How healthcare startups are going big on marketing

With consumers showing an increasing need to be cautious about their health, startups have taken to social media and digital platforms, and are creating quite a buzz

by Team PITCH
Published - September 07, 2022
4 minutes To Read
How healthcare startups are going big on marketing

If you go to Practo’s Instagram page, you might just end up learning about what should people with iron deficiency do, or the fact that 2-3 glasses of milk can help one beat osteoporosis. These are just two of the many examples that show how healthcare startups are owning the awareness strategy as a marketing tactic to gain consumer attention.

In the last two years of the pandemic, the world has seen the need for quick fixes and self-awareness to get through a lockdown-driven two years when people started paying more attention to their health and prioritised finding ways for their own wellbeing.

Healthcare startups have taken to social media to cause awareness about different physical or mental health issues which has given them a high amount of consumer attention.

According to Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO of Mirum India, “Concept of healthcare is no longer about going to a doctor and taking medicine. It is a lot of stuff that can kind of get delivered almost to your doorsteps. People will come to your house and they will take a sample. The world of healthcare has expanded beyond just being medication, using technology to be able to monitor your health, right. A lot of these health startups are dabbling in different kinds of technologies. They can actually create value for consumer. Looking at the long run, I think health healthcare or other health tech is a great space to be in if you have a great product and a great idea.

“Digital obviously is the lowest hanging fruit in terms of reaching out to a targeted audience. If you have a product for diabetes, and you put an ad in the paper, maybe 70% of it gets wasted. Instead, if you target focused groups on Facebook or wherever diabetes discussion is happening, you are 100% bang on target. Startups in general, have a bright future. People are able to kind of connect to the consumer and make a great product happen. And digital is definitely the way for them to go for the targeted communication,” he added.

Practo’s Chief Marketing Officer, Srikanth Pinninti, spoke to e4m about the importance of creating awareness amongst its customers in this day and age. “Today, at any given point of time a customer is exposed to an array of information through their mobile device. Every brand out there is putting out information to create mind space for their brand. And we have seen a similar trend in the healthcare industry as well. As digital health picks up steam in addressing current challenges in the industry, creating awareness is going to be critical to improving adoption and growth. And at Practo, we believe that while digital health has seen exponential growth in the last few years it has just scratched the surface. Hence, we have to continue to drive awareness while delivering high-quality healthcare services to as many consumers as possible.”

There is a women’s healthcare start-up based out of Bangalore, India, Proactive For Her, which provides at-home testing for STI, HPV vaccination at home and gynaecologist online consultation for women who need to discuss their health. The marketeers of the company make sure it has enough engagement by posting at least one thing on their social media page every day, which creates awareness about women’s health issues for the consumers.

Speaking about the growth of healthcare and health tech, Karan Taurani of Elara Capital said, “After the pandemic the customer mindset has become that way that people have become more cautious about their health. One of the things that happened with covid is that, lot of panic was there and people began to test at a higher frequency than pre-covid levels. In the same way how for food delivery and payments the growth trend has sustained, same thing has happened in the healthcare and health tech space.”

Similarly, online testing startup Pharmeasy, owned by API Holdings, has the words “Apna Khayal Rakho” or take care of yourself pinned on top of their Instagram page, showing the need that wellness comes before anything else.

While creating awareness, each of these companies also need to make sure that they are not giving out false information that could put consumers’ health at risk. On this, Practo’s Srikanth Pinninti says, “There is no patient centricity without keeping quality and safety first. We have strong principles and code of ethics that are our guiding force for all our marketing activities. In addition, we have stringent processes in place and a highly qualified medical team of 40+ healthcare professionals with over 200+ years of combined experience who work closely with the marketing team. We align this team on all the messages, and the content is also reviewed by them before it is shared with consumers. We also abide by ASCI norms for advertising in healthcare.”