Healthcare and medical industry have been impacted considerably by online trends and digital marketing and in a good way. The new trends spell out the future too!
Digital marketing applies commercial marketing strategies for public health promotions and is known to be effective on a population level and that practitioners can contribute to its success too.
Digital marketing in healthcare has immense potential to affect major social problems if well utilized. The “four Ps” of marketing (place, price, product, and promotion) stand in good stead in this regard as these methods include using behavioral theory for influencing patient behavior and induces receptivity of audiences to messages with credibility and likeability.
Digital marketing relevant to healthcare:
Communication channels have become two-way with regards to health information and this multimodal transactional model of communication has digital marketers vying for the public’s attention. The limitation imposed by diverse channels is, in fact, a blessing for healthcare companies who can leverage multiple channels for spreading their brand message.
One of the key decisions that guide the planning of most health communications is whether to spread the message to the general audience or “segment” the message into target audiences. Audience segmentation is based on demographic, cultural, and behavioral characteristics. For example, various digital marketing campaigns can be developed to deliver specific messages aimed at tribal people. But the same campaign would not be relevant to the urban populace.
Targeted communications are used commercially to aim products for specific demographic or group and have been effective in health promotion with prevention messages.
“Tailored” communications can generate highly customized messages and have been widely used for public health issues. Because tailored materials consider specific cognitive and behavioral patterns as well as individual demographic characteristics, they are more precise than targeted materials but limited in population reach and expensive to develop and implement.
Creating effective health messages and identifying and adapting them to the right audience will help reduce health disparity within the US population. Digital marketing messages can aim for the promotion of behavioral alternatives to specific maladies. Anti-drug messages, for instance, try to prevent, whereas antismoking campaigns offer socially desirable lifestyle alternatives. The digital and online medium can compete against product advertisers by devising innovative ways to reach consumers.
According to studies of mass communication campaigns, these mediums can change health behavior, but the effects are not often measurable and quite small. Doctors can reinforce these messages through with contact with patients
Clinically, the effect seems to be small but on a large population, the impact can be seen. The average digital marketing campaign has accounted for 9% of favorable changes in health risk behavior, according to recent studies on 48 such campaigns.
Digital marketers have adapted commercial marketing for health purposes by analyzing target audiences, identifying targeted behavioral changes, specific message campaigns, and adapting branding styles—to promote adoption and maintenance of health.