Posted: June 22, 2017

We know the world of healthcare marketing technology is complex. With multiple investments that may or may not talk to each other and you’re supposed to be active and engaging on, not to mention ever pressing security and privacy concerns, it’s no wonder we hear the number of questions we do from our clients and prospects.

Our goal is to help you.

So we asked our sales team, those people in the field talking to you, to give us the questions they hear most often. We want to know what answers you need to be more effective at your jobs, to be the heroes of your teams. With the help of our internal experts – people who live and breathe the technology – we found the answers. Without further ado…

You asked. We answered.

1) Is my marketing generating an ROI?
These days, marketing has to be able to prove its worth in dollars. And in order to track ROI, you need the ability to link encounters and revenue to specific marketing activities. Lead management is essential here. When you can follow the bread crumbs from someone who clicked on a social ad or called a trackable phone number to that same person scheduling and paying their bills, you can show true ROI. To do this, you need integration from marketing automation through to your hospital EMR systems.

2) How do I prove that my Marketing is generating net new profitable service line growth and is fulfilling our promise of patient engagement and preference for my brand?
Just like the previous question, you need tracking to prove downstream revenue. Tracking at a campaign level can let you know which service lines are profiting from marketing activities.
Patient engagement, this can be measured by how many people interact with your marketing content. For instance, viewing a video or downloading a whitepaper are good examples of consumer engagement. Brand preference is a different concept altogether and has a lot to do with long-term consumer loyalty. The best way to truly gauge this is through third-party brand awareness surveys. However, awareness is at the top of the marketing funnel for a reason: people are more likely to convert if they have higher level of brand awareness. Measuring awareness (which is somewhat different than preference) is done through metrics such as digital impressions, mail sends, email opens, etc.

3) How can I leverage my marketing technology and reporting to help our system’s population health or community health initiatives?
How you measure and define success for population health efforts has a lot of impact on this question. But, some aspects of population health success can be tracked via lead management for initiatives such as Health Risk Assessments. If your community responds to and takes action after a HRA campaign, that does indicate some positive return.

4) How do I get buy in from my organization to use clinical data for my marketing efforts?
Health decision-making is more and more in the consumer’s hands these days, hence the term healthcare consumerism. Marketing activities are giving consumers the information they need to make better decisions. But, clinical data is critical for tracking the downstream revenue of marketing efforts. This integration allows your organization to see specifically which marketing activities in which service lines are having the greatest impact.
The other side of the coin is that you can also use clinical data to create models of consumers most likely to benefit from certain service lines. You can use these models to reach a wider consumer base with highly relevant campaigns. This predictive modeling component really only works with a healthcare-specific CRM. Healthcare CRMs are built to handle the privacy, security, and HIPAA compliance concerns that CRMs built for retail or hospitality don’t have plan for.

5) What is the ideal channel or call-to-action for net new patients vs. existing patients?
A lot of this varies by a number of factors, such as service line, demographics, and geography. Historically, Google has been the best channel for new patient acquisition. However, it’s no longer adequate to use JUST one channel for acquisition: consumers interact with multiple channels before making an actual decision. For instance, a consumer may see a video ad on Facebook about knee pain, become interested and then Google the term “knee joint pain,” in which an ad might take them to an appointment request form. Key takeaway: it’s not just one channel, it’s all of them.

6) Why do I have so many incorrect physicians and locations in local search results? And, if Google & Healthgrades don’t have my information correct, how are we ever going to provide a good patient experience?
In short, because these listings come from a number of different sources that take updates in different ways, they are very difficult to manage. To truly control your local search results listings, you need more manpower than you probably have available. A managed service, where updates are published to all of the sources for you, helps you stay on top of these listings from one central location. When these listings are consistent and accurate, your patient and consumer experience automatically improves.

7) When did Google replace my website as my virtual front door?
Simple answer – it didn’t. Because consumers are searching for providers and facilities online, Google is the primary referral channel to your website. Showing up near the top of the results is important for visibility, so you do need to manage what you can to improve your ranking. A contemporary CMS does all the hard work for you, putting html/markup and meta data in the right order and in the right context, dynamically, allowing you to focus on relevant and targeted content and content generation – all of which factor in. If your CMS can answer the who/what/when/where (Where is your hospital? Who are the doctors? etc.) for you, you can focus on content that answers questions like “Who’s the best cardiologist?” instead.

8) Where do people go on my site once they come from one of my Google listings?
You control where people land. For each Google AdWords keyword group or campaign you can create specific landing pages, or utilize existing pages like your homepage or contact page, if that’s where you want to drive traffic. Just evaluate what real estate is most valuable for your goals, and then help guide the consumer on their journey with CTAs or related content and services.

9) How do I simplify my web presence to meet the demands of the consumer?
Focus your content on relevance to your consumers’ needs and your opportunities. 200 pages of content without understanding is wasted effort and noise. Use analytics to see where people are going today. Then focus your structure on mobile. The data shows mobile viewing has been and continues to be on the rise. If your website offers a poor mobile experience, chances are your consumers will go elsewhere.

10) Why does my new website not solve my campaign landing page problem?
You’re going to be disappointed if you don’t put consumer journey research behind it behind your campaign landing pages. You can’t replace customer profiles and journey mapping with redesigning your website, and honestly, your website will disappoint you without this information backing it as well. You need to understand how consumers get there, where they go from there, and what you want them to do next for both landing page and website success.

11) Why did CRM suddenly become so important to integrate to my next website?
Your website has become a conversion environment as opposed to a static brochure website. Rather than providing static content that people can read online, websites in general have become places where people can do things. People buy things online. For healthcare, a lot of sites remained very static, which was fine when people made healthcare decisions offline – they would make a phone call and get a referral, etc. But people are increasingly making healthcare decisions online, choosing providers and facilities, taking health risk assessments, interacting on social media and review sites. So, if you’re paying money and investing marketing time on your website, you now need to track what happens – registering for events, getting directions, etc. You need to track what the consumer is doing. A CRM system helps you track and store this data somewhere so you can learn who your audience is, how to communicate with them, and then measure any value that could come from those interactions. Then you can measure any return on marketing. If you don’t have a CRM underpinning your marketing, you have no ability to track and no ability to measure.

12) I’m not selling oars to people who recently bought canoes, so how do I apply personalized marketing techniques to healthcare?
Personalization is different in healthcare – it’s more about providing highly relevant and personal or personalized information. On sites like Amazon or Netflix, you’re a fully identified person because you’re logged in. They remember what’s in your cart, know where you live, can make relevant recommendations. The suggestions are curated for you. That phenomenon doesn’t happen in healthcare, so personalization translates to be highly relevant information. What that means is if you live in a certain area, everything should be relevant to that area, based on your zip code. If you’re searching in Google, you want the website results to be relevant to your location. Or if you were targeted as part of a Facebook campaign, that campaign information should help the hospital website present relevant content/images/etc. to you. The CMS solution needs that data from a healthcare CRM to create a highly relevant consumer experience.

13) Based on my size hospital/health system where should I start my journey to personalization and what martech should I initially budget for?
This is a tricky question, sort of a chicken-and-egg scenario. For the most consumer-friendly personalization efforts, the answer is you need a good CMS, a healthcare CRM, and the marketing insight and know-how to implement a plan across multiple channels. You start on all fronts. Effective CMS solutions can personalize content based on a number of different factors. This should be out-of-the-box functionality for the tool. The next step would be to invest in a CRM solution that can integrate with the CMS, where data can be connected from the CRM once the consumer has been identified on the site, like by filling out a form. You want to leverage your website to collect more data on your consumers, feed the beast as it were. The path to personalization isn’t linear. If you already have some data, you can do more. If not, you can start with personalization based on browser data and ambient data (geolocation, etc.). Then you mine for data from forms (user generated). To get to integrated personalization you need all three types of data working together. Personalization can meet you where you are already – if all you have is Google Analytics, you can do some. A CRM adds a layer. A CMS puts everything into action.

Personalization is more than just a hot button marketing tactic, however. It’s a key component of creating compelling healthcare consumer experiences. We believe a platform that integrates your CMS, CRM, and marketing efforts will win the day. Imagine a single solution that provides a holistic view of the data and the tools necessary to market effectively via push and pull mechanisms plus track the results of your efforts. This kind of single, integrated platform solution would make simplify your work while making your organization stronger.

Want to learn more about the tools and strategy you need to create compelling healthcare consumer experiences? Download our white paper, Healthcare Consumer Experience in 2017.