The healthcare industry is ultra-competitive, highly visible, strictly regulated and constantly changing, creating unique challenges, pressures and potential stress for healthcare marketers.
An awareness and understanding of these factors will help put us in a better position to deal with the stress they may bring. So what issues raise the stress level for healthcare marketers these days?
- The consolidation and expansion of healthcare institutions.
The marked shift toward consolidation and expansion in healthcare has created an environment of tremendous change involving merging organizations, brands, people, cultures and marketing functions. Healthcare organizations are re-examining their brand communications and re-developing messaging that accurately represents these new combined entities.
- Multiple stakeholders.
CMOs have to answer to a C-suite, board of directors, physicians, administrators and other community leaders, few of whom possess marketing experience. They must effectively inform and coalesce this group, developing marketing solutions that work best for the overall good and somehow make everyone feel good about it all.
- Changing payment models and regulation.
As hospitals move away from fee-for-service, marketers are tasked with understanding new payment models, knowing how they affect a variety of target audiences and deploying the most effective way of messaging this complex subject matter.
- Healthcare is behind in its digital marketing efforts.
The urgent need to integrate the digital age into healthcare environments introduces the need to be proactive across a variety of digital channels, including web platforms, site optimization, mobile deployment, CRM, patient portals, social media conversations, email campaigns, etc. This is a difficult situation made even more challenging given the issues that are unique to the healthcare industry.
- Competing service lines.
Balancing marketing resources to be allocated to a variety of service lines has always been complex and is no less today. Acquisitions and alliances have introduced a need for fresh campaigns over multiple channels that most often have to be approved by multiple institutions. And with a more competitive environment than ever, everyone understandably wants more for their departments.
- Sensitivity of subject matter.
While HIPPA has been around since 1996, the Affordable Care Act, digital platforms and online data security concerns have all shifted the nature of patient-provider interactions to even more scrutinized levels, presenting a host of new challenges for healthcare marketers.
- Patient Demand for Knowledge
Patients are taking charge of their healthcare in ways we could not have imagined even a few years ago. There was a time when the majority of information was physician-based. Healthcare consumers now get information from multiple sources. Therefore, patients are able to drive their own healthcare decisions and interact with the medical community in an entirely new way.
What keeps you up at night? Take the first step toward a more settled landscape by identifying the factors at play. Only when you understand these issues and their underpinnings can you begin to develop solutions for dealing with them in a positive way.