Healthcare companies of every kind are faced with a daunting reality—an industry that is evolving unpredictably owing to many different factors. Changes in healthcare marketing are arguably unmatched when compared to other industries.
Today’s customer is vastly different from the customer of the past, and the customer persona has changed enough to keep healthcare marketers on their toes at all times. To keep up with the changing industry, they must put considerable effort into understanding consumers, assessing their needs and preferences and providing products and services that suit their shifting needs.
Consumers are beginning to take a more active role when making healthcare decisions. It is for this very reason that healthcare marketers need to pay heed to their needs and adapt in order to remain relevant in today’s market. In addition to driving volume, marketers now have to evaluate what the consumers want so they can market to them correctly.
Changes in Healthcare Marketing
It’s impossible to foretell the future of this industry, but analysing healthcare marketing trends gives us a clearer picture of where we’re headed. These trends are worth observing, evaluating and incorporating into your thinking and planning.
As the healthcare industry evolves, marketers need to do the same if they want to stay on top of their game.
Here are the most significant changes in healthcare marketing today.
Increasingly informed consumers
The Internet has had a major impact on how today’s consumer thinks. They no longer blindly follow the advice their healthcare providers have to offer. Instead they make informed decisions based on research they’ve done themselves. To them, healthcare is a collaborative effort between them and their doctor.
They research their symptoms and conditions, and consider various treatment options with the physician. For this reason, it’s very important for healthcare marketers to take into account not just their client’s needs but how the consumers of a product or service think and what their expectations are.
Increased competition and regulation
As technology advances, we’re also seeing an influx of new start-ups and consumer technologies in the healthcare industry. These new players are trying to capitalize on the opportunities a changing market has to offer. A wide variety of smartphone apps, medical devices, and wearable health devices are now available to consumers to choose from to manage their health. These options will significantly change how consumers approach healthcare and influence the present healthcare market in numerous ways.
As a result of increased competition within the healthcare industry, healthcare providers, medical device companies and marketers are considering and pursuing novel marketing activities to boost their business. But healthcare providers, when contemplating marketing strategies, need to consider compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which essentially defines what constitutes marketing and the regulations that healthcare marketers must follow. As the industry increasingly focuses on patient engagement, it is important to treat your customers as unique individuals and comply with regulations that call for their privacy and preferences.
To engage with and improve the healthcare experience of today’s consumer, medical companies must constantly improve their ability to deliver information in real time. This means providing care to consumers at the same moment they are learning and making important decisions about their healthcare options.
While adhering to regulations, healthcare companies must make changes to both their internal and external operations in order to reach the consumer in real time. Real-time communications improve health outcomes for patients, ultimately benefitting everyone involved.
Superior content wins patients
Communication with consumers has never been more significant than it is today, and marketers need to present content that authoritative, stimulating and shareable. The Internet has become the gateway to successful healthcare marketing, which is why marketers benefit from providing content that is interesting and reliable. As mentioned before, consumers search online for information that is appealing, trustworthy and valuable to them. Healthcare marketers need to keep working on their communication strategies if they want to compete for the reader’s attention.
Anywhere, anytime care
The rapid advancement of technological innovation means that healthcare will become more accessible to patients. Eventually, care will be provided to them anywhere and at any time. This shift will greatly affect the diagnostics and medical device industry. New players will employ aggressive strategies to deliver consumer-oriented solutions aimed to satisfy health and clinical needs, and traditional healthcare companies need to do the same.
Marketing care and wellness, not products
Overall wellness is becoming increasingly important to the consumer. To successfully market to patients, we need to shift from the idea of marketing products to marketing actual care where the patient’s health and needs are the first priority. This means the focus should primarily be on health and wellness as opposed to only treatment after a diagnosis. Marketers should focus on wellness awareness to target consumers that are healthy, and digital marketing and social media play an important role here.
Facing economic pressures
By now, its common knowledge the healthcare industry in most countries is under significant economic pressure. Healthcare systems must attempt to improve the health outcomes for patients while lowering costs at the same time. For medical device companies this means settling for a more prudent and selective customer base. The cost pressures on the healthcare sector are trickling down to medical device companies and other healthcare companies.
Healthcare marketers need to understand that these pressures will only increase and be driven by companies that do not belong do the traditional healthcare category—for example, Apple, Google and Samsung. To keep up, marketers will have to improve customer healthcare experiences and truly innovate to give consumers an unmatched service/product.
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