The Fear Factor In Healthcare Digital Marketing
During the decade that I worked in healthcare marketing environments, healthcare organizations were often slow adopters for most digital marketing strategies. So initially, many in leadership were reluctant to get on board and were quick to see digital marketing as “a cost to be reduced or managed.” In digital marketing strategy meetings, leadership would often expect to see immediate results. Several in leadership rarely used the internet or mobile platforms. And many healthcare executives had flip phones which did not expose them to smartphone technology, its benefits or the digital marketing opportunities smart phones create. I recall being in several meetings where many on the leadership team revealed an underlying fear of technology both personally and as a business tool.
HIPAA Compliance Rules!
But in truth, some digital marketing concerns were valid. Healthcare organizations are required to be highly concerned about preventing HIPAA violations and adhering to HIPAA’s strict security rules. HIPAA compliance was and is an absolute necessity and needed to be handled. From creating security when passing data between online platforms to patient records access, each had to be carefully addressed in ways that were not only in keeping with HIPAA rules but in a manner that was reassuring to patients.
Show Me The Money
In hospital environments, the communication about digital marketing went well beyond sharing how digital marketing tools could help patients and benefit the organization. It was beneficial to address individual fears (whether personal or otherwise, valid or imagined) then spend time educating leadership on the amazing benefits of being able to track data and being able to modify an implemented strategy quickly. It was also important to directly tie these strategies back to back to cost savings and ROI.
It’s All In The Numbers
It was decidedly helpful to show how having customer data through digital marketing (such as open and click rates in emails or share rates on social media or bounce rates on websites) could lead to more accurate customer targeting when compared to the cost of print marketing. I shared examples of the numbers of times we throw away mailed flyers without looking at them. Many companies spend millions of dollars to produce print marketing materials. The expense related to these begin as soon as a project starts. There are many hours devoted to revisions including making color changes and choosing the right words. The cost to work with professional printers can be tremendous.
Investing In The Future
I also spent a lot of time providing evidence that consumers use the internet as the first point of contact with hospitals and physicians. My presentations also included data on patient searches for medical conditions and symptoms as well as researching physicians and healthcare organizations. And I shared the many review sites that existed just for patients to find and write physician recommendations. Over time, many in leadership began reducing print marketing expense and rerouted some funding into digital marketing where they could see cost savings, monitor campaign effectiveness (and often in real time), and regularly measure the impact of their spending. They began to recognize that implementing digital marketing strategies using smart tactics was the right thing to do. We had arrived, we were now forward thinking, and we were successfully moving into the future.
Along with her Cornell University digital marketing training and certification, Marcia has over ten years of experience leading corporate digital marketing and another decade of experience running a digital marketing agency.
Marcia trains corporate teams both in the U.S. and internationally. In her training, Marcia shares the how and why of using digital marketing platforms and strategies to attract target audience and improve digital marketing results.
Marcia is also a podcast host and former contributor for a top business program (The Price of Business) syndicated on both CBS and Bloomberg radio.
From 1987 to 1991, Marcia was an active duty member of the United States Air Force. She received an honorable discharge before going on to earn a Bachelor of Science in computer systems engineering. Her minor studies were in user experience and technical writing for digital platforms.
Marcia has served on various business committees including the digital marketing committee for the Houston-area Better Business Bureau from 2012 to 2014. Marcia is a professional member of SHRM, as well as a member of Rotary International and both the McAllen and South Padre Island Chambers of Commerce.
In 2016, Marcia founded Up Your Digital IQ which is based out of the south Texas area (Rio Grande Valley: Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Los Fresnos.)