Many external factors affect the healthcare industry, including changing government regulations, evolving consumer needs and preferences, technological innovation, economic fluctuations, and more. These ever-changing elements could be catastrophic, or could be the motivators that push healthcare organizations to innovate and evolve. In order to remain competitive and successful, healthcare organizations need to be flexible and adapt alongside these influences.
For that reason, healthcare marketing strategies are evolving just as rapidly as the industry as a whole. It’s critical that healthcare marketers find new, cost-effective ways to acquire customers, engage them, and promote loyalty in the face of industry shifts.
In this post, we will look at factors that are changing the healthcare marketing industry, as well as how healthcare marketers can leverage digital strategies to gracefully adapt and drive success.
Rise of Consumerism and Value-Based Care
In recent years, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, with more financial responsibility falling on healthcare consumers than ever before— the United States spends more than $3.2 trillion annually on healthcare costs, with per capita healthcare expenditures being upwards of $10,000. Since consumers are footing more healthcare costs, they are scrutinizing the quality of care they receive and are shopping around for services. To be successful, healthcare organizations need to find ways to cut through the clutter to attract and retain customers.
The most popular way healthcare organizations are doing this is by shifting to a value-based care model. Value-based care, as opposed to volume-based care, focuses on care personalization and fostering patient relationships to improve patient satisfaction. By connecting with patients on deeper levels, healthcare organizations increase the chances that patients will remain involved with them over long periods of time.
In order to appeal to consumers’ desire, medical providers need to ensure they’re providing high-quality care, and healthcare marketers need to focus on personalizing the care experience outside of the doctor’s office. By leveraging digital marketing tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, social media outreach, and healthcare CRM-enabled emails and phone calls, healthcare marketers can provide consumers with individualized service that promotes value-based care. For example, marketers can target PPC campaigns based on a specific consumer’s online activity, as well as their demographics and psychographics.
Each of these digital strategies, when executed tactfully, can appeal to consumers’ desire for customized care and deep, lasting patient-provider relationships.
Adoption of Big Data Analytics
Collecting and analyzing consumer data is a cornerstone of healthcare digital marketing. A rich database of consumer data not only makes personalized marketing and care possible, but also helps healthcare organizations target population health initiatives.
In the past, organizations did not take full advantage of big data analytics to improve marketing success. Now, healthcare marketers understand that each interaction a consumer has with the organization is an opportunity to collect information about that consumer – Where do they live? What is their clinical medical history? What is their attitude towards their own health? Which method of contact do they prefer?
New technology trends, such as wearable health, offer further opportunity to collect, analyze, and derive consumer insights that can be used to create data-driven marketing campaigns. Wearable health devices monitor physical activity, sleep patterns, calorie consumption, water intake, and much more. This offers an exciting opportunity for healthcare organizations to understand patients’ health habits on an even more comprehensive level, opening potential to improve patient care, engagement, and personalized digital marketing efforts.
With the sheer volume of healthcare consumer and patient data available, analyzing this information may feel like a daunting and impossible task. This is where a data and analytics platform, such as a healthcare CRM, comes in. An HCRM inputs, stores, organizes, analyzes, and reports on vast amounts of healthcare consumer data. This platform can be used to provide in-depth views of individual patients, as well as identify data trends and patterns that inform population health initiatives. Most importantly, an HCRM is necessary for pulling actionable insights out of massive amounts of healthcare data that can then be used to inform digital marketing campaigns.
Growth of Virtual Health
Technology innovations are driving change in every field, including healthcare marketing. Healthcare consumers are spending more time online, doing everything from researching healthcare organizations, to having in-depth digital conversations with physicians. In order to appeal to these consumer habits, healthcare marketers need to follow suit by focusing on online outreach.
One specific way is through virtual platforms like telehealth and mobile health (mHealth). These services allow patients to connect with healthcare organizations over video call and mobile applications, respectively. Since healthcare consumers are eager to adopt these platforms, healthcare marketers need to promote their organization’s use of them, as well as make it as easy as possible for consumers and physicians to connect digitally.
Healthcare marketers can accomplish this by sending informational emails to interested parties, contributing to healthcare discussions on social media, using SEO to target consumers searching online for organizations that utilize virtual health platforms, and implementing retargeting PPC campaigns for people who have clicked on related websites.
Change is inevitable, especially in today’s digital age. Customers and markets are growing and evolving constantly, oftentimes making it difficult for marketers to keep up with them. Healthcare marketers are being asked to accomplish more with less, be incredibly flexible, and always be planning ahead. In order to face these challenges and deliver results, healthcare marketers need to integrate digital tactics that can be leveraged for success.
Rachel Neely is the Senior Healthcare Consultant at Evariant, serving as a healthcare marketing expert, guiding clients through collaborative workshops, identifying and reconciling points of marketing/physician ROI, overseeing the usability of Evariant products and solutions to ensure they meet client-specific needs, and collaborating with Physician and Marketing Practice Leaders to build new assets and points of view.
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