Mobile is often considered a more personal channel to appeal to consumers, and is frequently overlooked by pharma companies, whose activities normally focus on website engagement.
But in today’s tech savvy landscape, healthcare providers (HCPs) are in fact one of the quickest groups of professionals to adopt iPhones and similar devices into its workflow; therefore, mobile healthcare marketing strategies need to be intensified.
Considering that doctors and clinicians already access information on their mobile devices regularly, the time for pharma to employ media-rich smartphone and mobile tactics is here! Pharma companies need to recognize specific opportunities to adapt current healthcare marketing strategies as mobile becomes a dominant channel for engaging HCPs and clinicians.
Beyond tweaking existing content for channel functionality, ways to integrate cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into healthcare marketing should be included in mobile strategies. These advanced capabilities make unique use of the smartphone camera and can showcase your company’s imagination and creativity. This post will discuss the current use of VR and AR in healthcare marketing and consider the potential of AR in mobile marketing strategies.
What is the difference between virtual and augmented reality?
The most provocative trends to come out of mobile healthcare marketing are the applications of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These two technologies create a more immersive experience for the user and have the potential to drastically change the face of medical marketing.
Whereas VR fabricates a completely virtual world that the user can interact with, AR incorporates virtual elements into your existing, physical world. Think of popular apps like Pokémon Go and Snapchat! In other words, AR creates an integrated, seamless experience for the users. And for healthcare marketers, this is a primary goal of effective HCP engagement.
Currently, creative healthcare marketers use technologies like VR in live events and simulations. But as pharma improves their mobile marketing strategies—and as the technology becomes more mainstream—AR offers a whole new approach for engagement tactics. Companies like Apple and Google are quickly evolving their mobile technologies to accommodate VR and AR capabilities; it is to the advantage of every pharma marketer to begin conceptualizing ways to integrate these technologies into their mobile marketing strategies.
How are VR and AR technologies used in medical marketing?
VR is already being adopted in healthcare marketing strategies, especially for attracting big medical congresses. VR has been used as an educational tool to help healthcare professionals better understand complex anatomical concepts and disease mechanisms. While VR certainly offers an exciting, fully-immersive experience, it is isolated from real world affairs. AR, on the other hand, provides greater potential to be integrated into the way we engage in real life and in real-time. For busy clinicians and HCPs—especially those who may not be able to attend live events—AR is more suitable for engaging with them in real life.
Beyond adapting content to broadcast across a popular and convenient channel, mobile strategies now include a completely different way of engaging with users. Practical proposals of AR applications in medicine include overlaying disease education imagery when you take a picture of a person or selfie. Leveraging the iPhone camera, the picture on your phone screen can be enhanced with labels that describe the instruments found in an operating room, for example, or the anatomical names of body parts. Utilizing infographics positioned over appropriate imagery, AR can create a more immersive experience and increase engagement.
How can AR impact mobile healthcare strategies?
In pharma marketing, AR can be used to enhance existing or new mobile healthcare marketing content. Along with the applications described in the previous section, AR can be used to literally show improved outcomes. Imagine this mobile technology being used to overlay health imagery or appropriate clinical data on pictures of diseased anatomy. This could greatly impact compliance rates or be used to visualize or compare the disease progress.
Another example is an application revealing the underlying cellular mechanism behind a disease state, which typically cannot be visualized or explained without diagnostic evaluation or medical imaging. Alternately, it could reveal the mechanism of action (MOA) behind a certain drug treatment. This approach can be effective for raising awareness around a disease or treatment process, while directly educating and engaging clinicians and HCPs.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of a marketing campaign is dependent on the promise of improved outcomes, compliance support, and educating on complex concepts. As described, AR has amazing potential to quite literally support these marketing goals. Furthermore, innovative mobile strategies can establish continual and creative engagement with clinicians and HCPs.
What is the future of AR in marketing?
While Facebook and Snapchat are currently the only high-profile channels with AR capabilities, marketing using AR technology is coming soon and should already be considered in the development of your mobile marketing strategy. The future in healthcare marketing relies on both taking full advantage of cutting-edge technology and developing a message with targeted content. AR can check off both of those requirements by enhancing relevant digital content with disease or brand-related information designed to engage with healthcare professionals specifically.
The capabilities of AR are truly unlimited. Integrating this technology into your mobile healthcare marketing campaign can make your company stand out as forward-thinking and demonstrate that your brand is driven by future technologies.