This is the second post in a three-part series that discusses the changing healthcare landscape and the need for marketing teams to engage patients across their healthcare journey, extend patient lifetime value, and increase patient acquisition and retention. Read the first post on why it’s imperative for hospitals to approach patient acquisition and retention in more intelligent ways. Read the final post to learn how healthcare organizations can extend patient lifetime value through physician loyalty.
People like to feel special. They want to feel understood and recognized as an individual with unique needs and preferences. They look for people and organizations that make it a priority to go the extra mile to get to know them, care about them, and support them.
It’s a universal truth – and one that consumers now fully embrace. They want to engage with brands that personalize experiences, anticipate their needs, and engage with them on their terms.
Right now, many healthcare organizations are playing catch up with consumer brands as they work toward delivering engagement that is personalized across multiple channels. In order to enable smart growth in healthcare, it’s no longer about reaching everyone – it’s about identifying and interacting with the right people, at the right time, and building a relationship that lasts.
How can this be achieved?
With personalized, multi-channel integrated marketing campaigns built with the support of data and analytics.
This post will break down the steps necessary to develop these types of campaigns and deliver the type of experience consumers expect. Let’s begin:
1. Identify the Target Audience
Developing a profitable payer mix and growing high-value service lines are necessities for today’s healthcare marketers. To achieve these goals, they need to identify consumers with the highest probability of needing high-value services that also supports the right payer mix.
With each marketing campaign, developing a target audience is the first step. Marketers can use predictive modeling, or another data-driven method (i.e. demographic or past performance analysis), to build an audience that is not only more likely to convert, but also will find the campaign relevant to their care needs. This step is the foundation of all personalization efforts.
2. Optimize Marketing Mix
Each person has their own contact preferences. In addition, some populations don’t have ready access to all communication channels (i.e. email, web). As you decide how to deploy campaign communications and outreach efforts most effectively, take into consideration the target audience as well as budget.
To improve the odds of conversion, reach them in the channels they not only frequent (i.e. social media), but also where they have stated a preference. However, marketers need to realize that customers are engaging with them on multiple channels – and having a central location to house this data is essential.
3. Connect Channels for Holistic Patient Views
The key to effectively leveraging data from multiple sources is to keep various traditional and digital marketing channels connected. Data from disparate systems need to be consolidated into one place, like a healthcare CRM, so that the different channels can keep one another informed.
With all this data working together, healthcare marketers are able to develop a more complete picture of patients and consumers. As a result, they can be more proactive and targeted in outreach and interactions.
For example, a call center agent should be able to see that a customer was recently targeted in an email campaign about an upcoming orthopedic seminar and can offer to register the caller. With the support of a healthcare CRM, marketers can gain insight to anticipate the needs of individuals and deliver personalized, efficient engagement.
4. Personalize Content
Consider this: 72 percent of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations; they are looking for organizations, healthcare included, to recognize them as an individual across all interactions. This manifests in many ways, from referring to them by name in a healthcare call center interaction to sending a direct mail flyer about a service line they’ve previously expressed interested in (i.e. downloaded a brochure from your website).
In this way, marketers need to design content for their campaigns that personalizes the engagement and honors a patient’s individual journey. With the backbone of a healthcare CRM, which provides 360-degree patients views across channels, marketers can develop a deeper understanding of their target audience.
For example, a hospital is running a multi-channel campaign to acquire patients for their orthopedic service line. Through predictive modeling, they’ve determined there are two high-performing groups, younger patients with sport-related injuries and Baby Boomers with orthopedic injuries.
Delivering the same messaging to these two very different groups would be asking for failure; marketers need to develop (at least) two sets of targeted marketing materials (landing pages, email campaigns, call center scripts, and more) in order to provide relevant information that drives conversions.
To further personalize content, marketers should create patient journey maps that provide a natural and helpful way to build on each engagement step.
Let’s walk through another example:
In a bariatric campaign, a prospective patient may request more information about a hospital’s program and services. A few days after receiving the information, they are sent an email providing information on provider referrals for the program. They take the next step to phone the hospital call center where they are given a referral and make an appointment.
5. Nurture Patients for Life
Every engagement and every touchpoint is an opportunity for a healthcare organization to reinforce its value to the customer. Patient retention presents a significant opportunity for healthcare providers today; it is more cost-effective to retain the patients you already have and this existing audience can be targeted for other services within the organization.
Data analytics support the patient engagement process by giving marketing teams greater visibility into their own customer base, enabling them to build more effective, targeted marketing campaigns.
It’s a win-win for both patients and healthcare providers. Patients are engaged with relevant, efficient communication that improves their overall patient experience. Providers gain patients for life.
Here are a few examples that are possible with HCRM and marketing automation:
- Reminding them of appointment,
- Proactive outreach for overdue routine care,
- Following up post-discharge, and
- Predicting their needs 6 to 12 months out.
By creating opportunities to engage with patients in meaningful ways, healthcare organizations convert customer into patients and expand relationships.
The healthcare marketing campaign has changed. In order to compete and grow, highly targeted integrated campaigns with measurable conversion rates are what the executives and the marketers need to be working toward.
Focus on attracting the right payer mix that supports high-value service line growth. Drive actionable insights – by bringing together consumer and patient data – to identify the right patients for each campaign. Building from there, engage these customers with personalized content across channels that turns them into long-term patients.
In our third and final post of this series, we’ll discuss how physician loyalty extends patient lifetime value and how strategic outreach, supported by a physician relationship management (PRM) solution, can accelerate growth in key service lines.