Big Changes Coming for Healthcare Marketers

By Rachael Brice on September 14th, 2017

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

Since the beginning of the year, particularly in the healthcare space, we’ve seen that change is inevitable, and if you don’t move with the change, more often than not, you’ll be left behind. Healthcare marketers are learning this first hand as social media and the internet continue to greatly impact and influence the way patients’ behaviors mold and change.

According to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, one in three American adults leverage the internet to evaluate a particular medical condition. Additionally, within the last year, more than 72 percent of internet users searched online for health information, while 47 percent looked for information regarding a physician, hospital or other medical facility.

As patient’s roles continue to evolve more into a role similar role to that of a retail consumer, it’s crucial for healthcare marketers to focus on the following three areas in order to improve and expand their reach with target audiences through customized advertisements. 

1. Social media.
Social media users are now spending up to two hours per day on various networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. As younger, more tech-savvy generations continue to grow, marketers will continue to be challenged in ways in which to reach them. A recent study suggests more than 80 percent of GenZ is influenced by social media when making buying decisions. Baby Boomers (44 percent) are also relatively persuaded in their buying decisions through social media, as is GenX (58 percent). Healthcare marketers need to leverage particular social media outlets to target potential audiences, they can’t ignore messaging apps including WhatsApp and Snapchat who are starting to make big waves in the market. Just recently, WhatsApp reached 1 billion daily users while Snapchat attained 250 million users. As these types of messaging platforms form the foundation of communication, there’s no doubt more marketing and advertising opportunities will emerge in the coming months.

2. Language use.
Humana recently looked at their messaging and realized it was too high-level for most of their patients to understand. For example, they were using the term, “drug formulary” instead of something easier like, “list of drugs”, and “investigate that claim” versus “research a claim.” Shifting an organization’s messaging so it’s more comprehensible and reader-friendly is an important factor when developing ad campaigns and supporting content. Additionally, ads with language that is perceived as  “smarter” and more personalized will go farther with audiences and is more likely to get them to stop and think about their buying decisions, which may change their behavior all together. Furthermore, language used in an ad can effect where that ad is placed, which can either help or hinder its reach. When it comes to ads, it’s all about location, location, location.

3. Innovative technology.
Mobile phones, tablets and digital check-in kiosks are creating new ways for healthcare advertisers and even individual physicians practices to market to patients. As an average person checks his or her phone 85 times per day, leveraging these types of available technologies can help marketers get even more face time with their target audiences. As patients become more avid researches and take more responsibility to gain insights into their health, marketers can now target potential patients with ads on their mobile devices, via email and text message. Additionally, some physician’s practices have added digital kiosks in their waiting rooms to aid the check-in process, some of which display questionnaires or advertisements to targeted patients who might be receptive to other services. With telemedicine advancements and additional innovative technologies on the rise, marketers now have an opportunity to reach patients in ways they never thought possible.

As the healthcare industry continues to advance, it is key that marketers keep up with trends and use available resources like social media and technology to best target both current and potential patients.

What advertising resources have you adopted or plan to adopt in the future?

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