On the road to value-based healthcare marketing

Transitioning from volume-based to value-based payment and care delivery models in healthcare has been one of the most important industry-wide efforts over the past few years. When you think about it, the same kind of transition – from volume to value – has been playing out in marketing. So let’s give it a name. Let’s call it value-based healthcare marketing.

Value-Based Healthcare Marketing

At Trajectory, we’d define value-based healthcare marketing as marketing that proactively moves customers, brands and businesses upward to a new destination. It’s marketing that…

  • Delivers meaning
  • Lives beyond the confines of a campaign
  • Creates value (e.g. patient outcomes) at every touchpoint
  • Strengthens the connection between customers and brands
  • Ultimately creates the customers who build brands which drive business

Borrowing on the idea of value-based care, value-based healthcare marketing isn’t predicated on the amount of healthcare advertising delivered, but on the ability of marketing to deliver outcomes and move people forward.

On The Road To Value-Based Healthcare Marketing

In order to succeed in today’s environment, where consumers are driving the bus, many organizations need to rethink how they build and sustain their brands when it comes to value-based care. Because consumers are sending very clear messages – stop making empty promises and start acting in new and different ways. Build brands that help produce outcomes by doing things that really matter. Take a stand, act on your beliefs, provide social value.

How to assess your readiness to deliver the actions people are demanding of your brand. Here are some questions for you to ponder:

  • Does your brand simply articulate a higher purpose, or do you demonstrate ways to continually advance that agenda and build loyalty through action?
  • Are your employees merely carriers of a message or are they true brand ambassadors equipped to act on the brand’s values in every customer encounter?
  • Do you spend more time developing messages than designing customer experiences that provide genuine support to your customers’ lives?
  • When you plan your marketing and communications, do you open up two-way pathways for continued engagement?
  • Do you only benchmark and track your traditional competitors or are you following the actions of relevant disruptors outside of your category?

The Shift Of Emphasis

Value-Based healthcare marketing shifts emphasis from:

  • What you say to what you do (e.g. Red Bull)
  • Traditional messaging to creating tangible value to make your brand matter in people’s lives (e.g. Bombas)
  • More expected owned/earned media to deeper content, seamless experiences, activated by action (e.g. MasterCard)
  • Promo-based marketing activations to authentic actions that connect with your audiences and benefit them in real and lasting ways (e.g. Citi Bikes)
  • Product experience to providing superior value in creative ways (e.g. Coke’s Open Happiness)
  • Hiding behind the curtain of radical transparency (e.g. online fashion brand Everlane)

Your Value-Based Healthcare Archetype

Archetypes help us understand what motivates an individual, and they work in a similar way for a brand. When revealed — and put into action — these universal patterns of behavior help companies stay true to their mission, strengthen their promise and foster loyalty with all stakeholders.

How do you define your values-based healthcare brand archetype? What is your behavior persona? Through the lens of archetypal thinking and borrowing on the ideas laid out in Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson’s book, The Hero and the Outlaw – here are a few examples to get you started.

The Explorer. As the name suggests, The Explorer seeks to find fulfillment through discovery and new experiences. “Don’t fence me in,” The Explorer says. Red Bull, North Face and Jeep are ‘Explorer’ brands.

The Sage. By utilizing intelligence and analysis, The Sage helps our world gain wisdom and insight. After all, “The truth will set you free.” Sage-like brands include Google, Barnes & Noble and The Discovery Channel.

The Hero. All heroes help to improve the world. They are warriors, idealists and brave in nature. The Hero’s motto is, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” making it easy to assign the U.S. Army, Nike and BMW as ‘Hero’ brands.

The Caregiver. As an archetype embodying pure altruism, The Caregiver protects others and is moved by compassion. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is the adage of The Caregiver. Volvo, Heinz and Campbell’s are our favorite ‘Caregiver’ brands.

The Creator. Seen as an artist and an entrepreneur, The Creator believes, “If it can be imagined, it can be created.” Innately self-expressive and non-conforming, The Creator archetype beats to its own drum and is wildly innovative. Adobe, Audi and HP greatly resemble ‘Creator’ brands.

Key Takeaways

Power has shifted from companies to customers. And they want brands to stop making empty promises and start doing things that matter. Similar to the ideas behind the value-based care model, customers want value-creation and outcomes. Today, a brand is useful, meaningful and engaging – or it is moving toward irrelevance.

Traditional outbound marketing (advertising) activities can be disrupted overnight. Consistent, authentic behaviors that reinforce your true-north are much more effective in creating the customers who create your brand which drives your business.

Interested in creating more loyal customers. Let’s have a conversation. Reach out here.


Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.