The New Hospital Marketing Department and What It Means for Consumers

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At a hospital marketing conference I attended last year, Terri McNorton tweeted that “in the new digital world, you are no longer a creative type if you are a marketer; you are an analyst.”

Hospital marketers are truly at the center of some interesting factors that are converging. When I first started working in the healthcare industry in the late 1990’s, the majority of healthcare marketing departments focused around external communications (mainly press releases), employee communications and newsletters, as well as branding of the organization.

It’s very apparent that there is a shift in focus and resources within healthcare marketing departments to place the consumer at the center of the journey, meet them wherever they are seeking health information and to be responsive and available beyond typical business hours. This is exactly what McNorton is talking about—using the data we have available to create programs that inspire and excite consumers along their journey. One way that hospital marketing departments have reorganized to better meet consumer expectations is by combining patient data insights with the technology at their finger-tips to provide an always on, personalized approach that better engages their patients.

24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, 365 Days a Year
Many hospitals have taken an omni-channel approach with their efforts—which means that they are “always on” across multiple channels. This is really about being a resource to consumers when they are interested in receiving information, instead of hoping they’ll stumble across the hospital website. 

As health care marketing teams have focused more on the entire patient journey, many operational inefficiencies have even been discovered in the process. For example, as a patient, if you fill out a form online requesting an appointment, expectations are that they’ll receive a response within 24 hours. Marketing departments have integrated technology to meet consumer expectations to ensure they connect with patients and potential patients the moment they need information. 

Personalizing the Experience for Patients
All of this data is particularly useful because hospital marketers now have the ability to connect with consumers using information that is most relevant to them. Every day, consumers are overwhelmed with messages and advertisements, which is why the personalization is so necessary. It allows hospitals to illustrate how they can help consumers in their personal journey and serve them, long before they get sick. 

Healthcare marketing teams are hyper focused on the consumer journey and have shifted from general brand promotion to devoting time to understanding the consumer and their behavior around healthcare decision making. And with these insights, they are developing communications that will resonate with consumers, wherever they are searching for information. The hospital marketing department has truly transformed in the past few years –updating their processes to reach patients that are living a digital lifestyle.

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