How can healthcare marketing executives help their organizations cut through the noise and create the moments that compel consumers to act?
As a first step, it’s important to consider the context:
- The average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.
- They switch between screens up to 21 times an hour (according to a British study).
- Their average attention span is now just eight seconds (according to this Microsoft study).
Moments vs. Messages
Here’s one more thing to consider about the life of your time-starved, emotionally distracted, research-obsessed prospective healthcare consumer. Disposable healthcare advertising campaign bursts don’t carry the same weight as a brand having a continuous and meaningful presence.
Which means that your health system, hospital, physician practice or medical practice brand needs to more regularly be in the line of sight of a customer to be chosen and more regularly in their subconscious, ready to be recalled at the moment of choice. The big impediment to growth (quoting Byron Sharp in his book How Brands Grow) is usually that most buyers hardly ever notice or think of our brand, and that its physical presence is limited.
The Zig-Zagging Customer Journey
Your prospective customers are now dictating the rules of engagement. They dictate when and how they want to engage with brands, and their journey is not a linear one. Healthcare marketing strategy must take into account what micro-moments matter to customers so that your brand — out of the growing number of options — is considered, helpful and trusted.
Your ability to engage consumers with a consistent and compelling brand experience across multiple channels (brand micro-moments) is critical to meeting your targets. Regardless of your business objective — whether it’s to raise awareness, acquire or retain customers, change attitudes, revitalize a clinical service line or to drive web traffic — you need to be where your prospects are.
Overlay The Changing Landscape
Speaking of being where your prospects are, consider that some of the most ubiquitous retailers in America like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Amazon and Kroger are gearing up to win the battle for the active healthcare consumer. As costs keep rising, these already well-known retailers see an opportunity to win patients over with more convenient places to get care (e.g. dental check-ups, lab tests, nutrition services, primary care, etc.) and/or lower prices. These moves have led to healthcare company boundary lines being redrawn. Even Best Buy is getting into healthcare, as it purchased emergency device company GreatCall in 2018.
Small Moments, Big Impact
These small moments are the small but important occurrences throughout the shopper journey during which prospective healthcare consumers are ready to act. They start when a customer turns to their mobile phone or other smart device. The challenge in setting healthcare marketing strategy is to maximize the value of each and every one of these moments. For your health system, hospital or medical practice brand to prove it can fulfill a specific customer’s need at a given micro-moment. In a way that is uniquely yours.
Google narrows these moments down to four key categories:
1. want-to-know moments (the research and education phase of the customer journey)
2. want-to-go moments (when customers search for local places that offer specific products or services)
3. want-to-do moments (when a customer is ready to do something)
4. want-to-buy moments (when a customer is ready to buy)
How many micro-moments do your prospective consumers engage with throughout their journey to purchase? In many cases, it’s likely in the double digits.
Being There And Being Useful
Here are six tips to help healthcare marketing teams maximize their brand’s micro-moments. Thanks to Molly Ware, senior interactive marketing lead at Goodyear, whose content in this linked article helped inform this list.
1. Identify the moments that matter most to your organization. Based on your healthcare organization’s business strategy, determine which moments your brand has to win, and if these moments can be enhanced and more memorable. Second, make the interactions that are less important, simpler and faster. And third, remove all the value “destroyers” — the negative moments, and the activities that do nothing for customers but are perhaps only there for the convenience or efficiency of your business.
2. Understand your target audience. They’re in control, and they have power. So you need to be understand their motivations. What they’re trying to achieve, what they need and what they really value. In a world where trust is low and loyalty is rare, this intimacy will go a long way. Then, overlay this learning with your organization’s strategic areas of focus.
3. Activate. Micro-moments also happen on the ground. What branded experiences can you create that immerse your brand into your customer’s world and enable them to achieve what they want? Clay Christensen (Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School) calls these “jobs to be done.” He states that what organizations really need to hone in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what they hope to accomplish.
4. Know their online language. What are the keywords and phrases that customers use when searching at each stage of their buyer’s journey to your organization. Here’s where SEO assessment and SEO strategy come into play. Sometimes little nuances make a big difference. The only way for you to keep up with the ever changing consumers’ needs is to constantly analyze what is trending among customers in line with your business landscape. We’ve done that here for two of our clients — ID Care and CIGC.
5. Site analytics and performance. Use site analytics to better understand usage. This can help you troubleshoot problems, such as where customers drop off when filling out online forms or how to better optimize the online experience. Also, find out what your current desktop and mobile site speeds are and then benchmark them—not only against others in the industry, but also against all online leaders.
6. Build upon your brand assets. Given all the things outside of your control, it’s important to control what you can. And brand assets are yours to build upon. To build brand value, you need to tap into the power of memory structure. The more these memories can be triggered in everyday situations, the more likely the brand will be recalled. Memory structures include colors, logos, shapes, tag lines, symbols, advertising styles through to playing a role in culture (think Ben and Jerry’s). Here’s another helpful blog post on this topic.
If you’re a health system, hospital, physician practice or medical practice marketer who wants to better leverage the power of your healthcare organization’s moments to engage prospective customers, build brand value and drive better business, reach out to our healthcare marketing agency for a conversation.