2020: The 5 Key Healthcare Trends to Bolster the Year of Mindful Engagement

Underscore Marketing

A new year brings another set of new trends to forecast and monitor. For Underscore, it means siphoning through all the pundits and articles to determine what is real and what is fake. Most importantly, it means getting the views of key people in our company to determine the trends that marketers should care about and take action on in 2020.

These conversations led to five key trends. After taking a step back to review, we recognized that these trends laddered up to an overarching theme: Mindful Engagement.

Fancy title, but what does that mean?

In 2020, physicians, patients and caregivers (let’s bucket them as “consumers”) will demand engagements that matter most… to them. Consumers are smarter. They know what they want from brands and how they want to engage with brands. It’s not about
one size fits all. It’s about personalization and brands adhering to what consumers want. The consumer is saying “it’s about me.” Marketers need to be thoughtful of the engagement with consumers and these five key trends will facilitate the Mindful Engagement (M.E.) movement.

As you read this whitepaper, we break down each trend into a three-prong approach: “On your mark; Get set; Go”.

“On your mark” preps you with the background of the trend. “Get set” provides the rationale of why marketers should take note of the trend. “Go” will outline

1. Accessing Data in a Private World

On your mark: Every year, data is a hot trend in media, but in 2020, we are going to see a lot of action specifically around data privacy.

Following the Facebook security breach and GDPR in Europe, changes were inevitable. People are no longer willing to be complacent regarding their personal data, and there will be new laws put in place to give consumers more power. Data privacy has been around forever, but outside of the big national laws, only a few states offer any significant protection. With new laws expected, consumer control over their own data will be greatly increased.

No law is currently more important than the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA will provide California residents with a lot of power, but most importantly will provide people with the below rights:

• The right to know what data is collected about them.
• The right to know how this data is used.
• The right to have access to this data.
• The right to not have data collected on them moving forward.
• The right to have past data collected on them deleted.

This law will have many implications, but where the CCPA will have a major impact, is in all the laws that will follow. Similar to the automotive industry, California is leading the charge for industry change. As the most populated state in the US, California is seen as a trendsetter for what is to come and will give a good look at the future.

This upcoming year will be very important in the United States for new and improved data privacy laws. While there is uncertainty over how these laws will work, one thing is for certain, we are entering a new era of data privacy in the United States.

Get set: Data privacy is not new, so why should you care now?

Because data is more important than ever, marketers are constantly looking for more data to utilize and justify in their media plans. With these changes, we are poised to see a decrease in available data. The consumers’ right to data privacy and a marketers’ need for more data are in direct conflict with each other. This is going to cause complications. If marketers don’t start figuring it out now, they will be left further in the dust with each new law and regulation that is passed.

It is especially integral in healthcare where we are already restricted in the data we are allowed to use. Audience targeting has been a major focal point of both HCP and Patient media plans for a while now, but many experts predict a switch back to contextual targeting. We could see many changes like this as a result of confusion and fear over changes in data privacy. Any further limitations on the data available for HCP or Patient use could seriously impact the effectiveness of either, from targeting to measurement.

It is going to become more strenuous to make sure media plans are utilizing data correctly. Marketers need to have a strategy moving forward, or there could be major implications on the effectiveness of their media plans. There are many potential
questions that will need clarification, including:

• How do I know external partners are compliant with the new data privacy laws?
• How do I know the data I am using is reaching the right audience?
• How do I properly connect and measure all the data being used in my media plans?
• With potential limitations on data, how do I know my media plan is effective?
• Do I insource data to have better control?
• How do I put my dollars into media, with so much uncertainty around these new laws?

Go: Data privacy is changing, and the future must be navigated with precision to ensure data is used properly.

Underscore has experience working with different partners and data providers every day to make sure media plans are executed perfectly. With each partner providing different data, we understand how to connect the dots of your campaigns through our
data insights team. Our team is always focused on keeping our campaigns above board by providing up-to-date insights and recommendations on this ever-changing landscape.

2. User Experiences Should Have Purpose and Address the Human Need

On your mark: Technology advances and artificial intelligence are great in powering customer experiences. But at the end of the day, we should first focus on how the experience is meaningful to the user.

Recently, Underscore leadership attended a panel of physicians made up of different specialties. While each of their daily routines were different, they all agreed that time is their most valuable commodity sorely needed and they need something to “streamline
their life”. In addition to rushing to see patients, physicians also need to catch up on their paperwork, patient notes and other administrative duties. Not to mention, they need to keep up to date on new treatment options, clinical studies, etc. As one doctor
mentioned, the worst part is saying “no, I did not hear about that”.

To a physician, a meaningful experience is a one-stop solution that provides digestible (or “snackable” as one doctor mentioned) content.

We all know that patients and caregivers actively seek resources and relevant content online. But oftentimes, the pathway is confusing and overwhelming. Patients are looking for educational content that they can easily understand and not get overwhelmed with (i.e. keep the user experience simple and succinct). Caregivers rely on their fellow caregivers to share their insights and experiences (i.e. keep the user experience personable.)

Google has paved the way to understanding the intent of the searcher for years. Artificial intelligence is used to help Google understand the intent behind long and complex search queries. As a result, the industry is responding to match up content to
the user’s path and what information they are truly looking for.

Get set. Investing time and effort into truly understanding the consumer journey will enable marketers to connect meaningfully with the consumer and increase loyalty and advocacy.

Consumers can look at a brand and remark “that brand truly gets me.”

Below are questions to consider when starting to build out a user experience with purpose:

• What human need are you addressing? Focus less on the shiny toy and focus on
a deeper dive into the consumer’s needs. Chatbots may be innovative but
marketers should be clear on its purpose and how it helps consumers.
• What is the journey of the user experience? Identify the user flow making sure
each step aligns with the human need.
• Where can personalization or customization take place in the experience?
• How do we measure and gather insights?

Go. Underscore’s proprietary media planning process, MediaVision, facilitates the deep dive into understanding the consumer. Through data gathering and analysis, we can develop workable insights that determine human needs and align with your goals and objectives. We go beyond just looking at their media consumption but understanding their motivations to create that “they truly get me” feeling. An optimal consumer journey consists of interconnected media channels that feed into the purposeful user

3. The (Virtual) Doctor Will See You Now: Telemedicine Is on the Rise

On your mark: Telemedicine…is this really something I need to pay attention to?

You know the drill: trendy new technology is released into the market, it’s a hot buzzword for a year and is forgotten forever. Does telehealth fall prey to this vicious cycle as well? You may be surprised to hear that it does not.

Adoption within mental health has been strong over the past few years, but what about other fields of medicine outside of mental health?

Do virtual health services present their share of challenges? Yes. Yes, they do. Certain treatments or tests are not feasible without an in-person visit. Despite these barriers to adoption, telemedicine services are beginning to gain traction for other conditions and disease states, driven by the need and desire for convenience. Further adding fuel to the fire are impending Medicare changes starting in 2020, which will include expanded telehealth reimbursement. Companies such as Populus, will begin to offer content
integrations into telehealth consults in Q1 2020, which will change the game for advertisers looking to reach these users.

Get set. Why should you care?

Telemedicine is not a passing fad to shrug off. Estimated at $38 billion in 2018, the market is anticipated to grow to $130 billion over the next 5 years. Oncology represents an interesting use case, based on a combination of factors: provider shortage, patient
population increase, as well as the fact that many patients are coping with physical symptoms, advanced age and limited access to an oncologist.

Teleoncology is already helping with remote chemotherapy supervision, symptom management and increased access to cancer clinical trials. With Medicare’s announcement to begin offering additional telehealth benefits in 2020, brands treating patients with an older demographic will need to more seriously consider telehealth as part of their overall media mix to reach these patients and their physicians. We are always looking for impactful ways to reach patients and their physicians, and
telemedicine could be just the ticket.

Go. Okay…great, so what do I do now?

Having the expertise and tools available to help you understand the complexities of this marketplace and determine how or if telemedicine could be a fit to help you meet your objectives is a start. At Underscore we pride ourselves in ensuring our clients
understand our media plans and the partners we are investing in. Through our innovative Media Days we bring all parties together to have productive conversations that result in accountability by all parties.

4. Keep the Social in Social

On your mark. Can we all agree on something? Facebook is not the only platform to engage with patients in a community setting.

The right environment is just as crucial as reaching the right people. The desire to ‘do social’ is hot in healthcare, and 2020 is poised to be no different. Pharma is finally catching up. With many pharma brands anxious to activate and reach patients and
physicians in a more meaningful way, it’s more important than ever to think about the right strategy and execution. Driven by the market and patients’ desire to feel connected and part of a community, several health-based social community platforms have emerged to fill the void in a way that Facebook and other mainstream options cannot.

Social influencers can be creatively used as brand ambassadors to help pharma communicate to patients outside of a standard ad. Despite the desire to jump in, hesitancy and caution often prevail for pharma brands in the social space. The result? Social is no longer social. Commenting functionality and interaction are removed, creating a poor user experience and one-sided dialogue with patients.

Get set. Social is still a great way to engage with patients and physicians, so what’s the problem with activating a campaign?

Our counter would be: what is the ultimate goal of the campaign? Often after digging into the goal, the hope is to reach the patient/physician within their typical daily flow, or as one colleague put it: social is about community crashing. In a nice way, of course.

The assumption is that native placements will be received more favorably within the patients’ daily flow. While there is nothing wrong with this idea, in theory, it’s rarely executed in a way that will drive a positive impact over the long-term.

Social, executed incorrectly, runs the risk of undermining previously existing positive relationships. Once supporters and advocates are lost, marketers have to do double time trying to win them back. This is why a social media strategy is so imperative to success. Social is not meant to be a one-way conversation, with brands communicating at patients and physicians.

As one Underscorean put it: this is social suicide. Instead, pharma brands should be communicating with patients and physicians and encouraging the natural conversation that results. A social campaign also cannot be viewed as a single investment; successfully executed social campaigns are meticulously maintained and kept relevant beyond a single campaign.

Go. In order to be successful, social execution has to be meticulously strategized and maintained over the long-term.

Define your goal(s), ensure the proper infrastructure is in place and tie everything together with a solid social listening solution. If social listening sounds like a daunting task, Underscore can help. We don’t just focus on the the ‘what?’ but the ‘so, what?’

5. Stop Treating Patients and Caregivers as the Same Group

On your mark. We are no strangers to talking about audience separation on the professional side of healthcare.

In recent years, marketers have been tasked with separating strategy to reach HCPs and Payers, HCPs and NP/PA, but patients and caregivers were often still lumped together as one targeting entity. Entering into 2020, we’re noticing that narrative beginning to shift, with an increased focus on specific communication and content strategies focused on the patient and caregiver separately.

Media partners are beginning to catch up to demand as well, as marketers increasingly demand audience separation and insight into both audiences.

Get set. Okay, so caregivers are people too. Anything else?

It’s not just a matter of recognizing patients and caregivers are two different audiences. Investments to reach patients and caregivers as one group will no longer be an acceptable approach. A single creative message geared toward reaching both patients
and caregivers is no longer strategic. Casting a wide net is beginning to sound cliché and is becoming less and less popular as brands demand more targetability.

Some partners are paving the way and actively working to separate patients from caregivers in their targeting capabilities, reporting and content strategies. We expect this trend to continue and amplify in 2020. Marketers need to be prepared to act

Go. Underscore can help you hone your approach to your patients and caregivers and ensure the right mix of channels and tactics to reach each group specifically. Talk to us about setting up a Caregiver Media Day to understand how you can optimize your


We believe Mindful Engagement will drive 2020 with these key trends. Truly understanding what motivates consumers will be the first important aspect for marketers to build out a strong marketing campaign. Once we have discovered the human need, then we can identify the right media channels and technology to deliver a connected journey for the consumer.

But with continuous changes to media and technology landscapes and, more importantly, consumer behaviors, marketers will need a partner to always monitor and be ready to respond. Underscore has the flexibility and the know-how to make constant
changes to enhance the Mindful Engagement of the consumer.

Are you ready? On your mark… get set… go… into a successful 2020!

Authors: Susan Quinn, Media Director; Michelle Humes, Associate Media Director; Adam Armendinger, Media Manager; Jay de la Cruz, Sr Director, Global Media

Additional Contributors: Lauren Boyer, CEO; Tom Hespos, Founding Partner; Chris Tuleya, EVP Managing Director; Oliver Nelson, VP Global Integrated Media; David Ruppel, VP Insights; Bartek Bala, Media Supervisor; Colleen Vento, Supervisor Project Management; Audrey Sudran, Media Director

Underscore Marketing is a worldwide strategic media company providing ROI solutions in the health & wellness, healthcare and pharma space.