Four of the industry's top marketing strategists share predictions in part one of a two-part series.
To help you prepare for the future, we asked the Healthcare Insight advisory board and other thought leaders to identify trends they believe will have the greatest impact on healthcare marketing strategies in the years ahead.
Preston Gee, VP of Strategic Marketing at CHRISTUS Health
- The entrance of the mega-merchandising giants (Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan) into the health field will dramatically change the way we approach and communicate with consumers.
- Artificial intelligence (e.g., chatbots) is changing and will change the way we communicate with prospective and existing patients/consumers.
- Ongoing consolidation and vertical integration will have an impact on patient/consumer loyalty and elevate the concept of customer lifetime value to a level we’ve never seen in this industry.
Susan Alcorn, Principal at Alcorn Strategic Communications
- Precision medicine. There is some skepticism about its efficacy, but there are still organizations aggressively promoting it. This past January, NPR did an interesting story about how a cancer patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital benefitted from this approach.
- Behavioral health. Clearly there is an incredible demand for it but there is a lack of beds and an insufficient number of professionals. Reimbursement is bad. Is there a business case that would encourage organizations to dive into this important area?
- My favorite: internal communications and culture building. Given the trend toward mega systems (and competition with non-traditional systems), we need to ensure that our employees are onboard. Their loyalty and commitment is more important than ever.
- Recruiting and retaining talent. I’m thinking of providers, but recruitment marketing is important wherever there is a shortage.
Paul Szablowski, Independent Consultant and Thought Leader
- It is important to acknowledge that in this brave new world, the consumer is king and everyone is seeking to differentiate themselves in the way they serve the king.
- Consumers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their healthcare experiences and want streamlined experiences. New entrants are being drawn to an industry with sophisticated consumer data and hardwired processes to take advantage of dissatisfied consumers.
- Success is a race to continuously delight the consumer. Consumer expectations are driven not by best in class healthcare experiences, but by best-in-class consumer experiences from any area they do business in. Consumers engage the world holistically and do not raise and lower their standards to accommodate particular industries.
- To enhance the experiences we offer consumers, we must think holistically—it is not the work of an individual or a single department, it is something that must be embraced by the entire organization.
Holly Sullivan, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Spectrum Health
- A significant trend involves the use of data. Along with the traditional data sets, we need to think about socioeconomic, psycho demographic, and other different kinds of data that can inform our decisions. We need to think like a retailer and leverage data that gets us closer to the consumer.
- New competition is another important trend. There is so much private equity going into the healthcare space right now. Google and Amazon are formidable competitors that we’ve never even thought about how to compete with. As marketers and strategists, we have to think differently about how to compete in the future. This requires us to lift up our heads and look beyond what we’ve always done and how to compete in a new environment.
- In healthcare, we’re not good at challenging ourselves. We have these new competitors coming into our space and they will require new models of care, new ways of planning/marketing, and we have to plan for that. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. These things are going to take a while to get there while things are increasingly speeding up in the market. We need to have this on our radar and continue thinking long and hard about how we differentiate ourselves from these competitors. Traditionally, we thought about delivering the best healthcare services to our patients. Moving forward, that’s not going to be enough to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.
Want More Expert Perspective?
View the Spring 2018 issue of Healthcare Insight for more compelling predictions and points of view.