As healthcare marketers we enjoy being in control. So coming to grips with the fact that sometimes we’re not in control can feel quite uncomfortable. This growing reality was difficult to swallow a few years ago and even more so today. We need to embrace the fact we can’t control every single piece of the consumer experience. Sounds radical doesn’t it? Not being in control goes against the very nature of who we are as human beings and how we strive to become even more valuable as marketers to our communities.
Does giving up control mean losing control of your story or message? I submit to you, if done correctly, it does not.
One advantage you can give yourselves as healthcare marketers is fostering better relationships with members of your community years before they step into your healthcare organization. Making this proactive change does require a conscious effort of continual accountability, improvement and most importantly, action!
As such, this change should be part of everything you do as a healthcare marketer. According to a Pew Internet study 75% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. It’s safe to say these numbers will continue to rise due to the increasing number of SmartPhones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices.
During the 17th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) I observed only a handful of organizations who are dedicated to building long-term relationships outside of their physical walls. “But wait,” you say, “we are in the process of building a newly redesigned responsive website, have a solid social media presence, plus finally have marketing goals in place to strengthen our organization. Aren’t those initiatives enough to achieve the desired results?”
Perhaps. Your efforts are not without merit. Why is this practice not yet the norm for healthcare marketers? Why is this not your practice? The reason for your organization’s lack of focus now, more than ever, might stem from a failure to prioritize simultaneous projects which directly support your organization’s mission.
Take a look at these obstacles which might be preventing you from focusing on developing more meaningful relationships outside your organization’s walls:
- Not having a social media strategy.
- Failing to continually update your social media strategy. Taking too long to respond to a negative or positive social media post about a visitor’s experience.
- Wasting resources on brand awareness simply to appease a particular group or individual.
- “Look how great we are and look at us!” marketing campaigns.
- Service level promises which aren’t kept.
- Lacking a single point of contact for patients and visitors through the patient experience journey.
- Poor employee attitudes.
The best learning opportunities for continually building satisfying long-term customer experiences came from a keynote presentation Dr. Natasha Burgert gave to HCIC attendees. Dr. Burgert eloquently shared with us three problems she faced as a pediatrician:
- I couldn’t get information out. I can’t get the marketing messages to stick with the community.
- My point of care was average. I can’t control what’s happening online.
- I only had 20 minutes with a patient.
We can adapt and provide ourselves solutions to these problems as healthcare marketers:
- Find creative ways to stand out and engage your community.
- Work with your Web partner to determine what online areas need improvement and how you can measure these improvements.
- Research where people are engaged with your organization online and meet them there.
Sound familiar? Dr. Burgert offers us thought-provoking ideas on how to give patients more. More education. More reassurance. More direction. Reacting in real-time is no longer an option. The new norm is and forever will be proactively building a rewarding long-term patient experience. How will you change for the better?