Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Digital Marketers
January 5, 2015 Porter Huddleston New Year, Digital Marketing, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Strategy
There’s no crying in digital marketing. No matter how emotionally invested you are in the third-party, uber-expensive, proprietary CMS you are renting to run your hospital website with no hope of approaching even a hint of ROI, your tears do not drive volume. They only get your keyboard wet. You have to be a good steward of the limited marketing funds entrusted to you. Making fiscally sound technology investments should be a mandate, because the money you save can go toward marketing solutions that will increase patient engagement and brand trust, and ultimately grow volume.
Approach digital marketing like being on a date. You want to keep the focus on the other person and not talk too much about yourself. Your content has to be patient-centric first and foremost. It has to be set up to meet their needs, and sometimes show them a good time. Patients often aren’t searching for a particular brand, but rather looking for health information to answer a question, address a need or engage in an experience. They are also looking for something else digital marketers and consultants rarely talk about: a reason to believe. They want to watch stories about positive outcomes, to feel inspired and to have a reason to feel good about choosing your hospital for themselves or their family.
Ongoing digital competitive analysis will inform your digital marketing decisions in 2015. It’s not sufficient to compare yourself to yourself. Outperforming other divisions in your national system, or other hospitals in your own division, is not your measure of success. You exist in a finite market with a limited number of patients. Competitive analysis and benchmarking is essential to go from Point A to Point B with your digital marketing.
Avoid computer face. That means you have to unplug and go outside where the real world is. Staring at your screen all day long, six days a week, doesn’t engage your facial muscles. It makes your face look like a brick wall. If co-workers and supervisors can’t put their finger on “what’s wrong with Bob,” what they really mean to say is they don’t like your face. When you look expressionless or offer no visual cues that you are engaged in what your boss is saying, and miscommunication ensues and trouble follows, do not blame the Internet, YouTube, Facebook, your Account Management team or the client. Mainly, do not blame the client. Or me. If you remember how to use your legs, you need to get up and go outside. Go outside right now, in fact.
Be a better communicator in 2015. Use fewer words and more visuals in your digital marketing. Our brains love visuals. We process images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of all data that the brain processes is visual. Think videos, custom or rights-restricted photography, and infographics. As reported by Forbes, 15 seconds (some say less) is all the time an online article has to capture a reader. Read “Seeing is Believing: Infographics Revolutionizing the Patient Experience” to bone up on how your prospective patients aren’t really reading your content as much as they are visualizing it.
Don’t be so boring. If you want an advertising agency who specializes in engaging healthcare marketing for hospitals and healthcare systems, you should be familiar with the “5 Things to Look for When Hiring a Digital Agency”. In addition, a good ad agency knows how to bring you back to basics by reminding you of some fundamental facts about the Internet. Google is the number one site in the world, followed by Facebook and then YouTube. Video content, and other visual content, is the most accessed and engaging content type on the Internet. You should resolve to leverage your investment in TV production and request a bridge campaign to extend the brand story started in TV into digital channels. You will continue it in an entertaining fashion with a series of digital videos that deliver a more complete, ongoing brand story that is inspiring to patients and engaging for all. In fact, you might resolve to start the story in digital channels and then see it reflected across your traditional advertising vehicles like print, outdoor and TV. Short digital videos have proven time and time again to be real brand differentiators and potent marketing tools in the battle for customer engagement, and ultimately brand preference. If you haven’t experienced the pleasure of Purina’s “Dear Kitten” video series, you have to do that before the year is out. Also, watch The Atlantic Monthly’s humorous video series featuring an off-beat perspective on health topics from Dr. James Hamblin.
Be more outgoing. You guessed it. You finally have to get serious about social media. We know where you stack up against your competition. If you don’t, we can show you. You may have a good feeling about where you stand in terms of social media marketing, but what’s informing those feelings? Do you have business intelligence to support that perception? Do you feel positive about it because you know you have a social media presence and that your internal marketing team is active in it? Your competition in your market isn’t looking at social media as an afterthought. They aren’t just active in social media. They are looking to own it and steal your share of voice in the marketplace, which creates leakage in your revenue streams. They are strategized, organized, energized and monetized to win the hearts and minds of patients there. They see social media as a serious digital marketing arena where they can build brand trust, develop brand preference and grow their service line volumes while diminishing yours.
Author’s note: Lastly, to the trees outside my office (if I may be blunt), I recommend that you resolve to stop dropping stuff on my car. You are denting my hood and my car is leased. Don’t think I won’t saw you down and sell you for firewood to the snowbirds who are still cold even though they are now in South Florida for the next four months. I’m serious.
At the time of this post, Porter was the Digital Creative Director at Brown Parker & DeMarinis Advertising. He is an award-winning Creative Strategist whose career includes stints at Intel and Wieden & Kennedy, as well as literary editorial work for author Markus Tav’s El On Earth series.