Healthcare goes digital — and personal

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Thanks to a new breed of marketing tools, the healthcare industry is finally able to put customers front and center. Other industries have spent years pushing the boundaries of customer experience — from personalization to relevant content to predictive insights — raising the bar across all industries. As a traditionally slower-moving industry that needs to adhere to strict privacy regulations, healthcare hasn’t been able to keep pace with changing customer expectations.

Until now.

Making up for lost time with marketing automation

The latest generation of marketing automation tools makes it easier for healthcare organizations to remain compliant with privacy and security regulations and connect with consumers on a personal basis.

While compliance plays an important role in protecting patient privacy, it also prevents healthcare companies from establishing the deep relationships and customer advocacy enjoyed by brands in other industries. As a result, the industry has had a long-standing reputation for generic, impersonal marketing. Now that consumers expect more from their healthcare providers — and COVID-19 forces every industry into offering more digital experiences — marketing automation solutions have had to evolve.

A little automation goes a long way

In a competitive marketplace, it’s crucial for healthcare organizations to attract, engage, and retain the right types of customers. With marketing automation, you can quickly and easily segment groups of customers based on shared interests and needs. This paves the way for healthcare organizations to ask for the necessary permissions to personalize customer experiences even further.

Once a prospect becomes a patient, the possibilities become even more exciting. Healthcare marketers can use marketing automation to communicate with patients in between visits to keep health maintenance top of mind. For instances when there are serious health concerns, such as a chronic illness, marketing automation can help with reminders to administer prescriptions, get refills, and schedule necessary check-up appointments.

With marketing automation, healthcare providers can extend their care outside of office visits. Every small nudge and reminder made possible by marketing automation can help patients achieve better outcomes.

The healthcare customer is always right

Because the healthcare industry is dominated by highly skilled specialists, consumers’ preferences have often been downplayed in favor of established norms. The growing importance of digital experiences, however, means that healthcare is being held to the same standards as every other type of business. Consumer preferences are more meaningful now than ever — and the healthcare organizations that understand this will become the industry’s new leaders.

Ease of use, personalization, and transparency are high on consumers’ list of preferences. But healthcare is known for being difficult to navigate, whether it’s finding the right provider, filling prescriptions, or understanding bills. This, coupled with generic marketing, can lead to negative customer experiences. Today’s consumers are no longer willing to put up with the complexity and confusion of their healthcare provider if a better option is available.

In fact, consumers are more willing than ever to share their data with healthcare organizations in exchange for an improved experience. It’s no longer just quality of care that they are looking for — it’s also a user-friendly website, simple digital communication options, relevant content, and every other hallmark of a positive digital experience. Consumers are even going so far as to change providers to get the kind of experience they want.

While the healthcare professional may know best, it’s time for healthcare marketers to start listening to their customers.

How marketing automation can help

No matter what industry you work in, marketing automation is the smart way to deliver personal customer experiences at scale. Here’s a quick summary of how modern marketing automation solutions can help grow your healthcare business.

Strategically organize your audiences with powerful segmentation tools: Audience segmentation is a critical first step in delivering relevant customer experiences. With the right segments, you can foster deeper connections with consumers — and prime them to opt in to sharing personal information for an even better healthcare experience.

Stay top of mind with consumers, even between visits: Educational materials, social media posts, check-up reminders — there are countless ways to use content to extend the patient experience beyond office visits. But content only works when it’s relevant to your customers. Marketing automation can make sure you’re delivering the right type of content to your customers, right when they need it.

Streamline communications across every channel: A consistent experience is vital to building customer trust, especially in healthcare. Marketing automation can help ensure consistent and tailored messaging across all your channels so your message makes an impact. It’s also more efficient — create your messages once and let your marketing automation adapt them for each channel.

Show the impact of your marketing efforts: With modern marketing automation software, you can clearly see what’s working — and what’s not. For healthcare marketers with tight budgets, this is critical in proving your effectiveness and securing more budget down the road. More importantly, however, visibility into your campaigns means you can continually improve and optimize your customer experiences.

With today’s advances in marketing automation technology, healthcare organizations have the power to create customer experiences that rival any brand, regardless of industry. As circumstances such as COVID-19 push healthcare more fully into the digital world, it’s this technology that will help the industry continue to grow.