As 2020 approaches, there are important changes to make in order to help improve your healthcare marketing success.

1. Focus on growth and business building, not marketing

Marketing in many healthcare organizations still lands on the promotional side of the equation.  Successful marketers are those who understand the growth goals of their organization and develop strategies.  Beyond that there are campaigns and clicks, to generate revenue and support new customer acquisitions.  Marketers need to shift their “frame of reference” from “doing marketing” to “leading organizational growth through marketing.”  This will earn you a more favorable spot in the C-Suite and among your team.

2. Develop the right dashboards

You’re too focused on the promotional side of things when your marketing “dashboard” consists of primarily digital terms that leave the C-Suite in the dust.  When you include business metrics, your dashboard will provide a snapshot of your organization’s healthcare marketing success. This will be in terms of share-of-wallet, customer acquisition, profit margin, and conversion rates.  CEO’s consistently state they don’t really understand digital metrics (nor care to), but want to know how this investment translates to new revenue and growth opportunities.

3. Conduct market research to learn about your customers

Most market research studies ask a lot of questions about the brand, not about the customer.  Other than demographics at the end, very few ask consumers about their interests and passions, what’s important to them, and the issues they’re most interested in.  Look at your customer research from their POV and you’ll gain great insights on how to make your marketing strategies much more relevant and engaging.

4. Develop a clearly defined brand position

It’s head scratching and nail biting to develop a brand position that your organization can own; one that fits like a glove and is different in the marketplace.  But, oh is it so worthwhile.  Without this, your brand defaults to a “me too” position and means everything to everybody.  Absolutely the opposite of what a brand position should be about.  Take the time and resources required to really understand how what your organization stands for and how it should be thought of in the marketplace.

5. Create a message strategy around “heartbeat,” not chest beat

It takes great insights about your customer and a continuous nature of learning, observation, and discovery about your marketplace to develop a “heartbeat” for your brand.  The opposite of this is a chest beat brand, one that talks primarily about itself and reels off a list of attributes and features.  I’m sure you can guess the approach that is more interesting and engaging to customers and encourages them to share or co-author a brand story.

6. Remember the 8-second rule

With over 5,000 messages a day vying for the average person’s attention, studies show an approximate 8-second time span exists to make your point.  This is why more communications are going visual; to capture attention, gain engagement, and motivate toward an action. There is always an important place for content, but keep it relevant, and short.

7. Be Social, but not too “social

Social media is powerful, but it doesn’t need to be “too” social.  Brand strategies should drive your posts and, as with every other media, shouldn’t be “all things to all people.”  Overly social posts don’t benefit from optimization of keywords and tend not to stay on brand, rather, they take your message in an entirely different direction.  You can drive engagement and interaction without sacrificing the integrity of your posts and brand platform.

8. Make your internal audience a priority

The role of internal communications has evolved over the years from a preview of an ad campaign to an engagement strategy with real ROI.  Hospitals experiencing “leakage” often find that employees are unaware of the scope of services provided by their health system.  Physician practices find that making in-system referrals can be tedious and time-consuming, and therefore default to old referral habits.  As healthcare companies grow through merger and acquisition, it’s more imperative than ever to not only educate, but facilitate communications from within.

At the time of this writing, we are six weeks away from 2020. There is still time and opportunity to strengthen your healthcare branding and marketing strategies.  Time flies, so take a moment to reflect on these suggestions and avoid defaulting to old habits that weaken your position, both personally and professionally.

For more information on your healthcare marketing success, contact Springboard.

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