Today I will be presenting at the annual conference of the New England MGMA in Newport, Rhode Island. Here’s an abstract of what I will be addressing during my talk:
A New Vision of Healthcare Marketing
We need to acknowledge that this is a new day both in healthcare and in marketing. Today, consumers make the rules. They decide what information they engage, on what platform, at what time, and on what type of screen. (I always give my family as an example.) To capture their attention, our communication needs to have real value and meet their need for entertainment, information and community. During the presentation I’ll define the ways in which we provide value through our communication practices. I’ll also discuss “old school” practices that do not provide value to healthcare consumers.
Based on current consumer behavior and the prevalence of online patient communities, it is my premise that medical practices should look to “online community development” as a foundational element of any engagement strategy. We need to build niche communities of shared interest that our patients can join and where they can interact with others facing similar health challenges or sharing similar health interests. Moving forward, community building needs to become a core competency for healthcare marketers and practice managers, understanding that an investment in community should lead to a significant return for the organization.
This presentation will prepare marketers and practice administrators for the future of healthcare marketing by teaching them strategies for building online communities for the medical practice, with a focus on patient engagement, deepening their relationship with your brand and creating spaces for patients to have a voice. Attendees will discover how to provide value to patients and prospective patients through their websites and digital marketing platforms while creating spaces for patients to serve as your top brand advocates online!
I will address the following topics:
- Marketing has fundamentally changed. The focus has shifted from marketing “to” women, to marketing “with” women (the primary healthcare decision-makers). For marketers, the task is now to engage women and thereby deepen their relationship with our brands.
- Healthcare marketing, to be effective, must create value for the target audience. Traditional advertising is very weak on value. We must look beyond traditional advertising for today’s solutions.
- The ideal way to engage female consumers is through community. In that sense, healthcare marketers need to now see themselves as community-builders. A huge part of our job needs to be the creation and maintenance (care and feeding) of online communities/environments where women can gather, share ideas and experiences, and learn from one another. We (provider organizations) can infuse those environments with resources and expertise.
- Online communities focused on wellness and prevention are ideal tools for addressing the challenges of population health management. They provide platforms for health education and engagement. The goal should be to engage consumers in their own health and wellbeing.
- The effort spent building “communities of shared interest” has the potential to pay big dividends for the healthcare organization. The individuals who frequent the communities are likely to become brand advocates and generate positive word-of-mouth about the organization. Their word-of-mouth marketing is far more valuable than traditional consumer advertising. There is also the very real likelihood that through these communities we can impact the health and lifestyle behaviors of these individuals.
- The environments that we create, whether they are our organization’s websites or social media sites, have to deliver a rich and engaging brand experience. If you want to attract healthcare consumers, you have to offer them more than a static, brochure-like experience. So the question is, how do you use these platforms to bring your brand to life for the end-user? How do you bring value to their experience? As a case in point, one tool healthcare organizations are turning to is online video. What is more engaging – reading a physician’s bio or watching a video where the physician introduces herself to the viewer? Video is inherently more engaging than the static page of text.
It should be a lot of fun!