Like so many other facets of our lives that thrive on innovation in technology and easier access to information, the healthcare arena continues to evolve at a record pace. Advancements in immunotherapy, gene therapy or personalized medicine, just as a small example, are radically reshaping the way we live, and extending our life expectancy.
How does healthcare marketing change as healthcare changes?
With new advances in healthcare, coupled with challenges like HIPPA regulations, healthcare seems to stand alone in the realm of marketing. It presents a unique set of circumstances that force healthcare marketers to create new and exciting ways to engage potential patients that may be odd or unfamiliar to marketers in other industries.
That said, healthcare is also beginning to resemble something akin to the retail industry as patients are diving deep into the internet to thoroughly research and cherry-pick providers, insurance plans and medical services, including telemedicine, to suit their individual needs.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the shifts happening in the healthcare marketing arena that will ultimately shape its future, and what you can do to get in on the action.
It’s Story Time!
Building on the increasingly ancient word-of-mouth technique, patient reviews and testimonials are still one of the driving forces in decision-making for potential patients (which has been true as far back as 2013). Review and testimonials are an intricate part in getting potential patients to trust providers and their services, much in the same way they would look at reviews before purchasing a product online. In fact, according to Futurescan, a publication put out by the Society for Healthcare Marketing & Strategy of the American Hospital Association, healthcare marketers should “embrace this new age of transparency, understanding that the complete and honest reporting of patient experience data is paramount to meeting patient needs.”
Therefore, getting the right reviews published is imperative to any practice looking to thrive and will continue to be a driving force, especially with so much competition out there. Existing patients should be encouraged to submit reviews and testimonials online in authoritative sites like Zocdoc, Healthgrades or WebMD’s physician directory. Video testimonials would be even better. Customer testimonials had the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89 percent.
The Influencers Have It
Influencers and their persuasions are, and will continue to be, important for internet surfers. They have influence over potential customers (or, in our case, patients) and there is a growing practice of orienting marketing activity around them rather than to a target group as a whole. This technique may apply more to a larger operation like a pharmaceutical company instead of individual practices, but it doesn’t hurt to look into it if you’re looking to try a different strategy.
If you choose to do so, remember quality over quantity. Research thoroughly to find influencers that are willing to partner with you and reach your target audience rather than finding ones that have the most followers behind them.
At this point, the idea of going mobile as a trend should not come as a shock to anyone. Smartphones and other portable devices allow users to do research and even tend to their own healthcare needs, all in the palms of their hands. We’re not just talking about making websites and emails mobile friendly —we’re talking out-of-the-box thinking with the entire mobile world as the audience.
For example, A pharmaceutical company in the U.S. sponsored an app that identified points in a movie where users can go to the bathroom without missing any pertinent plot information.
Because this particular pharmaceutical corporation produces overactive bladder (OAB) medication.
If that isn’t a way to get potential patients through a door, we don’t know what is. Consider this type of ultimate user engagement when planning your next marketing strategy. Is there something you can do to get your name associated with something like that?
As trends come and go, one thing is for certain: the future of healthcare rests in the hands of everyone with a mobile device.
Looking for an opportunity in a trend but don’t know where to start? Contact us today!