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Health, pharma cos increase marketing investment: McCann Health's Matt Eastwood

Big agencies are also working towards specialising in the healthcare space

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GOA: While FMCG companies across the globe have been reducing their marketing spends substantially, health, wellness and pharma companies have started investing more in creating and promoting their brands, McCann Health global chief creative officer Matt Eastwood told Indiantelevision.com at the recently concluded Goafest 2019.

Eastwood, who joined the global team of McCann Health just three months back, in January 2019, from JWT, shared that not only pharma companies but other commercial brands like automobiles are turning towards the wellness space to market their products better. He cited the example of Mercedes Benz’s initiative to look after the well-being of the drivers through a coordinated stimulation of senses.

He said, “Healthcare industry is expanding into newer spaces and companies that might have never have thought about this before are becoming ‘health’ companies. The companies have realised that health and wellness are the most important needs of all consumers. So, we are seeing more and more brands moving to that space.”

Commenting on the lack of specialised health-oriented agencies in India, Eastwood noted that he was quite surprised to know that the country doesn’t have several such players right now. He, however, mentioned that newer names might soon start cropping up to cater to specific healthcare-related marketing needs of the brands.

He stated, “It is good news for McCann Health because we only want to keep growing but I think the big networks are starting to wake up and realising the value of not just dabbling in the healthcare space but being specialists in it. So, I am expecting it to become more crowded. It is going to be good for the industry as when more and more people succeed; we all win as a group.”

Sharing his thoughts on the need for efficient B2B marketing in the healthcare space, Eastwood said that agencies should start communicating with doctors in a more emotional and humane manner. “One of the conventions in healthcare marketing that needs to be changed is that we have often spoken to professionals and doctors as they are not human beings. A lot of advertisement that caters to healthcare professionals is very logical and lacks emotions. But we need to understand that they are humans first and doctors second,” Eastwood mentioned.

He continued by saying that the industry has started to understand this fact and there has been a shift in the approach being used to communicate with healthcare professionals. “I think, in the past B2B work was a bit boring but now there is a good opportunity to change the way it looks and feels,” he pointed out.

Eastwood concluded the conversation by mentioning the exciting role artificial intelligence and voice-enabled services are going to play in the healthcare sector and its marketing. He said, “I think we are at a huge crossroads with artificial intelligence and voice, etc. One of the big stories of the week was Amazon opening up Alexa to be able to have two-way conversations between doctors and patients. We are exploring how voice and AI can help in the healthcare sector, for example, in the diagnosis of diseases. It will be great if we can intervene at a much earlier stage. Hopefully, we can start avoiding some of the health issues, and AI is going to be a huge part of it.”

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