For years, certain aspects of healthcare marketing went ignored by provider practices, hospitals, health systems, and even insurance companies. Branding in particular was a widely neglected element of marketing and lead generation because it simply didn’t matter. Health plans and health systems benefitted from an uneven power dynamic driven by limited customer options.
But Bob Dylan said it best when he sang, “the times they are a changing”.
Patients have more options now than ever, making it increasingly difficult for healthcare companies to differentiate themselves from the competition. Healthcare infrastructure has changed thanks to The Affordable Care Act and the rise of subscription healthcare models. These seismic shifts are forcing organizations to prioritize a strong medical marketing strategy like never before.
You Can’t Just Slap a Band-Aid on It
Branding can be a hard sell, especially for organizations that value quantifiable results, statistics, and cold, hard numbers. But the truth is that simply telling patients where to go and who to see doesn’t carry the same weight that it used to. Patients are more empowered today and have technology on their side.
First impressions matter. Don’t believe me? Let’s check those vitals.
- 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to assess a potential practice. (Software Advice)
- 60% of healthcare consumers visit an organization’s website before scheduling an appointment or booking a consultation. (LSA Insights)
- 41%of consumers consider social media to be a significant factor in choosing a medical doctor, facility or carrier. (Spark Report)
What do all of these factors have in common? Branding, positioning, and communications. The way consumers see, feel and interact with your brand is critical to acquisition and retention. Health plans can no longer expect patients to visit the first available in-network provider, nor can physicians hand patients a referral card and call it a day.
How Do You Revive an Ailing Brand?
As a seasoned agency offering healthcare marketing services, we’d be lying if we said there was a magic pill to fix an injured or malnourished brand. Branding is largely dependent on your organization’s audience, aspirations, and culture. The good news is that while branding is part of a long-term strategy, there are things that you can do today to start turning things around.
- 1. Identify and define your branding goal.
- 2. Perform a competitive analysis to determine where your organization stands among the competition.
- 3. Partner with an agency experienced in brand messaging and positioning or perform an internal branding exercise.
- Are you patient-centered?
- What problems do you solve for customers?
- How do customers see your organization?
- How does your team see your organization?
These three steps can help you take a healthy step towards grasping the essentials of healthcare marketing in the modern world. Patients come first, and it’s time to build a brand that addresses their pain points while standing out from the crowd. Roger West has helped some of the nation’s largest health systems and health plans upgrade their branding and marketing. If you’re interested in attracting new patients, give Roger West a call.