Setting the Pace in Voice Search for Health Care

by Heather Hammond, Managing Editor - 08/08/19


Comscore predicts that half of all searches will be performed by voice before 2020. Find out how marketers at one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country are leading the way by leveraging “the shiny object” into a voice search strategy that actually works.

Serving North Texas for more than 100 years, Children’s Health is consistently named one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Part of the team stewarding the brand and growth strategy of Children’s Health is Courtney Cox, digital marketing manager, who will be sharing her expert perspective on voice search and real-world examples at Content Marketing World 2019.

CourtneyCoxWakefield_VoiceSearchWe spoke with Courtney in advance of her presentation titled “You Will Fail at Voice Search.”

Q: Why do you feel the topic of voice search is relevant for today’s healthcare marketing professionals? 

There are so many reasons voice search makes sense for health care. First, when you think about being at home and trying to administer medicine, or take your kid’s temperature, or look closely at a spot on your partner’s arm, you don’t have your hands free to use your phone to look things up. We’ve lived in a world for the last decade where our phones have become increasingly powerful. They give us the access to literally all the world’s knowledge, but frankly, the experience sucks. It’s so disruptive and unnatural to pick up your phone in the middle of living your life to look something up. Voice maintains that accessibility to knowledge in a way that fits much more organically into the way we live our lives.

The second major reason voice search is relevant for today’s healthcare marketing professionals is that our patients often lack the physical ability to interact with a phone. Whether they have a vision impairment, a mobility issue or they’re just too ill to go through the motions, voice search enables patients to access information despite physical limitations.

Q: It feels like early stages for voice applications in healthcare marketing; when do you estimate the majority of hospitals and health systems will adopt voice as part of their content marketing efforts?

It will be much faster than mobile, but not fast enough to keep up with market demand. Look, users are adopting voice technology faster than any other communication device in history. The healthcare industry can be very conservative when it comes to taking risks with new tech. Voice will be no different. You have your pioneers that have already begun to experiment, but realistically, it’ll be at least another five years before it’s commonplace and probably 10 before healthcare voice marketing will have matured. 

Q: Can you share an anecdote or experience that illustrates how Children’s Health put this idea into practice?

Once we got a taste of that first voice search result, which was a search for “why can’t my kid sleep?” our team was hooked. 

I’ve always been the type of person that wants to experiment with new technology, and we’re lucky to have leadership that allows us to explore and try new things. We decided we were going to give organic voice search a shot, and set out to find existing content that ranked for voice. We had exactly one ranking that we could find, but we never stopped after that first taste.

Now we have hundreds of voice positions, and we add more every day. But we’re still chasing dominance.

Q: What is the most important thing that you want attendees to take away from your presentation?

The most important thing I want attendees to take away from my presentation is to start now. The folks that are experimenting and trying this stuff out now will dominate share of voice for the next decade. We’ll be the ones everyone else is trying to mimic and beat. Don’t you want to be a part of that, rather than trying to catch up?

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Healthcare Industry Insights & Trends

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