To say it has be an interesting past few months for the healthcare and wellness industry would be the understatement of the year. The consumer health and wellness space is evolving and shifting at a rate and level never seen before. Of course, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act is a big reason why. But, perhaps more importantly, it is the part technology is playing. The consumerization of technology has propelled massive changes that have created a newly empowered consumer more involved and in charge. And it’s causing major disruptions with how to target, reach and engage with these empowered consumers to gain their loyalty, trust and business. Below are five trends I believe marketers must keep their eye on for 2014 and beyond:
1. Marketing Personalization Expands: In 2014, the focus on personalizing and delivering targeted content will get even more attention. Today’s empowered consumers will demand it. According to a Yahoo executive study, 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. Marketers today have the data to deliver targeted, highly personalized experiences to the right audience at the right time. Although this will be a trend across all industries, it becomes extremely important for innately personal industries like healthcare and wellness.
2. Online & Offline Worlds Continue to Blur: Our digital and physical worlds continue to blur especially as our smartphones become practical extensions of our bodies. Consumers, however, expect to have a consistent and uniform experience regardless if they are browsing your website, on your Facebook page, or standing in your store. Marketers who can’t deliver that will lose customers. The focus should be on delivering an exceptional customer experience across all touch points regardless of platform, location or device.
3. Mobile Experience Becomes Priority No. 1: This one is clearly tied to online and offline world’s converging as mentioned above. Mobile, particularly via smartphones, is becoming a constant companion and the primary means by which consumers interact with brands and businesses. Mobile must be your marketing department’s first priority. Need another reason why mobile is so important? Social media usage. More people every month are accessing their social networks via mobile. As mobile proliferation grows, social becomes more ingrained in the experience. Mobile must be your priority No. 1.
4. Multichannel Attribution Models Develop: Marketers have to understand the importance of cross-channel attribution when it comes to ROI. Today’s customer journey to purchase is complex and dynamic occurring across multiple devices and platforms. And, increasingly, it involves a heavy dose of social influence. In fact, a recent Social Annex study shows that 90% of all purchases are subject to social influence. Nielsen had a similar study that found 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. Whether it is email, social, website or search, your business needs to understand what digital channels are driving your business communications.
5. Transparency a Necessity: There is an incredible amount of data being created by consumers as our world becomes more digitized. Gartner estimates that data volume will grow 20 times what it is today by 2020. And IDC research estimates that 75% will be generated by individuals. Consumers know you have data on them, and they expect you to use it to customize more relevant and valuable experiences and services. But they won’t tolerate any questionable or grey areas about their use of personal data, especially where their health is concerned. Marketers who make their privacy and data policies clear and transparent will be rewarded. Those who don’t could risk losing valuable customers.
Every one of the marketing trends above is grounded in technology. Technology will continue to play an incredible role and be the foundation on which marketing departments operate. From multichannel platforms to different devices to the data dilemma, technology will be crucial for your marketing department’s success.