Former P&G Executive Brings a Consumer-Centric Approach to Healthcare Marketing

by | Oct 24, 2018 | Healthcare Industry Insights

The vice president of marketing and communications/PR at St. Elizabeth Healthcare shares his perspective on consumer-centric healthcare marketing in an increasingly consumer-driven industry. 

Matt Hol­lenkamp spent almost a decade at Proc­ter & Gam­ble (P&G) before join­ing St. Eliz­a­beth Health­care in Cincin­nati, Ohio. He was intrigued by St. Elizabeth’s mis­sion and the role that con­sumer-cen­tric health­care mar­ket­ing, PR and com­mu­ni­ca­tions would play in achiev­ing it. 

“St. Eliz­a­beth has been in the area for 150 years and is a big part of the fab­ric of the com­mu­ni­ty,” Hol­lenkamp says. “Its vision is to make north­ern Ken­tucky one of the health­i­est com­mu­ni­ties in Amer­i­ca, which requires pro­gres­sive mar­ket­ing to achieve. That chal­lenge was very attrac­tive to me.”

Building on a Retail Background

While St. Elizabeth’s busi­ness mod­el may be worlds apart from that of a fast-mov­ing con­sum­ables com­pa­ny like P&G, Hollenkamp’s expe­ri­ence helped set him up for suc­cess in his new role.

“Dur­ing my time at P&G, I car­ried five dif­fer­ent posi­tions and learned much about inno­va­tion, influ­encers, being a mar­ket leader, uti­liz­ing dig­i­tal e‑commerce and cre­at­ing part­ner­ships with oth­er orga­ni­za­tions,” Hol­lenkamp says. “The health­care space has a con­stant­ly chang­ing dynam­ic and is one of those indus­tries that is lean­ing more toward con­sumerism than ever.”

When we asked how his time in the con­sum­ables indus­try pre­pared him for suc­cess, he pro­vid­ed insights on:

BEING A MARKET LEADER: “St. Eliz­a­beth Health­care is the mar­ket leader in our ser­vice area in the same way that Secret is the mar­ket leader for deodor­ant in the U.S. Your mar­ket posi­tion influ­ences how you approach mar­ket­ing and communications.”

INFLUENCE: “We want to ensure that refer­ring physi­cians rec­om­mend St. Eliz­a­beth, sim­i­lar to how P&G influ­ences den­tists to rec­om­mend Crest and Oral‑B products.”

INNOVATION: “The rapid-fire pace of inno­va­tion that’s required to meet con­sumer and patient health needs is sim­i­lar to how the devel­op­ment of new brand cat­e­gories for a con­sum­ables com­pa­ny like P&G demands it.”

PARTNERSHIPS: “Health­care-dri­ven part­ner­ships are crit­i­cal to enable bet­ter access of ser­vices to patients, while oth­er com­mu­ni­ty part­ner­ships help deliv­er greater reach and impact for our brand com­mu­ni­ca­tions. For exam­ple, St. Eliz­a­beth is one of the largest cor­po­rate spon­sors for the Cincin­nati Reds and the offi­cial ortho­pe­dics and sports med­i­cine provider for a major Divi­sion 1 col­lege pro­gram, North­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty Athletics.”

Shifting Gears

Despite the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Hollenkamp’s cur­rent and for­mer roles, some key aspects of the health­care indus­try present unique chal­lenges, specif­i­cal­ly around con­sumer-cen­tric health­care mar­ket­ing. We asked how the mar­ket dif­fers when it comes to:

NAVIGATING THE PATH TO SERVICE: “The path to purchase—or path to ser­vice for healthcare—is fair­ly dif­fer­ent than the con­sum­ables mar­ket. In health­care, there is often less of a 1:1 trans­ac­tion for patients includ­ing more influ­ences along their path. Peo­ple can seek out or receive infor­ma­tion from many sources relat­ed to their health needs. You don’t just have hos­pi­tals and health­care systems—you have insur­ance com­pa­nies, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies and oth­er health-dri­ven orga­ni­za­tions that can all deliv­er sim­i­lar mes­sages and ser­vices. And of course, the dig­i­tal space is filled with an enor­mous and diverse amount of health infor­ma­tion. I think about what I can do to help peo­ple process that infor­ma­tion and make their deci­sion-mak­ing process­es eas­i­er. So we’ve orga­nized our mar­ket­ing depart­ment dif­fer­ent­ly to focus more so on con­sumer-ori­ent­ed health seg­ments, devel­op­ing and lever­ag­ing deep­er human insights and being more dig­i­tal­ly enabled through­out all our go-to-mar­ket strategies.”

CREATING DEMAND: “With con­sum­ables, you can cre­ate demand more read­i­ly through all forms of inno­va­tion or through pric­ing incen­tives (such as coupon­ing). In health­care mar­ket­ing, cre­at­ing that demand lies more so in edu­cat­ing patients about top­ics, such as pre­ven­tive ser­vices or nav­i­gat­ing insur­ance deductibles. To bor­row a term used at P&G, this is ‘com­mer­cial inno­va­tion.’ If peo­ple with a pre­dis­po­si­tion for coro­nary dis­ease are edu­cat­ed on their risk fac­tors, they may be more like­ly to sign up for a screen­ing. Patients who have met their insur­ance deductibles at the end of the year are also more like­ly to pur­sue oth­er­wise cost­ly surgery if they’re made aware of the poten­tial sav­ings. Hav­ing said that, there’s a great deal of upside in health care to expand how we think about demand creation.”

Trends & Technology

As the health­care mar­ket con­tin­ues to evolve, Hol­lenkamp believes that social media, online rat­ings and review sites will great­ly influ­ence mar­ket­ing strate­gies. He also high­light­ed the fol­low­ing as impor­tant trends and tech­nolo­gies for the future of con­sumer-cen­tric health­care marketing:

AI AND VR: “Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and vir­tu­al real­i­ty seem like great enablers in the health­care space with the poten­tial to improve patient expe­ri­ence. Mar­ket­ing should lend itself to sup­port­ing these technologies.”

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET: “In the age of social media and review sites, your brand is exposed 24/7. Your brand is less what you say it is and more what oth­er peo­ple say it is, and I think the ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the health­care space might be larg­er than some oth­er indus­tries. Being able to man­age that con­ver­sa­tion in real time is the chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly when peo­ple are more like­ly to leave neg­a­tive reviews than pos­i­tive ones. It’s good, because con­sumers should have more pow­er, but you’ll need to be plugged into those con­ver­sa­tions con­stant­ly to under­stand where your brand stands.”

TELEHEALTH: “Tele­health is becom­ing more preva­lent from a ser­vice deliv­ery stand­point. That trend isn’t going to stop. It’s good for patients and it’s good for us as ser­vice providers when peo­ple can access physi­cians via phone, video vis­its and e‑visits to get the care they need.”

VIDEO: “The tele­vi­sion plat­form is dra­mat­i­cal­ly chang­ing with On Demand ser­vices, which allow view­ers to skip com­mer­cials. Instead, peo­ple are being exposed to infor­ma­tion in short snip­pets on the Inter­net, which makes cre­at­ing and deliv­er­ing strong short-form video con­tent via the prop­er chan­nels more impor­tant. This con­tent should vary in length—anywhere from six sec­onds to two min­utes can work depend­ing on your plat­form and message.”

Final Thoughts on Consumer-Centric Healthcare Marketing

Based on his per­son­al expe­ri­ence, Hol­lenkamp has impor­tant advice for mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als who are join­ing a hos­pi­tal or health sys­tem for the first time. His rec­om­men­da­tions include:

KEEPING IT SIMPLE: “Don’t be over­whelmed by the com­plex­i­ty that exists in the indus­try. I think that can be a com­mon pit­fall. Instead, find out what your patients and con­sumers need and the pain points that exist for them. Work to under­stand your mar­ket and audi­ence extreme­ly well, then focus on deliv­er­ing ser­vice and com­mu­ni­ca­tion that address their needs.”

STICKING TO THE BASICS: “Deter­mine your organization’s brand fun­da­men­tals and how your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy will fit into them. Focus on your organization’s goals and how you can advance them from a mar­ket­ing, PR and com­mu­ni­ca­tions stand­point, then deter­mine what skills and capa­bil­i­ties are need­ed to do so. I think those are some of the most crit­i­cal things to look at.”

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