The evolving nature of healthcare marketing

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 11.09.09 AMIt’s potentially an industry-changing time for healthcare marketing. You just need to seize the opportunity.

As consumer interest in pursuing healthier lifestyles and a higher quality of living is on the rise, health has come to be viewed in more holistic ways. As such, the lines between traditional healthcare marketing, health marketing and wellness marketing are blurring. For healthcare system and hospital marketers, the implication is that you have a real opportunity (based on a powerful cultural trend) to become a catalyst in helping your service area communities achieve their optimum health and optimum quality of life (where non-physical ideas of well-being are just as important as physical well-being).

Just one example of this opportunity is the research of Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health. She found that “factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight.” “For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers,” she said. It also appears (based on a review of more than 200 studies published in two major scientific databases) that these factors also slow the progression of disease.

There will always be people who are sick. Your key service lines – whether cancer, heart, obstetrics, orthopedics, neurology – will always have a captive audience. And they’ll always be important. But the game is changing, as it does across all industries.

To be relevant, you need to follow the lead of the consumer. And in this case, they’re telling you that they don’t compartmentalize their healthcare. Their attitude is that their overall lifestyle and their health care are closely connected. In turn, this presents you with an opportunity to build around your core traditional services and own a bigger place in their lives. Which provides so many more ways for you to create new value.

Consider the combination of your different audiences, the different actions they could take (and you could promote, support and participate in) and the different places in which they could achieve their desired health/quality of life. That’s a lot of possibilities!

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand consulting and marketing agency specializing in creating momentum for customers, brands and businesses across the related categories of health, wellness and beauty.

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