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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