In today’s world, media and marketing are in a continuous state of flux. Technology, consumer behavior, and convenience are among the driving forces for this change, and every industry is affected—particularly healthcare.

Healthcare marketing has often been rooted in tradition; focusing on what’s always worked, complying with stringent industry regulations and struggling to push the envelope with innovation or alternative ways to approach media. With the consumerization of healthcare, patients are watching their wallets when it comes to making healthcare choices. Employing new methods of engagement to meet patients where they are and with the information they need is critical in establishing meaningful relationships that last beyond a singular trip to the ED.

Leveraging design to anticipate and craft improved experiences across both on and offline channels can prove beneficial in the long run as it relates to driving the health and wellbeing of communities.

Let’s Focus More on Them and Less On Us

Healthcare success has often been about being the best and employing the best. Marketing has historically focused on touting institutional accomplishments in an effort to increase visibility and recruiting power. The more prestigious the personnel, the more marketable an institution would be to patients. While highly skilled personnel is still of importance in attracting consumers, when it comes to connecting with potential consumers in a meaningful way, healthcare organizations need more than a list of accomplishments.

Marketers than employ design thinking to identify and connect with the needs of the community can adapt to this change in consumer sentiment, reallocating funds and strategies to focus greatly on influencing patient behavior, versus only targeting high-level executives and providers1. Drawing the consumer in with culturally relevant information, crafting a voice for the organization that resonates with the community and ensuring the connectivity of both online and offline experiences is seamless—can encourage loyalty.

Let’s Rethink Traditional Approaches to Marketing and Advertising

By focusing solely on TV ad spots and newspaper ad placements, healthcare institutions miss an opportunity to connect with the unique needs of their community. Today, those at the leading edge of healthcare experience are dedicated to serving as health improvement organizations—driving health and wellbeing beyond clinical experiences and proving their relevance outside of disease states.

By adapting to new technologies and new media landscapes, marketers that embrace design are working to create an active brand voice and enhanced experiences. These efforts alter the age-old expectation of advertising and marketing with an immediate and measurable ROI—a tough concept to sell to managers. Through new media brand engagement, ROI is often measured through interaction, impressions, word of mouth and an increase in loyalty.

Let’s Embrace a Human-Centered Approach to Drive Innovation

The problem with shying away from change is that lack of innovation leads to staleness; a stale brand, a stale message, a stale experience. With the increase of healthcare consumerism and competitors providing new and engaging messaging, it’s important for institutions to keep up and differentiate themselves in the market. What differentiates one organization from another in healthcare? It’s the ability to embrace patients throughout their individualized journeys of health and wellbeing—to be present and to support active voice and an empowered experience.

The healthcare sector in the United States is only growing, employing over 17 million workers nationwide, increasing the breadth of competition. There is no shortage of passion for improving health experiences—but how can we leverage this desire to empathize and serve our communities? Utilizing design research to identify the underlying needs of the community and in turn crafting messages and designing services and experiences that support their unique health journeys.  

The simple fact is, what used to work doesn’t work anymore. Today, healthy consumers are visiting physicians and scheduling well visits in almost equal numbers to the ill, in an effort to ward off preventable diseases. Now, marketers must also be proactive, reaching the consumer and providing information before there’s an immediate need. Marketers that embrace design thinking understand this transformation and have established dialogues with healthy and unhealthy patients alike to foster trust and promote wellness, changing the way healthcare institutions are seen and heard.

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