Five challenges every healthcare marketer must face
Like many brand marketers, healthcare marketers face many challenges in their highly regulated and fast-paced industry as they try to meet the changing demands of their customers.
The healthcare industry is fast-paced and patients are increasingly adopting consumer like behavior as they hunt for their own healthcare answers. The industry presents many unique challenges that push healthcare marketers to think of new ways to market services and products.
Here are five of the biggest healthcare marketing challenges that we hear industry marketers talk about today.
1. Just getting started in digital communication
The conservative nature of the healthcare industry and its highly regulated environment has meant that it has been slow to adapt to digital communication. Despite being a data rich industry, the data is often fragmented and held on different systems, in paper files and with individual institutions. There is also the importance and overwhelming need for patient confidentiality, with data security often flagged as the main reason why there is caution around digital adoption.
Similarly, there has been slow adoption of multi-channel marketing campaigns globally with the complexity of the audience making it difficult to adopt. Ensuring the right channel is used to reach the right audience at the right time is key. It maybe that digital is the correct method for a specific campaign targeting a specific audience, while a combination of digital and traditional may be more effective for another campaign. Connecting with different consumers across different touchpoints has proven to be successful across other sectors; healthcare must embrace this fundamental shift and invest more in digital communications to create a deeper connection with their customers.
2. Too many stakeholders
Within the industry, there are a large number of stakeholders with their own priorities and as a marketer, trying to satisfy all is difficult. Ensuring that you have the correct messaging and that the information is accurate requires the involvement and approval of a number of disparate stakeholders, which is often time-consuming and can affect deadlines around marketing campaigns.
3. Savvier patients
With patients routinely researching ailments, symptoms, medication and healthcare providers online, healthcare has become much more interactive with patients seeking out both advice and greater choice. The self-educated patient is now much more confident in their decisions regarding healthcare. It is no surprise that there has been a rise in the sale of self-diagnostic products and consumer health wearables, with patients looking to find the answers themselves before consulting a healthcare practitioner. However, better-informed patients can sometimes lead to greater problems as the validity and source of the information they educate themselves from can often be questionable, and negative reviews on online forums can affect a healthcare provider, product or practitioner adversely.
4. Personalized marketing
Throughout a patient’s life, there are many reasons why they would seek out healthcare – from routine ailments to life threatening illnesses. Healthcare marketers are at an intersection where in order to successfully market to patients throughout their lives, they need greater access to data to be able to accurately market products and services to individuals. Although there is an abundance of data, personalization is difficult; marketers are able to support the patient journey, however, due to patient confidentiality they are unable to deliver a truly personalized individual message.
5. Building and maintaining trust
Without trust in healthcare marketing, you have nothing. Trust is gained through positive, easily digestible communications supported through research. In an era of self-diagnosis, marketers can maximize their company’s position as a trusted authoritative industry voice through the careful creation of informative and reliable content about healthcare services and products. The major challenge is maintaining trust, it is hard to win and easily lost in an industry where reputation is everything.
Rising to the challenges
The healthcare industry faces ever-evolving challenges and marketers must adapt to the empowered patients or healthcare providers of today in order to answer their needs. The industry as a whole may be slow to adopt digital communications, but the speed of innovation in patient care and the focus on patient centricity shows that the industry has the potential to think outside the box or invest in partners who do.
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