Healthcare MarketingCurrent Trends in Healthcare Marketing

Healthcare marketing looks a lot different today than it did just a year ago. According to Christie Berardi, President of SCALE Healthcare Marketing, key events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread adoption of AI have changed the healthcare marketing landscape for good. To stay relevant and compete for market share, medical facilities and healthcare providers of all kinds should stay abreast of these developments.

Healthcare professionals take over social media

Berardi notes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, medical doctors and other healthcare professionals began experimenting with social media. Many saw success in these efforts, which has encouraged them to continue. “Now it’s become an entirely new creative outlet for physicians,” Berardi says. “It’s also a lever for connectivity with physicians and their patients.”

Due to many medical professionals’ forays into digital marketing, Berardi advises healthcare marketers to pay particular attention to short-form video platforms like TikTok to stay ahead of the curve. “Granted, the social media landscape evolves rapidly, but short-form videos have demonstrated their ability to keep audiences engaged and also reach new audiences,” she says.

Indeed, TikTok is one of the fastest-growing apps in the world, having surpassed 1 billion users in 2021, and predictions forecast it will pass the 2 billion-user mark before 2025. This growth is in spite of the app being banned in India and usage being limited in the US and other countries, as well as other platforms’ efforts to mimic it.

Protecting healthcare companies from negative content

According to Berardi, while social media is a powerful tool to raise a practice’s profile and reach prospective patients, it can have both positive and negative consequences. “Physicians are using social media to reach patients and educate them on certain conditions and diagnoses, but patients can also use these platforms to share poor experiences with a provider or facility,” she says. “These negative reviews can dissuade others from choosing them for their care.”

For this reason, Berardi recommends healthcare marketers implement a robust program of social listening. “Often, the practice has no idea the content is circulating and hurting their brand,” she says. “This is a big problem, and it just gets bigger with time, so it’s important to monitor your online presence at all times. That’s the only way to spot negative reviews or other messaging as soon as possible.”

Berardi also advises healthcare providers to be proactive and develop a crisis management plan. “Hopefully, you’ll never actually have to use it,” she says, “but if such a case ever does arise, you’ll need to act fast. Having a plan already available saves time and prevents missteps.”

The advent of AI

When ChatGPT waved hello to the world in November 2022, healthcare marketing joined the rest of the world in investigating AI’s new capabilities. According to Berardi, healthcare facilities’ use of AI in copywriting is one of the most prominent healthcare marketing trends she has seen over the past year.

“In my experience, few people like to face an empty page when sitting down to write,” Berardi says. “By entering a few simple prompts into an AI, marketers can quickly generate language they can refine and improve according to their own specific needs.”

AI has also shown its utility when it comes to analyzing medical imagery. Today’s machines can examine patients’ scans not only to segment the different structures, but also to identify potential problems and even classify diseases. For these reasons, Berardi advises healthcare organizations to start incorporating AI into their operations.

Geofencing and behavioral retargeting

In addition, Berardi recommends that healthcare marketers take advantage of patient acquisition tactics, such as geofencing and behavioral retargeting. Geofencing relies on GPS or Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to monitor geographic areas, tracking when mobile devices either enter or leave it.

“Healthcare facilities can leverage this technology in many ways to improve patients’ experience,” Berardi says. “For instance, you can use it to provide parking information or automate the check-in process. When a patient leaves your facility, you can send them a survey asking them to rate their experience or remind them of an upcoming appointment.”

Behavioral retargeting uses cookies to follow Internet users and target them for advertisements as they surf the web. While new regulations enable consumers to opt out of being tracked on the Internet, Berardi still lists behavioral retargeting as another top way to acquire patients.

“Most consumers appreciate being served content that actually provides value to them,” she says, “while others might not want to take the time to opt out. Either way, behavioral retargeting remains an important way to find the people looking for our services and connect with them effectively.”

Indeed, research shows that only 0.5% of Internet users actually take the time to open the settings for websites and deactivate cookies. Nearly everyone — 99% of users — is still tracked, since 76% ignore the banner about cookies, 12% simply close it, and 11% accept the cookies.

A future of better healthcare marketing

Effective healthcare marketing is essential for medical facilities of all types and sizes to reach patients and make a difference in their lives. Due to the pandemic and AI, healthcare marketing will never be the same. However, with doctors attracting patients in new, entertaining ways, and technological advances that promise to make marketers’ lives easier and optimize marketing spends, that allows the marketing industry to evolve.

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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