Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2018

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Blue tower viewer over the ocean[First of two parts. For 2018 planning and beyond.] It’s downright tough, but to consistently attract new patients, hospital executives, doctors and marketing professionals contend with a changing landscape. Tracking with the latest trends and visions in healthcare marketing is a future-think exercise in planning.

When you have the time for a high-altitude view, a moment or two of reflection reveals some of the ways that society is shifting. The Internet and the digital world—themselves significant players in healthcare marketing—are making noticeable adjustments in many areas of daily living.

Things that are disappearing from society’s stage…

Consider these examples, and envision how they will impact marketing trends and advertising.

The checkless society. The nation’s financial system now facilitates Point-of-Purchase credit cards, debit cards, checkless online bank payments, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and a handful of other digital transactions. The world of finance knows there’s a time-value to money and the speed of an online purchase or payment is faster than applying a postage stamp.

News without the paper. The old-fashioned newspaper—with ink on paper—is shrinking into near non-existence. Yes, some print editions still exist. But the number of publications, the physical size of the paper and the readership/circulation are evaporating. And revenues from paid display advertising dwindle with the once-dominant readership.

Who needs a fax machine? Kiplinger calls it a thing that refuses to die. Only a few doctors’ offices, pharmacies and some select businesses still have a fax machine. We’re not sure why the digital age hasn’t managed to finally stamp out this Neolithic holdover.

What follows are some of the fascinating, look-ahead ideas from our constant-sweep agency radar. One year ago this week, our periscope highlighted several trends for the then-year ahead. Among these, you’ll want to continue to monitor and adjust strategy and tactics for these critical concepts:

Optimize for the mobile screen first. The little screen is everywhere and the universal first-tier for healthcare marketing. Virtually everyone in the US (95 percent) owns a cell phone of some kind. But more significantly, better than 75 percent of Americans own smartphones, according to Pew Research. For the demographic ages 18 to 29 (the sweet-spot group who have never been without the Internet), smartphone ownership is over 90 percent. Sending and receiving email, making Internet connections and doing immediate online research is constantly and instantly in their hand.

Personalize, individualize and benefit. With a smartphone in everyone’s pocket, marketing delivery systems are more sophisticated and precise. Systems now identify user location, interests and deliver timely, personalized and relevant content on a one-to-one basis. And the payback is significant. It’s no surprise that HubSpot research tells us that personalized content outperforms non-personalized content by better than 40 percent. In another survey, over 80 percent of marketing professionals credit personalization with better results. As digital marketing automation creates a user profile, relevant, and highly personalized messaging generates greater interest and better response. Geofencing or geotargeting technology, for example, is able to identify where the consumer and their smart device are located. And retargeting systems, as another example, presents ads to individuals where the activity profile has demonstrated a particular interest.

Enhance your 2018 healthcare marketing plan with strategies, tactics and ideas from our future-think list. See Part Two: More Marketing Visions and Trends for 2018 Planning.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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