health care marketingHealth-care marketing is a communications process. As marketers, our role is to communicate the value of what we’re trying to sell. But, communicating value doesn’t simply relate to what we’re selling; it also depends on what our audience finds valuable.

How many times have we seen products or services marketed without regard for relevance to their target audiences? This is because time and time again, marketers don’t create a synergistic relationship between the value of the product and what the customer values.

What’s the result? A failed marketing strategy

Especially in the field of health-care marketing, establishing your product as a relevant value for your customer is crucial. We have a responsibility to define our consumers’ values and meet their expectations to build a relationship, improve satisfaction and increase ROI for our bottom line.

But what is value? How do we define something so abstract? We might not be able to measure value for every single consumer, but we can define consumers’ preferences. Building a marketing strategy based on your consumers’ preferences gives you both quantitative and qualitative fodder with which to create value.

To get started, try the following:

1. Talk to Your Audience.

The biggest flaw with any marketing strategy is when it is confined to being built internally without external research. So, go out and get an understanding of what your target audience does and does not want.

For instance, perhaps patients who use your clients’ products have a hard time adhering to their treatment plans. According to the Mayo Clinic, one in two patients don’t take their medication as prescribed. It’s important to know why your target audience is not adhering to treatment. If you’re marketing to health-care professionals, you need to know what they think would help their patients adhere to their treatments.

2. Align Your Objectives With Your Audience’s Needs.

Once we have an understanding of our audience’s needs and wants, where can we identify gaps in the marketplace? And, how do our products and services fill those gaps? At the end of the day, we want to be able to say, “We know you need x and everyone else is giving you y, but we have exactly the x you’re looking for.”

With patients who aren’t taking their medication as prescribed, let’s say that one problem is that they don’t understand how it’s going to improve their condition. So, when we’re thinking of our communication strategy, we should include the following messaging: “We know you need information, and we have what you’re looking for.” Now, we know that our marketing strategy will focus on providing information to educate our patients.

3. Assume That One Size Does Not Fit All!

Let’s say that some patients in our target audience say that they don’t adhere to their medication because they can’t afford to. Providing them with information about how the product may improve their condition doesn’t address their problem. The needs of your audience are going to vary, and it is up to you, the marketer, to define which needs you can focus on and segment your audience accordingly. You can then tailor objectives aligned to each need.

The beauty of this process is that it can be quantitatively measured to prove the ROI of your strategy. Because no marketing strategy should be stagnant, you can use these objectives to re-evaluate and readjust your strategy. If patients want more information about a medication’s efficacy and you have provided it, go back and see if they are satisfied with the information and if it has increased their rate of adherence.

Think of this as a cycle instead of a list. Customer preferences are always changing. It’s a disservice to your hard work if you leave a marketing strategy running on autopilot. By making sure that your marketing plan is consistent with your customers’ preferences, you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful campaign.

Originally published Sep 9, 2013 1:00:32 AM, updated July 28 2017

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