Forget The New Normal. Get Your Healthcare Marketing In Shape For The Next Normal.
Reliable information is a currency in itself. People are hungry for dependable resources that address what’s going on in the world—especially when it comes to health. Now, more than ever, people are counting on healthcare marketing as a way to get consistent, trustworthy guidance.
When it comes to where people are getting healthcare information in 2020, 43.40% of people are looking to local hospitals and health systems, compared to 19.20% of people looking to the federal government.(1)
If you’re leading a healthcare organization, this means all eyes are on your brand. People are trusting you to deliver, so refining your voice and your methods of communication are essential to developing stronger bonds with consumers. With the right marketing plan in place, there’s a way for you to spread messaging that offers hope and ensures your organization is memorable for all the right reasons. From there, gaining long-term trust is a straightforward path.
Unprecedented? Depends On Who You’re Asking
Although plenty of pundits call this current pandemic unprecedented, they’re not entirely correct. Right now, many medical historians and journalists are comparing current public health concerns with what happened in the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Hospitals became go-to, trusted resources when the government offered little assistance to those most at risk. Advertising also made a difference. One of the biggest shifts in the public opinion of AIDS directly resulted from a United Colors of Benetton ad, which has been viewed by over 1 billion people to date.
61% of consumers report that how a brand is responding to the ongoing health crisis will have a large impact on whether or not they continue shopping there after things go back to normal.(2)
Like then, we’re seeing people turn to healthcare institutions for guidance, as seen with the NYT profile of St. John’s in Queens. Viewed by millions, this video put a face to the frontline workers risking it all. Although the experiences of the workers at St. John’s are atypical, this hard-hitting profile put their staff in a digital context that continues to gain traction. In 2020, online video consumption surged across all age demographics: 52% of U.S. adults use at least one OTT streaming service.(3) Getting your brand acquainted with online and OTT advertising is more important than ever before. Advertising spend is predicted to grow from $104.1 billion in 2019 to $169.4 billion in 2023.(4)
No Matter The Climate, Make Your Voice Heard
As seen in most sectors, healthcare marketing budgets will see some reduction compared to projections in 2019. Medical Marketing and Media reports that 46% of healthcare marketers plan to reduce their overall budget.(5) With their remaining cashflow, decision makers plan to focus on promoting digital tools rather than in-person resources.
To be blunt, that 46% is making the wrong move. Now is not the time to cut back on media spending. Over a century of marketing research indicates that reducing advertising and marketing spending in economic slowdowns is a big mistake. Google gets over one billion health-related searches every day.(6) People want to hear your opinion. You just need to make sure your voice cuts through the competition. Resist the urge to cut back—you’ll fare much better both during and after an economic blip since your voice spoke to captive audiences while others clammed up.
On average, organizations that continue to advertise in recessions see a 20% increase in sales, while those that reduce spending see a 7% reduction.(7)
Exploring new mediums while competitors decrease their ad spending is an excellent way to stand out. Podcasts are an emerging advertising vehicle that combines the benefits of radio advertising with the hyper-targeted nature of digital marketing. This is an especially rich medium for healthcare brands, which are more likely to resonate with fact-driven audiences. Advertising on this medium gets results: NPR reports that 75% of its podcast listeners will respond or take action after hearing sponsored content.(8)
No Room For The Strong, Silent Type
According to the NRC Health study referenced earlier, 50% of people believe that going to the doctor today is riskier right now compared to previous years. With this hesitation to pay healthcare practices a visit, your marketing strategies are all the more important in sharing your voice and expertise.
When you’re looking to connect with consumers in any medium, remember tone plays a big role in whether or not people will turn to you for help. Think about it—are you more likely to look for guidance from an expert that is compassionate or judgmental? Make sure it’s clear that you are willing to listen on top of offering reliable information. Consumers are also less likely to trust content from healthcare organizations using clickbait titles and depictions of overly muscular men or extremely thin women. Keep your messaging, and your imagery, down to earth.
Get On Their Frequency
Although Facebook and YouTube are by and large the most frequented social media platforms in the U.S., they are not necessarily the ideal spaces for posting healthcare content for all audiences.
Millennials and Gen X are significantly more likely to seek out health information on Facebook compared to Gen Z and Baby Boomers. Gen Z is almost twice as likely to seek out health and wellness content on Instagram and Snapchat(9).
Mobile ads drove over 162 billion phone calls last year. That’s nearly double than the year before.(10)
Overall, consumers have more confidence in health sites and their doctor’s patient portal than social platforms. The combination of people frequenting social sites for advice and their trust in what physicians’ offices have to say suggests there is a multi-step process to how people get their health information online.
For older audiences like Baby Boomers, this is a time of true discovery. Not only are they frequenting social media platforms more often, but they’re also exploring how tech can keep them healthier. Today’s issues are catapulting us into a future more reliant on telemedicine—a step experts have long considered necessary to maintain seniors’ wellbeing without overwhelming the healthcare system in the coming decade. Getting older users to adopt telehealth into their routines eluded many medical practices over the past few years. Now, with in-person appointments harder to come by, Baby Boomers have an incentive to try out this new tech for themselves. With wellness on their minds, 21% of this generation expresses interest in learning more about telehealth’s benefits.(11)
Be The Tortoise And The Hare
One of the hardest things about navigating a challenging time is actually choosing to rise to its challenges. Now is the time to embrace your brand’s full potential and share your expertise with the world with multi-faceted, strategic campaigns. As anyone who’s trained for a marathon can tell you, the first step is the hardest to take. What follows is much easier to handle with the right training in place.
As consumers continue to rely on digital content to make sense of the world, successful campaigns require you to evolve alongside their growing expectations. When you remain flexible and willing to test new ways to express your institution’s individuality, you will nurture long-term trust across generations. However you choose to push forward, you’ll find success when you speak with a clear voice and prioritize direct, honest communication with your audiences.
Prager Creative works across a wide spectrum of specialties within, as well as outside of the healthcare business vertical delivering award-winning marketing communications through all of today’s mainstream media vehicles. View more news & insights and see examples of our work.
Interested in chatting about how we partner with healthcare organizations to transform their brand awareness into the category’s leader? Please get in touch.
Article References: (1) NRC Health (2) McKinsey & Company (3) Forbes (4) Business Wire (5) Medical Marketing and Media (6) Becker’s Hospital Review (7) Forbes (8) HubSpot (9) Hearst Magazine (10) BIA (11) Accenture