Commentary

Healthcare Needs To Embrace Experience Management Platforms

Digital marketing in healthcare organizations has historically lagged behind other industries. Over the past two decades, we have seen a steady rise in the complexity of digital marketing from the variety of devices to the complexity of application interfaces. More recently, devices have gained capabilities. We’ve seen specialty devices, such as Fitbit and other wearables become popular, creating an explosion of personal data to drive personalized experiences. Despite this growth, it’s the non-healthcare companies who have capitalized on these trends – and healthcare has lagged behind.  

Recently, the complexity and sophistication of digital marketing has led to the development of comprehensive platforms to support the new breed of customer experiences that business require. In the early years of the Internet, there were: 

  • Content management platforms for websites
  • Mobile platforms for mobile websites
  • Custom native solutions for mobile and tablet apps
  • Database solutions for relationship marketing 
  • And a variety of other disconnected platforms 

Now, marketing organizations are forced to think about digital marketing platforms that supply a fully integrated system (experience management platforms) that support all capabilities. Experience management platforms allow marketing organizations to fully integrate their site and mobile experiences with tools that provide the ability to respond quickly to trends and customer needs.

Generally healthcare marketing hasn’t leveraged these platforms yet and as a result they are missing a big opportunity to leapfrog their competition. Healthcare still operates in siloes. Data-driven experiences are not used on a large scale. Healthcare is hesitant to adopt a 360-degree view of the consumer, and marketing departments at many healthcare companies have very rudimentary capabilities with regards to content management and relationship marketing, two key components of an experience management platform. In fairness to healthcare marketing, our industry is restricted by HIPPA and other regulations, which control how personal experiences and data can be shared. 

The issue is that consumer expectations are higher. They are demanding better digital experiences from healthcare organizations, and we realize there are ways to deliver on customer expectations and still meet regulatory requirements. Organizations in the healthcare space — pharma, medical device companies, hospitals, insurance providers — should pay careful attention to their experience management initiatives, and build the necessary systems to manage the digital marketing ecosystem. In the short-term this will be a competitive edge but in the long-term it will be a requirement to survive. 

Here are three core reasons that healthcare organizations need to focus on developing experience management infrastructure in the next 18 months:

  • The Consumerization of Healthcare – Patients are increasingly taking a larger role in their own healthcare experiences. Today, patients have choices, and they are choosing alternatives that are easier to use. Consumers are demanding information on their terms – on multiple devices and anytime. Self-service is quickly becoming an important factor in who they do business with. They are demanding the types of experiences they get when they interact with brands like Apple and Target. The organizations that provide these experiences in a secure way will be leaders in the industry.
  • Consistency of the experience – For many healthcare companies, consumers have different experiences based on the method they use. Calling a call center, using a mobile app and logging into the website all provide a different experience. Consumers want (and deserve) a consistent experience across all channels. An experience management platform allows organizations to deliver digital experiences from one central place. It’s now easier to control messaging, branding, security of data and the consistency of information.
  • Cost control – The cost pressures on healthcare companies are well known and likely to continue well into the future. An experience platform allows organizations to focus time and resources on the customer experience and less on IT initiatives such as integrating multiple software systems. Experience platforms will lower the total cost of delivering digital experiences over a three to five year time period.

Marketing has always been a dynamic and fast moving business, even more so in our current digital age. Healthcare organizations are faced with regulatory restrictions that few industries encounter. But, there is amazing opportunity for healthcare organizations to leapfrog ahead of their competition by leveraging an experience management platform that provides personalized, data driven experiences. 

Consumers are demanding this from the organizations they rely on to keep them healthy. Delivering high quality digital experiences is crucial to the success of healthcare organizations. Start preparing now.

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