How Healthcare Can Move Beyond Marketing 101

In the eyes of many healthcare systems, “Marketing 101” is all they need to attract users and patients. Those fundamentals of basic marketing are important for any industry to know and understand, but relying on them can cause marketers to lose sight of how technology has changed the way users interact with brands.

While the basics are a great place to start, healthcare will lose opportunities to expand its audience without implementing continual iteration as technology and patients change.

The Marketing 101 approach can limit creativity and pigeonhole marketers, leading them to consistently choose the same tactics and remain comfortable with the results. For example, many healthcare companies send blast emails to their users because email marketing is a critical lesson of basic marketing, and it has always been done. But what if they could contextualize the information for each patient’s needs?

Expand Your Marketing Skill Set

Implementing personalized and creative solutions not only builds trust, which fuels long-term business, but also allows organizations to establish themselves as thought leaders in the community. These forward-thinking tactics fuel growth and create positive word of mouth that will continue to grow organically.

Imagine that Sara tweets about a great blog post from a pharmaceutical company about the best yoga positions for joint pain. Her friend Emily reads and remembers that brand later when her knee starts bothering her. Given that 90% of patients trust medical information shared on social media, this scenario is entirely plausible, even for a pharmaceutical brand.

The Key to Moving Past Marketing 101: Long-Term Nurturing

Marketers going beyond the basics can start by looking past the obvious first steps and thinking about the ongoing wellness needs of their patients.

Typically, the main goal of a healthcare marketer is either to get more patients to use a brand or to spur conversations between patients and their doctors. This is measurable and has a direct effect on the revenue cycle, so it’s not a bad place to start.

However, marketers should also look at the bigger picture and provide valuable resources to further their patients’ health outside of taking medications. By fueling and nurturing long-term relationships through personalized health information, companies will build a stronger relationship with patients by making them feel they have received information from a trusted source.

If you’re ready to upgrade your marketing playbook, then the following tips are for you:

1. Provide a learning opportunity. With 59% of U.S. adults looking online for answers to their health questions, healthcare officials must be there with accurate answers. Start with an eBook or blog about a universal health concern such as staying fit, dieting, or finding the best nutrition, and make sure prospects or patients can find it.

2. Get to know your customer base. It’s impossible to deliver effective marketing without a solid understanding of what your customers want. Try using a survey to gather basic and qualifying information like: “What type of healthcare is most important to you?” Be sure to reward them for taking the time to answer your questions.

3. Nurture the relationship. Create frequent and highly personalized messages to drive home the point that your organization listens and understands. With only 58% of the general public trusting the pharmaceutical industry, marketers in this industry need to use social and owned media to establish relationships with both doctors and patients. Don’t ignore this fact. Instead, provide your consumers with information that speaks to their needs, and continuously deliver on it.

It’s tough to break traditions and even harder to create new ones. But as technology and marketing evolves, it’s increasingly important that healthcare isn’t left in the dust. As a healthcare marketer, you must take the time to learn the skills that will take your work to the next level.

  • Drew Himel

    Drew Himel is the Founder and CEO of OpenNest, a digital marketing and strategy agency that helps brands make digital experiences more human. He has helped clients implement successful digital marketing campaigns by utilizing their internal data assets to find strategic growth opportunities for more than eight years.

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