Xpectives.Health Summit: Innovations in DTC Marketing

May 2, 2024
Sanwari Gupta

This month, hundreds of health marketers came together in Boston for the DTC National Conference and Women’s Health Business Conference as part of the Xpectives.Health Summit. From April 16 to 18, participants heard from industry experts about the latest research and innovations in DTC pharmaceutical marketing.

PulsePoint was thrilled to join these events, which focused on three themes that are central to DTC marketing—TV and print, campaign launches, and digital and social media—as well as the unique challenges and opportunities in women’s health marketing.

How to earn (and keep) consumers’ attention

As part of the DTC event, PulsePoint SVP of Marketing Maria Simeone joined a panel of experts for the discussion: “The Lost Art of Giving a Sh*t: What’s Happening to Consumers’ Attention Levels & What Marketing Should Do About It.” 

Alongside senior leaders from Dermavant Sciences, Butler/Till, and Pfizer, Maria discussed one of the biggest current challenges in marketing: how can we reach consumers when their attention spans are shorter than ever?

Audiences now have access to infinite information, and algorithms dictate what most people see on a daily basis—creating a challenging situation for marketers where consumer attention is an increasingly scarce commodity. Maria’s panel focused on the so-called “attention economy,” as well as strategies for meeting consumers on the channels they frequent while navigating complex regulatory requirements.

Panelists emphasized that creating authentic content and storytelling campaigns that lead to genuine engagement is often more impactful than aiming for reach alone. Empathy and vulnerability have become more important, particularly in healthcare marketing where audiences may be patients dealing with significant personal challenges.

Challenges and strategies for women’s health marketing

As part of the Women’s Health Business Conference, Becky Hallam, VP of Platform at PulsePoint, joined a panel on “Winning the Battle in Women’s Health Communications.” She spoke with Amanda DeVito, CMO at Butler/Till, and Dr. Erin Wolff, founder of Pelex, about successful campaign strategies for women’s health initiatives and treatments. The panel dove into how to leverage an omnichannel approach to reach women and make brand dollars go further to increase ROI.

Other panels in the conference focused on “taboo” topics in women’s health, exciting innovations and investments, and strategies for decreasing health disparities for women of color. Panelists also discussed how women engage in more preventative care than men and are often responsible for the health of others, such as their children, spouse, and parents. They also control a majority of healthcare spending, which presents a unique opportunity for marketers bringing renewed attention to women’s health issues and treatment options.

Omnichannel, authenticity, and the future of healthcare DTC marketing 

The first day’s keynote featured John Hervey of PatientsLikeMe and focused on how personalized care pathways can help patients take control of their healthcare journeys, from symptoms and diagnosis and treatment.

Throughout the day, panelists and speakers considered innovative approaches to address modern marketing challenges, including:

  • Using Instagram Reels to meet consumers where they are and increase engagement
  • Fixing the pharma advertising industry’s “bad reputation” by improving transparency and building trust with patients
  • Focusing on the positives of losing third-party data, such as new opportunities for more precise measurement
  • Harnessing AI to better understand individual patients’ journeys
  • Navigating health-specific SEO challenges to enhance brand visibility online

The momentum continued on day two of the event, which featured thought-provoking panels on patient-centric marketing, protecting patient privacy, digital accessibility in clinical trials, and supporting small patient populations. Attendees learned about collaborating with patient advocacy groups, creating authentic messaging, and tailoring content to diverse audiences. Because most patients defy a one-size-fits-all approach, speakers underscored the importance of testing messaging and embracing varied content formats and channels.

The conference closed out with a compelling keynote session on AI and next-generation technology that considered the future of healthcare marketing. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA, then joined participants for a fireside chat about the evolving healthcare communications landscape, including his thoughts on how to improve the healthcare system as a whole to make it more cost-effective and straightforward for patients.

In conclusion

After two days of genuine conversations and insightful discussions, the PulsePoint team came away from the event with a new perspective on personalized, authentic DTC advertising and what’s next in healthcare marketing.

Interested in collaborating on a DTC campaign? Reach out to info@pulsepoint.com.

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