Healthcare marketing trends originate from a variety of sources — marketing in other industries, societal changes, and overarching movements in the healthcare industry, just to name a few. Though constantly evolving, these influences represent opportunities for healthcare marketers to connect with customers in new ways.
Two of the biggest influences on healthcare marketing today are the rise of consumerism and the adoption of new technologies. In the wake of rising healthcare costs, consumers want to get the most value from their providers. Faced with a myriad of care options, this means people are spending more time researching and putting thought into their care decisions.
Knowing this, health systems need to find new ways to reach and engage consumers who are using the Internet and other digital channels to weigh care options. Modern healthcare marketers can take advantage of technology solutions, such as healthcare CRM, coupled with mutli-channel marketing tactics to deploy smarter patient acquisition and retention strategies.
The shifts in consumer choice and technology use are the driving forces behind trends sweeping through the healthcare marketing field today. In this post, we’ll break down five popular healthcare marketing trends and how businesses can take advantage of them.
5 Trends Shaping Healthcare Marketing Today
1. Location-Based Marketing
Location-based marketing is a type of audience segmentation that utilizes the elected GPS features of customers’ smartphones to find and target consumers in the current vicinity of the hospital or facility, in real-time. Healthcare marketers can deliver advertisements to targeted audiences using geo-fencing, or showing advertisements on devices in a defined geographical radius. Before location-based marketing, healthcare marketers relied mostly on mass outreach and could only hope it reached an applicable audience. By targeting based on location, healthcare marketers improve the likelihood that their efforts reach an optimal audience.
For example, CVS Health uses location-based marketing to send personalized coupons to customers near one of their locations. When customers with the CVS mobile app pass by a store, they automatically receive store coupons based on their previous purchases. This location-based technique encourages customers to enter CVS Health locations and make purchases.
2. Social Media Messaging Apps
A major challenge healthcare marketers face is how to connect with patients and strengthen patient-physician relationships. Social media can be a great asset to accomplish this. While the major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are still popular with consumers, new types of social media messaging apps are gaining traction – including Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
Social platforms like these allow healthcare organizations to interact with customers and patients in real time, conveniently. As long as healthcare marketers remain compliant with HIPAA regulations, they can use secure messaging apps to develop stronger relationships with customers and place advertising on new platforms. Additionally, social media messaging can help keep patients engaged with health systems by making it easy to contact physicians
3. Mobile Optimization
Smartphones are ubiquitous in this day and age; at the end of 2016, 77 percent of American adults owned smartphones. On top of that, an increasing number of consumers are using their smartphones for health-related purposes—58 percent of smartphone-owning Americans are using their device to connect with medical professionals.
In order to appeal to this vast majority of consumers using smartphones, healthcare marketers are optimizing their efforts with a mobile-first mindset. When content is visible and easy to navigate on mobile devices, consumers are more likely to engage and convert. To optimize for mobile screens, healthcare marketers are streamlining layouts to work with small spaces, improving page speed to work around any mobile connectivity issues, optimizing for local search based on mobile location data, and designing content to fit finger-scrolling.
The prevalence of mobile also impacts the way consumers convert. Anywhere between 50-80% of digital leads convert via click-to-call. While thinking mobile-first for the engagement point is important, it’s important to ensure the experience on click is as positive. Work with your call center agents to ensure they’re trained on how to properly handle those click-to-call leads. A thoughtful experience can double the lead to patient conversion rate.
4. Video Marketing
Other industries have proven video is a powerful marketing tool; 46 percent of Internet users who watched a video advertisement took some form of action after viewing that ad. Researchers also found that video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors, doubles their time spent on the site and has a 157 percent increase in organic traffic from search engines. These staggering success rates explain why many healthcare marketers have adopted video as a facet of their content marketing strategy.
Healthcare marketers are using video as a storytelling platform for live streams, website content, blogs, and social media posts. Typical healthcare marketing videos include technical procedures and patient testimonials. Videos are able to give viewers information quickly and comprehensively and portray emotion, both of which can be effective for healthcare marketing.
According to the Journal of Health Management, “When patients tell their stories, their friends see that and the likelihood of spreading the message increases many-fold.” For example, below is a video Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City used to promote their annual “Big Slick KC” fundraiser. In this video, Children’s Mercy Hospital does an excellent job of using patient testimonials to elicit a positive emotional response from viewers.
Big Slick Celebrity Weekend benefits our Cancer Center. The 2016 fun starts June 17!
Posted by Children's Mercy on Friday, June 10, 2016
Remember, like with any tactic, video is most effective when deployed in conjunction with a broader, multi-channel precision marketing strategy. Montefiore Health System has a great example where they produced a film for the Tribeca Film Festival and wrapped an integrated campaign around their festival submission and sponsorship. They’re continuing to reap the benefits.
5. Wearable Technology
Wearable technology is an unbelievably popular trend, with one in six consumers currently owning and using them. Some popular wearable devices include FitBits, Apple Watches, and Jawbones, which can keep track of sleep patterns and activity levels. Some patients with chronic medical conditions can take advantage of wearable tech to manage their conditions. For example, diabetic patients can use wearable technology to keep track of heart rate and blood sugar levels.
The integration of this type of Internet of Things (IoT) data into both engagement platforms, such as mobile apps, and 360-degree consumer profiles provide marketers with more ways to provide value to consumers and encourage engagement. The Walgreens app is a great example. Not only do consumers receive points for in-store purchase, they also receive points for fitness activity that’s shared from wearable tech.
Healthcare marketers need to better understand consumers, create optimized campaigns, and personalize marketing outreach to successfully find, guide, and keep patients for life. They should also take advantage of technology and the digital experience to support hyper-targeting efforts that drive high-value service line growth, extend patient lifetime value, and improve network utilization.