Today’s healthcare consumers are more informed and connected than ever, making patient engagement through healthcare marketing and communications channels even more critical to thriving, sustainable, patient-centered healthcare practices.
According to one industry analysis, nearly half of U.S. consumers say they are likely to comparison-shop for healthcare providers and treatment options. A separate consumer survey found that more than half report using healthcare marketing resources on the internet to find and select a new doctor.
At the same time, a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that reliable, responsible healthcare marketing and communication are critical to maintaining patient trust.
With patients taking a more active role in their healthcare experience, practices need strategic healthcare marketing solutions that differentiate them from the competition.
Read on to learn more about the top healthcare marketing and communications trends in 2023 and get ideas for how to maximize your outreach efforts to:
- Generate brand awareness,
- Connect with patients, and
- Grow your healthcare organization.
Role of communications in healthcare marketing
Whether discussing treatment options with a patient or supporting people through difficult circumstances, healthcare providers recognize the importance of effective communication. These values guide connections in healthcare marketing as well.
However, when it comes to healthcare marketing and communications, breaking through the noise can be challenging. People encounter up to 10,000 advertisements daily, requiring healthcare companies to better personalize and diversify their communication formats, including long-form content, video, and social media.
The rewards for effective communication are immense.
The industry research paper “Integrated marketing communications: a strategic priority in health and medicine” succinctly conveys the benefits of strategic healthcare marketing and communications, writing, “Excellence on this front is vital for many reasons, with perhaps the most notable being that effective communications inform and enlighten audiences, generating interest and attention, prerequisites for attracting patients and acquiring market share.”
In short, effective communication is a fundamental component of a thriving practice, supporting patient outcomes and practice sustainability.
The growing healthcare-consumerism connection
A consumer-driven healthcare model has become popularized in the past decade, changing the ways providers connect with and care for their patients.
These shifting consumer expectations are remaking healthcare in real time. For example, patients often expect their healthcare experience to align with retail interactions, requiring healthcare providers to focus on the patient journey through multi-channel communications platforms.
Patients expect excellent customer service, streamlined payment options, and compelling experiences from their healthcare providers.
A strategic healthcare marketing and communications plan can help healthcare providers facilitate these outcomes.
More than a decade ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services challenged healthcare providers with six priorities, including making high-quality healthcare more accessible to more people.
In 2022, this mandate still resonates as racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare quality and accessibility remain frustratingly persistent, something that has become even more devastatingly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, healthcare providers should foster trust within underserved communities by developing or adopting programs that meet their needs, recruiting a diverse workforce that reflects the community, and leveraging partnerships to augment patient care needs.
When paired with a healthcare marketing plan that educates and supports underserved populations, providers can more effectively address inequality in their communities, expanding their patient base and improving holistic healthcare outcomes.
Placing increased value on providing positive patient experiences
As healthcare becomes more consumer-focused, providing a positive patient experience at every single point of contact is increasingly critical.
Positive patient experiences promote patient loyalty, improve brand reputation, increase referral rates, and enhance patient satisfaction. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a national decline in patient experience perceptions, requiring providers to reassess patient concerns to provide the best possible patient experience.
Positive patient experiences are predicated, in part, on timely appointments, easy access to information, and clear communication from providers.
Healthcare marketing and communications can support these efforts. Look for ways to enhance your efforts. Here are some ways to start:
- Enhance your website so that it is easy to navigate
- Refine your omnichannel communications to ensure they’re tonally appropriate and timely
- Tweak collateral, like brochures and paid ads, with messaging that supports organizational goals
Healthcare consumers will turn to integrated healthcare systems
Healthcare consumers are not looking for one-off treatment solutions. They want integrated healthcare systems that account for their holistic health. Even before the pandemic increased multifaceted health concerns, including mental and emotional support needs, patients expressed more loyalty to providers offering holistic health support.
Healthcare marketing and communications need to account for this change as well. Marketing collateral and digital platforms must reflect the dynamic offerings while reflecting these changes in a company’s digital solutions.
For instance, see how we delivered a modern website with integrated apps for the Lindner Research Center at The Christ Hospital.
The mass introduction of GenZ
GenZ is remaking healthcare marketing and communications in its image.
Notably, GenZ is composed of digital natives. They are ubiquitous smartphone users who regularly consume digital content through social media and user-generated platforms. According to Deloitte’s 2022 Digital Media Trends Report, 70% of GenZ report spending more time than intended watching user-generated content.
That’s why healthcare marketing solutions should consider social media influencers and user-generated content alongside more traditional marketing.
More sophisticated multigenerational and multicultural marketing
Healthcare marketing and communications will need to account for multigenerational and multicultural audiences as Baby Boomers and GenX begin requiring more support care from younger generations. This requires strategic healthcare marketing communications that speak to multigenerational audiences by relying on omnichannel messages that reach consumers, advocates, and caregivers where they are.
Remote marketing communications
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated telehealth and other digital services, increasing the need to pivot healthcare marketing and communications accordingly.
For example, telehealth means fewer patients will have access to physical marketing collateral like brochures and flyers, but they will be more engaged with virtual platforms like websites and digital media offerings.
This might include adopting the latest healthcare website design trends, producing educational or interesting blog content, conducting explanatory webinars, or engaging with patients on social media accounts.
Together, these healthcare marketing solutions can help providers optimize remote marketing communications for their patients.
Is it time for your organization to hire a new healthcare marketing agency?
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s time to rework your healthcare marketing and communications:
- Do your competitors have better websites than you?
- Are you satisfied with the number of new patients visiting your site?
- Has your health system changed significantly since you first launched your site?
- Do you want to see your healthcare organization grow?
Acknowledging your gaps is the initial step to solving healthcare marketing and communications problems. You can try to rework the old methods you used to begin your business, but digital marketing is rapidly changing.
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, TBH Creative has the digital marketing solutions you need to get the results you want. Let’s talk.