▷ Marketing & health: promoting an ultra-regulated sector

In recent years, we have been witnessing a boom in health sector marketing in the United States: healthcare marketing has long been part of many highly specialized university programs. Let's discover together what is happening in France, and how it is possible to promote its activity …

Reminder sting: strict French legislation, to be cleverly handled

If the health sector has as much need to communicate about its products and services as other areas, it must comply with a firm regulation, created to reduce the risks associated with self-medication or self-treatment. In France, the Public Health Code strictly prohibits direct communication with the end customer (the consumer) about products subject to medical prescription or health services managed by doctors. Advertising on medicines is also subject to very precise control by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines.

Training & Co'm

In this ruthless legislative framework, how can marketers do their job as promoters? Two solutions are possible They can either go directly to the health professionals, or communicate not on the products themselves, but on issues related to these products.

In the first case, it will then be to make available to doctors and pharmacists targeted communications, stored online behind download forms. It is then their responsibility to verify the identity of the person receiving them, for example by requesting the AMELI number or RPPS of the person concerned.

In the second, the objective will be to make known his product or his service through the pathologies that they come to treat. In this sense, marketing will take the form of a purely informative communication, stressing the risks related to this or that disease, highlighting the need to tackle these societal issues. He will then tell the consumer to check with his health specialist, who will be informed through one-to-one marketing.

In both cases, the web will be a fundamental lever of this particular marketing strategy.

Referencing your site, to make it as hospitable as possible

SEO is inevitable in any webmarketing strategy. However, it becomes essential to health sector marketers, who are forced to rely heavily on the fact that their prospects will learn alone on the Internet. In addition to being a most profitable marketing lever, SEO must be at the center of your concerns. The goal is to position yourself as much as possible on specific keywords, which do not necessarily revolve around your brand. The ideal is to ask what your potential customers will ask as questions upstream of their purchase, and irrigate your content site that will accompany them in their reflections. When only 58% of health marketers have a blog versus 74% in other sectors, it remains extremely interesting to position yourself on the topics closest to your activity in articles with strong expertise that will feed the credibility of your company.

As a corollary of your SEO strategy, another field remains extremely fertile: that of paid advertising or SEM (Search Engine Marketing). In 2015, in the US, only 2.8% of all SEM over the year came from the pharmacy and health sector. In France, these figures are even more derisory. This makes it an essential tactical point: we can only advise you to invest in it, by distributing advertising banners referring to the problems that come to solve your products or your services.

The health sector has caught the social media virus!

An American study by EMR Thoughts indicates that 2 in 3 doctors use social networks as part of their profession, including open communities rather than specialist forums. Regular marketers will go to meet them by proposing high impact posts, which will make them want to feed on information referring to their services.

So we do not hesitate to invest Facebook, Twitter, but also, curiously, more visual platforms like Pinterest or YouTube. We take advantage of the various formats offered by the different social media, proposing varied content and high references, witnessing a critical spirit subject to long review before being relayed – we do not laugh with health! Perhaps Professor Joyeux would tell you the opposite, he who animates with passion and humor his blog, his Facebook page and his Twitter feed … Still, this genius benevolent social media is a reference to follow and imitate for a gentle and generous promotion, waiting for the social networks specialized in the health sector, like Sermo, to really make the buzz in France.

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Nothing better than a good cure for Inbound marketing by emailing

Finally, nothing beats the personalization of marketing, especially in a field as human as health. At a time when the web has caused a profound change in the commercial reality, this sector is facing an additional penalty: its targets are relatively inaccessible compared to other prospects. In consultation all day, or perpetually stowed at their counter, doctors and pharmacists do not have time to be harassed by intrusive marketing. We can therefore only advise marketers the most fussy to use the digital prospecting to the maximum, that is to say, to target their communications closer to the needs of their customers. This includes adapting the formats of the content you promote: so privilege white papers, clinical cases and video testimonials, which will easily fit into the overworked schedule of health professionals.

And do not hesitate to spread them by the most customizable way: emailing ! It is also the web lever that works best, according to the B2B Barometer Directors Marketing 2015 created by Adelanto. This is inspired by the Noraker company, which, thanks to a well-oiled digital strategy, has managed to prospect effectively in the ruthless world of health marketing. Céline Saint Olive Baque, Managing Director, says: "In just 18 weeks, Noraker has generated 211 qualified prospects, shortened its sales cycle, and now reaches almost all dental surgeons through its emails."

Now that you're aware of the rules of the health care sector, prescribe a healthy dose of humanity, and make your content viral and contagious: it's good for the health of your future customers !