Digital Marketing for the Healthcare Industry
April 25, 2016
In an interview with Forbes, healthcare digital marketing expert Brent Walker described how the healthcare sector is becoming increasingly consumer-driven. He outlined three main drivers behind this shift: demographics, with respect to the aging Baby Boomer segment; legislative, with respect to the Affordable Care Act implementation; and technological.
The focus of this blog post is on the technological drive and ways in which healthcare marketers can leverage digital marketing technologies to achieve better business outcomes.
The consumer-driven context
Consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet and mobile apps to research health conditions and products, engage with health-related online communities and find cost and quality measures on healthcare providers. Thus, consumers are using technology to break down the opacity that has characterized the healthcare industry in the past.
This increased knowledge coupled with rising healthcare premiums and deductibles have led more and more consumers to focus on prevention and wellness. This shift has led leading healthcare providers to turn to digital as a way to reach consumers with digital marketing strategies that emphasize mobile and social.
Mobile healthcare marketing
Such healthcare marketers as the Mayo Clinic have built mobile-responsive sites that provide wellness advice to consumers who want quick and trustworthy access. For example, Mayo has built an app that helps new mothers from childbirth through the first few months of their baby’s life. The mobile patient app provides appointment booking technology and access to health records.
What’s more, telemedicine has been influenced by the advent of smartphones with high-definition cameras. Patients can connect remotely with their doctor and receive a diagnosis, cutting costs for both providers and patients
Social media marketing
Healthcare has long relied on testimonials of patient successes to drive growth. Social media makes this even more attractive to healthcare marketers. Social media provides a ready-made platform for providers to share success stories and to connect consumers with healthcare information. Boston Children’s Hospital is among the vanguard in this social revolution with its strong Facebook presence. Through integrating social into their marketing mix, the hospital’s net patient services revenue increased from $1 billion in 2011 to $1.4 billion in 2012.
Digital marketing should be part of every organization’s marketing mix. This is as true for the healthcare sector as for any other industry. By combining mobile technologies and apps with social media testimonials, many providers are discovering new ways to reach today’s more discerning healthcare consumers.