Healthcare marketers today face a most challenging and opportunistic time. Perhaps there has never been an era where marketers had more opportunities, technologies and audiences primed and ready to be embraced. And yet, for all the same reasons, it presents a difficult environment. Despite all the opportunities, marketers are competing in a most cluttered and time-strapped world that makes it difficult to grab and hold consumer’s attention.
Just pause and look around: healthcare is on everyone’s mind from the government to businesses to individuals. The recent political and cultural climate has allowed healthcare to take center stage. And that holds many opportunities and promises. Today healthcare marketers have more technologies and resources to engage with consumers than ever before—think digital, mobile, social and beyond. Practically every consumer walks around with a computer (smartphone) in their pocket and stays always connected via internet, social media networks, text and email. The opportunities are almost limitless for marketers to connect and engage with consumers. That is if you know how.
So is this the golden age of healthcare marketing? I think so. Here are five must-dos for healthcare marketers today.
1) Know Your Brand – Simple but so true. First you must examine your brand and your brand identity closely and often. It’s always best to take a solid self-inventory to be sure you are communicating your brand in the most honest, concise and engaging manner to find success in today’s new and old consumer channels. What are your current strategies and tactics? Are they working? How are your consumers responding? Take inventory and be prepared to strategically experiment to embrace more targeted, engaging marketing efforts across all your consumer touch points.
2) Understand Today’s Technologies – You can’t play with today’s new technologies and channels unless you actually know and understand them. Want your brand to succeed in social media? Well, are you personally on Facebook and/or Twitter? How about Pinterest or Instagram? You can’t understand how your brand should participate successfully on social until you understand the mediums. What about mobile and mobile applications? According to a recent Pew Internet Project’s study, 66% of adults online use social networking sites. Nielsen stated that more than 50% of consumers had a smartphone, as the proliferation of smartphones rapidly replace dated analog phones. Both social and mobile use will continue to rise. These technologies are changing consumer behavior so it’s essential that marketers understand, learn and embrace them for success.
3) Get to Know Today’s “Empowered” Consumer – Today’s consumer is no longer the unengaged, passive person of the past. Today’s healthcare consumer is a DIY type – what can they do for themselves. Technology and vast information resources are two key drivers why. Marketers need to embrace this concept and provide empowering and engaging tools and information for consumers. Technologies today allow marketers to do this much easier than in past years. Of course those technologies and tools vary from brand to consumer, so determine what works best for your product/brand and your audiences. Today mobile applications allow consumers the ease of getting things while on-the-go practically 24/7. Social networks allow consumers to have two-way relationships with brands including directly communicating in real time. Interactive, self-service kiosks allow consumers to more quickly, efficiently and effectively do things for themselves. Engage and empower today’s consumer.
4) Realize Retail Still Rules – Despite the rise of technologies some things don’t change with the times. Case in point: People still frequent retail locations like grocery stores and pharmacies. They are still shopping, browsing and picking up their own consumer goods. Don’t believe me? Research shows that 92% of Americans live within five miles of multiple retailers; consumers frequent supermarkets 2.1 times per week. Understand that your healthcare brand has an opportunity to seize this from in-store marketing to digital marketing to mobile efforts. Today, retailers are increasingly providing consumers engaging technologies from interactive kiosks to mini-clinics to unique digital POP displays. Is your brand exploring these opportunities to connect and engage with your consumer while in-store? If not, you are missing out on a powerful purchasing platform.
5) Get Personal – I don’t mean invade privacy; I mean make a real, personal and meaningful connection. Healthcare is personal. Consumers want to feel that marketers understand that and personalize things for them – no cookie cutter communications. Today’s technologies allow us to mine consumer information and data like never before, giving us a personal and intimate picture of what they want. The better your data, the more you can tailor and personalize your marketing efforts for success.