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Three Ways Health Brands Can Engage Today’s Patients

The proliferation of devices and always-on nature of consumer behavior has given healthcare marketers the ability to reach current and prospective patients 24/7. However, this virtually unlimited reach often means that patients are inundated with messages, many of which go unnoticed or ignored.

In today’s world, success is predicated on the ability to not only reach patients, but to command their attention and engage them with unique and individually-relevant content. This idea — presenting consumers with content when they want it, where they want it, and how they want to consume it – is a central principal in people-based marketing (PBM), in which marketers leverage known audience insights to deliver personalized experiences that create and sustain brand loyalty over time.

The regulatory environment in which healthcare companies operate, however, poses distinct challenges to activating a PBM platform, and healthcare marketers often adopt a “wait and see” position. But, as their retail and financial services peers prove the effectiveness of targeted and dynamically-generated messaging — using preferences, behavior, and engagement history to drive content development and delivery, healthcare companies are beginning to take notice.

As healthcare marketers, you can take immediate actions to set the PBM wheels in motion:

1. Mine available data

By collecting, synthesizing, and modeling data about each patient’s engagement with your brand(s), you can activate a messaging platform that will  create a stronger dialogue with each individual patient, deepening your relationships and differentiating you from your “batch and blast” peers. Understand what you have, identify gaps, and start collecting what you need. Tag and track online activity. Review past engagement (or lack thereof). Create a preference center. Combine your “house file” with third-party data. All will help you paint a clear picture of the needs, interests, and opportunities associated with each individual patient.

2. Define actionable segments

Segmenting your audience based on criteria such as life stage, behavior, and attitudes will allow you to refine your messaging strategy to focus on the specific needs of each patient, and that can be activated and managed at a very granular level. Newly diagnosed, loyal patients, generic switchers, cost-conscious script fillers, etc. – each of these patient types has unique requirements for content and engagement that can be supported through an insightful segmentation strategy.

3. Create & manage modular content

Designing, implementing, and managing a customer-centric messaging platform requires significant coordination and alignment. Cross-functional healthcare and partner teams must work together to define, implement, and operate the strategy, content, and infrastructure that fuels people-based marketing. Think about your holistic messaging platform and the multitude of ways you can communicate each core message. Dissect those key messages into “bite-sized” content modules that can be mapped to segments and channels to enable individually-relevant messaging. And, define the processes and governance needed to organize and manage your content assets.

The great thing about a people-based marketing program is that it transcends a linear approach to engagement. It’s an organic model that evolves and changes over time. Each individual interaction generates learnings used to improve subsequent messaging, channel selection, cadence, etc. And, insights gleaned from across the spectrum of patient activity inform ongoing interaction and the overall experience.

By capturing, organizing, and analyzing information about your patients — channel preference, engagement history, content consumption, etc. — you too can create a people-based strategy that will resonate, stimulate behavior change, and create a more impactful dialogue between patients and your brands.