When Disruptive Marketing is Necessary in Health Care:

Four reasons your health care brand needs to realign around consumers (who have the control)
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What is disruptive marketing, and can it apply to health care?  According to Marketing-Schools.org, the approach to traditional marketing involved companies developing products or services and then implementing strategies to help attract new customers to their business.  But times have changed.  Today’s consumers drive a market, not just the business.  Therefore, companies must tap into a market’s mood and provide what customers what. This is where disruptive marketing takes its cue.

So, in health care, who’s minding the store these days? Marketers? Patients? Both? Neither?  There have not been times quite like these. It’s NOT business as usual. Why? Technology, big data, population health, larger deductibles, retailer clinics, value-based vs fee-for-service, Obamacare, Trumpcare and so on.

Business models and marketing axioms that worked in the past don’t apply here any longer.  We have reached a crossroad in healthcare: Consumerism and Wellness. On the one-hand value-added health is rooted in the paradigm shift to keep populations well and minimize hospital intervention.  On the other, given more patient financial responsibility and higher deductibles, consumer control and choice is greater than ever when “shopping” the price of health care.  The need for marketing disruption is necessary more than ever. And it has to do with replacing brand-centric planning with patient-centric strategies. 

Make no mistake, patients are gaining control.  Here are four reasons that your health care brand needs to align more strongly around what patients want:

Go-to-Market Model Is Shifting

Planning which was once very linear has significantly evolved.  It must now be dynamic and fluid with the ability to change course in midstream. Think of it this way: an optimized plan isn’t how many multiple touch points are used to deliver the brand message.  Rather the plan needs to have touch points to engage with patients’ needs during critical moments in their journey, with personalized messages that offer brand-based solutions. It’s about when and what the patient wants and no longer about you. At Gatesman, we’ve led and observed numerous Go-to-Market plans among health care entities. We understand successful disruptive plans will require unwavering stakeholder commitment and strong internal sell-in every step of the way.

Hyper-Targeting Poses the Biggest Challenges

Assuming yesterday’s patient profiles will work with today’s evolved patients will badly miss the mark. Armed with more data than before makes today’s patient journeys richer and the decision-making points more granular. This requires the ability to mine more data and develop hyper-targeting profiles to understand where your health care brand will best intersect with them. One of Gatesman’s strengths is that we hack human behavior, meaning we use a combination of artificial intelligence, consumer behavior modeling, social listening tools and the minds of our experienced strategists to drill deep into real time attitudes and motivations.

Digital Media has Turned the Tables

Through the proliferation of digital media, consumers now have a significant voice in shaping a brand and are doing just that.  This is especially true in health care - which is a category whose users have among the highest interaction with digital and social media. They write online reviews of hospitals and doctors and are influenced by other patients who write them. Because of that, they have the ability to do a deep dive on any ailment, affliction, procedure, hospital and doctor and are motivated to do so. They are better informed which gives them strong opinions when it comes to managing their health and which professionals they will chose. Their influence over doctors’ decisions on treatment options, surgery procedures and medication has grown exponentially.

Shift from Brand Perception Metrics to Social Listening

The old days of using Attitude and Awareness studies as the sole source of benchmarking are gone. While they have a role, new social listening technologies offer the opportunity to garner real time insights that identify current patient fears and needs. Aligning those needs with the right offerings and messaging will better persuade and motivate. At Gatesman, our work in the health care space – from insurers to large health systems to small community hospitals and by service lines like heart, woman’s health, cancer, neurology, orthopedics, surgery - has provided us with true insights into what drives the behavior of our client’s primary target audiences. Each has a very different patient journey by type of affliction and gender, so marketers need to personalize their messages to add value and provide solutions. Leveraging the power of AI is well suited to tease out these patient concerns and their motivating behaviors to build a smart content marketing strategy that breaks through and drives true engagement.

What are your pain point and how can we help you now?

Hopefully your health care entity is already addressing ways to disrupt old marketing axioms with new consumer-centric strategies. Today, these strategies must be based on consumer insights that will help bring both relevancy and saliency to the brand.  If you’re feeling your entity is lagging in this area, we have experience with real time social listening to develop disruptive go-to-market plans in these challenging times.  We would love to start a conversation.

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