For the third year in a row, Scoppechio’s Associate Director of Digital Strategy, Erik Snyder, attended the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Marketing Development (SHSMD) Conference. These conferences always provide him with new marketing intel he can use to benefit Scoppechio’s healthcare clients.
“The 2017 Connections conference featured more than 70 talks spread over four days,” Erik said. “It’s a once-a-year chance to hear from the experts and share ideas with other attendees. We’re all facing the same challenges in healthcare marketing. Here, we have a common platform for coming up with new and exciting solutions. I’m always so stoked to come back with fresh ideas and strategies we can use immediately to help our healthcare clients be more competitive.”
According to Erik, this year’s conference highlighted some of the most pressing challenges facing healthcare marketers. Here are his Top 5 Takeaways from the 2017 SHSMD Connections Conference:
The Five Key Takeaways
1. Doing More with Less:
On average, only 10 out of 100 marketers said that their marketing budgets were bigger this year. So how can you do more with the same amount of money or less? First, you can ramp up use of owned channels like CRM/email to micro-target the most desirable patients. Second, cut down on “spray and pray” mass media campaigns. Finally, consider creating experiential, or customer-interactive, moments for your brand. These moments then spread virally, and in real time, via Facebook and Twitter shares. To save money, many hospitals are now using their own employees to jump-start their experiential marketing campaigns.
2. Omnichannel Optimization Remains a Challenge:
There are more ways to reach prospective patients in more places than ever before. And that’s the problem. Healthcare marketers are bombarded with marketing options. Those who try to run broad omnichannel campaigns are frustrated. They have seen firsthand the lack of coordination among vendors, platforms and devices. So an agency that is able to coordinate all channels, and report on them through an integrated platform, will enjoy a distinct competitive advantage.
3. Going Beyond the Ad:
Marketers are embracing the Toyota Quality mantra of genchi genbutsu, or “go and see.” This practice is giving them insight on how patients move through care cycles in their hospitals and clinics. Patient journey maps serve as guideposts to ensure the experience marketers promise is the one that is delivered. Messaging is aligned and in context. Marketers and planners work together to drive volume to physician capacity and prevent downstream leaks to outside providers.
4. Mobile Search Must Take the Lead:
Google reports that 60% of patients use mobile search when choosing a hospital. Of those, 86% say mobile search highly influenced their decision. More than half (51.6%) of all patients are swayed by what they see in mobile search results, and the mobile experience on hospital websites. What does this all mean? Healthcare marketers must get out from behind their desktops. They must fully embrace the mobile patient reality. And they must create patient-centric content that is optimized for mobile search and mobile usability.
5. Having No Data is a No-go with the C-suite:
Healthcare marketers report that more and more executives are denying budgets unless marketers can prove results with hard numbers. So marketers must determine in advance how they will use data to define marketing success. Then they must establish processes and systems to collect the data. And finally, they must find a way to bring the data together in a meaningful way that will ultimately justify their budgets. It’s a tough task. That’s why successful healthcare marketers are tapping marketing sciences experts to turn complex data into beautifully simple dashboards.
As healthcare marketers begin planning for 2018, the challenges are more complex than ever. Those who are skilled at integrating many loose strings into one strong and cohesive rope will be the ones who ultimately succeed.
Thanks for making Connections 2017 another great experience. We hope to see you in 2018. And we can’t wait to hear about all the exciting things you’ve done!