By Joe Pulizzi published November 17, 2012

Research Finds Health Care Content Marketing Lags Two Years Behind

Healthcare content marketingJust last week, we hosted 200 health care marketing professionals at Content Marketing World Health Summit. During my keynote presentation, I shared findings on how health care marketers are using content marketing, based on research we recently conducted with MarketingProfs, sponsored by both Brightcove and Pace. 

This is nothing against our wonderful marketers in the health care space, but just take a look at our content marketing research from two years ago. What you’ll notice is that the health care content marketing findings from this year look a lot like the overall findings from two years ago. And this makes sense — health care is a highly-regulated industry, and fear is rampant. But it also means there are significant opportunities for growth in this space.

In particular, some major findings include:

  • Forty-three percent of health care marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend over the next 12 months, compared to 54 percent for all industries.
  • On average, health care marketers spend 23 percent of their total marketing budget on content marketing activities, compared to 31 percent for all marketers.
  • Brand awareness is the most popular content marketing objective (81 percent).
  • The biggest content marketing challenge is producing enough content. 

NOTE: You can find the entire suite of 2013 content marketing research here.

Here are a few additional highlights of how this highly-regulated vertical is using content marketing:

Health care marketers use print more often

For the most part, health care marketers have similar rates of adoption for most tactics, but there are some notable differences:

Health care marketers tend to use print at higher rates than their peers:

  • Print magazines: 47 percent of health care marketers use them, versus 35 percent of all marketers.
  • Print newsletters: 43 percent of health care marketers use them, versus 28 percent of all marketers.
  • Annual reports: 36 percent of health care marketers use them, versus 26 percent of all marketers.

There are also tactics health care marketers use less often than their peers:

  • Blogs: 58 percent of health care marketers use blogs, versus 74 percent of all marketers.
  • Case studies: 53 percent of health care marketers use case studies, versus 63 percent of all marketers. (This makes sense… just think of the challenges in the Pharma industry.)

Health care marketers use social media less often

Below you will see the average rates for using social media for content distribution. With the exception of YouTube, health care marketers use all social media channels less often than their peers in other industries do. Yet, it’s interesting to note that health care marketers use video (75 percent) slightly more often than their peers (71 percent).

Health care marketers outsource more content than their peers

Compared to their peers, health care marketers outsource content far more often: 63 percent versus 45 percent of marketers overall. Printed content marketing vehicles have been a mainstay in the industry for a long time, often outsourced to content agencies. In addition, adding outside consult is always helpful, as fear of HIPAA violations is always a concern for marketers.

A brief look at the health care demographic

While it is noteworthy to understand how marketers in the health care industry are using content marketing, it’s important to understand how other demographics may play a role in these research findings. Here are a few notes about the demographics of this research:

  • Out of 2,404 total respondents, 118 respondents identified themselves as working in the health care industry.
  • About half of the respondents work for companies with 1,000 or more employees, and 23 percent of total respondents work for companies with more than 10,000 employees.

Do you work in health care? Are these trends consistent with what you are seeing?

Looking for more content marketing research? Check out our recently-released, third annual B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends and the first annual 2013 B2C Consumer Content Marketing Research.

Cover image via Bigstock Photo.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • http://twitter.com/dhpresearch Keith Meadows

    This comes as no surprise to me. Not sure though how you define the healthcare sector. We here at DHP Research have developed a strategy within a limited budget.

    Our aim is to create content excellence through a variety of media including, linkedin, our blog “thepatientoutcomesblog” which in the past 6-weeks has had over 2000 views, whitepapers, Slideshare etc.

    Our approach to content marketing is to create conversation and engagement from which we can act upon.

    Although a small consultancy we’ve a team of experts who I believe is setting a benchmark in this area.

    • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Excellent…Health care as the industry was self selected, but is made up of hospital marketing, pharma and medical devices companies for the most part.

  • http://twitter.com/healthIT_Geek David Giambarresi

    No surprise to me either. I’d be interested if this is B2B healthcare marketing or B2C?. Can you share any more information around the demographic surveyed?

    • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi David…thanks, we’ll be releasing more later…but this was a split of both B2B and B2C, and mostly larger organizations.

  • Debits

    Are we talking about marketing to healthcare organizations, or healthcare organizations marketing to consumers?

  • lyndawass

    Your post having a great collection of information on how health care marketers are using content of medical marketing. Based on research we just conducted with marketing proofs, sponsored by both Bright cove and pace.

  • Chris Slocumb

    Your statistics are absolutely on par with what our agency sees. We have tech, software and healthcare clients, and healthcare lags behind on use of blogs, case studies, and content marketing in general by 2-3 years.