September 17, 2009

In Healthcare, Custom Publishing Demands An Evidence Based Practice

Hasn't it always been about the individual - in healthcare it has? In the previous blog we talked about how healthcare's evidence based practice of medicine spills over into it's preferences for succinct, highly targeted information. The origins of this style are found in a patient's medical record, a place where facts are the only thing that matters and journalism doesn't belong - it is the strongest influencing form found in every professional healthcare journal. In a sense, this evidence based form is custom publishing. 

Although the term custom publishing has typically referred to media like specialty magazines, like all traditional media forms, it has seen a blurring of boundaries during the current disruption of traditional media by emerging alternative media communications. For the last two years, a decade-long shift away from traditional media to institutional and consumer end-user spending and marketing services has not just become visible, but palpable. These two are becoming the dominant sectors of communication budgets in the U.S.

This shift is the result of an expanding utilization of alternative media at the expense of traditional ways and accelerated by the economic times. Broad reach traditional advertising continues to give ground to targeted, highly customized alternative media, advertising, marketing services and information products. What’s important is how this is changing our thinking about influencing strategies, ROI on marketing and competitive play in over the coming years and the tools we will be using.

A survey, released September 10, 2009, of 1,972 media people, 1,164 of whom said they have "planning, buying or approving responsibility" for their enterprise’s 2010 media plans offers some insight:

• Alternative media edged out traditional media 57% to 43%.
• When asked what they “realistically” planned to buy, emerging and alternative media were the most likely types to be included in their budgets.
• Almost 58% of respondents "ideally" plan, and 56% "realistically" plan to include social media in their media plans next year.

The study also asked what types of media they “realistically” planned to invest in (Chart Right). Interestingly, the top three planned investments were Email marketing, social networks and keyword search followed by mostly traditional media. Clearly, media buyers are firmly convinced that alternative media is a top priority for 2010.

These choices stem from heightened marketing accountability during tight budgets. A just released June 2009 survey jointly conducted by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) centered on accountability and ROI in marketing found:

• 92% of responding firms are shifting their tactics to optimize marketing effectiveness without spending more in 2009. Leading tactics include:
   • 70% are moving money from traditional to alternative media.
   • 53% are emphasizing promotional marketing over brand-building initiatives in their spending.
   • 38% moving into lower-cost media options like, local vs. national TV spots or 15-second vs. 30-second spots.

The fallout of this shift finds most 2010 marketing plans being built on anticipated static or slightly increased budgets over 2009. In budgeting for 2010, marketers thought:

• 36% - expect an increase
• 12% - increase by more than 10%
• 33% - budgets will remain unchanged.
• 14% - decrease by more than 10%

The net outcome is a return to increased spending in 2010 which we'll look at in the next blog. Sign up!

We’ll continue this thread about what buyers want from the communication products they receive in coming weeks. In the interim, download our FREE REPORT ABOUT BUYER’S PREFERENCES and share, reblog or RSS.

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