Public Relations in Healthcare
Dear House Rules,
I’ve just been informed by my boss, the Director of Marketing, that our company is going to be adding more public relations to our marketing mix next year. While I’m certainly used to writing and sending press releases to the major medical journals and important pharma bloggers, I’m less familiar with integrating PR into an ongoing advertising and marketing calendar. Any ideas?
For Immediate Release…
Oscar Wilde may not have been speaking of Healthcare PR when he said, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about” – but he might as well have been. As the lines blur more and more between advertising content and editorial content, the use of effective PR has never been more critical. When effectively managed, public relations create unique opportunities for marketers to provide both consumers and HCPs with quick and thorough drug and healthcare information.
Let’s look at the big picture:
- The US healthcare public relations market grew 30% last year, and is now valued at $434 million
- Close to 76% of healthcare PR spending in the US is dedicated to pharmaceuticals and device and diagnostics
- One half (51%, to be precise) of all brand managers consider public relations to be the most effective marketing tool in terms of dollars spent, according to a survey conducted by M Booth & Associates
- In that same survey, advertising came in second to PR at 44%, sales promotion came in at 21%, and was followed by new media at 17%
They want it right, and they want it right now:
Says Ed Tate, executive VP of Dudnyk Public Relations, “Public relations is becoming increasingly valued, because as a discipline it’s becoming better understood. One of the factors that has really benefited PR is direct-to-consumer advertising. DTC ads have raised expectations among consumers who want more extensive, more comprehensive, and more immediate information about drugs and health issues. One of the strengths of public relations is its immediacy, while another is that public relations initiatives can be responsive and proactive when a news event creates an opportunity.
Developing an integrated approach:
A growing number of companies are starting to adopt a more integrated approach to developing effective communications campaigns. Companies realize that they must take all of the elements that can grow a brand and bring them together. A small PR program doesn’t really get a company much on its own; a conservative advertising campaign doesn’t yield much on its own – a little of any one thing doesn’t generate much in the way of results. However, when companies start to tie all the components together, they can increase reach and frequency, whether directed at HCPs, consumers, or the investment community. For an integrated approach make sure you are talking and listening to everyone on all sides. Communication between marketing and public relations sectors makes for a seamless integration.
Xavier Communications is a full-service Healthcare PR agency, supporting brand strategy and messaging – ensuring the main messages are supported throughout all PR communications. We utilize the most appropriate channels for each piece of news, i.e. target industry, doctors or patients, incorporating social media and online channels. According to Levi hall, Account Director at Xavier Communications, “it’s our hands-on approach with our developed list of contacts that allow us to easily reach and obtain as much placement as possible.”
We can provide everything from event management to publicity and outreach to advocacy relations to video news productions and more. We’d love to share our expertise with you. Simply reach out to us via phone, email, or social media!
Reference: 1. http://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2001-11-the-practice-of-public-relations/. Accessed March 30, 2018.