How Marketing Technology Supercharges Content

by | Feb 20, 2020 | Digital Strategy

Historically, the process of matching content to the right audience and channel—and most importantly, whether or not anyone did anything as a result—involved myriad manual tasks and a good bit of guesswork. Thanks to marketing technology, content can be targeted, crafted and tracked with greater precision than ever before.

When my career in healthcare marketing began 20 years ago, launching a content marketing campaign involved hours copying, pasting and harassing IT for help using disparate tools cobbled together. The universe of marketing technology (aka MarTech) extended little further than Excel and other database tools.

Fast forward to 2020 and the MarTech landscape has exploded, now encompassing more than 7,000 solutions that enable everything from app development and programmatic advertising to online scheduling and AI-driven chat. Not surprisingly, spending on these tools is typically one of the modern marketer's largest budget items.

Marketing Technology Moves in Health Care

With heightened expectations for performance and increased competition—combined with lean marketing teams and budgets that pale in comparison to other industries, healthcare organizations are investing heavily in MarTech as a force multiplier. The impact of technology on how hospitals and health systems market their brands is manifold—from how data is analyzed and audiences defined to campaign management, measurement and optimization.

Perhaps nowhere is this evolution of healthcare marketing more important than at the intersection of technology and content.

The growing impact and interdependence of MarTech and content can clearly be seen in conference agendas and industry reports. For example, of the 200 healthcare marketing professionals surveyed for the 2019 State of Digital Healthcare Marketing, nearly 8 in 10 consider content marketing essential (a double-digit increase from 2018), while the shift from marketing communications to marketing technology was ranked among the most pressing issues as illustrated below.

And while the components of a MarTech stack are as varied as the hospitals investing in them, they typically encompass CRM systems, automation platforms and other elements considered essential for the modern marketer.

To help you leverage these tools, here are ways that healthcare leaders are effectively connecting the MarTech stack to their content marketing strategies.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The majority of hospitals and health systems (59%, according to the State of Digital Healthcare Marketing report) have now adopted a CRM platform, which is designed to paint a clearer picture of their patient population and help find ideal prospects. This clarity allows marketers to target and measure their content marketing efforts with unmatched precision.

Examples of content marketing technology in action:

  • Identifying the ideal audience and generating lists for direct mail, email and custom publications based on multiple factors beyond the traditional demographic and psychographic variables, including propensity to need specific health services
  • Targeting the tone, voice, imagery and other content elements based on the ideal patient profile
  • Developing email workflows with content and calls to action personalized to specific patient segments
  • Measuring performance of content marketing campaigns by matching the target group to downstream encounters

Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

The automation of marketing activities historically performed manually is a key marker of the industry’s evolution. The adoption of marketing automation technology is growing steadily according to the State of Digital Healthcare Marketing report, with 53% currently using a tool or planning to invest within the year.

Building consumer journeys and creating content that plugs into MAP solutions allows healthcare marketers to engage target audiences with content appropriate for where they are in the healthcare journey. Automated trigger and drip campaigns increase conversion rates by nurturing early stage leads effectively through to the goal (attending a seminar, scheduling an appointment, etc.) while cross-promoting other relevant services, events and health content.

Examples of content marketing technology in action:

  • Email campaigns that nurture leads generated through campaign work, including prospects who participate in health risk assessments and seminars as well as existing patients who are due for annual appointments and other trigger events.
  • Content for these campaigns can include reminders to download a patient guide or schedule an appointment as well as relevant lifestyle content based on the user’s health risk profile and other personal factors.

Learn how technology can help you plan, create and deploy content on a consistent basis in our report: Content + Automation: The Modern Marketing Power Couple

Content Management System (CMS)

Every healthcare organization has a website, and while the CMS selected to power the site is important, another critical element is needed that ensures consumers can find your brand online and keep coming back: quality content.

As healthcare organizations invest in sophisticated CMS platforms, merge with other health systems, and continuously add and update web content, they can lose sight of the value of an effective content strategy to support it.

Examples of content marketing technology in action:

  • Optimization of website content to guide the patient journey, from pages highlighting conditions and treatments through to provider information so that the site solves problems, answers questions and makes it easy to access the appropriate care 
  • Historic optimization of high-potential blog and service line content to increase organic traffic and conversions, whether the goal is to download an educational guide or schedule an appointment—and anywhere in between

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Software

The evolution of marketing into equal parts art and science is perhaps best reflected in the the potential for SEO to increase your content’s exposure. And while Google continues moving the goalposts for how SEO works, organic search remains the number one source of traffic to hospital websites. Several tools (many of them free) give marketers ways to access the content their target audiences care about.

Examples of content marketing technology in action:

  • Keyword analysis to define topic categories and high-potential terms that increase traffic
  • Competitor research to identify opportunities and gaps
  • Tracking keyword performance and making adjustments

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