Close

How can we help you?

We want to hear from you. And it’s easy to reach us. Give us a shout at 844-886-2252, send us an email at hello@mediumgiant.co, visit our contact page, or fill out the form right here. You can expect a response within two business days.

Close

What are you looking for?

It’s time for marketers to embrace the consumerization of health care

The consumerization of health care isn’t just a trend. It’s a revolution. 

Not since the introduction of WebMD in 1996 has consumer-centric health care seen such rapid growth. Spurred by the pandemic, patients are taking control of their own health care, shopping for providers using retail barometers such as convenience, customer service, and pricing. For better or worse, patient loyalty is no longer tied exclusively to clinical prowess. 

The health care industry has responded, making major strides in the adoption of telehealth, online bill paying, and other digital enhancements. Trust in doctors and nurses remains high at around 85%

But there’s still a long way to go. In a recent national health care survey, nearly 60% of adults felt that health care institutions such as hospitals and health systems were putting business ahead of patients, acting as barriers rather than facilitators. As a result, people are looking for new ways to access the health care they need, leading to increased competition from retailers.

Massive changes in the industry require health care marketers to adapt quickly to meet people’s new expectations. 

60% of adults feel that health care institutions are putting business ahead of patients.

Big-box retailers: the new gatekeepers to health care access?

The health care landscape has changed radically as retailers such as Walmart and CVS have entered the marketplace, making access to care more convenient:

National retailers such as these have vast resources not available to most conventional health care providers: thousands of locations, a strong online presence, experience in multichannel service delivery, and expertise in managing and leveraging consumer data for profit. 

Health care marketers need to adjust to this new reality

Marketing health care products and services gets tougher every day. The influx of competition from nontraditional sources has resulted in double-digit increases in year-over-year health care advertising expenditures

Forecasts call for another double-digit increase in health care ad spend in 2023. A large percentage of this spending will come from retailers positioning themselves as the consumer-friendly alternative to traditional health care providers. 

For the most part, health care marketers have been slow to adjust to these competitive challenges. To survive the new reality, marketers must do more than generate awareness. They must find a way to truly differentiate the brand in an overcrowded marketplace. At the same time, health care marketers must do something they’ve never done well in the past: aggressively pursue patient trial and conversion. 

3 key focus areas for health care marketers

Health care marketers that fully embrace a people-first approach will see success. From our experience working with health care brands, we’ve identified three key areas of focus.

Focus no. 1: Revisit your brand identity

It’s time for health care marketers to take a good, hard look at their brand. What does it mean to patients? What makes it unique among competitors offering the same services? Why are you a better choice? These are the questions that today’s brand marketers must answer. 

Establishing a brand identity that effectively positions you against the competition — both traditional and nontraditional — is the toughest and most critical task of today’s health care marketers. Rising costs and lack of accessibility to providers fuel the perception that health care institutions are more focused on business than patient care.

Health care brands must reconnect with the people they serve by acknowledging them as partners as well as patients. They must support patients’ desires to be informed by focusing on education rather than promotion. They must stress expertise without minimizing the patient’s role in decision-making. They must initiate honest conversations about health care costs and accessibility, emphasizing everything they are doing to address those concerns. 

In short, health care marketers must rethink everything. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Audit your current brand assets to ensure your visual identity and core messaging reflect a patient-first mentality.
  2. Evaluate your current media mix. Are you delivering the right message at the right point in the decision-making process?
  1. Recognize patients as partners by educating them rather than promoting your services. Give them the information they need to make smart health care decisions. 

Focus no. 2: Be where your patients are online — and make the experience accessible

Retailers entering the health care marketplace will always have an advantage in terms of convenience, but there are tactics health care marketers can use to blunt the competitive impact. Start by positioning yourself as confidante to the knowledge-seeking patient. Tout advances in accessibility such as telehealth, online appointment-making, patient portals, and expanded hours. 

But talking about accessibility is one thing. Demonstrating it is something else. Health care brands must be where their prospective patients are searching, with accurate and valuable information, and they must design usable, helpful digital experiences for everyone. 

Search drives 3 times more visitors to medical institution sites compared to nonsearch. In most medical verticals, more than 60% of consumers conduct a search before scheduling an appointment. 

But their searches won’t be exhaustive, so health care providers must show up near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) to be considered. Consequently, search engine optimization (SEO) should be first and foremost in the minds of health care marketers — the benefits of which can be amplified with paid search.

Due to the rise of searches with local intent — e.g., “near me” searches — health care brands with physical locations need to show up in the map pack when potential patients are looking for services nearby. A thoughtful local SEO strategy can help raise your visibility in the map pack, complement your paid media efforts, and reach people in their moments of need. 

Accessibility also means building an inclusive, frictionless digital experience — whether that’s a website or an app — so that every visitor, regardless of ability, can use it. When ease of access is a key decision driver, there’s no place for a difficult site experience that hinders or excludes audiences. Perhaps more important, accessibility in public spaces — including websites — is the law, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Critical to succeeding in both search and on your website is creating educational and resourceful content that not only demonstrates your authority on health care topics, but also your empathy for your patients. Publish at a regular cadence, and don’t forget about distribution through channels such as social media or email. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Prioritize search engine optimization — including local SEO — supplemented by paid search, so prospective patients can find you.
  2. Build an accessible, functional, and usable website, as it’s your most valuable marketing asset. 
  3. Publish and distribute high-quality, patient-centric content that builds confidence and trust in you and your services.

Focus no. 3: Take a retail approach to patient acquisition

People actively “shop” for health care services, from primary care doctors to specialists, hospitals to nursing homes. Converting “shoppers” into “buyers” requires a retail mentality. 

Relax. We’re not talking about discount coupons and half-off sales. But health care marketers can no longer be satisfied with coaxing prospects into the top of the sales funnel by building brand awareness and preference. They must work to drive prospective patients deeper into the funnel and convert them at the end.

This means supporting branding efforts with marketing tactics designed to move prospects to action. Among the most effective of these tactics is direct mail, already a mainstay of health care marketing, primarily because nearly 60% of total health spending comes from people age 55 and over. For this audience, messages delivered in tactile formats such as direct mail are the most trusted forms of advertising. 

Health care marketers are realizing the effectiveness of this approach: As a result, the health care industry saw a 26% increase in the use of print media 2022

Retail marketing pays a great deal of attention to the call to action (CTA), driving prospects to brick-and-mortar locations through offers and events such as free screenings, educational seminars, and, where applicable, product trials. When building a CTA, ask yourself “What do I want the prospect to do next? How will I move them to take action?” 

A strong CTA must include a phone number: 88% of health care appointments are still scheduled by phone. Not surprisingly, phone calls convert 30 times faster and result in 10-15 times more revenue than digital leads. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Define measurable business and marketing metrics and craft strong CTAs to achieve your objectives.
  2. Use data to segment core audiences and target lookalikes within your market footprint.
  3. Support digital efforts with tactile marketing tactics such as direct mail to engage and convert the 55+ consumer.
  4. Convert “shoppers” by retargeting website visitors with actionable messages.

Marketing can be the difference maker

Can traditional health care providers compete with Walmart, Best Buy, and other major retailers entering the health care arena? The answer is yes — with the help of marketing that truly differentiates traditional providers from their retail competitors, acknowledges patients as partners, and aggressively pursues patient conversion. 

Providers have a real opportunity to reshape the conversation about health care today. Remember, 60% of consumers feel that health care institutions are more interested in profit than in patient care. Retail giants entering the health care industry will undoubtedly face the same obstacle — to a much greater degree. Can Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon really convince people they put patients over profits? 

The consumerization of health care isn’t going away, but it can be used to help traditional providers reconnect and engage with patients on their terms. 

It’s time for marketers to embrace — and benefit from — the new health care reality. 

It’s time for marketers to embrace the consumerization of health care

The consumerization of health care isn’t just a trend. It’s a revolution. 

Not since the introduction of WebMD in 1996 has consumer-centric health care seen such rapid growth. Spurred by the pandemic, patients are taking control of their own health care, shopping for providers using retail barometers such as convenience, customer service, and pricing. For better or worse, patient loyalty is no longer tied exclusively to clinical prowess. 

The health care industry has responded, making major strides in the adoption of telehealth, online bill paying, and other digital enhancements. Trust in doctors and nurses remains high at around 85%

But there’s still a long way to go. In a recent national health care survey, nearly 60% of adults felt that health care institutions such as hospitals and health systems were putting business ahead of patients, acting as barriers rather than facilitators. As a result, people are looking for new ways to access the health care they need, leading to increased competition from retailers.

Massive changes in the industry require health care marketers to adapt quickly to meet people’s new expectations. 

60% of adults feel that health care institutions are putting business ahead of patients.

Big-box retailers: the new gatekeepers to health care access?

The health care landscape has changed radically as retailers such as Walmart and CVS have entered the marketplace, making access to care more convenient:

National retailers such as these have vast resources not available to most conventional health care providers: thousands of locations, a strong online presence, experience in multichannel service delivery, and expertise in managing and leveraging consumer data for profit. 

Health care marketers need to adjust to this new reality

Marketing health care products and services gets tougher every day. The influx of competition from nontraditional sources has resulted in double-digit increases in year-over-year health care advertising expenditures

Forecasts call for another double-digit increase in health care ad spend in 2023. A large percentage of this spending will come from retailers positioning themselves as the consumer-friendly alternative to traditional health care providers. 

For the most part, health care marketers have been slow to adjust to these competitive challenges. To survive the new reality, marketers must do more than generate awareness. They must find a way to truly differentiate the brand in an overcrowded marketplace. At the same time, health care marketers must do something they’ve never done well in the past: aggressively pursue patient trial and conversion. 

3 key focus areas for health care marketers

Health care marketers that fully embrace a people-first approach will see success. From our experience working with health care brands, we’ve identified three key areas of focus.

Focus no. 1: Revisit your brand identity

It’s time for health care marketers to take a good, hard look at their brand. What does it mean to patients? What makes it unique among competitors offering the same services? Why are you a better choice? These are the questions that today’s brand marketers must answer. 

Establishing a brand identity that effectively positions you against the competition — both traditional and nontraditional — is the toughest and most critical task of today’s health care marketers. Rising costs and lack of accessibility to providers fuel the perception that health care institutions are more focused on business than patient care.

Health care brands must reconnect with the people they serve by acknowledging them as partners as well as patients. They must support patients’ desires to be informed by focusing on education rather than promotion. They must stress expertise without minimizing the patient’s role in decision-making. They must initiate honest conversations about health care costs and accessibility, emphasizing everything they are doing to address those concerns. 

In short, health care marketers must rethink everything. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Audit your current brand assets to ensure your visual identity and core messaging reflect a patient-first mentality.
  2. Evaluate your current media mix. Are you delivering the right message at the right point in the decision-making process?
  1. Recognize patients as partners by educating them rather than promoting your services. Give them the information they need to make smart health care decisions. 

Focus no. 2: Be where your patients are online — and make the experience accessible

Retailers entering the health care marketplace will always have an advantage in terms of convenience, but there are tactics health care marketers can use to blunt the competitive impact. Start by positioning yourself as confidante to the knowledge-seeking patient. Tout advances in accessibility such as telehealth, online appointment-making, patient portals, and expanded hours. 

But talking about accessibility is one thing. Demonstrating it is something else. Health care brands must be where their prospective patients are searching, with accurate and valuable information, and they must design usable, helpful digital experiences for everyone. 

Search drives 3 times more visitors to medical institution sites compared to nonsearch. In most medical verticals, more than 60% of consumers conduct a search before scheduling an appointment. 

But their searches won’t be exhaustive, so health care providers must show up near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) to be considered. Consequently, search engine optimization (SEO) should be first and foremost in the minds of health care marketers — the benefits of which can be amplified with paid search.

Due to the rise of searches with local intent — e.g., “near me” searches — health care brands with physical locations need to show up in the map pack when potential patients are looking for services nearby. A thoughtful local SEO strategy can help raise your visibility in the map pack, complement your paid media efforts, and reach people in their moments of need. 

Accessibility also means building an inclusive, frictionless digital experience — whether that’s a website or an app — so that every visitor, regardless of ability, can use it. When ease of access is a key decision driver, there’s no place for a difficult site experience that hinders or excludes audiences. Perhaps more important, accessibility in public spaces — including websites — is the law, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Critical to succeeding in both search and on your website is creating educational and resourceful content that not only demonstrates your authority on health care topics, but also your empathy for your patients. Publish at a regular cadence, and don’t forget about distribution through channels such as social media or email. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Prioritize search engine optimization — including local SEO — supplemented by paid search, so prospective patients can find you.
  2. Build an accessible, functional, and usable website, as it’s your most valuable marketing asset. 
  3. Publish and distribute high-quality, patient-centric content that builds confidence and trust in you and your services.

Focus no. 3: Take a retail approach to patient acquisition

People actively “shop” for health care services, from primary care doctors to specialists, hospitals to nursing homes. Converting “shoppers” into “buyers” requires a retail mentality. 

Relax. We’re not talking about discount coupons and half-off sales. But health care marketers can no longer be satisfied with coaxing prospects into the top of the sales funnel by building brand awareness and preference. They must work to drive prospective patients deeper into the funnel and convert them at the end.

This means supporting branding efforts with marketing tactics designed to move prospects to action. Among the most effective of these tactics is direct mail, already a mainstay of health care marketing, primarily because nearly 60% of total health spending comes from people age 55 and over. For this audience, messages delivered in tactile formats such as direct mail are the most trusted forms of advertising. 

Health care marketers are realizing the effectiveness of this approach: As a result, the health care industry saw a 26% increase in the use of print media 2022

Retail marketing pays a great deal of attention to the call to action (CTA), driving prospects to brick-and-mortar locations through offers and events such as free screenings, educational seminars, and, where applicable, product trials. When building a CTA, ask yourself “What do I want the prospect to do next? How will I move them to take action?” 

A strong CTA must include a phone number: 88% of health care appointments are still scheduled by phone. Not surprisingly, phone calls convert 30 times faster and result in 10-15 times more revenue than digital leads. 

More marketing tips:

  1. Define measurable business and marketing metrics and craft strong CTAs to achieve your objectives.
  2. Use data to segment core audiences and target lookalikes within your market footprint.
  3. Support digital efforts with tactile marketing tactics such as direct mail to engage and convert the 55+ consumer.
  4. Convert “shoppers” by retargeting website visitors with actionable messages.

Marketing can be the difference maker

Can traditional health care providers compete with Walmart, Best Buy, and other major retailers entering the health care arena? The answer is yes — with the help of marketing that truly differentiates traditional providers from their retail competitors, acknowledges patients as partners, and aggressively pursues patient conversion. 

Providers have a real opportunity to reshape the conversation about health care today. Remember, 60% of consumers feel that health care institutions are more interested in profit than in patient care. Retail giants entering the health care industry will undoubtedly face the same obstacle — to a much greater degree. Can Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon really convince people they put patients over profits? 

The consumerization of health care isn’t going away, but it can be used to help traditional providers reconnect and engage with patients on their terms. 

It’s time for marketers to embrace — and benefit from — the new health care reality. 

Want content like this delivered to your inbox?

More Like This

Fundamental website principles graphic
September 22, 2022
Intelligence
Intelligence, Inbound Marketing, Web Development
1352
Accessible website design photo illustration
October 6, 2022
Intelligence
Intelligence, Web Development
355
Collage graphic with woman at a switchboard
September 1, 2022
Intelligence
Intelligence, Inbound Marketing
624