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Healthcare startup marketing in India - the trends and innovations

Sanchit Khera
15th May 2017
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According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, the overall Indian healthcare market is worth around $100 billion, and is expected to grow to $280 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 22.9 percent.

The healthcare startup space in India has been one of the more innovative and inspiring spaces in recent times. Pharma is ripe for disruption, and a lot of companies that have come up over the last few years have been funded for long-term growth. There is a significant amount of attention devoted to this space in the area of startup marketing. There is a lot of innovation driven from the success of this model, and it drives further growth in orthogonal (new clinics, chains, and models) as well as vertical (management, delivery, etc) industries.

Marketing, in this space, has thus made significant leaps and bounds to keep up with the pace of these brands, both online and offline. With strategic partnerships with publishers, media houses, and editorials, there are a lot of similarities with other industries as well as distinct characteristics around healthcare marketing and communications.

Practo

Something like a Practo is what you should be focusing on. This brand has been growing over the last few years and investing steadily in brand building and implementation of corporate communications. It has been a consumer-facing brand all along, while attracting suppliers, manufacturers, and doctors alike to list their services on this one portal. A one-stop-shop for anyone who needs any healthcare service, Practo’s branding efforts have poured across social media, print as well as many multimedia campaigns to drive their message home. Indians who need more than “family recommendation” love this service because its transparent and belongs in the app on the smartphone. Its ease of functionality as well as its crisp and clear messaging really add to the overall positivity around the brand. Shashank N.D. (CEO) said it best during their recent rebranding efforts –

“We are excited to reveal our new global brand identity that better reflects our role in the ecosystem. Practo is the platform that connects any two stakeholders in healthcare, be it patients, providers, insurers, or medical devices. Our positioning “Your Home for Health”.

Healthy Billions

A membership-based platform for emergency or lifestyle healthcare, Healthy Billions offers what India needs – one portal for data and care management, as well as an offering that’s online first leveraging scale. Healthy Billion’s marketing campaigns and branding aren’t at scale yet; however, their critical exercises for these activities indicate a lot of proactive strategies. Bootstrapped with Rs 3 crore in 2014, this company is now eyeing 10 lakh members in the next few years, with over 2,000 partners from across the industry. Right from the brand name to the poignant communications on their website and collaterals, you can determine the meaning of the brand and its value proposition from the get-go – a unique membership package to build a healthier community.

Portea

Another massive player in the healthcare space has its hands in the deep wellness and healthcare industry. Trying not to be misinterpreted or have any confusions about its services, it always quotes its tagline along with any communication or branding activity to ensure that there is no overlap between markets or industries. With over 900,000 fans on Facebook, Portea’s on a mission to be as unique as it can be while being true to its Indian self. 

There are many brands in the space of healthcare trying to take advantage of scale and localisation, with the majority of them being funded by venture capitals that specifically look for a unique business model. Therefore, marketing itself has to be rewritten to ensure that these models are functional for growth and longevity.

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