True North Custom President Eric Silberman shares his expert perspective on the industry, having guided strategy for hundreds of healthcare organizations over the past 15 years.
Q: What sets healthcare marketing apart from other types of marketing?
It is unique in so many ways. On the transactional side, the payment for the service is third party, so connecting the purchase to the buyer is more complex than in other marketing spaces.
The types of “purchase” decisions that physicians and consumers are making in healthcare are also dramatically different than in other types of marketing. We don’t find ourselves thinking, “I’ll get sick today and shop for healthcare,” in the same way we might make a family decision to buy a new car or to upgrade our home to add some smarter technology.
This industry has to play the long game, in addition to focusing efforts on short- and mid-term consumer and physician decision-making. This strategy helps ensure hospitals and healthcare systems have a place in the hearts and minds of consumers when it comes time for them to make important healthcare decisions.
Finally, and most importantly, this type of marketing is about enabling people to thrive. Healthcare marketers connect to people by sharing information and stories to promote healing and living the best lives possible though the miraculous capabilities of modern medicine. That is why everyone at True North considers our work such a privilege. It has a nobility of purpose that doesn’t necessarily exist in other types of marketing
Q: What does success look like to you?
Like a lot of people drawn to healthcare marketing, I am motivated by the opportunities to help people and solve problems. My favorite success stories are the ones that illustrate a real human impact. So every time we can connect an encounter at the right time, via the appropriate setting of care, and tie that back to the marketing that True North does, it feels like a success. To me, that intersects the analytics that our company offers with the strategy, content, and results that move people to action in a way that helps them live happier and healthier lives. That’s the good stuff.
Q: What trends are you seeing in the field?
Healthcare marketing is adopting retail world concepts, from the use of predictive models to drive traditional marketing and digital marketing outreach to the measurement and attribution models that have evolved.
On the content side, I’m really impressed with the work our team is doing to map and develop content that meets audiences where they are with respect to their healthcare decisions. We’re doing this through workflows and content that is enabled by marketing automation, content that lives on the digital properties that we develop for clients, and more traditional media, such as direct mail, that is hyper-targeted according to predictive models.
This evolution is dynamic and exciting to all of us, enhancing our ability as a company to deliver great results to our clients by getting stories and information to the right people at the right time.
Q: What is the most important message for healthcare marketers to receive in today’s industry landscape?
If I were to articulate one takeaway, it would be to applaud and encourage the experimentation and progress that is happening in our field. Healthcare in the United States, in general, is going through a tremendous amount of change, and the most forward-thinking marketers are really helping to shape what the future of this industry will look like as we move ahead. Being part of this evolution as we optimize the work that we do as marketers is exceedingly impactful and inspiring.
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