Not all healthcare marketing strategy carries the same weight. Getting it right translates into attracting and maintaining customers, cultivating physician relationships and building long-term competitive advantage. Getting it wrong means your valuable and finite resources are being wasted.
Developing your healthcare marketing strategy is tougher in todays challenging and fluid marketplace. Consumers are more knowledgeable and empowered. Competitors are coming at you from technology and retail sectors. Future growth requires building capabilities, relationships and reputation beyond traditional acute-care.
Here are three general habits that will improve your healthcare marketing strategy:
1. Fresh Thinking Is Always Called For
Last year’s marketing plan or the one from the year before might have sufficed in the past. Because it might have been appropriate for some plan elements to be carried forward. But the pace of change in today’s healthcare marketplace calls for beginning your health system, hospital and service line planning with a fresh perspective and a blank sheet of paper. Healthcare marketing techniques can not just be copied and pasted. Year over year, it’s safe to say that the capabilities and make-up of your organization along with consumers, competitors and the sophistication of your potential marketing toolkit continue to evolve.
It’s also important to scan what’s happening outside your industry given today’s category-defying economy. What are leading companies doing that are potentially relevant and differentiating for your health system and hospital – and that can uniquely create value for your communities and patients. Keep in mind that consumers don’t compartmentalize their experiences. The tangible and intangible benefits (including the desire for transparency) they receive from brands across technology, lodging, financial, and transportation, to name a few, they expect to be carried over to you as well.
2. Be The Solution By Helping Customers Solve A Problem
Think of your brand as a platform (a solution) to help customers better their lives. Beyond creating an impression through your advertising, how can you create a lasting difference through your actions? Make your medical marketing strategies work harder by considering every touchpoint as an opportunity to move people to a better place. This is how great brands build a loyal following and an active fanbase of evangelists. As mentioned above, it’s valuable to look beyond your competitors for role models.
What are some ways to be the solution? Create content that rises above the noise and provides answers to what your audiences crave. Also, consider user-generated content, as 60% of consumers say user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content. Consider service enhancements at system, hospital and service line levels that make their lives easier. Listen and respond to concerns, requests and complaints via your social channels and apps. Turn up the volume on transparency, as this is a trend that continues to gain steam.
3. Get Employees Outside The Marketing Department Engaged and Involved
What’s the ROI of ensuring xxx thousand team members can spread and deliver on your message? I’d say it’s quite high. You might not be thinking about this, but all of the individuals on every team in your organization are contributing (either positively or negatively) to your marketing on a daily basis.
As feasible, get everyone focused on and aligned with:
• Your marketing goals; and the greater good your organization is trying to accomplish
• Your actual marketing plans
• Your campaigns, before they hit the streets. Opening up a pipeline for sharing questions and answers.
Let employees be your biggest champions and brand advocates to help deliver stronger returns to your healthcare marketing strategy. Formalize a strategy to eliminate confusion or multiple mixed messages. By the way, there are multiple downstream benefits to this, i.e. stronger employee engagement, stronger employee satisfaction (leading to customer satisfaction), increased loyalty as employees become stronger brand ambassadors.
Need some help with your healthcare marketing strategy? Reach out and leverage our expertise. Since 1999, we’ve been providing award-winning marketing for healthcare organizations.