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6 mistakes every healthcare marketer makes

These are the most common mistakes that can derail even the most well-intentioned healthcare marketing efforts.
By admin
Jun 5, 2024, 1:20 PM

Everyone wants to learn about best practices, but often, factors like budget constraints, staffing shortages, political challenges, or enterprise culture make them difficult to implement.

On the other hand, history has shown that we can all learn from worst practices. Throughout my career, I’ve observed healthcare enterprises and vendors with immense budgets make basic mistakes that even an organization with no budget can avoid. We are drawn to these examples for the same reason people slow down to look at a car wreck: there’s a natural fascination with failure and the lessons it teaches.

Top 6 healthcare marketing mistakes

Developing personas with cute names but no emotion

I’ve spent my career building and analyzing healthcare and technology personas. Often, they are whimsically named (like Pam from Pop Health) and entertaining, but they lack depth. These personas typically outline who the target interacts with but miss the crucial emotional triggers that drive engagement and lead to purchasing decisions. For effective marketing, it’s essential to weave these emotional triggers into the content tailored for each persona to transform interest into intent.

Confusing imitation with innovation

Is imitation truly the sincerest form of flattery? Many of us have sat in conference rooms where the whole discussion was on copying what a successful competitor has done. Typically it’s not improving on their success but launching a “me too” version of what’s already out there. While imitation may keep you in the game, it’s vital not to confuse it with genuine innovation or differentiation.

Scaling without meaningful outcomes

“How can we scale this?” is a common question from investors, boards, or senior management. Unfortunately, the rush to scale often occurs with little to no real improvement. Healthcare, in particular, demands that we recognize when processes cannot be scaled due to unique organizational or workflow challenges.

Lack of a risk-reward structure

In an era where job-hopping is prevalent, especially in healthcare, a significant number of professionals leave their jobs due to the absence of incentives for creativity and innovation. Organizations should establish risk-reward structures that encourage controlled risks, fostering a culture where the fear is not in trying new ideas, but in failing to innovate.

Misunderstanding patient experience

The term ‘patient experience’ has become as overused and hollow as ‘artificial intelligence’ or ‘population health,’ losing its meaning and focus on the patient. Instead, ‘PX’ often centers around the care provider rather than the recipient. True patient involvement, especially during their hospital stay, is crucial. Otherwise, the patient experience reduces to ineffective post-visit surveys that fail to capture essential feedback, particularly from diverse demographic groups.

The pitfalls of the digital front door

The concept of a ‘digital front door’ in healthcare is arguably one of the most overhyped. Despite disclaimers acknowledging the nonexistence of a literal digital front door, many portals still force patients through cumbersome navigation processes. For instance, accessing test results or dosage updates often requires multiple unnecessary steps. In today’s era of advanced security measures like two-factor authentication, there should be more straightforward pathways for patients to access their needed information directly.

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