Feb 17, 2012

Evolving Healthcare Marketing? Yes.

Healthcare marketing has traditionally been behind the curve in terms of other consumer based marketing. Often for good reason, considering the regulatory issues and complicated nature of their businesses. So the question is, can we evolve healthcare marketing? Yes we can.

Whatever form of marketing you undertake, it needs to be:

• Grounded in truth: genuine to an organization’s story, values and ambition
• Relevant to audiences: in ways that are real and genuine
• Deliverable based on promises: able to be reinforced through the customer experience (which means deliverable across the organization)

Five themes to consider:

1. Wider Angle Lens: seeking out new inspiration and insight by looking in new places and making new connections. Understanding what truly drives and moves your audiences, and those who influence them. Identifying the customer strengths you enable, customer weaknesses you lessen, customer opportunities you can create and customer threats you can remove (yes…this is a SWOT analysis, but from your customer’s pov).

2. Creating New Brand Energy: thinking more holistically about how your brand can serve as the platform to move customers, and therefore your brand, forward. Thinking beyond transactions to creating relationships. Creating win-wins such that your organization and customers both grow stronger.

3. New Marketing Energy: creating marketing that has utility. Beyond communications, to marketing that enables, involves and unifies. Consider the metaphor of a gear, where your organization’s teeth engage those of the customer and move them to a better place. Helping them do what they can’t on their own, beyond the reach of your competitors.

4. Mass Customization: Leverage the unique strengths of some channels and mitigate the weaknesses of others. Use traditional to reach the masses (though can also target to discrete target segments), and digital/social to heighten relevance and utility to specific target populations. If Burger King let’s you have it your way, shouldn’t healthcare?

5. Synchronous Actions: Can the brand promises you make truly be delivered across the organization? Are all internal audiences (docs, nurses, staff, volunteers for health providers, and agents, customer service reps, and compliance at insurance organizations) aligned around a brand-led culture and able to deliver your uniquely branded experience? Be aware that every action sparks an equal reaction which either enhances or detracts from your desired perception. Remember, a thousand voices may represent your brand, so try to get them all telling the same story.