CRM, niche audiences, and location-based advertising could net facilities more patients.
Hospitals that appeal to niche groups and know what patients need before they know they need it stand to rise above their competition in 2017, according to Smith & Jones' 2017 Hospital Marketing Trends white paper.
"With population health and high-deductible health insurance plans at the forefront of care, organizations will benefit from providing a more proactive and personalized patient experience," the Troy, NY–based communications firm's white paper stated.
"Hospitals and health systems that gain the attention of niche audiences and provide resources to help patients make healthier choices will outsmart the competition in 2017."
Following are three trends to watch:
1. Customer Relationship Management
Hospital marketers can become more proactive with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, according to the white paper, which listed CRM use as its number one trend for the year ahead.
"In 2017, hospital marketers will use CRM even more as a vehicle to attract new [patients] and retain existing patients while measuring marketing outcomes," the white paper states.
"The benefits are quantifiable. Organizations can use this platform to track campaign results and ROI. The benefits are also altruistic. With CRM, marketers can tailor messages and target people who can benefit the most from your care services."
For example, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a hospital could use a CRM database to identify patients who are statistically at greater risk for breast cancer or are overdue for a mammogram.
2. Targeting Niche Audiences
Hospital marketers who target focused audiences will have a better chance of competing for search ranking in today's oversaturated content marketing world, where Cleveland Clinic and WebMD dominate organic search rankings, the white paper states.
As such, marketers who create content for specific niche groups, like minorities, medical tourists, or young mothers, will be more likely to gain traction and traffic.
"Niche audiences tend to be more passionate about their specific interests, values, and hobbies. By adding a dimension of differentiation, you can zero in on specific audiences and better compete for their attention," the white paper reads.
Such differentiation might include an orthopedic campaign that targets older couples who regularly compete in pickle-ball tournaments and are at an increased risk of joint injury. Another example would be a cardiac campaign that targets Hispanic males who are at a high risk for heart disease.
"Your target audience may decrease in size, but your variables of engagement are going to increase significantly," the white paper states.
3. Location-based Advertising
In the year ahead, savvy healthcare facilities won't just be targeting patients by niche group—they'll also be targeting patients by their location.
Techniques like geoconquesting are gaining popularity, according to the white paper. Geofencing refers to the practice of defining a geographic region which, once entered, will trigger the ad copy to be displayed. Geoconquesting automatically directs consumers to a specific business when they are physically in a competitor's location.
These digital tools generate a deep pool of analytical data that hospital marketers can use to gauge how well their targeted offerings bring patients into their organization, the paper stated.
Geofencing and geoconquesting initiatives not only help drive awareness and build volume, but can also contribute to stronger relationships with patients, the white paper asserted.
"By exploiting a consumer's location, you can deliver content that may not have been sought after, but puts your organization on their radar."