The Coffey Blog

Put patients first: 3 ideas from the 2016 Forum for Healthcare Strategists' summit

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Becky Kettner, Marketing Communications Manager

This year's Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit inspired me. Why? Because we're starting to get real about why we should exist as healthcare marketers—to help patients. 

Here are my 3 favorite ideas from the conference that can help you put patients first in your healthcare marketing.

1. Let data guide you. Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, gave a frank talk urging healthcare marketers to forego a traditional marketing approach that tries to push consumers down some imaginary funnel. He suggested using analytics to figure out what people are searching for and what problems they're trying to solve. That data can help marketers understand the healthcare consumer's intent and inform a patient-first approach to healthcare marketing.

2. Create content based on the patient journey. Did you know that 90 percent of consumers want help when it comes to making healthcare decisions? This statistic from the 2015 "The New Payer" study by the National Research Corporation is motivating because it's a huge opportunity! 

Here are some ways you can create content that meets people where they are on their journey:

  • Write to be understood. Remember, patients don't use the same language your doctors might. Actively look for ways to cut jargon to make your message clear. Check out our cheat sheet for specific tips that can help you make your healthcare content easy-to-understand.
  • Make your website easy to navigate. For example, organize service line content around topics consumers are searching for—rather than around how you think of services internally. 
  • Tell stories that make an emotional connection. One way you can do this is by writing powerful patient testimonials. Real-life stories inspire healthcare consumers in ways technical articles cannot. 

3. Optimize for the devices consumers use (that means mobile). Being a mobile-first organization means you think about mobile users every time you make a business decision. This way you can connect with consumers where they are. And now they use their mobile devices more often than they watch television, according to Nielsen's 4th-quarter 2015 Comparable Metrics Report, which came out last month.

Dig into your digital analytics to see the kinds of devices healthcare consumers use to access your content. Base your strategy on this. By focusing on the ways people consume health information you'll meet them where they are and become their trusted resource.  

Let's work together to put patients first

There are many opportunities to be even more effective in healthcare marketing. We can start by using data to uncover the customers' real intent. Next, we use that knowledge to create meaningful content delivered on the devices they're using.

Looking for help putting patient-first ideas into action? Call Coffey at 888.805.9101 or email us to find out how we can help you connect with healthcare consumers.