TripAdvisor, lest you’ve just been defrosted after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze similar to Austin Powers in International Man of Mystery – lets you read reviews, compare prices and book your best trip. At least today.
But in the future, might your hospital brand be right there alongside other travel destinations? Your facilities, accommodations, amenities and customer experience subject to the due diligence and comparison of your health-shopping consumers.
While a healthcare facility review on TripAdvisor might seem far-fetched, who can really say. One thing we do know for sure is that your prospective health-shopping customers are on a new path to discovery. Which increasingly and proactively begins by searching online.
And they’re not just searching other health systems or hospitals. Rather, their potential provider set includes:
- retail clinics inside CVS, Walgreens and Walmart
- the closest urgent care center
- Wed MD and healthcare tech companies
- telemedicine companies
Starting with a search on Google, CMS.gov, Why Not The Best, Leapfrog, among others; on their laptop, tablet or mobile phone; influenced by the same values of choice, convenience, cost effectiveness and experience offered by other industries like retail, banking, hospitality and travel.
If you’re a healthcare marketing executive, there are three things you know to be true. First, prospective “elective service” health-shopping customers don’t view your competitive set as narrowly as you do. Second, their path to provider selection is nothing like the straight line that it used to be. Third, their expectation around customer experience is borderless.
The conventional healthcare marketing war is over. Given the changing dynamics of the marketplace (competitors [changers], consumerism, commotion), here are three ways of thinking that will help healthcare marketers thrive in the new landscape. A landscape where your healthcare brand has been stripped of its control and no longer controls the customer experience.
- Think about the total customer Journey. Map what your prospective health-shopping customers are experiencing across their entire customer journey. And understand the impact of each touchpoint along their journey to provider selection. Which is increasingly their digital and 3rd-party influencer journey. Developing this understanding will help you to prioritize touch points, create value-building interactions and identify opportunities to impact behavior.
- Consider the end-to-end consumer strategy. Based on above, rather then literally translating a communication idea across every touch point, allow each touch point to be optimized based on understanding the task and intended behavior change at each of these points in time. Importantly, because you can’t invest everywhere, identify the more “decisive moments” (both physical and increasingly digital) and target these specifically.
- Brand actions speak louder than words. In today’s transparent, attention-squeezed, information-empowered consumer world, successful brands can not be built by advertising, but by actions. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Gaining influence requires engaging ideas deployed at decisive moments on the customer journey and then letting people participate in your efforts. To ensure your healthcare brand has the momentum to keep moving customers and business forward, address these four simple but powerful questions:
- Why will they want to engage with the idea?
- How can they get involved with the idea?
- Why will they share it with others?
- What will keep them interested?
Your healthcare brand might never be reviewed on TripAdvisor. But we know for sure that the relationship between your healthcare brand and consumers has fundamentally and irreversibly changed. How you acknowledge and get out in front of this change by melding physical, digital and other experiences dictates the future trajectory of your brand, customers and business.