Marketing, regardless of industry, is in a constant state of flux. New technologies present lucrative opportunities while changing consumer preferences threaten the old way of doing things. In healthcare marketing, though, it gets even more complicated.
Regulations change and competitive markets fluctuate. A lot has changed, even from just a few years ago. So the question is, are you keeping up with the latest in healthcare marketing?
In this article, we’ll identify a few key trends so you can be sure you’re up to speed.
More Channels, Still Just One Message
Both WebMD and the Mayo Clinic have invested in voice search recently. This is indicative of how many more touchpoints healthcare marketers must consider in 2018. Put simply, it’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Patients and healthcare providers are interacting with each other via social media, text messaging, patient platforms, direct mail, and company blogs.
And they’re doing it through their mobile devices as well as their desktop computers and tablets. Of course, despite the growing number of channels, healthcare marketers are still expected to present a consistent, unified brand message every time they engage with patients and prospects.
So with all that said, don’t make the mistake of muddying up your message because you’re in a rush to build your presence on every platform imaginable. Instead, take the time to understand the channels that are available, and then strategize as to how you can best leverage it. After all, delivering valuable content and a unified message will always stand as vital principles no matter how much things change.
Great Healthcare Marketing is Good for Business
This one has always been true, but it’s becoming even more important in this regulatory environment. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) bases reimbursements on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). These assessments tell the CMS how satisfied your patients are.
Because the vast majority of healthcare institutions rely heavily on the CMS for reimbursements, earning good scores on these assessments is vital for the financial health of your healthcare institution. So what does healthcare marketing have to do with that?
Great healthcare marketing helps you build relationships with your patients. It used to be that marketing was just about reaching as many of the right people as possible. But things have changed dramatically.
Healthcare marketing can now play many of the same roles that say, your customer service department plays. With this in mind, it’s important to consider all the problems that marketing can help you solve.
Good healthcare marketing should help you answer patients’ and prospects’ questions and anticipate their needs so they have a great experience both before and after their treatment.
Further, given the mHealth movement and similar initiatives in healthcare, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the move towards a better end-to-end patient experience is here to stay.
The Rise of Mobile and Healthcare Apps
According to Smart Insights, internet usage on mobile phones outgrew usage on desktop computers some time in 2013. Since then, that trend has only increased. Remember, to be successful in healthcare marketing, you don’t have to dominate every channel. In fact, you can probably do pretty well if you just focus on a few.
But, you must be mobile.
The mobile movement has gained so much ground that computer sales are lagging.
Corresponding with the rise of smartphones is the rise of healthcare apps. Nearly half of healthcare professional surveyed said that they would be introducing mobile apps to their practice in the coming years. If you think that means you’re behind, don’t worry too much. Many of these apps may be poorly designed and won’t be properly integrated into the existing healthcare marketing strategy—however, the demand is there.
Moreover, healthcare-related apps like fitness trackers continue to gain popularity. This shows that consumers are demanding an increasingly innovative approach to modern healthcare. Healthcare institutions that show that same approach in their marketing message will position themselves well.
Many of the trends we’ve identified in this article hold true for marketing in every industry. And some are unique to healthcare. To stay on the cutting-edge of healthcare marketing, it’s helpful to keep an eye on these general marketing trends. That’s because, more and more, consumers’ expectations are rising. Their standards for service in one industry don’t change when they move to another industry.
You can see this in the banking industry, where nimble start-ups are building more convenient solutions and established institutions are scrambling to keep up. You might be tempted to sit back, knowing that the barriers to entry in healthcare are daunting. But don’t fall into that trap. Innovation in healthcare is no longer restricted to new medicines or surgical techniques.
Being innovative and staying ahead of the latest in healthcare marketing should always be at the top of your priority list.