A healthcare marketer's cheat sheet: What to advertise, and when.

A healthcare marketer's cheat sheet: What to advertise, and when.

There always seems to be a “that time of year.” We know all about winter flu season, Heart Month and World Health Day, but what about other ‘seasons’ that healthcare marketers could capitalize on? To be prepared for the next heart attack or baby rush, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind:

Maternity Care

Studies find that the most common time to give birth is from July to September. Contrary to popular belief, the winter months correlate with more conception because people spend more time indoors together. Also, some moms plan for a summer baby to enjoy maternity leave during this desirable time of year. So, July minus nine months brings you to November. This may be an opportune time for your next Maternity campaign.

Surgery

Although patients can never control when they have emergency procedures, there are some times minor surgeries are more convenient than others. For many, December is the opportune time to get the job done. Christmas break is an easy time to fix a torn ligament or pull wisdom teeth, because it’s too chilly for the outdoors (at least in the north) and there’s plenty of time off work to recover. Maybe in your next blog post, suggest some useful tips on how to recover during the holiday season.

Depression

Surprisingly, January is thought to be the most depressing month of the year. With debt from the holidays and the stress of getting back into routine, January is the Monday of the rest of the year. It’s also when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), triggered by a lack of Vitamin D, is in full swing due to short, sun deprived days. Seems a behavioral health campaign in January makes more sense than the basking-in-the-sun month of July.

ER

There’s always a spike in ER visits during major holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day or even Memorial Day. Some swear by the correlation of a full moon and a busy ER. But for the northern half of the country, the summer months are commonly known as ‘trauma season.’ Hospitals can see ER visits double for children in the summer due to things like bike and rollerblading accidents and bee stings. So, in addition to marketing your Trauma capabilities, there is no better time to talk about child safety than the summer.

Health Insurance

Starting a family means changes in health insurance. And as many would guess, the most popular time to get married is in the summer, from June to September. To prepare for this entourage of new couples, insurance providers should ensure their customers know how to adjust their health insurance.

Traveler’s Insurance

Speaking of insurance, most Americans like taking vacations, and most of them will take them in July. Among those enjoying time off, 51 percent will be leaving their state and nine percent will be going abroad. To prepare for this time, marketers should ensure that patients know how to be covered while away from home. For that nine percent, international health insurance will be a must.

There’s always something in season. Targeted marketing at opportune moments helps to ensure you are reaching your target audience with a relevant message when they need it most.

For more on healthcare marketing trends, sign up for our monthly edition of the Brogan healthcare checkup.

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Healthcare Checkup - May 2017

Are you putting your patients first? North Memorial’s recent campaign puts patients’ concerns and experiences at top of mind. Perhaps virtual reality is more your speed? Or are you preparing to respond to your direct competitors? Here’s everything you need to know.

VITAMIN B&P.

This healthcare system treats patients as valued customers. North Memorial is making sure patients are seen and heard.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

How marketers and users can benefit from virtual reality. Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming one of the largest opportunities using sight and sound to create real experiences without actually being present.

When it's smart to take jabs at the competition. A little competition can be a good thing. Especially when brands engage directly with competitors.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

Is your online presence up to snuff? As more digitally savvy Millennials become patients, they expect ease of use and interactivity when it comes to websites. See here.

Boost your online reputation. In the 21st century, you’re nobody unless you’re somebody online.

Serving the Millennial patient. As the millennial generation enters the workforce and becomes increasingly responsible for buying and accessing healthcare, organizations are gearing up for a new “regime.”

MONTHLY DOSE.

Does your hospital marketing budget have you down? Download our free guide, "How to market your hospital on a tight budget," to learn budget efficient marketing strategies.

This healthcare system treats patients as valued customers.

"I love not knowing exactly how much my visit is going to cost."

"I love being uninformed and totally uninvolved with my healthcare."

"It feels great when my doctor gives me a diagnosis without making eye contact."

Said no one ever. That’s why North Memorial Health has launched a new brand campaign to humanize the healthcare experience for patients. In a series of online videos, the healthcare system addresses patients’ concerns and real-life, relatable experiences with humor.

This healthcare system treats patients as valued customers.

North Memorial Health’s message focuses on ensuring their patients are and continue to be heard.

For more on healthcare marketing trends and insights, sign up for our monthly edition of the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Healthcare Checkup - April 2017

Do consumers’ self-care practices impact their healthcare choices? Today, 90 percent of consumers are already partaking in self-care activities. Could their ad-blocking and scaled-back social presence be a factor? Here’s the scoop.

VITAMIN B&P.

Self-care and what it means for healthcare marketers. You know it is 2017 when you can officially count a glass of wine or reading a good book as part of your self-care routine.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

Facebook and Google are losing the war against ad-blockers. Internet users worldwide had installed ad-blocking software on 616 million mobile devices and desktops by the end of 2016, a 25 percent increase from 2015 (491).

Social media users are scaling back: What this means for your brand. Today, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of and careful about their own and other’s social presence.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

What is your brand doing to promote community health? Did you know 95 percent of consumers say doctors are the most trusted sources for health and wellness information? See what else tops their list.

Next generation of community health. Hospitals and health systems across the country are focusing on community health and creating new ways to improve the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of all people in our communities.

Infographic: Patient preferences for online healthcare searches. Patients seek trustworthy information, but on their own terms.

MONTHLY DOSE.

Looking to market to all generations but don’t have the budget? Not a problem. There’s one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide: How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.

Healthcare Checkup - March 2017

Let's face it, we've all Googled our symptoms before. That rash, pain or cough. According to Google, 1 percent of queries are symptom related. That's millions of searches surrounding symptoms and signs of illness. So, what does this mean for your practice or hospital? Let's break it down.

VITAMIN B&P.

How to get more patients to try telemedicine. Patients consult Google pretty regularly for healthcare advice.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Everything your brand needs to know. Debating which visual social platform is better for your brand? Let's break it down filter-by-filter, post-by-post, percentage-by-percentage.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

Is there something we should be learning from children's hospitals? And do you know how to empower patients, while also keeping their information private and secure? See here.

Children's hospitals form partnerships to boost revenue, serve more patients. With all the changes happening in the current healthcare climate, hospitals looking to thrive must take unique approaches to their operations.

How to make patient empowerment a reality. Patient empowerment promises to help improve medical outcomes while lowering treatment costs.

MONTHLY DOSE.

Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest, greatest and free whitepaper "Communicating with Visuals."

How to get more patients to try telemedicine.

How to get more patient to try telemedicine.

Patients consult Google pretty regularly for healthcare advice. (Doctors love it.)

How regularly? About 1 percent of Google searches are symptom-related. That’s millions of queries about colds, fevers and mysterious rashes, among other ailments. And millions of patients self-diagnosing largely based on blogs, native advertising and user-generated content.

According to the latest national Pew Research study, 72 percent of adult internet users say they have searched online for information about a range of health issues, the most popular being specific diseases and treatments. And 26 percent say they have read or watched someone else’s health experience about health or medical issues in the past 12 months. Finally, 16 percent have gone online in the past 12 months to find others who share the same health concerns.

The medical community has responded with telemedicine, meeting patients in the comfort and convenience of their homes. Still, patients have been slow to adapt.

In the recent “2016 Connected Patient Report” Salesforce found that 91 percent of U.S. adults with health insurance and a primary care provider are only using traditional forms of communication when consulting their doctors. But 62 percent of respondents said they’re open to virtual care treatments instead of in-office appointments for non-urgent issues.

Consumers will eventually adapt to telemedicine, whether out of need or convenience. Medical providers can hasten the process by positioning telemedicine as an extension of patient care, building trust by exposure and experience. Here are four ways to get started.

Make it relevant

The convenience of telemedicine makes it especially appealing to young mothers, the elderly and those who live in rural areas. Mom doesn’t want to take her sick child outdoors. Grandpa has limited access to transportation. And nobody wants to drive 20 miles to have a cold diagnosed. This is your immediate target audience. Connect with them by using messages that most connect with their healthcare hurdles.

Make it tangible

Insurance cards are a symbol of coverage. They make the intangible tangible. The card itself has little worth, but it means a great deal to the card holder. Access. Treatment. Health. Livelihood. I recently switched health insurance and was disappointed when I received my new card in the mail. It’s flimsy, bendable even—not unlike the former hard plastic version that I had long trusted.

So, make a card for your telemedicine service. Not a mousepad or a refrigerator magnet, but a sturdy symbol that will feel at home next to a driver’s license and debit card. This tangible reminder will help patients gain confidence in virtual care.  

Make it part of the office environment

Telemedicine still seems very George Jetson, especially for those who remember the Jetsons. Demonstrate the technology with patients who come in for office visits. Show them how to access the service from their phone, desktop and tablet. Show them what’s behind the proverbial curtain. If the visit requires a follow-up appointment and the channel is appropriate, suggest the next appointment take place virtually. Then send them home with the aforementioned card.

Make it simple

Remember you’re inviting a wide range of patients with varying degrees of tech-savvy to use telemedicine. Make sure that the patient journey is easy to navigate. Build user confidence with supporting content, like blogs, short video tutorials, infographics and testimonials. Then chat it up on your social channels.

Telemedicine is at a tipping point, but patients aren’t likely to change their way of accessing their physician with a lot of guidance along the way. You conquered patient-centered health care. You got this.

Interested in more blogs about healthcare tech? Learn about an app for the flu.

Healthcare Checkup - February 2017

Out–are the days of looking good and in–are the days of feeling good, finally. Brands are taking a new approach to reach consumers looking to benefit their health. Today, consumers are looking for more relatable messages and attainable goals. They’re also looking to take a break from some of their social media feeds. But not after they indulge in a Facebook 360 Live video, of course. Let’s take a look.  

VITAMIN B&P.

Why brands are discovering new ways to advertise to fitness consumers. Look good, feel good? Consumers today might have proven that motivational message no longer effective.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

Deseat.me: A digital disappearance. Are consumers really looking to go off the grid? Are we in the beginning stages of a digital disappearance?

Facebook 360 Live: From a marketer’s view. 360 video is nothing new to the social world, but 360 video in real time is new to the world of Facebook.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

Looking to go beyond treating with a pill, healthcare firms are turning to mobile apps to help their patients. And if its personalized messaging, all the better. See here.

Moving beyond the pill in the healthcare sector. For the past several years, healthcare and pharma firms have been trying, with mixed success, to step up their beyond-the-pill programs.

Infographic: How to personalize patient marketing. The start of a positive patient experience begins with a consistent communication strategy.

MONTHLY DOSE.

Does your hospital marketing budget have you down? Download our free guide, "How to market your hospital on a tight budget," to learn budget efficient marketing strategies.

Marketing Statement - First Quarter 2017

How's that 2017 marketing plan working out for your brand so far? Does it lean into social media? Does it leverage the many new features Facebook launched in 2016 to further connectivity—like live video, 360-degree photos and recommendations? There's still time to bedazzle those tactics. (Bright shiny objects below.)  It's (still) all about the customer experience—in good times and especially in bad times. A Pennsylvania healthcare system shows how to make the most of highly emotional, high performance customer opportunities.   

4 social media trends that are changing insurance marketing. From year to year, most insurance products stay the same, but there's one thing that does change: the way they're marketed. What does 2017 have in store?

Facebook was busy in 2016. Here are the CliffsNotes. For Facebook, every year brings advancements and enhancements—and 2016 was no different. With a strategic goal to make the world more connected, the Facebook team added new functionality, created new technology and worked to improve features that already exist.

A hospital system with a money back guarantee. Highly emotional, high performance opportunities are the stuff customer loyalty is made of, according to McKinsey studies into the retail banking industry. A Pennsylvania hospital system is putting this strategy to work in healthcare with promising results.

QUICK study

The green that's keeping Millennials up at night. Young adults fret about finances—especially building a sufficient nest egg in which to retire comfortably, according to a Schwab Retirement Plan Services study. It's the number-one reason Millennials lose sleep at night.

Zelle me all about it. Banks and credit unions are backing an open social payments platform in hopes of competing with the likes of PayPal, Venmo and Square. Like its competitors, Zelle lets consumers send money to friends or pay for goods and services at the touch of a smartphone app.

What motivates young people to save for retirement? Crow's feet. Researchers at Virtual Human Interaction Lab recently discovered a powerful tool to compel consumers to plan for retirement—aging. After meeting their aging avatars, college-aged subjects saved more than twice as much for retirement than those who did not.

Hey Gen X. This bank's for you. It seems every bank wants Millennials. But when Louisville, KY-based Republic Bank & Trust built its digital banking platform, MemoryBank, it was focused on an often overlooked generational cohort—Gen. X. Because peak earning years. 

SHARPEN the saw

You can depend on social media to change. Often. What's an industrious but insanely taxed marketer to do? Read our free whitepaper on the nine social media trends impacting your online performance, for starters. It's a quick read but rich with key insights to evolve your social strategies for optimum brand engagement. Download now.

START a conversation

Share the Marketing Statement. Tell two friends. And so on.

Hospital system backs patient experience with refund policy.

Hospital system backs patient experience with refund policy

Patients increasingly want the same level of customer service at the hospital that they get at the Genius Bar, according to McKinsey & Company research.

Respondents said that great customer service was just as important to them in non-healthcare and healthcare companies alike. Other qualities that ranked as important for both were delivering on expectations, making life easier and offering great value.

Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania is on board. Earlier this year, the hospital launched a system-wide money back policy on patient care—with no-questions asked, no strings attached and no red tape applied. Patients can even download the Geisinger ProvenExperience app to set the process in motion.

Dissatisfied with your post-op meal? The finance department bungled your payment schedule? Difficulty scheduling tests? Encountered a rude receptionist? Felt neglected or burdensome? All of these patient experiences and more qualify for reimbursement under Geisinger’s policy. The only caveat? Refunds can only be applied to co-payments and deductibles.

“We want to make sure we not only have the right care that is high quality and safe, but we also want to make sure our care is compassionate, dignified and delivered with a lot of kindness,” Geisinger President & CEO David Feinberg told the Washington Post.

Seizing highly emotional, high performance moments.

Highly emotional, high performance opportunities are the stuff customer loyalty is made of, according to McKinsey studies into the retail banking industry. Researchers found that routine transactions, like buying traveler’s checks, do little to create an emotional bond with customers. But critical moments, like awaiting a response on a loan or releasing a check from hold, can forge deeper, more meaningful (read: profitable) relationships.

After a positive experience, more than 85 percent of customers increased their value to the bank by purchasing more products or investing more of their assets. And more than 70 percent reduced their commitment when their problem was not resolved to their satisfaction.

Geisinger processes an average 122 refunds a month stemming from appointment scheduling to access of care and billing concerns. Refunds have ranged from $20 to a couple thousand dollars. Meanwhile, customer relations are improving. According to CEB Iconoculture research, communication between patients and patient advocates has increased nearly 25 percent.

This will likely bode well for the system on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey front. The survey measures patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience and publishes results quarterly for all to see.  Respondents are interviewed six weeks or less after discharge—plenty of time for Geisinger to process a refund request.

For more on healthcare marketing trends, sign up for our monthly edition of the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care

When my brother’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, we bought her a tablet to pass the time during her recovery. She loves to read, so it seemed a good choice. A year later, when my husband’s sister was diagnosed, we gave her a pressed metal necklace.

Why? I have no idea. My mother-in-law reacted in typically blunt fashion. “Why are you giving her presents? It’s cancer, not a birthday party.”

We just wanted to do something to let her know we were thinking of her. That we love her. And to somehow bridge the 4,200 miles that separated us from her while she battled cancer without us. So many things come to mind now that she’s four years cancer-free. But when you’re spinning with worry, thoughtful gift ideas rarely come in focus.

Rethink Breast Cancer gets it. The young women’s breast cancer movement has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products that help friends diagnosed with breast cancer get through the tough time ahead. More than a gesture, the collection includes meaningful gifts that acknowledge what’s she’s tackling, and helps support her along the way.

You can gift goodies a-la-carte or send carefully curated packages that come in small, medium and large. Items range from the practical—a planner, hand sanitizer, water bottle, tissue and tote—to the comfy—plush hoodies and a 100 percent cashmere toque that promises both warmth and style. There’s even a children’s book for moms to help with difficult conversations and can’t-we-ever-have-a-normal-conversation candy hearts inscribed with texts like “u r my rock.” All gifts come with a complementary care guidelines catered to young women who have a breast cancer diagnosis.

What’s more, Give-a-Care products keep on giving. All proceeds from sales fund Rethink Breast Cancer. The nonprofit is dedicated to raise awareness about breast cancer in those under the age of 40.

Talk about a feel-good fest. The giver feels like she’s helping. The recipient feels understood. And the nonprofit gets more funding to fuel great ideas to help more patients.

This kind of brand authenticity is what consumers crave across industries. There’s nothing like a confident decision to make people loyal advocates. The trick is to know your audience. Rethink Breast Cancer knows its target audience down to the cellular level. 

Speaking of brand authenticity, download our free whitepaper “3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand.” And discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups.

Healthcare Checkup - November 2016

Are all your doctor’s appointments up-to-date? Cigna and Zocdoc want to make sure you are taking all preventative healthcare measures. Whether they are enlisting Dr. McDreamy or proposing employees to take their Unsick days, these brands just want you to schedule your routine health appointments. Take a look. 

VITAMIN B&P.

Talk about breakthrough healthcare marketing. From Dr. McDreamy to Turk, see how Cigna is getting all the TV doctors together for a powerful healthcare message.

Introducing the Zocdoc “Unsick Day.” As part of their preventative healthcare campaign, ZocDoc, the healthcare scheduling service, has proposed Unsick Day to allow employees a day off each year to attend routine doctors and dental appointments. 

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

Tech shame or celebrate? Marketing to the smartphone gen. With the increase in smartphone owners, comes the increase in time spent on mobile. But is this an addiction or a media habit? Four brands are weighing in.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

Is promoting telehealth your next big marketing project? If so, are you using the right media tactics? See here.     

3 popular hospital, healthcare marketing trends. Hospital systems and healthcare companies are employing a greater variety of tools to reach and attract potential customers as new competitors continue to flood the market.

Leveraging your brand with telehealth: Intermountain’s keys to success. Does your health system’s brand matter when launching telehealth to your patients? What are the critical keys to success for launching video visits?

MONTHLY DOSE.

Looking to market to all generations but don’t have the budget? Not a problem. There’s one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide: How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.

Talk about breakthrough healthcare marketing.

This spot literally woke me up as I was nodding off to the news last night. For there, in full scrubs, was not only McDreamy (Omg, is he coming back to Greys?!), but Hawkeye (Alan Alda's "M*A*S*H" character, for those too young to recall) and other infamous TV docs from "ER," "House" and "Scrubs."

Now, I know as a healthcare marketer, I have an undeniable affinity for innovative healthcare marketing, but I think this spot is brilliant. Because it's different, adorable, it caught my attention and it made me smile.

Kudos to Cigna for not only effectively promoting annual check-ups, but for bringing back to life some of our all-time favorite TV doctors.

Let us know if you liked it, too. And if you did, check out the short behind-the-scenes video, which is every bit as endearing—and effective in extending the message.

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