March 30, 2016
American hospital marketers are experiencing a technology renaissance. What are the components of this “tech stack” explosion, and what elements do you really need to succeed?
From Then to Now
In 2011, approximately 100 companies served the healthcare marketing space. Within four years, that number had skyrocketed to over 2,000. Today, these companies span needs from big data and app development infrastructure, to backbone solution platforms like CRM and marketing automation, to niche marketing experience applications like content marketing or mobile analytics. Together, this marketing toolkit can be thought of as a tech stack with foundational technologies at the bottom, middleware and application suites in the middle, and niche applications on top.
What does your organization actually need in this ever-expanding technology jungle? The key point to remember is that the purpose of marketing technology is to meet consumer needs and understand patient behavior.
To accomplish those goals, you need six elements in your marketing technology solutions:
- Data Integration: This element integrates disparate data sources, including electronic health records, organizational marketing databases, and third-party data. It should include data de-duplication capabilities and the ability to match consumer households, internet cookies, and devices.
- Data Management: All of that integrated data needs to provide meaningful and actionable insights. These includes big-data analytics, behavioral segmentation, and rules engines to identify patient needs.
- Content Management: With so many marketing channels from which to choose, you need the ability to manage content. That includes social and web engagement, a distribution engine, provider directory management, and tag management to track patient loyalty.
- Robust CRM Capabilities: Your CRM platform should help consumers find and evaluate doctors, and book appointments with them. It should also empower you to identify appropriate potential patients, reach that targeted audience, and quantifiably measure the results of your campaigns.
- Business Services: Ideally, your marketing toolkit will include integration with third-party service providers who can manage your provider directory information to keep it updated, manage online appointment scheduling, communicate with patients wherever they are, and request structured consumer reviews of your providers.
- Presentation Experience: Finally, a marketing solutions suite must manage the presentation of your marketing content, whether it is on your organization’s website, a third-party website, a patient portal, search engines, email, texts, direct mail, mobile, or social sites.
The Science of Context and Content
Let's look at an imaginary case study. Imagine a pregnant Millennial, one who leverages technology to make her life easier, and spends a significant amount of time sharing on multiple social media sites. This expectant mother will reach key engagement points as she moves along her patient journey:
- First learning she is pregnant
- Considering potential providers
- Engaging with select providers
- Receiving prenatal and perinatal services
- Bringing her infant to a pediatrician for ongoing care
How do you as a healthcare marketer connect these dots to understand and influence her behavior? Start with data integration and data management tools to identify her and understand where she is in her patient journey. This process provides you with context. Then, direct appropriate content to her at appropriate engagement points.
If she had trouble conceiving, you could have increased her awareness of your fertility services via email, mobile, and social content. Once she suspects she is pregnant, use these same digital contact methods to share your OB/GYN expertise and invite her to learn if she has a high-risk pregnancy (such as twins or a complicating pre-existing condition). Use paid search to present her with educational content on multiple births and more.
Keep in touch digitally throughout the second and third trimesters to remind her of prenatal appointments, and follow up after each one. Should she indicate a preference for a midwife-assisted birth, connect her with the appropriate provider. Follow up via email after she delivers, to ensure she gets appropriate postnatal care and her child begins seeing a pediatrician. Keep most touchpoints digital, mobile, and brief to complement her busy lifestyle.
A tech stack enables you to gain context by monitoring her real-time online actions to identify key moments in her journey, and to use analytics to understand her behavior. You can then provide her with appropriate content, specific to her health behaviors and psychographic segmentation, to engage her and influence her health behavior going forward. That combination provides immense value to a Millennial mom, optimizing her health and her baby's.
Decode the tech stack explosion by understanding your goals: to provide value to consumers by understanding behavior and meeting health needs.