Healthcare marketing has evolved over the past 20 years, experiencing changes that have fundamentally altered the field. Years ago, healthcare marketers relied on mass advertising, like newsletters, billboards, bus ads, etc., with little-to-no definitive data on their effectiveness. In 2022, healthcare marketing is high-tech, implementing strategic digital campaigns to target specific demographics and using data to improve patient outcomes and drive revenue.
A “one method for all” approach no longer works—people want to connect with their healthcare providers and receive more personalized messaging. Data can be the difference between gaining a few new patients and engaging the right patient, at the right time, with the right messaging applicable to them. Healthcare marketers must use all available information to make data-driven decisions and create thoughtful and strategic marketing plans.
By understanding the science behind data-driven marketing, healthcare marketers can make more informed decisions and determine how to allocate limited resources to achieve the best return on investment (ROI). Harnessing data for marketing also offers an effective way to measure performance, arming marketers with metrics to improve future campaigns.
Why Is Data Collection Important to Successful Healthcare Marketing?
Patients who were once loyal to their local physicians and hospital are now savvy consumers, shopping around for providers and services. Consider this: 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and about 7% of all Google searches are health-related.
Data is knowledge. The better you understand your target audience, the more you can personalize your messaging, anticipate obstacles, and make real connections that help patients on their health journey.
The Importance of User Experience
In 2022, the patient experience matters. Research has shown that 80% of consumers have switched brands because of poor customer experience. And when it comes to interactions with healthcare providers, 78% of respondents are influenced by positive experiences (opens as a PDF).
How can marketing improve user experience?
- Stay relevant. Like us, patients are inundated with emails and other direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing. Identifying the needs of a specific demographic and ensuring the information is useful creates a trusting relationship and makes it less likely your message will be ignored.
- Give users options. New technology means messaging is on the go. Some people open emails, and others want a quick text they can read on their watch. Data from marketing campaigns allows users to set preferences, creating an even more personalized experience.
Data-driven marketing tactics allow healthcare marketers to highlight personalized services and programs that enhance the patient experience. Understanding your community, their needs, and their expectations can go a long way in providing meaningful interactions.
Healthcare Systems Face New Challenges
Changes to healthcare marketing aren’t limited to advances in technology. In 2020, the sudden arrival of COVID-19 and the precautions that came with it required the healthcare industry to shift, virtually overnight, to primarily digital operations. This presented healthcare marketers with a new challenge: preserve the patient experience despite physical distancing requirements.
As life begins to return to normal, healthcare marketers need to adjust their marketing strategy once again to attract new patients and reconnect with existing ones, all while recovering from financial and staffing losses, among other challenges.
It’s a tall order to provide superior service, intelligent communication, meaningful experiences—and deliver a strong ROI for every dollar spent. By adopting a data-driven marketing plan, healthcare marketers can:
- Get a clear picture of their target audience, how to reach it, and how to engage most effectively.
- Focus marketing dollars on highly personalized marketing campaigns to reach the right patients at the right time.
- Access valuable metrics to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns—offering the opportunity to make changes as needed.
Investing time and money into marketing strategies is wasted unless you can connect with and understand your target audience. Gathering and analyzing specific data can concentrate your marketing efforts, increase marketing effectiveness, and boost your ROI.
Collecting Data with an HRA: Identify and Target Those at Greatest Risk
Information reigns supreme when it comes to data-driven marketing and knowing which data to collect and how to use it is vital to a successful marketing strategy. Tools such as the Wellactivate® condition-specific health risk assessments (HRA) are customizable to your needs and provide invaluable information about both existing and potential patients.
An HRA can be broad-based to cover a person’s overall well-being or be tailored to specific service lines to optimize patient engagement strategies. An HRA might include condition-specific questions and symptom checkers so patients can identify their healthcare needs—and a well-placed call to action encourages patients to request more information quickly and easily or connect with their providers.
Using Data Collected with an HRA
The customizability of Wellactivate provides a myriad of options when it comes to determining what data you want to collect. By gathering self-reported data about health habits and concerns, healthcare systems can provide potentially life-saving information about an individual’s health risk. This data also provides insights that assist healthcare marketers in creating targeted marketing campaigns based on information beyond clinical data.
HRAs are a great way to engage existing patients, but they also provide data to identify and engage prospective patients. Data from HRAs can help marketers sort patients based on health condition, location, demographics, lifestyle choices, symptom severity, or specific risk factors—allowing more segmented audiences and specific messaging to the individuals that will benefit most from their services.
A Positive Patient Experience
While we may understand that the goal of gathering this information is to improve health and delay disease onset, when asking a patient to fill out yet another form, a positive experience starts you off on the right foot.
The Wellactivate™ HRA makes coordinating care, connecting with a provider, or requesting more information a seamless, hassle-free next step in the process. Designed with behavioral economic theories to be compelling and easy to complete, Wellactivate HRAs also empowers the patient to take control of their health with multiple options for moving forward.
Data Demonstrates ROI
As with any marketing campaign, the big question is, “Was it worth the money?”
Data from the Wellactivate HRAs provide metrics to evaluate the success of an outreach program. By obtaining this information, the healthcare marketer can adjust their strategy and messaging or tweak the questions and options within the HRA.
Data from the HRA can also demonstrate patient engagement and ROI based on a particular campaign to other executives and administration within the healthcare setting.
Case Study: How VHC Health Used Wellactivate to Increase Patient Visits and Demonstrate Clear Marketing ROI
VHC Health—a community-based hospital in the Washington, DC metro area—was looking to increase patient visits and service-line revenue. They partnered with Wellsource to launch a Wellactivate bariatric health assessment, accomplishing their goal (see below) and providing precise data demonstrating ROI for the program.