How to better reach consumers — even with a strapped budget

Health care marketing executives are in a difficult position. They are told they need to appeal to more consumers — without increasing their budget — to demonstrate a return on the invested budget dollars to the health system leadership. Here, we provide several tactics to demonstrate trackable ROI on marketing campaigns without blowing the budget.

The first way to appeal to more consumers is to switch from mass media to targeted digital media. In the past, health system advertising appeared mostly on television or in newspapers, but finally, in 2016, internet and mobile advertising surpassed newspaper advertisement spend.1 By heavily reducing the use of mass media such as billboards, newspaper ads and sports team sponsorship, marketers can cut wasted advertising dollars spent on consumers who are not likely to convert to buyers. With targeted digital media, marketers can send tailored messages to consumers with a higher frequency than mass media. Digital advertising allows marketer to quickly iterate messages that are sent to consumers and conduct rapid A/B testing to shift to the most effective strategy. The technology and capabilities for this type of digital advertising are currently out in the market today, but they have yet to reach their potential by health system marketers.

Big data has advanced marketing closer to being able to accurately track and analyze all interactions to inform customer experience.2 However, health care is behind other industries, and each year, 60% of health system marketers utilizing CRMs are losing confidence in their ability to use the tool.3 Unlike data from other industries, health care data is constantly changing and being updated while also being highly regulated through HIPAA, and it’s difficult to access because of interoperability issues. Due to the highly complex nature of this data, it makes more sense for health system marketing departments to follow the same trend as Marketing Automation tools,4 and outsource the capabilities to a more qualified provider.

Internal marketing departments at health systems were not common 20 years ago5 and, traditionally, health system marketers have been strongest in traditional marketing approaches over digital marketing. Yet, here in 2019, digital marketing provides higher returns and better growth opportunities for health systems. So, budget dollars spent inefficiently on digital marketing efforts by the same staff that is mainly using their CRM system for list generation6 could be spent more productively by outsourcing these capabilities to achieve a higher growth rate for the same budget. Health systems that switch to digital marketing and follow the trend of outsourcing their CRM capabilities can achieve growth even when working with a cash-strapped budget.

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About the author

Ford-Tyler-headshotTyler Ford
Principal, Consumer Acquisition Services

Tyler Ford leads Optum’s Consumer Acquisition unit. Tyler is responsible for leading Optum’s efforts to leverage data to transform healthcare providers’ consumer strategies to drive outsized growth and better patient engagement. Tyler works directly with many of the nation’s leading healthcare brands on growth initiatives, including marketing and loyalty, patient access, and consumer product design.

Medical Marketing in the United States, 1997-2016; Journal of the American Medical Association; pg. 82; Lisa Schwartz, Steven Woloshin; January 2019.
2 The Next Generation of Enterprise Marketing Technology; Forrester; Joe Stanhope; pg.2; Dec. 2018.
3 The 4th Annual State of Digital Healthcare Marketing Report; pg. 31; January 2019; Klein & Partners.
4 The 4th Annual State of Digital Healthcare Marketing Report; pg. 61; January 2019; Klein & Partners.
5 Medical Marketing in the United States, 1997-2016; Journal of the American Medical Association; pg. 90; Lisa Schwartz, Steven Woloshin; January 2019.
6 The 4th Annual State of Digital Healthcare Marketing Report; pg.11; January 2019; Klein & Partners.

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