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Bob Dylan said it best in 1964, “The times, they are a changin’.” We’ve officially entered the late 2010s, and I can’t help but notice the shift in health care marketing strategy. Easy access to data and information has ushered in the era of patient empowerment, creating challenges and opportunities for health care marketers.

Health care marketing initiatives are evolving to attract more patients and establish position within the market. As we enter a brave new world in health care marketing, here are the five trends we are most excited about.

Growing demand for health-related video content

One trend in marketing that will never go away is video. MarketsandMarkets predicts that global video streaming will grow to more than $70 billion by the year 2021. With millions of consumers googling their conditions and treatment options, there is a big opportunity in the market for qualified physicians to provide health information through videos without dispensing clinical advice.

Influencer marketing

You have probably heard the term “influencer” a lot over the past few years. Influencers are the bread and butter of marketing strategies, reaching consumers through their respective networks of blogs and social media channels to help brands build valuable relationships.

But wait, don’t influencers only work for food and travel brands?

Not quite. Research shows that nearly 71 percent of patients are more likely to book an appointment based on a reference from social networks. Influencer marketing is all about taking advantage of “word-of-mouth” posts. Don’t limit your influencer search to celebrities and social media darlings. Look for niche publications and websites that reach your core audience, and seek ways to partner with influencers there, rather than simply looking for the people with the most followers. More engaged patients means more appointments and increased referrals.

Data is the new creative

In 2018, we expect to see a continued shift toward data-driven marketing. Hospitals can use sophisticated techniques, such as patient analytics and predictive modeling, to extract valuable insights from this vast and growing pool of data. If a privately insured woman is pregnant, marketers can use that data to proactively promote childbirth preparation classes or prenatal fitness exercises to her. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like Evariant are combining data from content management systems (CMS) with digital marketing best practices to deliver hyper-targeted messaging to prospects most likely to convert.

User experience (UX) is king

UX design is a broad field that encompasses all interactions that a user experiences on a website. Today’s health care websites should provide users with trouble-free experiences that make it easier for patients to find doctors, book appointments and so on.

Failure to meet UX standards can result in harm to your reputation and bottom line. According to Klein & Partners, 11 percent of visitors to a hospital or health system say their website experience created new, negative feelings about that brand.

Health care marketers should constantly be thinking about what they can do to improve UX at each touchpoint, ultimately creating simpler pathways to high-value content.

Online reputation management (ORM)

You only get one first impression. According to Software Advice, nearly 72 percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, so your online reputation is often the first impression for many patients. In 2018, we’ll see more physicians adopting ORM monitoring and reporting services to stay on top of what’s being said, as well as bringing a specialist on board to regularly make updates and address reviews.

Do you have a trend for 2018 that we missed? Tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG and let us know what you think.

 

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