2021 Global Marketing Trends: Life sciences and health care

Innovating for communities amid COVID-19

Research from the 2021 Global Marketing Trends report shows how the life sciences and health care industry is uniquely positioned to make a positive impact on communities.

Purpose: A life sciences and health care perspective

In our 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, we discussed the myriad ways in which organizations responded to COVID-19 and as crucially, how consumers perceived—and reacted—to these actions. Our Purpose chapter highlighted that almost 80% of consumers could recall an instance a brand responded in a positive manner and one-in-five of those people said it directly led to wanting to do more business with those brands.

Of course, responding to community needs during a pandemic can manifest in numerous ways, from donating products to reducing prices on essential goods to making cash donations for COVID-19 responses, to name a few. But our Purpose chapter made another key point: undertaking corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that reinforce why the organization exists—and who it’s built to serve—enhances a company’s ability to make a positive impact on their communities. And during a global pandemic, one industry is uniquely positioned to answer the call: life sciences and health care.

Bringing innovation to communities

In our C-suite survey, 61 life sciences and health care executives overwhelmingly demonstrated how they are uniquely using their expertise to make an impact. As seen in figure 1, these executives provided first responders with free access to products and services at a rate almost double that of the rest of the field (61% versus a cross-industry average of 36%). Consider Clove, a health care footwear designer whose mission is to “take care of those who take care of others.” Since March 2020, Clove has donated over $100,000 worth of sneakers and compression socks to thousands of hospital workers across the United States.1

Figure 1: How the life science and health care industry responded to community needs during COVID-19

It’s not just about providing “free” products either. For many companies, innovating to keep people healthy and safe has become a strategic imperative. And once again, health care companies are leading the charge in creating new products and services that specifically address society’s needs of the moment (41% versus 22% for all industries).

One way we’ve seen this manifest: the speedy adoption of virtual health visits is now a standard across the industry.2 When providers across the world implemented these virtual visits, customers quickly took advantage. In an earlier analysis conducted by Deloitte in April and May of last year, we saw the number of consumers who engaged in a virtual visit nearly double over the previous year. More encouragingly, 84% said they were satisfied with their most recent virtual health visit.3

Stepping up to the challenge

Perhaps, most promisingly, in the face of the immense challenges COVID-19 has thrust upon us, it may have also catalyzed new opportunities to showcase the keen focus many companies in the health care industry have on improving their communities. When we asked executives the top outcomes they hoped to achieve in responding to the pandemic, “increasing the company’s impact on society” was the second highest outcome cited (41%) among life science and health care executives (compared to the sixth highest outcome cited across all industries). Within the industry, we’ve seen a rapid innovation cycle that’s already produced solutions ranging from antibody testing kits to 3D printed face shields.4 And more recently, we are witnessing the fastest vaccine development and deployment the world has seen.5

Once again, these actions are winning over consumers as well. One example: an earlier research study highlighted that over 50% of agree that their health insurance providers demonstrated they’re interested in their health and well-being and gave them confidence that they are looking out for their safety during the pandemic.6

As we see the rise of the social enterprise gain traction, those operating within the life sciences and health care industry are uniquely positioned to do their part in making the world a better place—and thankfully, many are answering the call when we need it most.

The 2021 Global Marketing Trends study
As our world went through rapid changes, we recognized a need to dig deeper into the evolving milieu to better understand how consumers and executives are responding to their new environments. With this in mind, we conducted two surveys to inform each of the 2021 Global Marketing Trends chapters.

The Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey polled 2,447 global consumers, ages 18 and above, in April 2020. This survey was launched in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, South Africa, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Global Marketing Trends C-suite Survey polled 405 US C-suite executives from global companies in May 2020. This survey asked CMOs, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, COOs, and CHROs their thoughts on a variety of topics related to their response to COVID-19.


1 Accessed from “Clove Cares” website on November 3, 2020.
2 Bill Fera, MD, Casey Korba, and Maulesh Shukla, “The future of virtual health: Executives see industrywide investments on the horizon,” Deloitte Insights, May 1, 2020.
3 Data derived from the Deloitte Study of Health Care Consumer Response to COVID-19 (April/May 2020, n = 1,510). You can learn more about the findings at Shane Giuliani and Urvi Shah, “Will consumers trust health care organizations after COVID-19?Deloitte, May 5, 2020.
4 Accessed from Giacomo Tognini’s, “Coronavirus Business Trackers: how the Private Sector Is Fighting The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Forbes, latest updated May 26, 2020.
5 David Leonhardt, “The Fast Path to a Vaccine,” The New York Times, December 15, 2020.
6 See endnote 3.

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