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!

Q2 2020

Embracing the New Marketing Paradigm


The pandemic has accelerated a widespread shift in online behaviors and the adoption (or hyper-focus) of many digital technologies. From reimagining event experiences to a heightened engagement with podcasts and user-generated content, now more than ever, marketers need to think and adapt with agility and authenticity to influence customer behavior and activate purpose-driven emotional connections.

In our second iteration of Propeller Pulse: The Edit, we hero the digital strategies fueling the next wave of communications, identifying where and how to win as we enter the new reality. Download the PDF

T R E N D   # 1

Virtual Events

The new experiential

What is it

With live events canceled through mid-2021, it is vital to achieve the goals once met by these experiences in new ways, both as a response to the present pandemic and for the longer-term future. Replacing live events with virtual engagements makes it possible to continue to deliver the benefits of face-to-face meetings—and perhaps even extend their reach and impact

Physical distance does not mean brands have to remain socially or intellectually distant. Recreate the in-person experience online, turning to a mix of webinars, presentations, teleconferences, group Slack channels, and Twitter chats, many of which are continuously evolving with the times Activate larger-scale virtual events with video chat apps such as Zoom and Facebook Messenger Room or on a smaller scale via the Houseparty App

What it means for healthcare

Live events have long been a foundational part of scientific advancements in the field of medicine.
They enable dissemination of information, facilitate interaction among community HCPs and KOLs, and provide opportunities for healthcare companies to demonstrate their commitment, showcase their product pipeline, and stay top of mind

It is important that conferences, congresses, symposiums, and other live meetings continue to go on. The medical community still needs to hear from healthcare companies and be educated on new scientific information related to their specialty, as well as engage with each other. In today’s environment, companies must identify the benefits of a live event, and then reverse engineer a solution that provides those strategies in a high-quality, online environment

Tips for execution:

Be transparent and communicate pivot plans early with attendees

Consider easy-to-access, easy-to-download software, seamless participant entry, a streamlined and clearly focused agenda, and live interactivity with visualizations (such as webinars, peer-to-peer programming, or moderated roundtables with live Q&As)

Find ways for the group to connect virtually before and after the event to foster a community. For enduring content and post-event follow-up, include data collection, a digital resources library, as well as supplemental forums and chats to facilitate dialogue

Leverage regulatory-approved settings and technologies to protect and guard information while ensuring it can be widely distributed to the right stakeholders

Most importantly, be human. Have fun. Work diligently to capture that “live” feel that makes a booth and event memorable

Next-level campaign experiences,
going beyond the event ecosystem

Develop multichannel campaigns to create awareness and excitement and to facilitate networking, including digital media banners, paid social posts, private social networks, and print and direct mail

Design interactive kits that can be shipped to high-profile HCPs to promote engagement with the material and each other. These can include virtual reality (VR) tools such as Oculus Rooms and Rumii, in which attendees use headsets to interact with each other and with dynamic content (such as posters or MOA animations). Virtual worlds can also be designed to look like auditoriums or multiple-level convention centers

T R E N D   #2

Voice Assistant

AI-powered management

What is it

By 2022, smart speakers will be present in more than half of U.S. homes. And in most of these homes, voice activation will be a part of daily routine

Voice has proven beneficial for a variety of uses because it removes barriers and simplifies daily tasks

Voice-enabled devices will continue to develop more personality and search optimizations, making the technology more approachable and providing brands with more meaningful engagements with customers

What it means for healthcare

Virtual assistants and smart speakers are being used in a variety of capacities in healthcare. AI-enabled voice assistants can help with postoperative pain management, as well as perform a variety of management tasks including taking patient care notes

Voice applications give HCPs greater visibility into patient wellness between visits, facilitating continuous tracking of chronically ill or elderly patients

Marketers should think of voice search optimization when developing custom content for their brands and consider AI language processing as it pertains to asking questions, conversations, accents, jargon, and phrases. Check out these voice search stats

Paving the way for virtual
assistance: Amazon Alexa

Alexa’s next-generation healthcare service features include

Medication management: simple reminders about medicine patients have taken/need to take that day

Detailed medication information and database (First Databank)

Status of a home delivery prescription (Express Scripts)

Prescription refills with e-commerce component (Omnicell to allow Giant Eagle Pharmacy)

Functions that help members manage their health improvement goals (Cigna Health Today)

Query last blood sugar reading and receive personalized “health nudges” (Livongo)

T R E N D   #3


Niche storytelling

What is it

While podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, the format has only just entered the mainstream. Why?
A proliferation of shows, involvement by celebrity talent, investments from large companies like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple, and the spread of technologies that boost awareness have all helped the medium blossom

U.S. listenership has doubled since 2015—and by the end of 2020, it’s expected there will be 105 million monthly active listeners According to Medical, Marketing & Media (MM&M), health content’s largest demo are those ages 25‑34 (27.3%) and employed in the healthcare and service industries

What it means for healthcare

The rise of health podcasting is evidence that people are craving a flexible, on-demand platform for this kind of information. Podcasts have the potential to be the foundation of a new patient engagement model, connecting authentic stories and experiences in a way that leads to greater engagement and participation in their own health journey

The podcast industry is enjoying a moment of creative and innovative renaissance, from content creation to discovery. And even better, listeners are highly engaged and quite receptive to ads

U.S. advertisers will spend more than $1 billion on podcast advertising next year (per Internet Advertising Bureau estimates). Most critical for buying and integration, marketers need to ensure that show content aligns synergistically with their brand and overall campaign story

Scaling video to audio

Spotify’s podcast creation platform, Anchor, introduced a new feature that will allow users to turn their video chats and virtual hangouts into podcast-ready audio. This video-to-audio conversion tool works with a range of top video chat platforms, including Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Twitch, and Instagram Live.

T R E N D   #4

Content (UGC)

Cultivating powerful #IRL content

What is it

UGC is any form of content, including images, videos, audio, and text, that has been created and shared by users for users, typically on social media channels

According to Nielsen Research, 92% of consumers trust UGC more than traditional advertising. The primary reason: UGC is the most genuine, authentic, trustworthy, and reliable form of content, driven by users’ “in real life” (IRL) experiences, ideas, opinions, and feedback

Brands are turning to UGC more for visual content, especially in a physically distanced time. Compared to highly produced branded content, UGC is real and unfiltered

As brands look to deliver normalcy and relevancy through personalized content and creative, UGC is little-to-no cost, and can drive long-lasting earned media as well as productive two-way communications

What it means for healthcare

Building upon influencer authenticity from The Edit Q1, marketers can encourage KOLs to share their experiences and foster a brand community through content on their personal social channels

Product reviews, testimonials, and day-in-the-life experiences are strong forms of UGC that can live on blogs, like Reddit, or a gamut of social networks, including Doximity, affecting the buying decisions of potential customers as well as a brand’s revenue and identity

To drive maximum engagement and participation, starting a hashtag trend or competition, asking a question, and/or posting about social good helps to rally support for brand initiatives

The key benefits of using UGC for brands: boosts SEO, brand awareness, and credibility; gains social media reach and audience insights; and brings in a “human touch”

The rising popularity of consumer-first UGC on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitch is poised to accelerate as the industry adapts to the new norms ushered in by the coronavirus—mda ranging from short‑duration ephemeral content on Stories, to augmented reality (AR) in photo filters, to real-time gaming

T R E N D   #5

Over-the-top (OTT)

Audience-targeted ads within streaming

What is it

OTT advertising is personalized and highly targeted ad delivery on internet-connected devices enabled by programmatic technology. Content bypasses third‑party networks, cable, and satellite TV

OTT advertising platforms allow businesses to engage with their online audiences when and where consumers are viewing their favorite movies and television shows⁠—⁠from tablets to other streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and gaming consoles

It is no surprise, eMarketer predicts that OTT ad spend will hit $9 billion in the U.S. this year, up 28% year-over-year—and $14.6 billion by 2023

What it means for healthcare

OTT advertising delivers the following benefits:

Hyper-targeted audiences: OTT gives marketers the ability to target Connected TV audiences on a much more granular level than traditional TV. From online browsing information to purchase history, online data allows you to identify and reach specific audience segments with highly personalized messaging

Retarget across channels: OTT advertising allows marketers to retarget through web and mobile traffic to complete the cross-channel marketing loop. With the help of website retargeting, IP targeting, and device thumbprints, brands can reach targets that have seen their ad on streaming TV on a computer or mobile phone

Precise attribution tracking: Unlike traditional TV advertising, OTT allows marketers to track the success of their marketing efforts. The ability to connect an ad view with a website visit, download, or sale can help marketers see what’s working and get an accurate read on their ROI

OTT & Connected TV

Brands are seeing a massive spike in web traffic from their OTT ads on Connected TV (TV through streaming services vs traditional broadcast/cable). With Connected TV projected to be the primary way TV content is consumed (and in 60 million households by 2025), the trend reinforces the demand and massively growing interest to invest in OTT advertising placements and/or specific content. Check out SurvivorNetTV, a new linear streaming network.

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