In today’s day and age, organizations from all industries must be relevant and provide value as often as possible to better engage with their buyers. But this is especially true for healthcare organizations.
While it’s obvious that the healthcare industry is fiercely competitive, what’s not so obvious, is how many healthcare companies still struggle with the new market shift: Buyers now have more access to information via digital means and have new considerations to ponder before making buying decisions.
To remain competitive in an ever-evolving industry, here are 11 tips to ensure your marketing efforts consistently reflect your organization’s relevancy:
1. Understand Your Buyers
One of the most important aspects of healthcare marketing is to understand what matters most to your buyers, because identifying their many nuances are key to crafting messages and developing a marketing mix that gains traction. To fully understand your buyers and position your organization as customer-centric, seek them out and ask questions about their interests and insights. Don’t be shy about it. You’ll be surprised by how many people are happy to offer their expertise.
2. Stay on Top of Industry Trends
Not only do you need to understand your buyers, but you need to stay updated about the world around you and hot industry topics. While this will force your marketing efforts to remain relevant, it will also help your Sales team become weapons in the field. When Sales is more knowledgeable about what’s going on in the industry (and what’s most important to your buyers) they automatically become more credible and trustworthy.
3. Establish a Network of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received was from a previous boss of mine. He said, “Never be shy to ask for help. Align yourself with whom you find to be a leader in your field and ask them to mentor you. It’ll do wonders for your career.”
Now, imagine using that same mentality for your brand. Many healthcare organizations utilize advisory boards for business activities, and even have KOLs in place for clinical purposes, but what about Marketing? Tap into healthcare leaders or other marketing professionals whom you admire, and ask them to help guide you and your marketing efforts on a consistent basis. Their feedback can be a major game changer.
4. Define (or Refine) Your Content Strategy
A content strategy isn’t the marketing theme du jour for life sciences, especially with the industry’s focus on value and engagement. Healthcare marketers must create valuable content that answers buyer’s questions at each stage of their journey to foster positive Sales interactions and company performance.
However, only 4% in med tech and 11% in pharma/biotech report they have a clearly documented content strategy that meets their current and future needs (compared to 42% across all industries). To truly experience a measurable impact for marketing and enhance engagement with your buyers, you must define (or refine) your content strategy.
5. Utilize Popular Channels
One of the biggest reasons why many content marketing campaigns fail is because buyers aren’t truly engaging with it. It’s not because of what you’re saying, but where and how you’re saying it. By understanding your buyers, you’ll also understand where they spend most of their time and which channels they prefer to use. Whether that’s through video, social media, events, or email, meet your buyers where they are—especially on mobile devices—and provide content they can easily consume.
6. Humanize Your Company
As this Forbes article reiterates: one of the biggest problems facing the healthcare industry is the need to connect on a human level, even when we’re trying to convince someone to make a purchase. This is where a marketing strategy that’s based around humanizing your organization will be imperative. Tell your brand’s unique stories by using real people. Feature your employees, customers, and patients in everything from articles to videos to case studies to photographs. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning knocking on our doors, the need to humanize brands is more important than ever.
7. Create Personalized Experiences
With an industry that focuses on buyer expectations in response to rising out-of-pocket costs and value-based reimbursements, healthcare marketers need to personalize the buyer experience, reduce unnecessary expenditures, and prove return on their marketing efforts. Just like the industry’s shift to precision medicine, we’re shifting to a precision marketing era as well.
A recent survey from Demand Metric looked at the reasons why marketers do not personalize content and found that many don’t have the technology and others don’t have the necessary resources. That same survey, though, found that 80 percent of marketers believe personalized content is more effective than non-personalized content.
8. Don’t Forget About Patients and Payers
Based on a study by MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth, 93% of healthcare consumers who are targeted as part of an organization’s marketing efforts are mostly healthcare providers due to the act of buying, prescribing, and recommending products or services that healthcare marketers advertise.
What’s surprising, though, is that both patients and payers were only about 56% of the respondents. With patients now playing a much more active role as decision maker in their own healthcare, and payers ultimately supporting them, it’s crucial for healthcare marketers to engage with both parties, while still keeping physicians in the overall strategy. This will further strengthen your organization’s focus on improving patient outcomes; the main focus of value-based care.
9. Take Advantage of Technology
Technology hasn’t just reshaped mass media, it’s altering buyer behavior as well. And getting through to your customers will take some radical rethinking. Many companies have begun to allocate substantial shares of their marketing budget to digital media to stay relevant in the marketplace and forge deeper connections with their customers.
Not only that, but organizations have also begun to implement Marketing systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs), and Sales Enablement tools to streamline and remain connected to their customers.
10. Make Data Work for You
To create highly personalized experiences for your buyers, and to put your organization above the competition, your marketing strategies must be data-driven. Without data, you won’t receive any insight into how your campaigns are performing, if they’re resonating with people, or if you need to adjust your strategies. Think beyond the typical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that marketers use like page visits, email opens, etc. Instead, extract data from your CRM, MAP, and sales enablement tools to get a complete 360-degree view of your marketing efforts and their contribution to revenue.
11. Always Keep Learning
Like Glengarry Glen Ross’ Sales motto, “Always Be Closing”, Marketing should execute the “Always Keep Learning” mentality. To remain relevant in a constantly changing industry is not a one-and-done process; it’s ongoing. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Without trying and failing and learning and growing, you’ll never know the world of possibilities or what creative ideas you’ll come up with next. Savor the process and try not to be too hard on yourself in the meantime.