Beginner’s guide to planning a healthcare communications campaign


A few weeks back, I attended a brilliant workshop where I learned about the process of how a molecule is chosen for a drug and its journey to being marketed. As part of the workshop, one of the more relevant topics of the day was how to plan a healthcare communications campaign. The session was incredibly useful and I found myself walking away with a lot of tips as a beginner to healthcare communications.

So, what exactly did I learn?

You need to know what you want your campaign to achieve. Are we talking about awareness, education, action or behaviour change?

You need to know your audience. Who are you communicating with? For example:

– Public

– People with a specific health condition

Healthcare professionals

– Patient groups

– Media

MPs and policy makers

– Payors and NHS decision makers

Accordingly, would you need to give the same information or tailor the messages to their needs? This would mean considering the tone and level of information.

I  also learned how important it is to understand the environment. There are many facets to this including:

Knowing the unmet needs a campaign could address.

– Drawing on client market research, patient group information, clinical insight and social media listening.

– Understanding the challenges you might face.

– Individuals/groups that could support the campaign.

– External factors that could impact the campaign.

The best way to do this is to carry out a SWOT matrix which involves listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a product for example. I found this to be an extremely simple technique to better suss out where you’re going with a brief that has been given to you for a campaign.

What I gathered from various people was the fact that during a campaign, it’s very easy to confuse a strategy with tactics. A strategy involves knowing how to get from A to B where A is where you are now and B is where you want to be. However, things are never clear-cut as goalposts can change. On the other hand, the tactics involve knowing how to achieve your campaign and the individual activities that will help you get from A to B (your goal). These could include:

– Medical education

– Advocacy

Media relations


– Awareness

As a result knowing how they will work together and how you will measure them are important things to consider.

For me, I learned that knowing your product and the environment as well as creating a strategy with the tactics to achieve that, can help produce a successful healthcare communications campaign. Whether it’s for disease awareness, corporate, consumer health or prescriptions, having a clear campaign goal is fundamental.

Thank you to those involved in the molecule to marketing workshop set up by the Healthcare Communications Association.


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