The New Healthcare Marketing: Measure Twice. Improve Once.

We’ve long said that measurement is one of the consistent deficiencies we observe when it comes to healthcare marketing. We’re typically referring to marketing analytics – reach, engagement, reputation, etc. when we say that. But what really needs to happen is that we measure, well, everything.

Providers today must have a baseline understanding of where they are today so they can either consolidate recent gains or make adjustments based on existing deficiencies (or both). A recent McKinsey study suggests that adoption of digital tools by consumers and businesses has vaulted forward five years in just a few months. It’s happened in healthcare, largely with telehealth. But we have to go deeper. It’s not just spooling up new platforms. It’s ingraining digital thinking into the organization’s psyche, getting buy-in from leadership, making targeted investments in tools and people, and yes, measuring the crap out of everything.

It’s also about setting expectations for what digital thinking can do for healthcare providers. This is where providers are lagging. In our conversations with clients and friends from a variety of healthcare provider organizations, we’re repeatedly hearing that people simply don’t have a great understanding of what the expectations for digital are or should be.

To set those expectations, you have to be able to show what digital can do for your organization. But it’s hard to show what digital can do without having the infrastructure in place to do it.

The fix? Instead of going for the homer, swing for singles and doubles with things like:

  • Listing management
  • Scheduling tools
  • Patient portals
  • Chatbots for frequently asked questions

These are all easy to identify. Not always simple to execute, but manageable. For example, since you want people to find the right information when they search for you online, start with that foundational piece. And if you want people to schedule care at their (and your) convenience, look at online tools.

Let’s be clear: This isn’t optional anymore. Since March, the pandemic has forced providers to get those foundational pieces in place. So much care moved online during the pandemic, and we’re still waiting to see what the new equilibrium looks like. As patient expectations have shifted even more towards digital options, providers desperately need to invest in getting the basics right – even though doing so will take some work.

Aside from being the right thing for patients, it’s important for marketers to think big but act small. You need to know what marketing can do for your organization and what digital tools can do for your marketing. That’s the big thinking. But none of that can happen without the day-to-day execution. Ultimately, it’s about people. It’s too easy to get lost in some of the bigger ideas, which just leads to frustrated consumers, distracted marketing teams and dead ends for everyone. Realistically, we have to focus on connecting with narrow groups of people, driving engagement and helping them find solutions to specific needs.

That’s where precision-based execution comes in. More on that soon.

In the meantime, if you want figure out how your organization stacks up when it comes to digital maturity, check out our new 28-question, 15-minute Digital Maturity Survey. You’ll get a complimentary scorecard and benchmark against industry averages.

Reed Smith
rsmith@jarrardinc.com