Healthcare Marketing

Best Practices & Use Cases

What We’ve Learned (So Far)

In Part 1 of the Omnichannel Marketing 101 Series, we went over exactly what omnichannel marketing is, not only including its actual definition, but how it differs from multichannel marketing, its importance, and examples of when, where, and how it’s used. In Part 2, we outlined the steps to getting started on an omnichannel campaign. From those two blogs, we hope you’ve seen that omnichannel marketing’s an excellent way to gain and retain customers, and that it’s maybe not as intimidating as it sounds, but does require research, planning, focus, and sometimes, a team of experts like us!

Now, we’re giving you the inside scoop and sharing just a few of our secrets (yes, our secrets!) on best practices for creating an omnichannel campaign that powers a unique customer experience and cultivates company success.

What Industries Can Benefit from Omnichannel Marketing?

One of the many reasons omnichannel marketing is so popular is because of its versatile nature. It can be used in many different ways across several industries. Here are just a few we’d like to highlight…

Telecom

Omnichannel marketing is often used by the telecom industry to conduct various tasks, such as helping customers make payments and send out new launch notifications. As a result, telecom companies can quickly boost revenue and drive engagement.

Travel

Travel agency customers go through numerous stages in their customer journeys. Omnichannel campaigns can help promote travel accommodations, send reminders about upcoming flights and delays, deliver other announcements, give out deals for restaurants, stores, and hotels, and keep an open line of communication that’s easily accessible to the customer.

Banking

There are several ways banks can use omnichannel marketing – from reminding their customers about impending bills and other costs, to providing account balances, and promoting new features or products. It streamlines their services and allows them to offer multi-device experiences that often save the customer time (and improves their patience).

Healthcare (Our Specialty)

Strata has helped many healthcare companies acquire and retain customers using smart and successful omnichannel campaigns. Marketing campaigns can be tough to create and execute in a highly regulated industry like healthcare, but omnichannel marketing has taken off, and more and more healthcare companies are utilizing it. Healthcare companies can use omnichannel campaigns to reach new movers in their area, connect them with physicians, send out appointment reminders, provide additional access to portals…the possibilities are kind of endless.

With all of that in mind, you can see why businesses that create and conduct omnichannel strategies have 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates. So, even if you’re in a different industry than the four above, you don’t have to miss out. Read on to learn more about the best practices for creating successful omnichannel campaigns…

Creating the Perfect Omni-Strategy

When planning out an omnichannel strategy, it’s most important to research, collect data, and, well…thoroughly plan. Not only do you want to research and keep in mind the customer base you’re targeting, but you’ll want to examine how your customer base will experience each channel, and carefully prepare the different messages you’ll want and need to communicate to them. Like we said in our second blog of the series, knowing your customers inside and out is key to a successful omnichannel campaign. Learn their demographics, environments, behaviors, habits, and even their goals. Use analytics and CRM data to get to know your customers’ behaviors and actions. Make sure to personalize your omnichannel campaign by segmenting this audience based on your acquired data and the journey they’ll take.

On a related note, always be customer-centric. Make sure your team understands the value of consistent messaging and experiences, and is well trained, because “different customers will interact in different ways with your brand, and there is no one way to do it”. Have staff ready to not only provide assistance, but to welcome new customers, consistently engage them in new ways, and turn them into advocates of your brand with, like we said, consistent communication and customer experiences.

Don’t forget to get content (and context) right. Make sure your messages are relevant and timely. Engaging with your customers at the wrong time with irrelevant information can very easily turn them off from your brand. Communicate with customers at the most pivotal touchpoints, “from identifying and understanding a need to researching solutions, comparing products, and making a decision”. Engage with your customers when it’s applicable to them, not just when it’s best for you. Utilize CRM software to stay aware of your customers and “maintain consistent, personalized messaging with customers on whatever channel they reach you on”.  Meet them where they are with a message that sparks their interest and answers any questions that they may have about your business or service. And when you can’t be there 24/7, use automation to share content, send confirmations and reminders, and communicate in other ways when triggered to.

And, maybe most importantly in our opinions, always review your metrics (which can include conversion rate, customer acquisition or retention, social media engagement, click-through rate, and more) and revise as needed. An omnichannel campaign isn’t about setting it and forgetting it, but always reviewing and improving, so set milestones for you, your team, your marketing, and your brand.

The best way to perform all of these best practices is having the right tools. Like we said, CRM technology is an excellent way to store data, keep track, and communicate. If you’re a commerce-based company or service, it’s also a good idea to use a POS system so that all of your data is stored in one place. With a POS system, you can also more easily track customer behaviors and “provide them with conveniences like remembering their passwords, storing payment information, and suggesting relevant products”.

We’ve Got You Covered

If you’re thinking this is a lot to take on all on your own, we’d recommend partnering with a knowledgeable company with a staff of omnichannel experts (like us!). Strata can help with everything omnichannel – from data sourcing to execution and production.

Think you could use our help? Feel free to visit our site or give us a call.

A Multitouch Approach for New Movers

In a world so dependent on making a first and lasting impression (before the competition), marketers have started to rely on an omnichannel approach to get the attention of new movers.

But not all omnichannel strategies are created equal. A good approach has to include:

  • Direct mail offerings with multiple touchpoints and response mechanisms, like BRCs, eBRCs, and PURLs that lead to personalized landing pages
  • Digital ads targeting new movers via geofencing and floodlight technology
  • Email campaigns as both outreach and follow-up

It’s nothing mind blowing, but when done correctly, it can make a big impact. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a Healthcare network that we’ll call Health X and see how a multitouch, omnichannel campaign helped them successfully target and convert new movers.

Health X’s Multitouch, Omni-Channel New Mover Campaign

We’ve run recurring campaigns for Health X since 2015, including a multitouch direct mail component. Over the last five years, we’ve noticed that a second mailer (T2) received roughly an equivalent response rate when compared to the first mailer (T1).

Essentially, this means that T2 effectively doubled response rates as opposed to a campaign featuring a single mailer. Not only that, but T2 outperformed our original benchmark and in some cases, outperformed T1. This is a great example as to why multitouch marketing is so important in a complete campaign.

But where does this fit into our omnichannel marketing strategy? Via a digital component.

In both of our T1 and T2 mailers, we gave the recipients two options for their response — a conventional business reply card (BRC) and an eBRC. On average, we received about 15% of our responses via eBRCs, bolstering our total response rate when compared to BRCs alone.

And, as our results continue to surpass benchmarks year after year, we’ve been looking at new ways to get better results, like the addition of more digital ads and PURLs as consumer preferences continue to trend towards the digital.

Customize Your Campaign

This is what’s so great about an omnichannel campaign — you can add and subtract campaign elements as you see fit. Whatever your needs are, you can customize an omnichannel campaign to those needs and your budget.

So, what are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in creating a custom built, omnichannel campaign for customer acquisition, contact us to see what Strata can do for you.

Understanding How to Make an Impact in a Complex Sector

Healthcare marketing is complex stuff — marketing professionals in this sector know this.

They also know how to overcome whatever challenges these complexities present with a solid understanding of healthcare marketing strategy, beginning with their target audience. Of course, their target audience represents six generations, all the way from the GI Generation to Generation Z.

Unsurprisingly, “understanding the ins and outs of healthcare marketing strategy” isn’t exactly a simple task.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Let’s break down the anatomy of healthcare marketing into two parts: healthcare marketer responsibilities and the primary problem they face with effective marketing.

Responsibilities

Website and Social

Let’s start by prioritizing. Healthcare Marketers are spread pretty thin when it comes to all that their job demands of them.

When it comes to the most basic of digital assets — social media and websites — marketers need to make sure they have their bases covered.

For websites that means ensuring mobile responsiveness, offering ample opportunity for conversion and placement of clear, obvious info hubs. It’s important to lay this groundwork while being careful not to neglect strategic SEO to beat out the competition.

In addition, they also have brand management related responsibilities with their website, particularly when it comes to website reviews.

Patient Acquisition

Healthcare marketers are also in charge of patient acquisition strategies, which can be extremely time-intensive.

Often, accessibility plays a key role in conversions, and giving potential patients ample opportunity to connect and stay connected is a big part of that. Referral programs are also a critical component of a successful patient acquisition strategy.

Mergers of two hospital systems can be a confusing time for patients and marketers alike — it’s important to emphasize practice-specific marketing as a key focus in ad campaigns, ensuring that patients will continue to receive high-quality, specialized care while promoting new assets to retain patients, and boost patient acquisition.

Taking Orders

Unfortunately, many of the priorities that healthcare marketers are faced with day in and day out are directives from their superiors. This can be anything from fulfilling collateral orders and completing sponsorship requests to updating staff bios.

These tasks tend to under-utilize the skills healthcare marketers have to offer as strategists and can be a frustrating part of a healthcare marketer’s day-to-day. 

The Primary Obstacle: A Wide Audience

Now that we’ve identified the major day-to-day responsibilities of healthcare marketing professionals, it’s time to talk about their obstacle: diversity within their audience.

Everyone needs healthcare at some point. Whether it’s the GI Generation or Generation Z, the healthcare market spans each generation of consumers.

Such an ample audience is good for business, but the problem arises in communicating with that audience and the resources needed to connect with each segment as individuals. Each generation seeks information about healthcare differently, often choosing channels that are unique to them — where younger generations may respond to healthcare advertisements delivered via social media, older audiences may respond better to television advertisements.

Solving the Puzzle

Fortunately, there is a solution to this multi-generational puzzle, and it revolves around where we focus the crux of our attention.

Primarily, healthcare marketers should realize that an omnichannel approach is absolutely necessary for reaching all target audiences in effective ways — investing too much in any one medium, like social, will only neglect certain segments of your audience.

It’s important to remember that healthcare is largely about comfort, and in healthcare marketing, marketers need to communicate in the ways your audience feels comfortable with. This makes a strong case for the necessity of blending online and offline tactics.

It’s also important that healthcare marketers focus on creating solutions that are scalable and efficient. Segmenting your audience, building out personas and marketing to those personas utilizing smart MarTech solutions is a solid strategy to accomplish this.

Get the Tools

Healthcare marketing can put marketers in frustrating positions as they try to deal with the industry’s inherent challenges, but your marketing goals are far from out of reach. Contact us to see how Strata can help with the tools you need to develop a truly integrated healthcare marketing plan.

Use Marketing Technology to Build Stronger Brands from Within

Marketers in healthcare systems juggle a myriad of brand assets across an array of media. From patient relations to internal signage to external communications, your logos, font and color systems, messaging, and content really are just that – an asset that holds and conveys the organization’s value.

As such, the way you manage your brand assets helps to build efficiencies across the organization. The right digital asset management system can streamline content production and delivery, build credibility with current and prospective consumers, and strengthen your organization’s culture from within.

Cost savings and culture building become especially important during a merger. Brand assets in transition require additional oversight; further, research has found that about 75 percent of M&A deals fail to deliver their expected value, often as a result of cultural onboarding issues. In addition, research by Adobe in 2017 found that 29 percent of healthcare organizations plan to prioritize content marketing in the next few years.

A digital asset management system offers numerous benefits to healthcare providers:

  • Safely store, tag, and organize content including text, image files, audio and video files
  • Design workflows to accommodate complex approvals processes and improve collaboration
  • Store and retrieve data to better evaluate campaign performance
  • Ensure HIPAA compliance and keep a clear audit trail for regulatory agencies

Clearly, finding and utilizing the best-fit brand asset management system can create a significant positive impact during a merger – even more so if you’re also ramping up content marketing efforts at the same time.

MRM: Digital Asset Management Pioneer

While digital asset management is a strong player in brand management, it often has limitations in the breadth of content management it offers. For instance, DAM systems don’t always tie to printed output or offer ecommerce for ordering warehoused inventory – capabilities that are critical to rebranding and mergers.

One early and still reliable form of digital asset management is marketing resource management (MRM), offering organizations a platform built on a centralized database from which assets can be created and managed in house. MRM systems can handle large amounts of content and a customized platform for the specific needs of a single organization. Such systems are particularly well suited to consolidating the diverse data and resources that come together in a merger.

Asset Management for Next-Gen Content and Workflows

The core advantage of marketing resource management is that it facilitates the comprehensive management of branded assets. Combined with a user-friendly interface, MRM allows content managers to maintain brand control, stay in compliance, increase production and distribution speed, and reduce waste.

Additional tools, such as MarCom On Demand, empower marketers throughout a given network to access content they need while still enabling managers to maintain brand quality and consistency. When you minimize miscommunications; reduce waste of time, effort, and money; and maximize transparency and freedom, you not only improve your marcom operation – you make a huge contribution to your merged brand’s credibility and culture.

CCM: Improving the Patient Experience with Customer Communications Management

Designed to support outbound patient communications, customer communications management (CCM) systems (such as the one Strata Company provides) enable healthcare organizations to automate the creation of brand-specific communications. Among its many capabilities, a CCM solution can, for instance, capture patient data, create unique profiles, and build one-to-one communications in real time. This allows you to streamline, simplify, and accelerate effective branded communications on a very large scale. Further, CCM enables you to meet deadlines more easily, minimize error, and ensure regulatory compliance.

The Next Step: Ensure Success in Your Brand Merger

Strata Company offers MarCom On Demand and Corspon to enable marketers to exceed expectations and overcome challenges involved in healthcare mergers and other complex transitions. We offer dynamic templates, 24/7 cloud-based secure access, tracking and reporting, and more. Contact us to learn more.

Executing Effective Service Line Marketing Campaigns

Redefining Marketing Strategies for Growing Patient Volume

The world of Healthcare has changed dramatically.

As a result of healthcare reform and “accountable” care, some hospitals and healthcare facilities are shifting their strategies to a more collaborative service line (or specialty service) orientation in order to stay competitive. Add to this the “retailization” of healthcare and a more educated and value-oriented patient base, and healthcare marketers are left with a need to transform the way they approach their business.

Taking a Step Back: Why We Need to Redefine Our Marketing Strategies

It’s a different world. Patients today are far more educated. They’re more proactive. When it comes to their health management, they’re interested in the whole package. But, they have specific requirements. Beyond seeking an “excellent facility,” they want to have confidence in each step of their journey. In light of this, as marketers, we too must redefine our strategies and speak to these new pain points.

Many marketers have executed healthcare service lines and hospital service lines Service Line campaigns with direct benefit to their bottom line. While it’s true that most hospitals are now promoting individual service lines, when we refer to this tactic, we must consider a much deeper level of service line marketing strategy and planning.

But before we dive into strategy, we need to recognize the palpable link between hospital reputation and customer preference. We need to take a step back to consider what the marketing objectives would be under this newly defined orientation.

Marketing Goals for Health System and Hospital Service Lines

  • Increase foot traffic – increase patient volume
  • Satisfy physician expectations for patient traffic
  • Actively direct patients to profitable lines of business
  • Build trust in the brand
  • Ultimately increase revenue

With that said, how do you begin to make this fundamental shift, develop new patient-centric strategies and align with these new goals of a service line (or specialty service) model?

Getting Started: The Advantages of Healthcare Service Line Campaigns

To start, these campaigns provide a focused introductory message to new and prospective patients, establishing a clear expertise in a particular field of care.

So, what makes service line campaigns so attractive to marketers? Service line-specific campaigns allow them to connect at a more personal level with prospective patients. They also enable marketers to produce campaigns focused on service lines of high strategic significance and/or the most lucrative revenue producers.

Instead of working across multiple departments and service lines, Service Line campaigns give marketers a chance to create a focused message that can be integrated into the larger marketing mix. Compared to general patient acquisition campaigns, campaigns for service lines in hospitals and health systems allow marketers to compartmentalize messages and act with greater autonomy.

Additionally, marketers can align service line campaigns to fit a wider array of strategic objectives. Whether it be driving revenue to more lucrative service lines, establishing credibility in a developing field of expertise or acquiring a specific group of new patients, service line campaigns may possess a greater amount of utility than more general campaigns.

Strategies That Work: Ideas for Creating Effective Service Line Campaigns

With a greater influence on data-driven marketing than ever before, hospitals are in a unique position to address the needs of their patients in accordance with trends like those New Year’s resolutions. It’s about getting the timing right. Here are a few examples:

  1. Bariatric Marketing: Leverage the battle of the bulge
    Obesity is a U.S. epidemic. It’s a common health risk and pain point that gets the attention of a broad audience. Every year, when January 1st rolls around, millions of Americans resolve to lose weight through a variety of means, whether it be healthier eating habits, hitting the gym and, in some cases, bariatric surgery. Creating a campaign targeting this specific pain point, aimed at helping patients in this battle of the bulge, is a great opportunity for executing a hospital service line campaign.
  2. Engage existing patients or acquire new patients for your cardiovascular department/services
    The idea here is to kick off a focused campaign in February just in time for American Heart Month. This tactic aligns well with high-performing Cardiovascular Service Line marketing strategies.
  3. It is an opportunity well timed for:
    • Creating messaging specifically to highlight your cardiovascular department and the professionals who make it work.
    • Educating patients about the benefits of your service line with patient success story videos throughout the month.
    • Proactively promoting Heart Risk Assessments or Heart Disease Risk Calculators as a way of engaging with the audience.
    • Developing a campaign-specific hash tag for utilization across select social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram, depending on where your target audience is active.

Some Common Stumbling Blocks in Service Line Campaigns

While service line campaigns for service lines in healthcare can prove to be solid sources of revenue, there are a number of challenges to execution that marketers must consider. By and large, most of these issues derive from data management, including:

  1. List building: Effective service line campaigns typically target extremely focused demographics. Often times, these groups won’t be part of your general marketing database and they might not be obvious in the data selection. That’s why partnering with a dependable list/data provider, someone who can provide options and create the robust lists you’re looking for, is so essential.
  2. Timing: Having the right message and the ideal target audience are the fundamentals to build any campaign on. But service line campaigns strike when the iron is hot, like in the example of bariatric campaigns coinciding with the New Year. Execute your campaign too early and you might find an unmotivated audience. Too late and your prospective patients might have found someone else.
  3. Spend: Calculating your expected rate of return is critical at the onset so that all stakeholders are on board with projected revenue versus program expense.
  4. Personnel: Coordinating across multiple departments, including IT, marketing and others can seem like a daunting task, but creating a focused, cross-discipline approach can give your campaign a decided edge. Don’t be afraid of trying to put together an all-star team for your service line initiatives.

Moving Forward: Teaming Up to Identify Solutions

As competition gets tougher and consumers become more active in making decisions for their health, healthcare marketers need highly effective, fast-response programs to drive acquisition and strengthen their market presence.

If you’re just getting started or have come up against some challenges in pursuing a service line campaign approach, you may consider aligning with a partner who can provide campaign support, identify opportunities and help navigate through your challenges in your initiatives.

Strata Company specializes in highly targeted multichannel campaigns aimed at helping healthcare marketers measurably drive patient acquisition and service line growth. Our programs include end-to-end services such as List Acquisition, landing pages, response tracking, reporting and analysis.

Service line marketing campaigns can be executed via a number of different channels and tactics, but a fundamentally sound strategy is a must. If you’d like to learn more about how Strata Company can make your service line campaigns a success, contact us today.

A Game Plan for Patient Acquisition: Tips for Health care Marketers

New Patient Acquisition in the Modern Healthcare Marketing Landscape

It’s not news when I say that what’s going on in the healthcare marketplace is game changing. As the landscape moves from volume to value, we’re witnessing a fundamental shift from the treatment of chronic and catastrophic illnesses to long-term wellness and prevention. Plus, with the influx of new consumers as a result of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare marketers are confronted with the challenge (and opportunity) of acquiring new patients. This is why having a solid game plan for connecting more patients with physicians has never been more crucial.

Think about how the industry has evolved: Health information has essentially become a commodity. Patients are increasingly relying on the web for medical info and guiding their own health and wellness, which in effect is narrowing the information gap between physicians and patients.

A 2011 study by Harris Interactive reveals that three quarters (74%) of all adults have gone online at some time to look for health information, and that 60% have done so in the previous month. “Cyberchondriacs” (what Harris calls people who go online for healthcare information) who say that they believe the information they obtained was reliable has risen to 90% this year from 87% and 85% in the two previous years.

A New Playing Field for Healthcare Marketers

Marketing physicians

While the physician/patient relationship is still critical, it’s a highly competitive environment. Today, in order to stay competitive, marketers are forced to be more adept at differentiating the physicians in their network from the competition. Marketers must be more proactive, more sales oriented about promoting the unique value of their physicians. Physicians themselves need to take heed of this too for their own success. Ultimately, it means new challenges for physicians, health care administrators and healthcare marketers alike.

Challenges for health care administrators

One of the challenges for hospitals and health care systems is how to link physicians as a revenue stream. But, each is different – some own their physician practices, some don’t.

Hypothetically, let’s use a local children’s hospital as an example. Let’s say their competition is a big city children’s hospital. In this case, the local hospital’s marketing challenge is about making the hospital and doctors relevant to their target market and eliminating the mindset that patients need to go to the city to receive the best care.

In addition, there’s the challenge of acquiring more patients in a market that is always changing. At any given time 15% of the market is moving in or out of the area. This is where true opportunity lies.

A new player coming off the bench

As part of the healthcare evolution, there’s a new role emerging in hospitals and healthcare organizations: the physician liaison.

The role of the physician liaison is to serve as a personal contact for physicians and their practice managers and staff. They bridge positive and open relationships with physicians—which, by the way is a huge undertaking. Some hospitals do it on a service-line basis. For example, the hospital may have a service-line manager specifically for maternity. Their mission is to build a campaign to connect physicians, their staff and other members of the area’s healthcare community with the hospitals maternity services and resources.

Overall, the physician liaison’s objective is to make partnering with the hospital as productive as possible for the healthcare providers and as beneficial as possible for prospective patients.

Playing To Win In the Patient Acquisition Game

Your marketing playbook: new strategies for healthcare marketers

In today’s healthcare marketplace the stakes are higher than ever. So, in order to be at the top of your game, you need a play-by-play strategy that focuses on outreach and acquiring more patients. Strategies for healthcare marketers should include building relationships with new residents in their area as well as these “newer players” – the physician liaisons. The primary objective is to connect a patient with a physician based on the idea that, once they choose a physician, patients tend to say with that provider; and the hospital gets the downstream revenue.

Traditional approaches to acquiring new patients

There are many effective options for promoting your services to prospective patients, including:

  • Direct Marketing
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • SEO/PPC
  • Public Relations
  • Online Events
  • On-site Health Fair/Open House Events
  • Community events

Let’s explore two of these: Online Events and On-site Health Fairs.

AMA: Short for “Ask Me Anything” these online events are a way for your staff to connect with patients via social media. Whether your network specializes in oncology, bariatric or anything in between, this will give you the chance to educate the community while advertising your expertise.

Hospitals have always been a fixture in their local communities. Opening your grounds and inviting everyone to experience what makes your hospital unique can reinforce the value of your network. Provide free health assessments like blood pressure, heart health and other screenings.

Keeping score: Identifying appropriate metrics to measure results

In the game of healthcare marketing, data analytics and the measurement of data are critical. Analyzing relevant attributes certainly increases your chances of success. For instance, you could sort data by location, family make-up, employment status or any other relevant attribute. The more info you have to go on, the better your chances of success.

Be a game-changer

At the end of the day, what separates your system or hospital from the competition can’t be summed up by anyone other than you and your fellow marketers. Whether its facilities, physicians, research, cutting-edge medicine, or simply a strong commitment to community, there is always something you can leverage in the patient acquisition conversation. The ways you choose to deliver that message are up to you too, but we hope this blog has given you some new tactics to think about and eventually implement. The healthcare industry is always changing, but a proactive and relationship building acquisition strategy can ensure that those changes aren’t such a challenge. Contact us to learn more.