By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
We spot something new in healthcare marketing and advertising almost daily. And a few new things make enough of a splash to hold our attention. Three items worth sharing crossed our radar recently.
Facebook Canvas is in the “here and now” category. We would call Care Messenger “emerging, with potential.” And Virtual Reality Marketing, is just over the healthcare horizon. (As brief note of disclosure, we don’t have any business connection with these companies, but advances and topics like these are worthy pulse points.)
What is this? First up is an innovative advertising feature from the universally popular and reigning social champ. Facebook Canvas is self-described as “a full-screen ad experience for bringing brands and products to life on mobile.”
This new ad format may not be right for every hospital or healthcare advertiser, but it’s new and worth consideration. It offers an expanded ad space for storytelling, directed at mobile users as the prime audience. Canvas is a customizable, multi-media presentation stage for products and services.
“Canvas is a full-screen, mobile-optimized, post-click experience that can feature a combination of images, videos, text and links. People who tap an ad with a Canvas on their mobile phones or tablets can interact with the Canvas through taps, pans and swipes without leaving Facebook. A Canvas can also link off to your website where people can learn more about your business or purchase items they browsed on the Canvas.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, it will not be long before at least a few of Facebook’s 1.5 million active advertisers get on the creative bandwagon. Until then, the Facebook for Business Help Center provides an example.
What is this? Mobile devices remain center stage for communications designed specifically for doctors. Several companies are forging innovative applications that provide greater connectivity and collaboration between and among provider, patient, colleagues and staff. One such app—which is free from Apple iTunes—is Care Messenger by Spruce Health.
This company says: “Spruce is a digital care platform for doctors and their teams. It makes collaborating around care simple, pleasant and efficient. You get a dedicated second phone line (SMS/voice) and email to separate patient communication into a new, unified inbox on your phone. Practice-related SMS/voice/email in one place organized by patient threads. Add colleagues for documented and secure collaboration.”
The benefits for the provider include productivity advantages of secure, real-time collaboration. And with many patients feeling that healthcare is stuck in the digital dark ages, the enhanced patient-provider communications capabilities have strong customer appeal. And from a marketing perspective, tools like Spruce Care Messenger take the doctor-patient interaction in a positive direction.
What is this? Depending on the source of your choice, 2016 is predicted to be “a breakthrough year for virtual reality marketing.” The word “breakthrough” isn’t clearly defined, but it’s evident that VR technology has made strong inroads with the public via gaming applications. And in healthcare, VR—which is well established in professional medical education—continues to advance in select clinical applications.
In our perspective, virtual reality is well short of a mainstream marketing opportunity for hospital, medical practice and healthcare marketers. That said, the immersive, 3D experience—for advertising, marketing and content storytelling—appears to hold strong potential for…well, sometime yet to come. Stay tuned for more on VR healthcare marketing.