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Customer Experience and Design

The Healthcare Content Pie: 7 Marketing Strategies for 2017

Healthcare organizations are continuing to adapt to the ever-changing healthcare industry. Hospitals, health systems and health plans are undergoing infrastructure rebuilds to suit the needs of the new market; transforming their traditional business models to survive the rising expectations to deliver a connected and on-demand experience to patients and members.

The growing expectations of healthcare consumers can’t be ignored and to remain competitive healthcare organizations must be ‘everywhere’. Those that can deliver personalized, relevant and valuable information at the right time and right place will have a recipe to connect and engage patients, members and perspective consumers. Lets take a look at 7 healthcare marketing strategies that can help your healthcare organization capture a piece of the healthcare content pie and ultimately create loyal patients and members.

Context Trumps Content
Content marketing is here to stay, but your organization needs to up its game if they want to compete. In the digital world we live in people are overwhelmed with content, which means in 2017, good and relevant content is no longer the recipe for success. There are thousands of articles, blogs, white papers and guides published on a daily basis. So how do you stand out? The key here is to publish content that is consistently better, of higher quality and more relevant than the content being produced by others. While the thought of this may seem intimidating it is a great opportunity for your organization to focus on creating a few high-quality pieces of content, rather than a large quantity of ‘average’ content.

While producing high-quality and relevant content is important, another critical factor to remember is that context trumps content. So what does that mean? It means that your organizations must take a look at each social platform differently and develop content specifically for each channel. For example, patients are on Facebook to catch up with friends and family, they are on Pinterest to find things that they want to accomplish or aspire to have and they are on Instagram to see pictures. Successful marketers tailor their content to the context of each social channel and always keep in mind that people are typically looking for user-friendly, educational information to help inform their decisions – so don’t make content salesy or about how great your organization is.

On-Demand Everything
It is no surprise that we live in a digital world. A world where as consumers, we are used to doing things on our own time. Things like online shopping and mobile banking provide the convenience and accessibility we have long desired. Lets face it, people are too busy to be restricted by normal business hours – so why should healthcare be any different?

Healthcare organizations can meet these rising demands by incorporating features such as online appointment scheduling, online bill pay, physician communication and telehealth services into the patient digital experience via the patient portal. When you hear healthcare executives talk about patient portals many of them speak of the mountains of time and money they invested only to have the patient not get on-board. The reason is simple, like most health systems, these organizations chose to invest in the patient portal modules available through the EHR vendor in order to check off the Meaningful Use requirements. With Meaningful Use no longer relevant healthcare organizations must cease the opportunity to implement a market-driven patient portal that provides on-demand features that patients have come to expect!

Data Drives Direction
Data is an integral part of any marketing strategy because it allows healthcare organizations to make decisions based on fact rather than their instinct. In the age of Big Data, or in this case big numbers, analytics rule the roost. Fully comprehending the numbers can help trace a patient’s journey, recognize health and wellness patterns, understand what marketing campaigns, channels and messages are most effective, etc.

With the internet, people have access to an enormous amount of information, it literally has revolutionized access to information. Furthermore, mobile has changed the way we get information and has had a profound impact on the transformation of consumer behavior. While our time spent online is fragmented, oftentimes we jump on our mobile device because we want immediate information – these are the moments that you want your content to appear. Engaging with people during these micro-moments requires an organization to transform their data into insightful knowledge in order to deliver relevant, timely and personalized information.

Video is King
According to Pew Research Center’s Fact Sheet, 98% of the U.S. adult population has adopted mobile technology making it critical for healthcare organizations to create content that is mobile friendly. One of the biggest reasons content marketing campaigns are failing is because they aren’t connecting with their audience. Marketers are trying to deliver written content via a mobile device. Studies have shown that people would much rather watch a short video to get information rather than reading a lengthy white paper. That being said, the rule of thumb here is whenever possible put content in a video.

With more than 50% of users now favoring mobile devices over desktops it is critical to provide content they can easily consume. Video also helps to humanize your brand, a necessary part of emotionally connecting with patients and prospective patients.

Reputation Matters
2016 was another year of healthcare mergers and acquisitions. In 2017 we may see much of the same as healthcare organizations continue to look for a competitive advantage. As expected with merger and acquisition activity, a good percentage of marketing dollars is put towards internal alignment. Healthcare organizations must first focus on organizational change management – getting people ready, willing and able to change and making sure employees are engaged and committed to the brand.

If the organization’s culture and internal teams are not aligned to the brand promise, it will be nearly impossible to deliver a consistent and positive patient experience – a cornerstone for getting word of mouth referrals! There must be a seamless integration between internal and external marketing messages – if there is a lack of consistency your marketing efforts will not be effective. You can start by establishing your organization’s core values and making sure everything the organization and its employees say and do is aligned to those values.

Socially Relevant
Many healthcare organizations have shied away from social media because they feel it is safer just to ignore it. However, social media is a massive focus group of uninhibited consumers offering their thoughts for FREE. Furthermore, according to Pew Research Center’s Fact Sheet, 72% of consumers trust social reviews as much as personal recommendations. In fact, the internet now trumps all other research sources, including advice from friends and family, making social media an ideal venue for population health management and patient communications.

So what does this mean? It means your organization should participate in social media as appropriate all the time and contribute when you have something meaningful to say. The key here is to put a solid social media governance program in place (something that is often neglected) in order to ensure your organization’s social media presences stays relevant and on message. The governance program not only lays the foundation for brand building but also builds a defense against brand erosion. To learn more about social media governance join our educational session at #HIMSS17, Four Pillars of Social Media Governance and learn how we are working with Cedars-Sinai to develop their social media strategy and governance program.

UX Champion
As we have previously touched on, patient expectations are on the rise in regards to anytime, anywhere care. Healthcare organizations that invest in healthcare everywhere solutions (telehealth, mHealth) must keep the user experience top of mind. Every element on any screen tells a story and collectively those elements can have as much brand power as your best ad. Don’t waste your time developing or implementing a solution that is clunky, doesn’t work right or worst of all isn’t what your users want. When it comes to digital experiences, patients want an experience that is personalized, consistent and easy to use. Whether you are offering market-driven features via your patient portal or looking at a website redesign getting feedback from users throughout the process is critical – this will help ensure you are delivering an experience that is reliable, responsive, and keeps people coming back.

The healthcare industry is in a state of transformation and healthcare marketers must keep pace with the ever-changing demands of patients, members and prospective consumers. Delivering a personalized message at the right time in the right channel requires healthcare organizations to dive into the data and develop a digital strategy that ensures a consistent and relevant message and encompasses the necessary technologies to measure its effectiveness and create high-engagement throughout the entire experience. Perficient and our Perficient Digital agency have helped many leading healthcare organizations with their digital initiatives. We combine the creative imagination of an agency with the technology consulting and industry knowledge of our healthcare team to empower users to take control of their health, by giving them the tools they need to stay connected. Our data-driven approach uses insights gathered from the entire patient, clinician and consumer journey to create an intuitive experience that tells a story, and makes managing healthcare simple. We help you meet and reach your users where they are – across mobile, tablets, and desktops – keeping them connected to what matters most. We would embrace the opportunity to work with your organization!

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Kate Tuttle

Kate Tuttle is a senior marketing professional with more than 13 years of marketing experience in both B2B and B2C environments. She has more than 7 years of healthcare industry experience and is passionate about technology and its impact on consumer experience.

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