Villing & Company

Five Healthcare Marketing Trends for Success in the Fourth Quarter and Beyond

As 2017’s fourth quarter is looming larger (like this year’s hurricane season) and next year’s marketing plans are hot topics, it’s not too late to revisit some of this year’s key hospital marketing trends. I expect that most, if not all, will continue to gain traction well into 2018.

  1. Location-based marketing: The trend of hypertargeting with geoconquesting and geofencing has continued to grow in popularity. Hospitals and practices are using this tactic to target patients/prospects who visit one of their locations, a competitor’s location, or those who go to a nearby gym or shop at specialty store. In addition to strengthening engagement with existing patients, you can drive awareness and build volume by delivering content that, while unexpected, puts you on a prospective patient’s radar.
  2. More personalized, less invasive digital ads: Take advantage of mar-tech tools to identify user interests and deliver personalized, relevant content with tactics like paid search, native advertising, and retargeting. Factoid: on average, native ads (ads that match the function and format of a website) are viewed 53% more than banner ads, according to Dedicated Media. Retargeting can remind a consumer that you’re there at the time when they potentially need your services the most.
  3. Smart content: With increased competition for consumer attention, along with limited consumer engagement bandwidth (EB), your content must be fresh, reliable and social-sharable to build trust and inspire loyalty. As healthcare organizations increase their focus on wellness and prevention — and less on illnesses — content that empowers consumers (such as blogs about fitness and healthy cooking videos) will gain attention and help you outdo your competition. And it doesn’t take long to build a content library that can be repurposed across channels.
  4. Video: Web video is especially popular with healthcare consumers because it can translate complex information into digestible and relatable stories. Video’s audience appeal is now about four to one over text, so take advantage of the timeliness, immediacy and educational impact of live streaming on websites and social media platforms. Keep in mind that a great story can inspire loyalty, engage consumers, boost click-through rates and help with lead capture. If you tell a great story, your audience will want to be in the next chapter.
  5. Internal alignment to impact patient experience: Is your staff on board with your brand messaging? Having (and frequently sharing) a brand positioning statement that resonates with employees and their community will encourage them deliver a higher level of customer service. It should be your mantra, your touchstone, the statement that connects you with your community. Ditch the old mission statement (that your employees don’t know) and replace it with one that will contribute to building positive internal and external perceptions and ultimately improve the patient experience.

As healthcare marketing continues to become more and more about relationships and the one-to-one conversation between the provider and the consumer/patient, I expect these “trends” to become standards for delivering the right message at exactly the right time.

Editor's note: A later version of this post was featured in the Inside Indiana Business Perspectives section on Tuesday, October 17, 2017.

Filed Under: Healthcare, Marketing

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