Ubiquity has become ubiquitous. Brands striving to be everywhere are ... well, everywhere. Yet, what if we were to rethink and redefine ubiquity in a customized context and in the health and wellness space? 

We live in a world where customers demand content at their fingertips 24/7. These customers may be consumers who are not yet patients, patients who have been diagnosed, caregivers who take care of patients, or nurses who act almost as an extended family member. Information on conditions and treatments needs to be ubiquitous. But not simply in the traditional sense: “Being, appearing, or found everywhere.” Consumers like options for how they engage with content and learn about information. And they want content that is specifically relevant to them. Ubiquity in the health and wellness space needs to connect customers with both branded content and disease education on their terms.

Call it u.biquitous—content and information available everywhere that is also channel appropriate and tailored to you, the individual. 



Taking ubiquity from the generic to the specific

Being ubiquitous may seem generic to marketers, but not when you look at it from the customer’s perspective. If you can be (every)where your customer is and yet have a truly personal understanding of your customer’s needs and create content that is relevant, you are able to lay a foundation for a lasting relationship. Quick, easy access to general information on any subject isn’t the basis for a sustainable relationship. Customers, especially patients, want to know exactly how content relates to them and their condition and also what it can do for them. And when your brand or company doesn’t make this evident, they'll get the information elsewhere.

Talking turkey

So how do you make ubiquity meaningful to the individual? First, consider channel planning and media placement. Say you are embedding your unbranded disease information, or even your branded product content, on another consumer-facing property (health website portal, search engine, print magazine). For optimal impact, you need to consider what the consumer mindset is and adapt your tone and depth of information accordingly.

On a search engine, consumers are expressing intent to solve a problem, so your ad tiles should be solution oriented.  

Within a health portal, patients and caregivers are seeking education and in-depth information on a condition; they also may want to be pointed to possible treatments. Therefore, provide the background on the clinical attributes aligned with your product’s benefits, in consumer-friendly language. Then offer a link to possible treatments. 

In a popular magazine, consumers are browsing for general information, so the content may need to be lighter and drive to the for more information, or encourage a discussion with the physician. 

As for for emails, everyone’s in-box is very full, so you need to be really compelling and relevant. The “From” line should be a credible source, the subject line relevant to that health problem, and the interior contents both educational and offering links to potential solutions. 

A newer, special platform to think about is online social communities. In many health conditions, consumers highly value the opinions and experience of their peers—even as much as those of a healthcare professional. However, the risk here is that anonymous peers in a social community may offer information that is somewhat naive or even at odds with your factual data. The obligation of a brand is to find a way to participate in the conversation within these communities and offer sources to trustworthy, fact-based information. Not in a promotional way, but rather to ensure the community has access to the right scientific, fact-based results.

The proof is in the testing

How would one analyze the impact of u.biquity, and optimize performance? This is where experimental design—also known as “test and learn”—comes in. Take the approach of placing your message across different platforms and see what gets the most viewers, the deepest exploration, and the best click-through to your website and authoritative sources. In addition, for each source (wherever possible), alternate the content between the more vanilla, standard information versus something with a more customized tone. This can be split among different time periods, different geographies, or even randomly. Again, measure any lift or difference in engagement and response rate.  Then optimize for those channels and messages that are best educating your audience and best driving awareness to your product.

Of course, it’s important to understand that all content is not meant for every channel—it's a delicate balance. But if your customer associates your brand with relevant, timely information and content, you’ll be seen as more than simply ubiquitous, you’ll be seen as essential. And that is what u.biquity is all about.

1 comment about "U.biquitous".
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  1. Jen Jenkins from University Health Care, November 27, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.

    I definitely agree that customized content is where marketing is headed. What I appreciate about this article is the breakdown of customer expectations via consumer-facing properties.

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