The ROI of digital vs. traditional marketing in health tech

The ROI of digital vs. traditional marketing in health tech for 2024

Global digital ad spending is projected to reach approximately $389 billion by 2024 according to Statista, showcasing the growing dominance of digital channels in the advertising landscape.

Understanding the return on investment (ROI) of digital versus traditional marketing becomes paramount for businesses aiming to stay ahead of the curve.

The evolving landscape of Healthcare Marketing

The healthcare sector has witnessed a seismic shift in its marketing strategies over the past decade. With the rise of digital platforms and the decline of traditional media, the battle for users’ attention has intensified.

The digital revolution in healthcare

The digital age has ushered in a new era of healthcare marketing. From search engine optimisation to social media campaigns, digital marketing offers a plethora of tools to reach and engage potential patients. The benefits of digital marketing are manifold:

Precision targeting

Digital platforms allow for precise targeting based on demographics, interests, and behaviours. This ensures that marketing messages reach the most relevant audience, leading to higher conversion rates.

Real-time analytics

One of the most significant advantages of digital marketing is the ability to track and analyse campaigns in real-time. This provides invaluable insights into what’s working and what’s not, allowing for timely adjustments and optimisations.


While initial investments in digital marketing can be substantial, the long-term ROI often surpasses that of traditional methods. Digital campaigns can be scaled up or down based on performance, ensuring optimal use of resources.

The enduring value of traditional marketing

While digital marketing is on the rise, traditional marketing channels, such as print, radio, and television, still hold value, especially in specific demographics and regions.

Broad reach

Traditional media, especially television and radio, can reach vast audiences. For healthcare providers targeting a broad demographic, these channels can be highly effective.


Print media, such as brochures and magazines, offer a tangible experience that digital platforms can’t replicate. This tangibility can lead to longer engagement times and higher recall rates.

Trust and credibility

For many, traditional media sources are still viewed as more trustworthy than digital platforms. Leveraging this trust can be crucial for healthcare providers, especially when communicating complex medical information.

Balancing act: merging digital and traditional

The key to successful healthcare marketing is finding the right balance between digital and traditional channels. While the allure of digital is undeniable, traditional methods still resonate with many. Highland Marketing’s approach to building brands emphasises the importance of a holistic strategy that leverages the strengths of both digital and traditional channels.

Analysing the returns: digital vs. traditional marketing in healthcare

The debate between digital and traditional marketing’s effectiveness continues to be a hot topic. To make informed decisions, healthcare businesses must understand the expected returns from both channels.

Digital marketing: a deep dive into returns

The digital realm, with its vast array of tools and platforms, offers healthcare providers unparalleled opportunities to reach and engage their target audience.

Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and conversion rates

One of the primary metrics in digital marketing is the CPA, which measures how much it costs to acquire a new customer. Digital platforms, especially when optimised correctly, often boast lower CPAs than traditional channels. Moreover, with precise targeting capabilities, digital campaigns tend to have higher conversion rates, ensuring a better ROI.

Engagement and retention

Digital platforms, especially social media, allow for two-way communication. This not only boosts engagement but also aids in patient retention. Engaged patients are more likely to return and recommend the healthcare provider to others.

Data-driven decisions

The ability to collect and analyse vast amounts of data is one of digital marketing’s most significant advantages. This data-driven approach ensures that campaigns can be continually optimised, ensuring the best possible returns. Highland Marketing’s approach to analysing markets provides insights into leveraging data for maximum ROI.

Traditional marketing: assessing the impact

While digital marketing offers numerous advantages, traditional marketing channels still hold significant value, especially in certain demographics and regions.

Brand recall and recognition

Traditional channels, especially TV and radio, are excellent for building brand recall. A memorable advert can stay in the audience’s mind for a long time, leading to increased brand recognition.

Credibility and trust

As mentioned earlier, many still view traditional media as more trustworthy than digital platforms. This trust can be leveraged to convey complex medical information or to introduce new healthcare services.

Reach and saturation

While digital platforms boast of precise targeting, traditional media, especially print and broadcast, can reach vast audiences. For healthcare providers looking to target a broad demographic, this can be highly effective.

The blurring lines: integrated campaigns

In today’s multifaceted marketing landscape, the lines between digital and traditional are blurring. Integrated campaigns that leverage both digital and traditional channels can offer synergistic effects, boosting overall ROI. For instance, a TV advert can be complemented with a social media campaign, ensuring a broader reach and higher engagement.

The lines between digital and 
traditional marketing are blurring. Integrated campaigns that leverage both digital and traditional channels can offer synergistic effects, boosting overall ROI.

Making informed decisions: recommendations for healthcare businesses

Healthcare businesses must be agile, adapting to the ever-evolving marketing landscape. With the insights gained from analysing the returns of digital and traditional marketing, here are some actionable recommendations to optimise your marketing strategies.

Embrace the digital transformation

The digital revolution in healthcare is here to stay. To stay competitive, healthcare providers must fully embrace digital channels. This doesn’t mean abandoning traditional methods but rather integrating them into a cohesive digital strategy.

Invest in continuous learning

The digital landscape is continually evolving. Platforms, algorithms, and best practices change frequently. Investing in continuous learning and training for your marketing team can ensure that your strategies remain effective and up-to-date.

Leverage data analytics

The power of data in digital marketing cannot be overstated. Collecting, analysing, and acting upon data can significantly enhance campaign effectiveness. Tools and platforms that offer real-time analytics can provide invaluable insights, allowing for timely adjustments and optimisations.

Re-evaluate traditional marketing spends

While traditional marketing channels still offer value, it’s essential to re-evaluate spends continually. Are your traditional campaigns offering a satisfactory ROI? Could the funds be better utilised in a different channel or platform?

Focus on integrated campaigns

As mentioned earlier, the lines between digital and traditional marketing are blurring. Integrated campaigns that leverage both can offer synergistic effects. Consider how your digital and traditional strategies can complement each other for maximum impact.

Seek expert guidance

The complexities of healthcare marketing can be daunting. Partnering with experts who have a deep understanding of both digital and traditional channels can offer invaluable insights and guidance. Highland Marketing, with its expertise in the healthcare sector, can be a trusted partner in this journey.

Maximising ROI

The healthcare marketing landscape promises both challenges and opportunities. By making informed decisions, leveraging the strengths of both digital and traditional channels, and continuously adapting to the changing landscape, healthcare businesses can ensure a strong ROI.

Don’t leave your marketing ROI to chance. Reach out to Highland Marketing today and transform your healthcare marketing strategy into a powerful engine for growth, ensuring that every pound spent is an investment in your organisation’s future success.

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