In a world where a multidisciplinary care approach has become the system norm in holistically managing patient health, it may be time as a healthcare marketer to get a check-up on your own communications plan.
Gone are the days when primary care physicians served as the single voice of care for patients with complex needs. Today, providers strive to choreograph a mix of specialists based on each individual patient’s situation to maximize efficiency, relevancy and cost throughout the entire patient care experience. Healthcare marketers, similarly, should be viewing brand communications in a way that is customized to target audience need. It helps to think about where consumers are in the brand decision cycle and choreograph your messaging in a way that maximizes contextual relevancy. This is a key factor influencing brand communications effectiveness.
To do this, marketers must first understand the consumer decision journey. The use of cultural anthropologists is among ways to conduct research with your customer prospects in their homes or where they spend their time to drive deep insight regarding how they view the decision, which factors are considered throughout its cycle, what contextual factors influence the decision, and, ultimately, which are most important in each key stage.
Next, think about how your target consumes the broad array of media channels to inform and influence the decision. How deeply, or passively, are they engaged with each channel as they move throughout the cycle? What are they looking for? How can a brand make it better, easier, less painful or less worrisome? How do individuals feel at each stage of the process? What is their emotional journey like?
By viewing the decision journey through your target audience’s eyes, understanding their needs throughout the cycle, and at the same time determining which channels they’re engaging with and why, a clearer picture emerges regarding the brand’s opportunities to connect with them in a more relevant and meaningful way.
For marketing practitioners and their agencies, this approach can lead to messaging strategies and creative briefings being executed differently. It requires a more sophisticated approach, including varying messages within a channel to most effectively engage people at different phases within the cycle as they move through it.
If all this sounds too simple and intuitive not to be happening now with your brand, challenge your marketing organization – and your agency – to take a closer look. You might be surprised. It’s important that you ensure your message, channel and creative strategists are working closely as an interactive team. And make sure everybody understands and builds from the consumer journey. By doing this, you’ll be certain to create a holistic brand experience for the consumer.
Brand experience planning acknowledges how the consumer’s needs (both rational and emotional) and channel use evolve throughout the decision cycle and enables marketers to deliver more engaging messaging where and when it’s needed most. Think of it as multidisciplinary, patient-centered care for your brand and your customer.