Aligning physicians with modern marketing practices

As consumers become more accustomed to interactive experiences, the way they relate to health services is changing. 1 in 20 online searches are now health related1 and 70% of hospital traffic comes from search.2 Today’s health consumer is searching for information, and healthcare marketers benefit from engagement at every stage of the decision-making process.

Although marketers have a strong incentive to engage with audiences online, they sometimes face reluctance from physicians who prefer traditional marketing. In a recent poll, 46% of healthcare marketers say that a resistance to change in their organization is a barrier to digital marketing efforts.3 Effectively working through these challenges can enable healthcare organizations to have an active, ongoing role in consumers’ decision-making process around health services.

We have outlined four strategies that healthcare marketers can use to gain physician support for modern digital marketing practices.

DEFINE MARKETING.

Those who are unfamiliar with the business of marketing tend to blur the lines between sales, marketing, and advertising. It’s important to clarify the differences by defining the purpose, functions, and goals of marketing. Providing consumer insights and trends can also lend transparency and help physicians understand the need for digital tactics.

SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS WITH DATA.

Physicians are trained to understand evidence-based research. Emphasize that traditional methods of marketing simply cannot measure ROI the way digital practices do. Show it in action by measuring the metrics that are most important to reaching organizational goals, and reporting the results. By providing a quantitative analysis, healthcare marketers enable physicians to process the information in a familiar way.

SEEK PHYSICIAN EXPERTISE.

Physicians, by nature, are problem solvers. Invite them into the strategic process by asking them technical questions related to patient care. Prompt them to talk about their challenges and successes. This builds a more communicative relationship and often inspires physicians to share some compelling stories.

SHIFT TO VIDEO.

Traditional marketing methods such as billboards and newspaper ads give the physician a sense of recognition, but there are many limitations. For the physician who enjoys a more public presence, healthcare marketers should experiment with video campaigns. With over 50% of users now favoring mobile devices over desktops, marketers should present easily consumable content.4 This approach is win/win/win: marketers have control over messaging, the consumer connects with the brand in a new way, and the physician receives the desired exposure.

Final thoughts

Closing the gap between physicians and hospital marketers is critical for both organizational success and a satisfying consumer experience. This starts with a proactive leadership that champions the role of digital marketing to meet the needs of today’s demanding healthcare consumer. A united effort enhances consumer engagement and effectively proves the value of integrated marketing ROI to physicians and the C-Suite.

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  1. Google Engage. “Connect Healthcare.” YouTube. 9 Mar. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdiwk4D6imE&feature=youtu.be
  2. 2016 Google/Millward Brown Digital “Path to Treatment” study. http://www.liftconversions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Partners_Healthcare_OneSheeter_v5.pdf
  3. The 3rd annual state of digital marketing 2017. www.greystone.net
  4. Agrawal, AJ. (2016, Jan 17). 7 Content Marketing Tips for Healthcare Companies. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2016/01/17/7-content-marketing-tips-for-healthcare-companies/#20a81e893c44As