In light of a recent trip to Ft. Lauderdale for the RBMA’s Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs event, we have been thinking a lot about the best ways to market to patients. In the healthcare industry, consumerism is on the rise, but coming up with creative and innovative ways to market your product is much harder with intangibles like care. Of course positioning a shiny new toy or new techie product is going to be easier to sell since your can turn even an unwilling buyer into a customer in a 30 second commercial, however with the right campaign for care, you can gain adopters for a lifetime.
The challenges that healthcare marketing professionals face are difficult, but easily combated if approached appropriately. Healthcare tends to make patients think negatively, as considering health services and procedures forces them to ponder flaws, pain, life and death. All of which are simply emotions that are not evoked when someone is trying to decide between the red iPhone case and the blue iPhone case.
The ticket is balancing the emotional with the rational and adding a twist of creativity that engages the patient and makes them remember you. Think about State Farm for instance. They are selling insurance. Nothing brings about negative thoughts more than losing everything when you have an accident, but their marketing campaigns have a special recipe for entertaining you while still having confidence in their services.
Both videos are selling the same product but by playing on two very different facets of human emotion, they both succeed and are memorable. This balance is just as easily attainable in the healthcare field. The key is to think like a patient. This might seem like a simple solution, but by considering the care process your practice can easily determine strengths and examine what truly matters to patients. Ask the questions the patients are asking of your own practice.
- Do they take my insurance?
- How much is this going to cost me out-of-pocket?
- Is this really the best price?
- Are they going to take care of me and answer my questions?
- What if something goes wrong?
- Is this going to be scary or hurt?
- Is their technology up to date?
- Am I getting the care I deserve?
The healthcare industry is not what it used to be thanks to the Internet and patients are turning towards self-education and empowerment. It is important to assure their concerns, provide resources to them and treat them like the power-holders that they are. Making sure that your patients are taking advantage of educational materials while knowing about price shopping and quality measurement tools is an intangible value-added service. Make sure that your patients are comparing apples to apples and are aware of price transparency and they will feel assured that you want the best for them. After all, the goal of healthcare marketing is to put their minds at ease by combating fears with comfort and quality.