By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
[Series Installment: First of Two Parts – Current Marketing Trends] Here are some important but easily overlooked facts about trends in general, and hospital marketing trends specifically.
Trends don’t suddenly explode onto the scene (usually). Allowing for some rare exceptions, healthcare and hospital trends tend to emerge over time. The best observers—professionals who keep ahead of the power curve and the competition—are regular trend watchers. And they adjust and adapt, embracing or avoiding the changes in the wind.
The future isn’t someday. Actually, it’s today. A proactive, trend-watching marketing professional recognizes that trends are the current state of an idea in motion. There’s nothing to be done about the past, or in the “someday future.” Keeping the pulse of a meaningful trend is most useful when it can be applied today. Ask how does this idea or information point to preparation, planning or action right now.
The challenges and opportunities for hospitals and healthcare delivery emerge from an environment of near-constant change. And closely following top hospital industry and marketing trends today allow doctors, hospital executives and marketing professionals to proactively manage the course and direction of change.
Watch these hospital marketing trends closely…
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in Competitive Marketing – The purpose and process of customer relationship management are mature and well established in the retail world. Tech service, financial vendors, retailers and many other businesses have and use a finely tuned, individual-focused CRM system.
Not so in healthcare delivery. For years the primary customer for hospitals were the doctors. But healthcare reform, compensation incentives, technology advances and other dynamics have changed patient into consumers. More than ever, individuals are attracted to easy and convenient options for health care services. Plus they have more choices when selecting a provider. The trend is precision marketing to counter this increasingly competitive marketplace.
Sophisticated CRM systems—including policy, procedures, hardware, software, staffing and training—now focus on reaching the individual consumer. The goals are to create and maintain a continuing relationship with empowered buyers, niche audiences and end-users for hospital services. Hospitals behind this power curve are beginning to draw down on the benefits of CRM. Marketing smart CRM is the key to patient engagement and relationships. Messages reach audiences that are likely to buy and likely to benefit from your services.
Niche Audience and Precision Marketing Segments – Data is the primary fuel of highly effective customer relationship systems. Broad-based advertising that widely splashes general information is bound to miss more qualified prospects than it reaches. It’s an old school idea that’s inefficient and ineffective. But carefully compiled computer data that matches needs, interests and common characteristics can identify select audience groups or niches—and in some instances individuals.
Marketing sophistication becomes proactive and moves to a new level of accuracy when it can target, for example, people with high-risk factors for skin cancer. Or perhaps weekend athletes likely to experience rotator cuff injuries or low back pain. Or the genetics and lifestyle indicators related to type 2 diabetes.
Specific issue audiences or problem-focused segments take marketing beyond basic demographics. Carefully segmented niche audiences are more likely to be responsive to care or service options and are open to a connected relationship.
Our list of trends to watch continues…
The second installment in this series follows this week. Click through for more insight and Hospital Marketing Trends That Demand Your Attention.