Health Sector Marketing: Best Practices + Inspiration

If there’s one sector defined by constant transformation, it’s the health sector. On one hand, technologies, treatments and demand are evolving rapidly based on the changing needs and demographics of our population. On the other, public, private and non-profit organizations are faced with having to put in place the right infrastructure, policies and messages to stay ahead of the curve.

In over 40 years of serving health sector leaders both locally and across the country — including the World Stroke Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, St. John Ambulance, Drug-free Kids Canada, and many others — Banfield has had to constantly anticipate changes and overcome challenges in order to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

In the end, much like the day-to-day realities of people in health organizations, we find the key for marketers in this space is to find a healthy balance between the different forces influencing our work. Success is never the result of just one thing.

Be a thought leader + Align with audience insights

When it comes to health, as with other science-based fields, the important questions that define the industry often have more than one answer. To be seen as leaders and rally support for their mandates, health organizations should take a stance on these debates — as long as it is done with a strong understanding of the mindset of the people they are targeting.

Over the past two years, the Canadian Medical Association has been in market with a bold campaign that communicates the position of the organization on hot button issues like seniors care and physician assisted dying. Interestingly, what has made the #CMAaction campaign successful is that it responds to a desire of physicians/members to better understand the role the CMA plays on their behalf.

Leverage the past + Experiment with new trends

Many health organizations have a long and proud history of serving a specific group or cause. Like in other industries, this history can be both a strength and an obstacle. To be successful, health sector brands have to leverage the past for inspiration and credibility, without letting it prevent them from taking risks and exploring new directions to stay relevant.

In 2014, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologist found a way to experiment with a new tactic without comprising its integrity. Building on its core principles of education and innovation, the SOGC created an illustrated mobile game that made it fun for teenagers to learn about the dangers of HPV.

Plan ahead + Be proactively reactive

People say health is the product of both prevention and treatment. This logic also extends to marketing for the health sector. Simply put, organizations with a health focus usually have too much to consider to be able to operate without a clear sense of where they are going and how they are going to get there. At the same time, it is critical for this vision to allow them to react to new opportunities as they come.

With a series of webinars on social media for community-based health organizations, the Public Health Agency of Canada executed a solid plan to provide valuable tools to one of its main audiences. But this plan wouldn’t have paid off if the PHAC hadn’t made a savvy adjustment early on: allowing for more questions and discussion with participants to ensure the sessions were truly meeting their needs.

At Banfield, we are deeply invested in promoting health. If your organization represents a group or a cause in the health sector, we would love to have an opportunity to help you make a real difference in the lives of people and communities. Get in touch with us!


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