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Patients Control the Message, Are You Listening?

April 25, 2014

best practice

Physicians are stubborn. Yes, I threw that right out there, but if you’re a physician, someone on a physician’s staff, or a marketing agency who works with physicians, you know this to be true. Keeping that trait in mind, imagine how slow health care marketers have been to realize that patients now run the show, not the physicians. It can be a difficult consciousness for physicians to recognize, but incredibly important.

Patients Control the Marketing Message

The irony of this sea change in thinking and behaving is that most marketers themselves are still living in the dark ages. Too many companies, for all their technological prowess and brainpower, are following traditional marketing models for strategy, tactics, and even organizational structure.

Indeed, a recent study from Forrester Consulting found that nearly 60 percent of marketing functions plan to boost funding for untargeted email marketing and display advertisements in 2014. That’s bad. – 

Patients want to interact with their physicians and nurse practitioners on their turf, on their time, and on their terms. But, the key element here to accept is that patients yearn for that communication, transparency and availability from their physicians. It’s the physician’s, or the marketing agency’s, job to understand what information the patient is looking for, where they’re looking, and when they’re looking. If you’re listening intently, the patient will tell you everything you need to know.


How to Listen

In my personal opinion, the real work in health care marketing comes before any campaign plans or marketing strategies have been set into motion. The true work begins when you start endeavoring to listen to your audience; the patients.

With social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, patients are voluntarily divulging the kind of personal details that were only shared among close friends a few generations ago. This change in thinking and behaving has afforded physicians and health care marketing agencies a wealth of customer data that can point agencies in the right direction in terms of constructing marketing campaigns.

Patients are now divulging unprecedented information, which can be used to improve targeting, relevance and performance of health care marketing and advertising initiatives.

But with the extraordinary amounts of information available to physicians and agencies, how do you know where to start? What realms of data should you be considering?

Age, gender, location, and family status are always at the top of the list, but today you can also integrate hobbies, purchase habits and interests into data summaries.

If you’re still sending out mass email marketing messages, targeting thousands of patients with a broad strategy, contact the professionals at Quaintise to bring your marketing and advertising campaigns into focus.