being the central port of call in the absence of regular face to face interaction. Recent insights indicate preferences shifting and developing amongst HCPs, clinicians and patients, as their attention turns to respected online journals, medical websites, webcasts, webinars, virtual scientific meetings and email.

With healthcare professional networks and specialist medical publishers such as Medscape, Wiley, the BMJ and Mark Allen all reporting increases in online traffic, third-party digital media is undoubtedly an important channel for providing endemic, clinical based content that’s digestible and targeted to current needs. This is particularly the case around guidelines and COVID-19 support. SERMO, a closed social media network dedicated to HCPs, is also reporting an increase in views and comments, signalling that physicians are actively engaging on the platform as they look to their peers for support and clinical guidance. Reports from HME’s internal ad serving platform support this trend: we are currently seeing continued interest amongst HCPs in branded Pharma communication and a marked increase in the performance of activity promoting Pharma educational resources and learning.

HME at home and in touch.

In light of COVID-19 and the safety and wellbeing of our team, HME has closed its offices. However, we are well equipped to work remotely and continue to provide a full service during these unusual and difficult times.

The team is available to support the adoption, maintenance and delivery of agile media strategies as part of an omnichannel approach. We are focused on delivering valuable and timely insights that are reflective of the current circumstances.

Here are some of our recommendations:

Review media communications as part of your omnichannel mix to ensure HCP communication is balanced, meaningful and useful during this period.

Consider online journals, medical websites and professional online communities as strong, relevant channels in light of the increased traffic amongst HCPs.

Look to utilise contextual advertising where your branded and unbranded communication is likely to resonate with the content being viewed.

Avoid lifestyle claims and focus more on clinical-based content.

Use email carefully and sparingly. Open rates are beginning to drop with certain specialties. Use this medium for important product information on dosing, safety, efficacy and relevant corporate information.

Utilise online media channels to help direct interested HCPs to webinars, virtual scientific meetings and eMedical education (eCME).

Contact us for more information.

Louise Morris – Media Manager