Strategies for Engaging Non-Consumer Healthcare Audiences

by | May 14, 2020 | Physician Marketing

The way healthcare organizations communicate with non-consumer audiences is critical to brand and revenue performance. Here’s how you can engage physicians, employers and other business-to-business stakeholders to support effective rebound and recovery strategies.

The pandemic’s impact on health­care con­sumer behav­ior is well doc­u­ment­ed. New data is released near­ly every day on how COVID-19 is accel­er­at­ing telemed­i­cine and oth­er trends that were under­way before the cri­sis. For non-con­sumer audi­ences, there is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less cov­er­age despite the piv­otal roles that health­care providers, pay­ers and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty part­ners play in dri­ving refer­rals and brand reputation.

These audi­ences are expe­ri­enc­ing their own chal­lenges that need to be addressed as part of a post-COVID-19 mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. For example:

Physi­cians are both val­ued as #Health­care­Heroes and stressed at extra­or­di­nar­i­ly high levels.

Employ­ers and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers are jug­gling com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties of safe­ty, finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty and productivity.

Hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems are shift­ing into recov­ery mode and engag­ing donors in efforts to address resource and finan­cial deficits.

If mar­ket­ing to one of these audi­ences is with­in your purview, there is a tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty to build and deep­en con­nec­tions that can have a sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on your brand rep­u­ta­tion and finan­cial health.

Whether your role involves physi­cian rela­tions, busi­ness devel­op­ment or some oth­er busi­ness-to-busi­ness func­tion, you’re pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for man­ag­ing rela­tion­ships with people—and all audi­ences are ulti­mate­ly health­care con­sumers, who con­sid­er hos­pi­tals one of the most trust­ed sources of COVID-19 information.

To sup­port these efforts, we’ve com­piled a few rec­om­men­da­tions for engagement.

Engagement Strategies for All Non-Consumer Audiences

First, acknowl­edge the uncer­tain­ty that every­one is expe­ri­enc­ing. Any out­reach that does not rec­og­nize the anx­i­ety, fears and feel­ings of iso­la­tion could come across as tone deaf.

It’s also crit­i­cal to cre­ate align­ment on your brand’s iden­ti­ty, voice and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy as you shift from response to rebound and recov­ery strategies.

As part of this tran­si­tion, mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion lead­ers can help ensure a safe, but quick, return to elec­tive vol­umes and in-per­son care by engag­ing can­di­dates and pro­mot­ing the appro­pri­ate access point.

Final­ly, con­sid­er ways to shift from the ubiq­ui­tous COVID-19 nar­ra­tives like #Health­care­Heroes and #InThis­To­geth­er to mes­sag­ing that high­lights your unique capa­bil­i­ties and dif­fer­en­ti­ates your brand.

Engagement Strategies for Physicians

Tak­ing care of those who take care of patients is a top pri­or­i­ty for all health­care orga­ni­za­tions. To reflect this effort in your physi­cian out­reach, share resources that will mit­i­gate stress and sup­port men­tal health for care­givers. This can include tools to prevent/address burnout like the fol­low­ing from the Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal Association:

To facil­i­tate an effec­tive patient/provider inter­ac­tion, pro­vide sup­port that enables effec­tive uti­liza­tion of tele­health and oth­er new advance­ments that come out through­out the cri­sis. Effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key to adop­tion of new tech­nol­o­gy, both for con­sumers and providers. Arm physi­cians with talk­ing points on pol­i­cy changes, fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions and oth­er resources they need to effec­tive­ly con­nect with patients on the cur­rent state and what’s next.

Dur­ing this process, be trans­par­ent with providers about what the future looks like if a decline in vol­umes con­tin­ues, and com­mu­ni­cate those reports often. This includes clear direc­tives about your return to in-per­son care so providers under­stand fac­tors under con­sid­er­a­tion and key pro­ce­dures to fol­low. Ensure providers ful­ly under­stand both what you’re doing for them and what’s expect­ed from them.

And of course, share sto­ries of your #Health­care­Heroes! Every­one needs some uplift­ing con­tent, doc­tors includ­ed. Find cre­ative ways to spot­light physi­cians and oth­er front-line staff going above and beyond for their patients and peers. Here are a few of our favorite exam­ples from hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems nationwide.

Effective Tactics

  • Email out­reach with daily/weekly updates on COVID-19 impacts, pol­i­cy changes and oth­er resources
  • Physi­cian con­tent hub (like this exam­ple from Van­der­bilt Health)
  • Lead­er­ship hud­dles and vir­tu­al town hall meetings
  • Social media posts cel­e­brat­ing caregivers
  • 1:1 con­ver­sa­tions and support

Engagement Strategies for B2B Marketers

Employ­ers and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers play a key role in the rebuild­ing strat­e­gy. To ensure they’re well informed and sup­port their efforts to dri­ve down costs, start by help­ing your part­ners or clients under­stand and pro­mote the tele­health solu­tions avail­able to their employ­ees. Also, find ways to con­tin­ue screen­ings, smok­ing ces­sa­tion pro­grams and oth­er well­ness ini­tia­tives that can pre­vent cost­ly hospitalizations.

Be trans­par­ent with your part­ners, and arm them with infor­ma­tion to share with employ­ees about COVID-19 test­ing pro­ce­dures and avail­abil­i­ty. When you resume in per­son care/elective vol­umes, share with your partners/clients how you’ll be pri­or­i­tiz­ing case vol­ume and the demand for ser­vices. Depend­ing on the scope of your rela­tion­ship, share con­tent on dis­ease pre­ven­tion, stress man­age­ment and oth­er top­ics designed to dri­ve down costs on health plans and keep the work­force healthy.

Effective Tactics

  • Email updates with local COVID-19 sta­tis­tics, state return-to-work guide­lines and oth­er resources
  • Webi­na­rs with “how-to” instruc­tions on telemed­i­cine and oth­er non-tra­di­tion­al access points
  • Con­tent and col­lat­er­al on pre­vent­ing illness/injury and ensur­ing a healthy workplace
  • 1:1 con­ver­sa­tions with employ­ers and com­mu­ni­ty leaders

Engagement Strategies for Donors

Dur­ing a cri­sis, donors want to hear from reli­able sources like hos­pi­tals on what is hap­pen­ing and how they can help. The key is to be spe­cif­ic by focus­ing on what you need and how donor sup­port will be used, par­tic­u­lar­ly when direct­ly relat­ed to COVID-19 needs.

For non-mon­e­tary gifts, help peo­ple under­stand what you can accept, where to deliv­er or ship masks and oth­er items, who to con­tact with ques­tions and oth­er direc­tives that can avoid donor con­fu­sion. If a fundrais­ing gala, golf tour­na­ment or oth­er foun­da­tion event has been post­poned due to the pan­dem­ic, reach out to those who have signed up with an offer to sup­port invest­ments in telemed­i­cine and oth­er new tech­nolo­gies that will advance patient care.

And again, share your sto­ries of the front-line staff going above and beyond to take care of patients. This will cre­ate an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion that illus­trates where the mon­ey is going and the lives being impacted.

Look­ing ahead, be trans­par­ent with major donors on any changes to strate­gic growth plans so they’re well informed and feel invest­ed in the organization’s future.

Effective Tactics

  • Print mate­ri­als on what/where/how to give
  • Social media posts cel­e­brat­ing donor impact
  • Hos­pi­tal web­site con­tent tai­lored to cur­rent and prospec­tive donors
  • Email out­reach to your donor list fea­tur­ing video mes­sages from your CEO/leadership
  • 1:1 con­ver­sa­tions with donors

We Can Help You Engage Non-Consumer Audiences

Let our team of health­care mar­ket­ing experts con­nect you with physi­cians, donors and oth­er communities.

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