Nobody questions the importance of marketing in the healthcare industry, though there is some disagreement over its purpose. Sales are a given, of course, but there are other key benefits to be derived from a solid marketing plan. These include brand awareness, engagement, and data collection. Marketing that is aimed solely at converting leads into sales will always have value, but today’s savvy marketers understand that a more integrated approach offers far-reaching benefits that impact many different organizational areas.
In many ways, traditional marketing campaigns are like throwing a dart blindfolded. You’ll hit your target sometimes and might even get lucky enough to score an occasional bullseye, but will also miss the board frequently. In order to reach everybody who matters with the proper messaging, you’ll need to take a narrower, more subtle approach.
Healthcare models that have produced results in the past are changing. Fee-for-service has been the norm for decades; this all but guaranteed reimbursement so long as a service was covered by the insurer, even if it wasn’t deemed medically necessary. In today’s healthcare landscape, reimbursement is considerably more dependent upon quality, outcomes, and cost efficiency. Payers, providers, and patients are those most affected currently, but before long, entire operational structures will undergo a transformation.
Marketing itself is no longer an option, but more a necessary component in a healthcare organization’s long-term success. At the same time, a good marketing campaign requires more upfront work and planning than ever before. With ever-changing financial and regulatory models and a shift toward patient empowerment, coming up with a successful strategy takes time and effort. An integrated marketing approach offers the best opportunity to reach all the important decision makers with the messages they need to hear.
With such sweeping changes already taking place, 2020 is the perfect time to analyze your marketing goals and strategy. Whether you choose to focus on increasing brand awareness or make sales a priority depends upon how established your organization is. The most successful approach aims for a blend in which you allocate resources into multiple activities; which ones you ultimately choose will be based on your audience. Understanding who your customers are and what drives their decisions is key in formulating a plan. It’s at the very heart of your brand strategy and messaging. A deep dive into data is also essential. Look at the numbers and ask yourself questions such as, what type of content performs best and which channels have the highest engagement rates? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can prioritize activities and allocate resources accordingly. Truly integrated marketing involves sharing your message across multiple channels to extend your reach as far as possible. A typical campaign will include social media, email, website publishing, and providing the sales team with critical tools. These activities require work, but the rewards are undeniable.