Welcome. Part of Propeller’s mission and promise is to be at the forefront of digital. We consistently strive to bring innovation and creativity to our healthcare partners and their customers.

It is in this spirit that we curate a quarterly experience, strategically selecting the latest, most important digital marketing trends and tech innovations—and assess the impact each of these has in healthcare, and why it’s important for you to know, now.

Together, let’s be experts and so on the Pulse!

Q3 2020

Omnichannel Marketing @Home

T R E N D   # 1


Immersion through virtual reality (VR)

What is it

As lockdown life persists, cyber get-togethers and large virtual gatherings are getting more creative, technologically advanced—and dare we say, mainstream. While still not the point of entry for many consumers, VR is a transformative solution for closing the gap on “distance” and is an accelerated trend that is here to stay

VR creates real impact by giving consumers immersive and memorable experiences from the comfort of their home. Leveraging VR technology, people can interact with an environment or product and be “taken away” to another place

The best recent applications of VR have been in the areas of immersive learning/training and, even more noteworthy, entertainment. Get inspired by these new cross-industry experiential activations:As real-life travel continues to be limited, consumers can still experience the thrill of adventure first-hand as VR transports them to their favorite destination— via Experiential Virtual TravelBasketball fans can now attend live games from their living rooms. The NBA is using Microsoft Teams’ new Together Mode to virtually bring fans courtside. Players will also experience the real energy and support from fans as they see and hear their reactions during games

What it means for healthcare

From medical training, education, and national sales meetings to specialty conferences and events, VR’s immersive technology is playing a critical role in keeping the healthcare industry present and engaged, advancing real-time interaction, and facilitating live touchpoints. As the technology evolves, experiential marketing will no longer be a “nice to have”—it’s going to be the new gold standard of effective campaigns. Partnering with an immersive-technology expert is the best way to remain ahead of competitors and integrate people and personalities into content

Companies such as Osso VR and ImmersiveTouch offer VR solutions to train surgeons and/or to hone their skills—and they are proven to be more beneficial than traditional training methods. In fact, a recent study from Harvard Business Review shows that VR‑trained surgeons have a 230% boost in their overall performance compared to their traditionally trained counterparts‑they are faster and more accurate in performing surgical proceduresSupporting pharmaceutical and medical device marketing and training efforts, experiential VR offers the ability to transport practitioners directly to the site of action, where they can see science unfold. It can drastically alter perspectives by providing first‑hand experience of what life with a particular medical condition is actually like for the patient


Facebook’s Oculus is a leading headset that facilitates the VR experience and is at the forefront of redefining immersive virtual experience for consumers. From Oculus Rift S to Quest (the first all-in-one set) to Go, the device puts users at the center of action from their homes. Unlike an image on a TV or computer screen, which is set within a boundary, the VR experience wraps around the user, giving a more natural field of view. In May, Facebook announced its Oculus for Business platform to make VR readily available for commercial use (eg, Johnson & Johnson Institute, which uses VR to train medical professionals).

T R E N D   # 2


The art of customer engagement

What is it

Gamification is the “fancy” term for using game mechanics and experiential design to digitally engage and motivate users to achieve their goals. It is essentially gamified content

Giving users a unique experience across digital mediums that doesn’t exist in traditional marketing, brands use gamification to apply interactive playing elements, as well as trackable and teachable moments for their customers, with direct objectives that are rewarded once completed—keeping them coming back for more

Software supporting game-based marketing provides businesses with valuable customer data and insights to further understand the behaviors and attitudes of their targets

What it means for healthcare

The healthcare gamification market is seeing major growth and is set to exceed $40 billion globally by 2024. To complement that, in Feb 2020, Jun Group surveyed its in-app audiences, finding that 82% of HCPs play mobile games daily, with 65% saying that they play multiple times a day. While gamification is not “gaming,” the two have similar aspects— competition, ranking lists, scoring systems, and incentives (most commonly a loyalty program), fueling the rationale behind healthcare’s game‑based future

Applying game mechanics to HCP @home marketing efforts has significant potential to activate, educate, and engage the care and treatment of patients. This process motivates audience participation while making mundane tasks more fun and interactive

Incorporating gamification techniques into communication strategies can propel your business forward; for example:Training of doctors in disease MOA, product launch, complex diagnosis scenarios, treatment administration, implant and wound closure techniques, removal of cancerous lesions, and much, much more—across both pharmaceutical and medical device industriesHelping HCPs with treatment management, disease monitoring, and brain health, while incentivizing patients to stick to medicine regimens. According to the Medical Futurist Institute, 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not follow the prescribed treatment. Gamified health tracking creates an environment that keeps the patient from straying from the appropriate therapy pathGathering relevant HCP and patient data. Software motivates users to give more feedback which, in turn, helps companies find trends, make products that better address the needs of the target audience, and find new business modelsGet inspired by these healthcare gaming apps


Meet LevelEx: Harnessing the alluring power of video games to change physician behavior, LevelEx crafts interactive experiences with sophisticated game design, complete with realistic scenarios and reward systems to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.

T R E N D   # 3


Right place, right time messaging

What is it

Dynamic ads are creative executions that automatically change in order to adapt content and promotions specifically to each user, ensuring that each target is exposed to the most effective creative for him or her. They utilize a structured system of meta‑data for defining creative components and their asset variations in an ad unit

Using a brand’s product catalog, dynamic ads leverage customer and pixel data to pull though products and details that the individual has already shown interest in

Dynamic retargeting (DRT) allows companies to reach their intended pool with the most relevant message, not only increasing web traffic but also encouraging brand recall. The personalized ads drive more engagement (and purchase) because they are more relevant to the consumer’s interests

All major social platforms offer versions and formats of dynamic ads (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)

What it means for healthcare

To make breakthrough changes in the medical industry, and to empower HCPs and patients, it is more critical than ever to eliminate waste in terms of broad impressions. While digital advertising in the HCP space typically consists of developing standard banners with one or two calls to action, there is an opportunity to have your media work significantly harder

HCPs and patients are shifting their consumption habits, including how they buy and what they buy. To reach customers more powerfully @home, DRT allows brands to serve creative containing the exact piece of content or product they have viewed on the website—reminding them of what they’ve already shown interest in throughout their online journey

Dynamic retargeting can also be utilized to treat seasonal symptoms, with ads changing each season based on the weather, as well as showing specific formulary plan information relevant to geography

Pharmaceutical companies are continuing to focus and ramp up their scaling efforts on social media, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. By leveraging these platforms’ dynamic units, brands can generate the best outcome for the audience— reaching target segments in a different touchpoint in a more meaningful way, while following HIPAA compliance and protected health information

T R E N D   # 4


Doubling up content touchpoints

What is it

QR, or quick response, codes are scannable 2D codes that prompt additional content or a specific action, such as website visits, app downloads, and social media profile views

First initiated in Apple iOS 11 and Android 10.0, QR codes can be scanned using a phone’s camera app without a third party, opening up doors for brands to incorporate them into their market strategy

Check out more innovative ways to use QR codes today

What it means for healthcare

Reimagining the experience of @home communications, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies can leverage QR codes to bring content to life and more effectively promote their business and products in an engaging way

Upon scanning a QR code on a sales piece, product package, medical training kit, and more, customers and sales reps can be redirected to an informative landing page, how-to video tutorials, successful user stories, and other meaningful content

In addition, targeted over-the-top (OTT) commercials can support QR codes, opening up the possibility for viewers to find out more about medications or watch supplemental real-world testimonials. Because using a “second (or third) screen” is the norm for HCPs as they are watching TV (nearly 63% of HCPs are now triple screen users), brands should capitalize on the phenomenon and connect various media platforms


Think and act big with QR. Place QR codes in and on the boxes of @home (and office and hospital) deliveries. As technology has improved and FAA regulations have eased, drones have increasingly made their way into the conversation around home delivery. Amazon has won a number of patents to further its drone operations, including a floating blimp-like warehouse that would deploy drones for deliveries. UPS and CVS have also paired up with a focus on medical products. The two companies are partnering to use drones to deliver medications to residents of The Villages in Florida, one of the country’s biggest retirement communities.

T R E N D   # 5


SMS at your fingertips

What is it

Tried and true, and of course done before, one of the best strategies for reaching customers @home is through short message service (SMS) marketing. While we acknowledge it’s nothing new nor groundbreaking, the avenue is more relevant and practical than ever for omnichannel campaigns—and has proven success

Fast and fierce, the value of SMS marketing lies both in its format and proximity to consumers. Not only are mobile phones always at arm’s length, but text messages are also short (160 characters recommended) and easy to consume

The engagement numbers speak for themselves: SMS drives 10x more revenue than email per message, a 99% open rate, and an over 30% click-through. The combination of the immediacy, mobile push, and infrequent use means SMS gets your customers’ attention exactly when you want it

SMS chatbots are a huge text marketing trend that started taking off this year. They save time and effort by automating parts of the customer experience and providing instant answers to common customer inquiries

What it means for healthcare

HCPs are on their phone…a lot, and not just for personal reasons. In fact, according to Healthcast, research demonstrates that physician use of smartphones to access information about new drugs has increased 133% over the last 5 years

There is growing recognition that targeted, cost‑effective digital promotions can be used in conjunction with rep-driven tactics to drive an even greater ROI. Just as email automation has allowed sales teams and marketers to scale communications dramatically, trigger-based messages offer a similar benefit to reach customers after a virtual engagement. Setting up automation alerts will help you access HCPs with more personalization and effectiveness than many other methods, at a consistent cadence

B2B marketers can also leverage SMS to engage existing customers by relaying new product features or updates and providing quick facts or offers to increase customer lifetime value

At the practice level, text message communication can help HCPs and their staff improve their work efficiencies by preventing missed appointments via reminders to patients; sending questionnaires to patients and key stakeholders in advance of live discussion; gaining feedback, insights, and ratings; and streamlining the admin processes

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