5 Digital Marketing Requirements for Medical Practices in 2018

As emerging technology fundamentally transforms the healthcare landscape, medical practices need to prepare their marketing strategies for a disruptive year.

The proliferation of emerging medical technology has given patients a greater voice in their own healthcare journeys than ever before. As other industries take disruption in stride, consumers increasingly expect medical providers to do the same. Indeed, a study conducted by NTT DATA Services finds that 59% of patients expect their digital healthcare experience to better resemble the modern retail market.

How, then, can medical practices update their marketing strategies for a year that promises to disrupt outdated protocol? From orienting business models toward a value-centered patient experience to harnessing data analytics in order to make the greatest case for your products or services, new IT capabilities empower savvy marketers to make a name for their brand in the crowded (and growing) healthcare marketplace.

1. Design Kinetic Campaigns That Drive Actionable Insights

Where previous marketing campaigns could revolve around mass media advertisements and promotional material for providers, the expansion of available channels means that marketers need to update the way they reach customers. And with new ways to gauge performance metrics, especially when it comes to SEO strategies, medical practices can monitor how marketing campaigns are performing in real time.

Gone are the days of marketing insights that took months — or even years — to accurately formulate. Now, marketers have access to information that can improve campaigns even as they’re underway.

2. Take Advantage of Data-Driven Analysis

Modern marketing campaigns generate much more data than they used to, as do current customers who give you a more nuanced understanding of your ideal patient. With increasingly sophisticated data analytics, your medical practice should collect structured and unstructured data that can assess the performance of your current campaigns and your ongoing ad spend. Platforms such as Google Analytics are available to combine data from multiple channels — thus solving the issue of over-siloed information — and boost your digital marketing ROI.

3. Design an Intuitive, Attractive Customer Experience

As other industries focus on impressive customer experiences, medical practices and healthcare providers should do the same. The same NTT DATA survey found that over two-thirds of patients expect health insurance companies, for instance, to make it easier to find affordable care as well as a variety of wellness options.

By investing in what customers see when they engage with your content just as much as getting the content to customers in the first place, medical marketers stand a better chance of developing customer loyalty and boosting brand value.

4. Harness Innovative Healthcare Solutions to Deliver an Improved Product

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and telemedicine all promise to upend the way healthcare is delivered to those in need — and the way that healthcare professionals do the delivering. As your medical practice updates its infrastructure to stay on top of these developments, make sure that your marketing campaigns take advantage of these emerging capabilities to drive consumer engagement and present the greatest value possible to potential patients. From electronic health records that put patients in the driver’s seat to improved wearables, there have never been more ways to meet patients where they are.

5. Foster Value-Oriented Business Relationships that Benefit Your Patients

More than ever, businesses are cooperating with one another in order to maximize profits for everyone involved. Even in competitive industries such as healthcare, siloed business models may hurt more than they help. With that in mind, medical practices should develop marketing campaigns that locate their particular niche within a broader ecosystem.

For example, the CVS-Aetna merger will allow each entity to interact with patients at more medical touchpoints than any competitor. This level of partnership, once the merger is complete in mid-2018, will likely result in aggressive marketing that underscores how useful such a comprehensive healthcare solution will be.

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