Hospital marketers operate in a complex environment—one that requires constant innovation to better engage and build loyalty among healthcare consumers. In order to keep pace with this change, there are a number of requisite strategies to employ that will ensure success in 2017.
To this end, Healthgrades has compiled an industry insider list for the first time that highlights issues that will be top of mind for hospital marketers in 2017. Based on conversations I’ve had with marketers in healthcare across the country, this list details the unique challenges in this space and opportunities for success.
Opportunity #1: Capitalizing on opportunities around healthcare consumerism
Consumers have high expectations when they choose physicians and manage their health. Especially between visits, empowered consumers are taking a much more proactive and engaged approach—and expect continued, convenient provider access, based on personal preferences, and a partnership with their physicians to determine strategies to maintain their health in real-life.
Therefore, hospitals can invest in technology solutions to better meet the needs of consumers, as well as cultivate deeper and more meaningful relationships to drive better outcomes, reaching patients beyond the clinical interaction. Hospitals will benefit from deploying a healthcare exclusive CRM solution, to store and access insights about patients that can help them market more effectively. They can also implement and optimize technology to reach patients anywhere along their journey, including intervisit wellness communications and online appointment scheduling options. The trend of healthcare consumerism means hospitals must evolve quickly to meet heightened demands to better engage their communities.
Opportunity #2: Developing personalized content for marketing efforts
Rose Glenn, senior vice president of marketing and PR at Henry Ford Health System spoke to HealthLeaders recently, addressing how hospitals can set themselves apart in a crowded marketplace. “In the highly competitive healthcare marketplace, the rules of marketing are changing. Healthcare marketers are turning to new strategies to better engage patients and provide them with relevant, personalized healthcare information,” said Glenn.
Henry Ford Health System’s approach to evaluating and creating personalized content for their marketing efforts is effective. The more timely, relevant and personalized marketing approach a hospital can take, the more valuable a consumer will find that system in addressing their health needs.
Opportunity #3: Implementing an omni-channel marketing strategy
The journey that healthcare marketers must take puts the customer, the patient, at the center of the ecosystem and requires a shift in how to plan, manage, implement and measure ROI. Healthcare marketing professionals that re-orchestrate the machinery around the consumer will position their organizations for a successful, digital transformation and omni-channel approach that attracts, engages, and retains patients, but even more importantly excites and inspires them as they embark on their health care journey.
For example, Augusta University Health recently partnered with Healthgrades to build marketing programs to support their efforts to reach potential patients, and included traditional and digital marketing methods. Using traditional marketing, Augusta attracted 345 new patients to their neurology program and their digital outreach covered multiple channels including pay per click (PPC), display, organic, and direct, and generated 407K impressions. Augusta University Health will share additional information about their recent work at an upcoming webinar on January 11.
Opportunity #4: Addressing increased scrutiny of department budgets
Hospitals are doing more and more for their communities, with fewer resources, and with added scrutiny to marketing department budgets. Marketers will need to invest in the right ways, and work collaboratively with the organization’s leadership team to clearly define, measure and report on the ROI of their efforts around attracting, retaining and engaging consumers.
Opportunity #5: Leveraging data to drive deeper understanding of consumers
There are many industries that have ‘big data’ models to cull from, and healthcare is unique in that it can use the insights gleaned about consumer needs in such a positive way-to better engage them in their care. Hospitals are thinking much more broadly about how to connect with their communities, beyond one initial appointment, to holistically manage patients through the entire continuum of care. Healthcare marketers are on the cusp of coupling unprecedented levels of data – both clinical and socio-economic – with digital technology and communication to change human behavior for better, more cost-effective health outcomes.
For example, at Healthgrades we help hospitals and health systems synthesize consumer search activity, patient experience, patient encounters and predictive modeling to provide the most robust, closed-loop platform from which to make decisions about where to focus hospital marketing efforts.
Healthcare is primed for digital transformation in 2017 that will put the consumer at the center of the care journey. Organizations that understand this shift will see success and be best positioned to thrive in the future. This is the time to reset and refocus marketing efforts for 2017 to ensure a banner year.
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hospitals and health systems.