Healthcare marketing continues to evolve and adapt in a time when changes in healthcare have come quickly. Here are some things to think about:
- You can’t engage people who don’t believe they need your services and the fact is that people have an overly rosy picture of their health. One poll showed that nine out of 10 Americans believe they are healthy. You need the right message to reach them. If you say seven of 10 people will have a problem, most people think they will be among the three. A positive spin can work better … “let us help you stay healthy”.
2. In healthcare, ideas sell, not things and procedures. Outside unique specialty care, much of healthcare is becoming a commodity. Distinction will be built around values.
- Foster trust
- Build relationships
- Connect to your community.
- Embrace ethical values by affirming core values
- Emphasize education, not “sales”
3. Technology is mobilizing healthcare as never before, opening up healthcare globally in terms of information, transparency and diagnostics. Mobile is established, but there is much more on the horizon, e.g., Google Glass, Samsung Simband and Apple diagnostic solutions.
4. There are more than 100,000 health and wellness mobile apps available for download, but less than three percent of healthcare apps originate from traditional healthcare players (including pharmaceutical, hospitals, health insurance and medical technology). There is opportunity for hospitals to make an impact. Key questions to ask when developing a mobile app: Will it support your brand? Will it foster stickiness (typical app usage is 2-3 times a week)? Is it a new way to help manage a health issue? Will it improve overall patient experience?
5. The impact of quality in healthcare marketing is no longer a trend, it’s the reality. Quality ratings and transparency are important for consumer perception, but perhaps even more important to the providers that buy services for people. Employers and other payors, including major health plans and Medicare, have begun requesting or requiring data to inform their plan participants and to guide purchasing decisions. Quality messaging is most relevant for those who have a specific need, but it is also effective in increasing overall hospital perception, consumer preference and, ultimately, market share.
6. Website development: Today’s online healthcare consumer wants to find a doctor, find a location, schedule an appointment, pay bills and access electronic medical records. Trends include:
- Minimalist design
- Growing importance of typography
- More focus on content and information hierarchy
- More transaction and commerce applications
- Higher quality imagery and increasing role of video.
7. Do you have a vision of getting your docs involved in providing good online content? Rules to live by: Take what you can get, make it as easy for them as possible, minimize their time, make it frictionless, leverage what you’ve got, give them comfort, be their mother hen, show them the return. Follow these five steps:
- Introduce your doctors
- Find your champions
- Collect topics
- Coordinate contributors
- Support engagement.
8. People engage in hospital Facebook pages by specific interest. Find things people want to express and then give them the platform to do so. They will go forward and share with others.
9. Technology has made a significant impact on healthcare and that is not going to change. Technology predictions:
- Technologies such as iBeacon® will bring “location aware” features to the web.
- Mobile device manufacturers are moving towards Wi-Fi technologies for interior mapping and positioning.
- Health & Wellness is a hot niche on which device manufacturers and web/app developers will continue to focus.
10. Healthcare marketing starts with internal audiences. We can only promote externally what we can sell to our doctors, nurses and staff.
- Identify internal target groups and market teach according to their jobs, preferences, intellect, etc.
- Develop a value proposition and find ways to promote your concepts, such as posters, video, events, and merchandise.
- Develop a strategy for opinion leaders and dedicate a special effort to recruit them as positive influencers.