5 Big Healthcare Marketing Ideas to Inspire Your Brand and Revenue Growth Strategies

by | Jun 18, 2021 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

True North Custom partners with hundreds of healthcare organizations and interviews dozens of renowned marketing leaders for our podcast, video series and industry publication. Based on our experience and insights gleaned, here are five healthcare marketing ideas to consider when planning your consumer and B2B growth strategies.

There’s no lack of advice for today’s mar­keters. From Twit­ter pun­dits and pod­casts to the wealth of webi­na­rs, we’re all drink­ing from the prover­bial fire­hose. To help you swim against the cur­rent of con­ven­tion­al wis­dom, we’ve syn­the­sized insights from hun­dreds of con­ver­sa­tions with clients and esteemed thought lead­ers to bring you five big health­care mar­ket­ing ideas that will keep your brand zig­ging while every­one else zags.

The big idea: Borrow ideas from a variety of consumer brands.

In an increas­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive space where con­sumers are choos­ing between a hos­pi­tal or Wal­mart for care, it’s time to start bor­row­ing play­books from var­i­ous con­sumer brands in your market—rather than only direct com­peti­tors. Accord­ing to Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, a physi­cian exec­u­tive, author, speak­er and pod­cast host, health­care mar­keters must come to grips with the fact that new entrants are often much bet­ter equipped to engage consumers.

“Mega-cor­po­ra­tions like Wal­mart know how to attract and retain cus­tomers, and they’ve been in the mar­ket­ing game a lot longer and with more sophis­ti­ca­tion than tra­di­tion­al health­care providers,” he says. “This is the new competition.”

Dr. Neuwirth sug­gests mar­keters start by focus­ing on dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing capa­bil­i­ties. Once your unique val­ue propo­si­tion is estab­lished, revis­it every touch point from your consumer’s per­spec­tive and remove fric­tion through­out that journey.

North­well Health Chief Mar­ket­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Offi­cer Ramon Soto rein­forced this real­i­ty in our recent inter­view:

“Health­care needs to be a stu­dent of oth­er con­sumer-cen­tric indus­tries and how they nav­i­gate inter­ac­tions with con­sumers.” To achieve this requires a “con­ver­sion mind­set” and wise invest­ments in tal­ent and tools to facil­i­tate a more per­son­al­ized, mean­ing­ful interaction.

The big idea: A well-designed website and email strategy are (still) critical.

While typ­i­cal­ly not on the list of trends or nov­el health­care mar­ket­ing ideas, your web­site and email mar­ket­ing plan are still (and like­ly will be for the fore­see­able future) the most impor­tant tools for a mod­ern health­care mar­ket­ing leader. Sum­mit Health Chief Mar­ket­ing Offi­cer Matt Gove under­scored the impor­tance of your pri­ma­ry dig­i­tal pres­ence in our recent con­ver­sa­tion when he said, “It sounds trite but for any health­care mar­keter, your web­site is prob­a­bly the most impor­tant tool you have. That’s where every sin­gle poten­tial cus­tomer comes to val­i­date what they’ve been told by a doc­tor, a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber. That couldn’t be more impor­tant, but web­sites con­tin­ue to get short shrift as every­one pur­sues the most sophis­ti­cat­ed dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing approaches.”

In the same way, email is an often-over­looked chan­nel for achiev­ing mar­ket­ing goals. Unlike what he calls the “rent­ed land” of social media and PR, Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Insti­tute Founder Joe Pulizzi says email mar­ket­ing allows greater con­trol over the outcomes.

“Peo­ple are final­ly real­iz­ing that social media chan­nels are rent­ed land—we don’t con­trol our con­nec­tions, our fol­low­ers or our data on those chan­nels,” he says. “If you’ve built an audi­ence on a social media chan­nel like Insta­gram, you have to have a rent-to-own men­tal­i­ty where you can move that audi­ence over to some­thing that gets you an email address.”

The big idea: Content needs to be infused with commerce.

Full dis­clo­sure: We stole this quote from Zoom­Care Chief Prod­uct and Mar­ket­ing Offi­cer Beth Gumm, whom we recent­ly inter­viewed for our 3 Key Insights video series. In her words, “When peo­ple have made the effort to come to your web­site to learn more, keep con­tent fused into the com­merce type of expe­ri­ence. For us, that’s ulti­mate­ly about get­ting you to sched­ule a visit.”

We believe Beth is exact­ly right. Con­trary to pop­u­lar opin­ion, an effec­tive con­tent strat­e­gy should gen­er­ate rev­enue growth by cre­at­ing a path to con­ver­sion. This means meet­ing your audi­ence where they are and adding val­ue to their experience—whether that’s search­ing for a spe­cif­ic health top­ic online, flip­ping through a com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tion or scan­ning your email newsletter.

This con­ver­sion-focused approach applies to all ser­vice lines and deliv­ers ben­e­fits to both the brand and con­sumer. Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­ters of Amer­i­ca Chief Mar­ket­ing Offi­cer calls con­tent “a core part of our mar­ket­ing” and high­light­ed the val­ue of engag­ing both patients and providers in our recent con­ver­sa­tion with him:

“Can­cer patients want infor­ma­tion about their treat­ment options, their choic­es, their diag­no­sis and what their can­cer jour­ney looks like. Con­tent is also core to our busi­ness-to-busi­ness strat­e­gy and allows us to be a resource to physi­cians who refer patients to us by help­ing them under­stand the ways CTCA treats patients holistically.”

The big idea: Use social media as a conversation tool, not a news ticker.

With organ­ic social posts now reach­ing less than 2% of your audi­ence, lead­ers are shift­ing from a “reach and fre­quen­cy” strat­e­gy to one that fos­ters mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions with high­ly engaged followers.

This and oth­er health­care mar­ket­ing ideas were illus­trat­ed in our pod­cast inter­view with Com­mon­Spir­it Health Sys­tem Man­ag­er of Social Media Julie Rose, who said this “engage­ment breeds engage­ment” phi­los­o­phy increased the system’s response rate by 50% year over year.

When some­one inter­acts with your brand on social media, she says it’s a “gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty” to human­ize the brand and build a long-term relationship.

“The more you’re there as a brand lis­ten­ing to your peo­ple, the more engage­ment you’ll get as a result,” she says. “It goes back to human psy­chol­o­gy: We want to be heard, we want to be noticed for our contributions.”

The big idea: High-impact direct mail can move the needle on physician referrals.

With email inbox­es over­flow­ing, algo­rithms fil­ter­ing dig­i­tal con­tent and text still not an appro­pri­ate way to sell any­thing, print remains an effec­tive tool to make an impres­sion. Don’t just take our word for it: Gove—one of the most dig­i­tal­ly savvy mar­keters you’ll meet— is a pro­po­nent of B2B direct mail for these exact rea­sons.

The key to effec­tive direct mail is think­ing beyond the post­card. Con­sid­er ways to make your direct mail pieces unique through more suc­cinct and action­able copy, engag­ing cre­ative that reflects the aspi­ra­tions of your audi­ence, less-tra­di­tion­al for­mats and even adhe­sives like mag­nets that make your pro­gram sticky (lit­er­al­ly).

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