As promotional specialists, healthcare marketers are tasked with the mission of conveying the value of specific treatments and products to the public while also influencing patients to see a compelling need to use them. Understanding this communication between a healthcare businesses and a patient group is an essential element in developing a successful marketing strategy.
To build this strategy, marketers identify a patient group, understand their needs and interests, and then decide which channels will be most effective to reach those patients and how to leverage each channel. Potential channels of communication include professional referrals, internal marketing, external marketing, branding, Internet marketing, and public relations.
While understanding how to leverage these channels is an essential piece of success, creating the right message that resonates with the target patient audience will have a profound impact on elevating the success of marketing efforts. For this reason, it is vital that marketers specifically tailor the details of each message using predictions of patient behavior. By doing so, marketers ensure that a product or treatment is framed under the proper context and increase the probability that a patient will see their call to action as a successful course of treatment.
So is this really how medical marketers should elevate their messaging? Here are three reasons why utilizing patient behavior predictions can healthcare marketers develop authentic break-through messaging that effectively communicates to their patients the benefits of a product.
1) Understanding patient behavior is extra insurance for developing an empathetic tone within messaging
By taking time to understanding the pains, worries, fears, and expectations of patients, marketers gain valuable insights into the psychographics of their target group. Asking questions to understand what perceptions and biases the clientele already hold will also give key insights into the decision-making process that a strategy attempts to leverage.
As they gather this information, marketers create an empathetic foundation upon which messaging can be developed. By seeking first to understand the thoughts and feelings of the patients, marketers also create an early detection system that will quickly weed out any message that could be interpreted as insensitive, purely profit-driven or callous.
2) Use patient predictive behavior to expand a patient’s perspective
While marketers should definitely use messaging to demonstrate to patients that they understand the patient’s situation, they miss out on a key opportunity if the messaging does not extend beyond basic empathy. After a patient’s situation has been treated with the appropriate sensitivity, messaging should move to strengthen the confidence a patient has in the entire treatment process, providing information that surpasses the individual’s limited perspective.
In this sense, marketers can convey valuable medical information in common language that will help the patient understand all of the care and effort being take towards their treatment. For example, by explaining the training that a medical staff goes through, such as ACLS renewal, or diagraming the testing process that occurs with each new drug, marketers help patients understand the bigger picture of health intervention.
3) By creating a journey map for each specific patient, marketers understand the big picture of each patient’s illness
One specific tactic of predicting patient behavior is to map out the patient’s entire medical journey. By beginning with the initial steps of symptom detection, awareness and diagnosis, and eventually reaching successful treatment and health restoration, marketers identify the specific scenarios a patient will pass through and gain a better understanding of what the patient has already experienced in addition to future challenges.
Taking a deeper look at these scenarios will also help marketers to evaluate and determine which points of the journey are most difficult for the patient and where key decisions are made. Without a journey mapping technique, marketers run the risk of promoting a product too late in the patient’s treatment cycle or too soon. Finding the right timing can strengthen the marketing pitch by positioning the message as organically as possible within the course of treatment. With big data becoming a bigger player across the medical industry, developing data-driven journey maps can help marketers produce sharper insights like never before.
With these clear benefits and many others, understanding and predicting patient behavior helps marketers develop accurate, effective messaging that clearly communicates the value and purpose of a product.