Showing posts with label #hcsm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #hcsm. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Eight Strategic Imperatives for Hospital Marketers in 2021

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay.

We are on the 12th day of 2021, and already, the signs are apparent it will be another challenging year for hospital marketers. One could hope for improvement, but the confluence of external events, price transparency, and changes in healthcare delivery poses exciting challenges. The tried-and-true traditional ways of approaching the physician and patient market are no longer sufficient.

As hard as it is externally, hospital marketers, in many cases, still face the daunting task of driving revenue and building the hospital brand with diminished budgets.  The marketer's glass is either half full or half empty depending on your perspective. I prefer to see the glass full of tremendous opportunity.

The choice can be boiled down to; you can either surf the wave of change or let it wipe you out by marketing in your historical approaches and channels.  

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

With that in mind, here are eight strategic trends that hospital marketers should be focusing on in 2021. 

1.       COVID-19 will be around for a long time, and its impact will not go away anytime soon. Even with a vaccine, high unemployment will remain. In some cases, the patient's ability to pay for care will still be challenging, if not impossible. Patient fear still reigns supreme in deciding when and where to seek care. Hospital marketers will need to pivot to long-term growth strategies, brand reputation, demand generation options for multiple locations for care, brand awareness, public relations, and patient engagement. 

2.       Communication and engagement are essential. If not already, that means the hospital must be the trusted, credible source for health information and perspective, pandemic or not. It is time to humanize your communications. It is no longer about medical service, technology or building, and other features. Your communications now need to be engaging, informative, compassionate, trustworthy, and useful. 

3.       Patient experience is job number 1. Every single touchpoint in the patient experience needs to be revisited and addressed. The added urgency besides the pandemic is as of January 1; patients can now search the hospital's website for the prices of 200 common procedures. Price transparency and hospital medical service shopping have been introduced. While it will take a while for patients to figure it out, it will impact future utilization.  It is not the patients' role or responsibility to figure it all out. That is your job. That requires high-level communication and an easily navigable experience. 

Areas of focus are appointment scheduling and availability, procedures for in-person or telehealth options, elective and non-elective procedures, safety procedures and requirements, and general information. To optimize the patient experience, update your website content and navigation, revisit your call automation and routing system, personalize email and text messaging, provide an excellent mobile app experience, and update your business listings. 

4.       Focus on your brand reputation. If people have the feeling that you place profit over people, they will lose trust in the hospital. What you say and do will have a higher level of scrutiny in the coming year than ever before. No one expects you to stop advertising, but they want you to get it right.  

Areas of focus include 1) authority – how credible are you and the information you provide.  2)Transparency - it's time to stop omitting details. If things have changed, you have to be honest and inform on any issue, the who, what, where, and why. Omitting details or essential information builds distrust. 3) Reputation management- what is your program to generate positive patient reviews and address negative reviews? How are you optimizing the patients' digital experience to add to the hospital brand, not detract? 4) Public relations- don't turn it off; that is the worst thing you can do. But the time has come to change from throwing to the press release for a new medical staff member, award, or service. It is time to focus your PR on the good the hospital is doing in the community and the causes you are supporting. 5) Community engagement – with patients turning to healthcare organizations for safe, credible, and useful medical information, turn this into becoming the moderator for your communities in forums with medical professionals. Control the discussion and narrative. 

5.       Evolve your investment and spend on SEO and content marketing. The conversation is not what we are spending, but how is the patient using SEO and the desire for high-quality content changed?  How are your SEO and content spend best supporting the patient as they search for information? Patient searching hasn't gone away. Neither has the patient need for high-quality content. What has changed is how they search, such as voice using Echo and Alexa, for example, and what topics they are searching. 

6.       Telemedicine is not going away. Now is the time for hospital marketers to build demand for telemedicine services. The framework needs to be built now how telemedicine fits into the hospitals' overall services to look seamless to the patient. It is a focused brand awareness building. Telehealth is a different animal than the brick and mortar medical-based service. Telemedicine is, by nature, a virtual experience. The requirement focuses on the patient experience and engagement that is user-friendly, easy to use, and accessible. Build a telemedicine hub website that consolidates all the hospital's telehealth services in one place so that the user experience can be consistent and managed. It's just not another service that is an indistinguishable section of the existing hospital website. Telemedicine is a different high-tech animal that is the future of health care; when combined with wearable healthcare tech, it will only grow in importance. Make is it so. 

7.       Focus on and lean into innovative services.  Advances in technology such as medical AI, chatbots, medical care apps, curbside care, and other innovation come at you and the patient faster than you can shake a stick. The trick is to market these innovations, and the value and benefit to the patient, not features focused, but how to address and manage the experience. 

8.       Improve user's digital experience. The challenge is to create an exceptional digital experience no matter the user's skill level or digital literacy. How fast does your website load? Is information easily found? Can a person searching via mobile devices make an appointment or access a service? Can they log into the patient portal?  Using the Google Analytics dashboard, review the user experience data to tell you how people are using your website? What are the entry pages where are people using to access the site? How sticky is your website? Are people staying or dropping as soon as they find what they need, if at all, etc. Understand the bottlenecks, search patterns, and where the user experience fails and improve.

Image by Pixels from Pixabay

The year 2021 will be another challenging effort, with seismic changes lasting well into the future, not just the foreseeable future.  Ride the wave of change and own it. Focus all actions on the patient for success now and well into the future.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

When Patients Begin Searching for Hospital Price Information, what is Your Response?

Beginning on January 1, 2021, patients should be able to search a hospital or health system website for the prices on 200 standard procedures. Mandated by CMS in 2020, the purpose was to provide a measure of price transparency for patients and consumers when seeking medical care.

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay 

What happened?

In randomly searching the internet on hospitals and health systems websites for pricing information, I found a confusing maze of information.  In all cases, the ability to find and search the information was difficult at best. I know my way around a website, search terms, and the internet as a healthcare provider and vendor marketing professional.  If I have difficulty finding, searching, and using the information to decide, how is a consumer or patient?

Kudos to any hospital or health system that provided an experience that made the information easily accessible, searchable, and user-friendly.

I am sure that over time with prodding from CMS, the ability for a patient to search for a hospital or health systems website for pricing information on 200 standard procedures will improve and be easier to find, more user-friendly, with a better user experience.

Price transparency and a good user experience is not a question of if but when.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How is the healthcare organization preparing for the eventuality?

In answering the question, there are four strategic dimensions for managing the patient's price search for consideration. 

1.       Marketing Plan - How are you positioning the hospital and the newly available price and shoppable services information in the market, i.e., what the detailed marketing plan? 

2.       Engagement Plan - What are your key messages that need to be delivered to patients and the community? What channels- digital, social, and traditional will be used to provide the key messages? 

3.       Experience Plan - What are the training programs and Q&As created to equip the employees who will most likely face questions from patients and the community regarding your prices and shoppable services? 

4.       Crisis Communications Plan -What are the talking points you will use to defend higher prices in services than your competitors? What are your talking points when you decide to raise your lower process to those of a competitor?

These four dimensions of the patient price information puzzle are not an afterthought. They should foster a much-needed critical strategy discussion and tactical marketing execution in the age of price transparency.  As much as we would like, patient pricing information cannot be left to the "we'll deal with this if any questions come up" strategy, because we made it so difficult to find and use.  Pricing and shoppable service information is becoming a strategic imperative that is an essential part of the organizational, business, financial, marketing, patient engagement, and experience plans.

If it's not, then don't talk about how patient or consumer-focused you are; either walk the talk or don't talk.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Influencing the Micro-Influencers, what is Your Hospital Marketing Strategy?

 

Image by expresswriters from Pixabay

All health care is local, but is shaped by events nationally, regionally, and locally. Changes in healthcare caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with the rise of telemedicine, digital health, and new entrants in the healthcare market changes the competitive hospital landscape regularly.

It still comes down to medical care delivered in the physician’s office, the local hospital, and other care settings where patients form opinions and then share in a variety of ways on social media channels.

Despite all the market uncertainty, new price transparency regulations effective January 1, 2021, growing healthcare consumerism, data transparency driven by third parties, retail, medical innovation, and non-traditional competition, health care is still a game of influence.   Many hospitals and health systems are turning to influencers to promote the brand in creative campaigns. Then you see the same influencers in the same market promoting other non-healthcare brands.  

One must ask if they are really influencing the hospital brand in the market or just causing confusion? And what happens when the macro-influencers go bad?

The time had come for creating a brand strategy around the micro-influencer.

Instead of macro-influencers like celebrities, which have a limited lifespan and are fraught with their endorsement dangers from ill-advised behavior or comments in social media, it’s time for a better influencer strategy.

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

The age of impactful micro-influencers is here.

Micro-influencers are based in the local hospital market and carry more significant weight with the brand endorsements than many realize. Think of it this way: What is more valuable to the hospital in swaying the healthcare consumer? The celebrity with millions of followers worldwide, tweeting or blogging about the hospital, or the micro-local influencer who lives in the community with several thousand followers blogging about the hospital in the city?

Since most healthcare consumers searching for hospital and physician services are online, then the value of using local micro-influencers in the hospital service area increases exponentially.

Micro-influencers are the new word-of-mouth influencers for the hospital and physician.

How can a hospital or health system influence the influencers?

It’s like making a friend but with payment. No magic bag of tricks here.  It takes hard work, but the micro-influencer of choice payoff for you is brand growth and revenue. Now, who doesn’t want that?

Since influencing the influencers is all about relationship building, getting them to an event, getting them on the phone, and writing a personal email.  Influencing the influencers is traditional stuff that healthcare marketers use to do and still do to a certain extent, but instead, chase the shiny new channel or technique. Its old-fashioned relationship-building applied to a new way of reaching people.

Consider the following.

Micro-influencers can assist in recommending insurance plans in choosing a plan that the provider member in the exchanges. Influencers can guide patients to hospital friendly physicians.  Influencers can significantly speed up the brand and reputation recovery efforts after a significant public relations or media disaster. Micro-influencers work and live in the community and our friends, family members, community leaders, local radio personalities, etc.

Image by Diggity Marketing from Pixabay

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Adding an influence by the respected and followed micro-influencers into your integrated marketing has the potential to pay some substantial long-term brand, reputation, and revenue impacts.

The hospital needs to rebuild trust as a result of the pandemic, and micro-influencers can lead the way.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter, Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Inbound Marketing- Meaningful Engagement of the Patient During the Pandemic

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

While there have been great strides in hospitals and health systems adopting digital marketing, most marketing remains mired in traditional outbound marketing methods. That is, pushing low-value content out in display ads, direct mailers, and broadcast media, hoping that someone will pay attention and act. Calls to actions are generic, and there is a lemming-like approach by hospitals in the same market to do the same thing simultaneously. Today's practice is still a look at us with little value messaging of what is offered. Sometimes it is even those soft; we care kinds of messaging.

Commonly referred to as interruption marketing, outbound is all about sending generic messages out to the broadest possible number of audiences with no customization of content or news, hoping that someone will respond.

The pandemic defines today's hospital as it affects the brand promise, engagement, and experience. These are the difference makers between driving revenue and growth or failure with a future of merger, outright acquisition, or closure and liquidation. The patient is increasingly taking control and making choices. Is outbound marketing the best way to drive brand awareness, choice, and selection?

Switching to inbound marketing.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Let's start the discussion with a definition.

Inbound marketing is a series of marketing actions designed to give patients a reason to engage with the hospital and utilize medical services. It's about bringing the patient to you. Inbound marketing requires meaningful content used to engage, build value, and relationship. It's a pull strategy as opposed to a push strategy that hospitals and health systems utilize. 

Remember, this is not an either-or proposition; one needs both strategies well integrated to achieve maximum benefit.

Inbound marketing is all about why someone should contact and choose you, not what you do.

Understand that inbound marketing focuses on "reason to communicate with you" and not a "do you need a doctor?" or cancer services or insert clinical, technology, or building name here for outbound marketing.  That means having engaging content that engages the ad intrigues the patient, meets a current need, and prompts a decision to take action with a strong call to action.

What are the inbound channels?

Image by launchpresso from Pixabay

The major component of inbound are emails, SEO, blogging, social media, content marketing, and review/referral sites. One is pushing relevant messaging based on the user personas and behavior characteristics that address their "pain points" and interests so that the hospital stays top-of-mind in their decision-making process.

The hospital needs to understand the patient's persona and their buying process.

The patient now has a buying process.  And in that buying process, facilities and technology are a factor, but not the most important one.  Patients during the pandemic are searching for information beyond the hospital services.  With that, the case, doesn't it make sense to be proactive and connect on a very personal level?  Inbound marketing allows you to do that.  But, it's not sending mass emails with generic information.

Inbound marketing recognizes that the patient is now different.  Yes, one continues to use demographic information but pigeonholing people into these "group clarifications" doesn't get to the issue of their pain points and what solutions they are looking for in meeting their healthcare needs. A persona is needed for each individual attracted to the hospital to develop appropriate engaging messages and deter the optimal channel mix to reach.  

Multiple channels are needed as the patient is omnichannel and lives in a digital world.

Inbound marketing is patient-centric, not hospital-centric.

Suppose one considers the focal point of what they need, not what the hospital needs to generate revenue, then marketing shifts.  The marketing department needs to understand the journey of the patient buying process. Once that is understood, then comes the relevant and meaningful information, available at any point in the process, sent to the patient. The hospital's marketing mission and strategies nurture the patient relationship with inbound marketing that converts and expands the relationship.

Inbound marketing positively impacts fee-for-service, risk-based, or value-based contracts.

Because you shift to inbound marketing, the hospital is engaging and establishing a strong relationship with the healthcare consumer or patient.  In population health management, engagement, and meaningful patient relationships are everything. 

Inbound marketing is attributable to increased revenue, growth, and ROI.

Image by Goumbik from Pixabay

Here is what happens for the hospital in shifting some of its effort from purely outbound to a strategically integrated combination of inbound and outbound marketing. The hospital does generate revenue; market share grows, the cost of marketing decreases, and marketing ROI increases.

Today, shifting to inbound marketing will pay huge dividends tomorrow, no matter what the payment system.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Importance of Communicating the Value of the Hospital During a Pandemic- Not Features


With the resurgence of COVID-19 combined with the start of the flu season and colder damper weather, and so much uncertainty, conflicting viewpoints, gaslighting, and outright false facts in society, how is the hospital and health system communicating value?

Image by Yogesh More from Pixabay

Why value and not features, benefits, and awards?

Patients and the community are scared, and there has been a loss of trust exhibited by patients not returning for care at pre-pandemic levels. With so much uncertainty, is it time to move healthcare marketing beyond "all about us" to the value and benefit brought to the patient and community?

Unless you are a new provider in the market, features and services or vague quality and excellence claims may be falling on deaf ears. 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

It's about value, benefit, price, and convenience on the patient's terms in today's world.

It's about answering the patient's question of trust and benefit of using you. 

In today's world, you need to have a compelling value proposition with messaging that provides clear and understandable benefits to patients.

Enter Value Marketing

Value marketing makes the case to your patients how you are their partner in solving their medical problem, offering a solution, giving results, and even make them satisfied to whatever extent possible.

Value marketing is about a creative exchange between the patient and the hospital in the marketplace. It is a dynamic transaction that continually changes based on the patient and community needs compared to what the hospital, or physician for that matter, offers.

Change the message from communicating what is done every day to the value and benefit of medical services and the positive impact on health.

Instead of talking about programs and services that everybody else has, talk about the value and benefits of those same programs and services and what they bring to the patient, i.e., outcomes, price, experience, and convenience.

As an alternative to saying we have the latest high-tech gizmo, talk about the value and benefit of what that latest most fantastic high-tech gizmo brings to the patient.

As a substitute to just communicating the Best Hospitals or 100 Top Hospitals awards for care, for example, talk to your patient and community about the value and benefit of that award by putting context around the content.

Stop talking at your audiences, speak to them by providing meaningful content that has context, delivered to them when they want it, on the device and format desired—message patients by offering value-based solutions to their healthcare needs. 

Image by Lisa Caroselli from Pixabay


The patient desperately wants to trust and return for care. But they need proof it's safe. They need to know the value and benefit for them, not the hospital.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Time Has Come to Make Hospital Marketing Sticky, Here’s How

With all the things that hospital leadership have on their plates and keeping them up at night, there is one area that could improve their marketing. That is making the hospital marketing stickier by being more creative.

Image by ptra from Pixabay

Creativity in hospital marketing is not a sin. 

Now that being said, the creative and production values of cable and broadcast television advertisements are particularly good and of excellent quality for the most part. Where the hospital marketing fails is on the creative side is with email, digital, paid social, print advertisements, and direct mail. 

Nobody remembers the advertisements.  But the healthcare and patient remembers what they saw on social media or the Internet. The healthcare consumer is talking and searching for healthcare information to learn and make choices.  But is the hospital or health system listening? 

Welcome to the experience economy, where the experience of care trumps the products and services of care. 

“In an experience economy, it’s not about what you do, but more about how you do it.”, Grant Leboff, Sticker Marketing- How To Win Customers In A Digital Age.

Now what? 

Time for a change. 

To grow and thrive in the experience economy, it means moving from traditional marketing to experiential marketing that addresses the needs of and meets the experience expectations of the patient. Stickier marketing is even more important during a pandemic when trust is low, and people are not returning to healthcare providers. The hospital experience has changed, and hospitals need to be creative on how to address and communicate that change. 


Image by Gerd Atlmann from Pixabay

Making provider marketing sticky is all about communicating care experience and engagement on a personal level. And given the multitude of ways, one of the most effective will be social media. 

Social media is about amplification and your ability to amplify the experience and brand messaging.  

Here are ten new marketing rules in an experience economy for making provider marketing stickier: 

1.       Understand fully and completely, the healthcare consumer and person experience. There are over 147 touchpoints for patient experience within a hospital. It’s vital in the experience economy that marketing understands what information they are seeking and deliver it to them at the right occasion touchpoint with the right call-to-action. 

2.       Content is king. Make it memorable. It’s how you drive engagement through effective and compelling storytelling around the experience of care, not the how of the care, from the web site to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc., by focusing on the experience, not features, and benefits. Be visual. Be compelling. 

3.       Identify and work with key influencers.  Local influencers can provide amplification of your message through social media. Encourage user-generated content. 

4.       Testimonials about the experience of care and engagement from patients and families are needed for the digital stories as proof points. 

5.       Integrate and communicate the value of the brand, key brand messages, and brand promise across all channels. 

6.       Use social media and SEO to amplify your message. Influencer’s and patient’s providing testimonials need to complete online reviews to raise your placement in Google and other search engine results. 

7.       Integrate the information and experience across all channels and platforms the connected patient uses- desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc. for a seamless experience. No disconnects. The patient moves freely between all devices, now expecting the same experience on all of them. 

8.       Traditional marketing now needs to focus more on price, outcomes, experience, and engagement.  No more pretty building, smiling doctors, shiny new equipment. 

9.       Teach employees how to use their social media channels to amplify the provider. 

10.   Teach the healthcare organization that marketing today is no longer about transactions but value.  Transactions will come after the value is understood.

Some will say that marketing has no place in the experience or engagement management process.  When you look at that advice, what success have you had in managing the experience and engaging the patient on their terms, not the hospitals? Or, are you just treading water until the next healthcare market catches you unawares. 

There is no escaping or slowing down the experience economy as it overtakes providers—time to make the hospital marketing stickier. 

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.



Monday, July 6, 2020

Because Of COVID-19, Continuous Ongoing Patient Engagement Is The New Reality

Hospitals and health systems, as a direct result of the pandemic, needed to engage patients, employees, and the community continuously. Messages were varied for each audience, but the current situation provided the opportunity as never before for the continuous engagement of the patient on a meaningful level. There is no reason why those engagement efforts should stop.

What should be apparent in the new reality of healthcare, as an unintended consequence of the ongoing pandemic is that patient engagement is not a part-time or some of the time activity. What it should be viewed as is the opportunity to continue to create, engage, foster, and nourish an enduring relationship with those individuals and families.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How healthcare is delivered changed exponentially, and now looks more like a distributive computer network, where the diagnosis and treatment were “distributed” out of the hospital or system. Patients had a taste of the new healthcare reality, for example, with telemedicine that was easily accessible, convenient, effective, and affordable. As a result, most hospitals and physicians are struggling with getting patients to return for care. Some of the disappearing patients are attributed to fear, others out of having experienced alternative methods for care that better met their needs.

The old ways of engagement don’t work anymore.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

That is a scary proposition for some healthcare organizations. I have already seen the old pre-pandemic engagement messaging come back in the urban market of my residence.  It’s almost as if nothing ever happened, and we can all go back now to the way it was.

The Coronavirus pandemic is still a public health crisis. The patient hears that intense messaging across all sources of news and social media day in and day out.  With fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in their mind, why would you change your COVID-19 engagement and messaging strategies? 

You can’t abandon the recent efforts and success at engagement and return to the past.

The continuous ongoing engagement of the hospital and health system with patients should now be the number one job of the hospital.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.




Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dark Social- What You Can’t See, Can Hurt Your Hospital

Bright social, where you can see your handiwork, and revel in the brilliance of your content in attempts to influence the choice of the healthcare consumer and patients in selecting the hospital and physicians for treatment could be falling way short.

Falling short you say?

Not entirely mind you, but with the changes in all of the social media platforms as a result of fake news, phony followers, misuse of user data, etc.,  Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and other social media platforms as restrictive content publishing houses only represents one-third of all the activity in social media on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Where in the world is this going?

Two-thirds of internet social media activity occurs in what has been termed dark social. I am not speaking of the nefarious activities of drug dealers, gun runners, blackmailers, etc. using TOR or another program that allows one to search the web anonymously. I am referring to all the social media activities that can’t be traced such as email link sharing, some applications, and one-on-one messaging.

Now what?

For example, a healthcare consumer is looking for a new physician or hospital.   The individual researches on the IoT, speaks with work colleagues and others, reads some published content about the brilliance of the physician or the hospital, and utilizes several social media platforms. 

But in this process, friends and others may send an email, might use Facebook Messenger. Google Hangouts or WhatsApp Messenger, send an SMS text with a link to a source of information or solution that would be of interest. It is the method of sharing information that makes it dark and potentially untraceable.

And what is of interest to me at least, is not the quantity of dark social traffic, but the quality of that sharing traffic that goes on unseen.

Think about this for a moment.

How important is the recommendation from someone you know about a service or solution when you receive a link to a website or shares some meaningful information? It’s one-on-one messaging as compared to the mass messaging which has some traits of personalization, but still a mass-market message.

Therein lays the opportunity. Remember all the talk and activity about word-of-mouth marketing that was always the perceived key to success over the years? Well, word-of-mouth marketing hasn’t gone away, it’s just gone dark. 

Pun intended.

So how do you reach the two-thirds of the internet that are currently not visible to you? Most marketers use some form of marketing automation providing us at least the fundamental information of  “shared.” Seeing the word “SHARED” can be the equivalent of shouting the word  “squirrel” and having the dog reaction of quickly turning around in the Disney movie Up.  Does your neck hurt yet?

But by who and where was it shared?

Was it shared externally or internally in the recipient’s organization?  Was it shared with a supportive recommendation message, or, reaching high in the chuckle factor? Important to know as dark sharing impacts and influences the healthcare consumer's buyer’s journey.

Changing how we track what’s going on.

We are early in the process of discovering the hidden treasure trove of data in dark social, but there are ways to begin to understand how your information is being shared and used.

It’s all about the embedded code.

One way is to add trackable code to URLs someone may copy and paste in messages. Another way is to add trackable code to your website content for when it is copied and pasted.  When publishers participate with your short trackable code is added to any text for when it is copied and pasted into a message.

It’s early, and more ways are being developed to track the activity on dark social. But all marketers need to begin to understand and respond to the influence of dark social on their marketing and find ways to see to be able to leverage that which is unseen.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


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