And how to administer this marketing medicine to your waiting consumers
Once upon a time, content was king. Then it took a temporary backseat to all things digital, graphical and the sparsest use of words possible—especially to meet new small screen requirements. Even traditional mass advertising including TV, radio and print advertising, still a focused expenditure by hospital networks and provider groups, relies on short story bursts that cannot reliably measure levels of consumer engagement.
In the meantime, consumers have evolved. And content is now king, queen and jack. For hospitals, affordable care organizations (ACOs) and other provider networks, your target consumers have now been trained up by all other industries to be on the lookout for compelling story lines they can engage with in real-time. And for good reason. Your target audiences need you to show up as credible, reliable, and authentic. Your consumers are looking for resonance with you. They are qualitatively assessing you. They want to see themselves with you. That means hospital marketing teams get to pursue the idea of digitally “going steady” with your audiences versus a short-sighted a “one-night-stand.”
To earn this level of consumer connection and trust, hospitals must bravely flip the marketing switch and start practicing intentional consumer courtships – just like all other rising star organizations out there. It’s a vital component of the marketing mix, an elixir if you will, and it works.
A little art. A little science. A lot of ROI.
This blending of art and science is about pairing up engaging, shareable, actionable content with a rock-solid marketing automation machine. It’s basically automated content marketing with the singular focus of winning the attention and allegiance of new consumers. And it will not swallow up your marketing budget like traditional marketing.
Leaders West recently published that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, and that per dollar spent, content marketing generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing. A print ad will never nurture and connect with your most prized audiences like an email campaign tailored right to them, with a little social media, video, webinar, or podcast on the side—all telling the same refined, impactful story. It’s never been more important for hospitals and physician networks to jump on this ROI bandwagon and watch the results.
Here, in a nutshell, is today’s best-bet content marketing strategy for hospital marketers:
- Identify a hospital service or initiative that customers need to know about
- Hyper-refine and differentiate your core messaging (create or refresh)
- Map your content to the stages of the consumer’s journey
- Totally automate and distribute this multi-channel content
- Measure everything, then adapt and evolve with regular analytics review and analysis
This is never a one-and-done. You have essentially launched an ongoing, highly engaging courtship with your prospective consumers and you are committed—to them and to getting results. Welcome to a better way to market—and quite possibly the best marketing spend decision you’ll make this year.
Laura E. Peterson is Founder of FiveSpot Communications, a marketing firm specializing in transformative digital marketing content. Her 20+ years of agency and corporate marketing for Fortune 100 companies, national health industry leaders, global technology companies and national government agencies – centers on transforming brands and story lines to become more engaging, conversational, educational and digitally relevant.