Today’s consumer has more power than ever. Tools like social media have enabled everyone to have a louder voice in regards to customer service and brand experiences. When it comes to marketing communications (marcom), healthcare providers face constantly evolving challenges – particularly in relation to engaging the newly empowered consumer.
As healthcare teams evaluate their marcom plans, addressing a few basic questions can go a long way. These questions map back to audience, engagement and action.
Who is the audience?
The foundation of all marcom plans is knowing your audience. Knowing who your audience is will help you to shape your messaging in a way that will lead them to take action and join your community – or inquire about more information on how your organization can serve them.
Be aware of demographic data like professional background, age and gender. You should also know what your audience is expecting from you and be prepared to meet those expectations. Figure out who your competitors’ audiences are and how you can win them over as well.
You can find this information through various tools. Good research will give you the data you need to creative effective strategies that will help build strong relationships with current and prospective customers. Once you have a full understanding of who your audience is, it’s time to engage.
Are you engaging with your audience – and vice versa?
If you’re not actively engaging with your audience, you’re missing out on opportunities to tell your story and build stronger relationships. Engagement takes many shapes – whether it’s through your website, email marketing, social media, forums or beyond. Whatever the platform, it’s important to provide content that is tailored to your audience’s interests – and to interact and respond to them as questions and comments arise. Engagement is a two way street; it’s not just about pushing out information but having a conversation.
Another aspect of audience engagement is customer service. Organizations should always be looking for ways to improve customer service and turn negative experiences into positive ones in real-time. An effective way to do this is through having a strong social media presence. The reality is that many of your customer’s won’t hesitate to voice their frustrations or concerns via social media; you should be there to respond and help solve their problem.
What is the call to action?
Now that you know your audience and have given them reason to engage, how many of them took real impactful actions? Getting your audience to convert is what will ultimately contribute to your organization’s bottom line. If you are successfully aware of who your audience is and how to successfully engage them, getting them to take action should be a logical next step as you’ll be actively attracting and interacting people that are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is one provider organization that has demonstrated the ability to drive their audiences to take action. For example, their Hope Lives Here campaign has raised $476.5 million – far exceeding their goal of $76.5 million. This was entirely driven by their community.
Whether you’re a large nationally recognized organization or a small, specialized medical facility, these three questions will serve as a baseline for building your marcom program. The healthcare landscape is constantly changing along with a consumer base that demands ongoing attention and engagement. It’s important for organizations to constantly re-evaluate their marcom strategy and ask the right questions in order to build successful relationships with audiences.
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