How to Engage Healthcare Consumers with Your Health Care System

As CMO, innovation is second nature to you. You’ve adapted your patient acquisition strategy to the age of mobile. You’ve dealt with an influx of Big Data, and the rise of social media as a major influencer on consumer behavior. But now, expertise, creative vision, and martech prowess aren’t enough to build your brand.

 

The New “Not Normal” Normal

The average CMO’s tenure is now less than 48 months. That isn’t because the majority of lead marketers aren’t out-of-the-box thinkers. The CMO job description has been radically transformed in recent years.

Patients Are Now Empowered Consumers

Consumers today are empowered by access to a range of new healthcare options. More choices mean higher consumer expectations and potentially weaker brand loyalty. This change has naturally redefined marketing’s role in the organization. The silos that the CFO, COO, and CMO have traditionally worked within are now gone, out of fiscal necessity.

From Branding to Brand Engagement

Many health care system CMOs are now compelled to venture beyond their narrower roles as marketing strategists. Today, brand building means ensuring seamless client-brand interactions across many platforms and the entire brand journey. Campaign strategy now focuses on promoting the quality of today’s medical services as well as cementing tomorrow’s long-term customer engagement.

From Brand Awareness to Brand Experience

Today, many healthcare CMOs have become chief curators of patient experiences. That entails a broader range of competencies and risks. A customer engagement campaign may include anything from stoking social media traffic to promoting participation in educational programs. The definition of patient engagement may vary, but the bottom line is the same: developing patient engagement is now a CMO mandate.

 

The following guidelines will help you build an agile patient engagement strategy as your brand’s needs evolve.

 

Make Your Brand Story About the Consumer

While an inspiring story by way of your health care system is key to an impactful campaign, creating emotional resonance won’t necessarily spark patient engagement. Storytelling doesn’t mean only communicating the story of your brand—at least it shouldn’t. Your campaign should offer a meaningful payoff for your audience; a narrative illustrating a deep understanding of consumers’ needs and how your health care system can meet them.

Start With Content, Not Copy

When you’re building a strategy to stoke consumer engagement, you need to lean-in on optimizing your social presence. Social media campaigns should be content-focused, not click-obsessed. Your audience should find each interaction rewarded with a quantifiable, enduring benefit. Craft your content around what your consumer wants to know, not only what you want to tell them about your brand. Offer informative, easy-to-digest content which answers clients’ most persistent healthcare questions.

From Ad Blindness to Content Blindness

You already know about the billions in wasted ad spend caused by browser-level ad blockers. You might not know that consumers are also ignoring your content and its CTA to engage healthcare. A recent survey by The Economist Group of more than 1,500 top marketers and consumers provided some surprising results. 93% of marketers were using content to raise brand awareness. 75% said that their content should frequently mention their brand’s name. Unfortunately, that focus on brand-centric content often fails when it comes to impact. 60% of consumers stated that they wouldn’t read content that felt promotional. More than 75% said that they would only read branded content for information and ideas that they couldn’t find elsewhere.

 

The Takeaway

Your health care system’s willingness to respond to consumers’ needs, should be the centerpiece of your patient engagement campaign. Build your marketing strategy around the empowered consumer’s desire to be in control of their healthcare experience. View client feedback about the care delivery process as a launch point for social conversations and new, relevant content. Want to build and grow engagement? Stop marketing and listen.

There are challenges in doing this alone. Contact us to book a free consultation. We’re here to help!

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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