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Digital Marketing for Healthcare: Conquering the Future

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The healthcare industry, and marketing in general, are undergoing a digital revolution. As many hospitals and healthcare providers scramble to re-establish their brands in the face of rampant restructuring, mergers, and rapidly shifting healthcare laws, the need to stand out from the competition and create an ongoing dialogue with their patients and customers is becoming more critical than ever.

That’s why digital healthcare marketing is so promising: it offers clever and unique new ways for savvy marketers to stay top-of-mind with their customers. That’s according to Stewart Gandolf at Healthcare Success, who explains that because of its benefits, “digital marketing is almost always our first choice for doctors and hospitals.” Let’s take a deeper look at why.

Reasons for the Digital Revolution in Healthcare

The Internet is no longer an add-on, or a nice-to-have capability. It has become “healthcare’s front door,” as Gandolf explains, for several key reasons.

Empowered Patients

More than any other time in history, the Internet has given consumers across all industries the power to browse, compare, and shop – all without ever leaving their homes. The same goes for healthcare, where a compelling and dynamic digital presence can make the difference between a patient choosing you or going to a competitor.

Mobile Is Everywhere

The rise of web-connected smartphones and tablets means that your patients are digitally connected anywhere and everywhere. From a marketing standpoint, this presents limitless opportunities to connect with them, and to offer customizable experiences with a high level of responsiveness.

How Healthcare Organizations Can Leverage Digital Marketing

With digital marketing capabilities becoming more sophisticated each day, here are some of the top ways healthcare organizations can and should be leveraging this digital revolution.

Mobile Is Urgent, and So Is Healthcare

The nature of healthcare notifications – that is, that they are often urgent, important, and critical – lends itself very well to digital and mobile. You can provide a superior patient experience, and even improve medical outcomes, by ensuring that your patients can receive their notifications via mobile, where they are likely to respond the fastest.

Digital Is Highly Personalized

If you’re looking to set yourself apart based on the superiority of your patient experience, digital is for you. Thanks to technology like cookies and digital tracking, your messaging and content can be highly segmented and personalized for your patients, so they receive the messages that speak directly to their needs, while feeling like a greater priority to your organization.

Analytics and Brand Awareness

Digital marketing provides highly accurate real-time analytics that shows you exactly who engaged with what messages, and which tactics are the most effective compared to others. In this way, you know exactly where to spend your marketing budget to maximize your ROI, and you get proof-positive of the brand-building effect of your efforts. For marketers struggling to prove attribution, this can be a critical component to success.

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There’s no way around it: the digital revolution is here for healthcare marketing. By embracing it, and working with a trusted partner who can reliably execute your marketing strategy on-time, on-budget, and with minimal waste, healthcare organizations can stand out from the crowd and win more patients.

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Top 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends

stethoscope on keyboard-healthcare-orginal

The healthcare marketing landscape is shifting rapidly. New laws have changed how hospitals and healthcare networks are organized, and many have undergone significant mergers or acquisitions in the past several years.

As a result, healthcare organizations are now making efforts to re-establish their brands with patients, and to differentiate themselves from the competition with their marketing activities. Key metrics they seek to compete on include quality of care, and specific quantifiable outcomes like speed of discharge, rate of infection, and in-patient versus out-patient capabilities. That’s according to Peter Do at Health Care Success, who explains that by embracing some of 2018’s major trends in healthcare marketing, hospitals and healthcare organizations can stand out from the crowd and establish a clear, effective brand with their patients.

Location-Based Marketing

Mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have put a computer in nearly everyone’s pocket. Location-based marketing, like geofencing and geoconquesting, can help solve some of the challenges facing healthcare marketers.


Geofencing using GPS technology to establish a very specific area where your ads are appropriate to show. When people enter this customizable area, whether they live there or because they frequently travel through it for work or to visit family, your ads will display. This is promising technology for marketers struggling to build brand recognition in a specific neighborhood or region, and well as those looking to cut waste costs and improve targeting efficiency.


Geoconquesting is similar, but works specifically to win market share back from competitors. Like geofencing, it allows you to designate a specific area for your ads to appear. However, that area is meant to be around the hospitals, facilities, or deeply entrenched markets of your competition. This is a powerful tool for marketers looking to establish themselves in competitive areas, or win back market share from specific regions and patients.

elderly woman at the hospital counter - full

Technology and Telemedicine

As it has for many other fields, technology has created many possibilities for replacing costly in-person healthcare services with cost-effective virtual and digital versions. Customers demand omnichannel access to brands in industries like mobile banking, shopping, and insurance. They want a customer experience that is deeply embedded with video, chat, and easy-to-use apps – all the ways they are comfortable communicating in an increasingly digital world. Whether for video doctor’s appointments, booking and billing, or prescription questions, healthcare organizations that invest in technology and telemedicine can offer a truly superior, modern patient experience.

Patient Experience

“The connection between patient satisfaction, hospital reimbursement, and continued growth and development is a marketing picture that will expand significantly,” Do says. But, as he explains, “the concept of improved patient experience has been slow to gain traction with some facilities.”

Industry leaders like Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, for example, have begun to offer truly personalized customer experiences to their patients. This is due, in large part, to the connection of reimbursement and HCAHPS scores. Today’s patients are increasingly sophisticated consumers, and they have come to expect the same level of customer experience in healthcare that they do receive in their daily retail and service interactions.

Healthcare Marketing Supply Chain

To capitalize on these trends and make their brand stand out, healthcare marketers need clarity and efficiency in their marketing supply chains and operations. They need to know exactly what’s being produced and inventoried, what the budget impact is, what employees are involved, what the project timelines are, what the returns on investment are, and more. That’s why it’s so crucial to partner with a trusted expert who can provide simplicity, cost efficiency, and reliability to healthcare marketing organizations. That way, your team can remain flexible and responsive to changing patient demands while maximizing every dollar of your marketing budget and delivering powerful customer experiences.

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