Saturday, December 6, 2014

What about moving healthcare marketing to social media, SEO & content marketing?

It’s well documented that the healthcare consumer’s use of online, mobile and social media, has been steadily increasing for a few years now. Even though the growth has been nearly exponential across all  age groups in adaption and use of the new channels, hospitals have slowly adapted to effective utilization of the new marketing channels.  Back in 2010, the American Hospital Association found that only 21 percent of hospitals were using social media in some form, most notably Facebook and Twitter.  

In a recent report by Griffis HM, Kilaru AS, Werner RM, Asch DA, Hershey JC, Hill S, Ha YP, Sellers A, Mahoney K, Merchant RM, Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization J Med Internet Res 2014 it was found that 50.4 percent of hospitals were using social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp.  Slow adoption at best, finding that 41.6 percent of hospitals still do not have a social media presence in 2014 is concerning.

So let’s expand the discussion to include SEO and content marketing, as well as shifting marketing resources and focus from traditional marketing channels of print, broadcast, billboard etc., to social media, SEO and content marketing.  In the simplest of terms, it’s all about being where the audience can be found.

Think of it this way:

Taking this a step further, these channels are living, breathing entities.  They have staying power in the market environment, and provide a consistent presence for the healthcare enterprise to be easily found, tell the brand story, engage, influence choice, as well as manage experience.  Can one realistically accomplish this with just a focus on traditional marketing with a sprinkling of social media? Now that being said, I am not throwing traditional marketing under the bus. There is still a place for those marketing channels.

This isn’t innovative thought. It’s really about the exercise of marketing leadership in hospitals and health systems, and leading change.  As written before, healthcare is changing from a provider- dominated build it and they will come model, to a semi-retail healthcare consumer choice model influenced by price, convenience and experience. Those healthcare consumer needs and ways to reach them are being increasingly dominated by non-traditional entrants into healthcare, further pushing the hospital to the bottom of the food chain.

If I were a Vice President of Marketing in a hospital or health system, 60 percent of my direct spend would be on SEO, social media and content marketing. And the staff of the marketing department would reflect the skills and expertise to carry out the tactical execution of that strategy.

Grow the healthcare enterprise brand and revenue through social media, SEO and content marketing.  Growth is good.

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