How COVID-19 Changed Marketing
Better healthcare marketing and communications can be achieved through the integration of data (who/why), content (what/when), and media (where/how), and powered by technology.
In the past year, COVID-19 has accelerated changes in how consumers engage with media, and their expectations on how marketers engage with them. Much of this has been accelerated by the greater dependence on technology, to maintain connections within their communities and their passions, in a quarantined world.
Within healthcare, a trend is strongly taking hold with Gen Yers, who want their healthcare empowered by technology. Technology enhanced engagements in healthcare communication marketing, fulfilling the promise of personalized and customized services relevant to them (and all generations). And data, content, and media deliver on it.
The importance of data for customized engagements has grown exponentially. The future of a cookie-less world has exacerbated the need for marketers to leverage a variety of data sets to execute effective marketing. The importance of strong first-party data sets that allow marketers to constantly learn and segment their audiences, using AI and machine learning, is key to improving marketing effectiveness. Refreshing these data sets through second- and third-party data set investment, to keep the primary data marketing sets fresh, will be a critical ongoing need.
Data insights allow for a better understanding of the customer journey through their healthcare experience. Also, constant investment in third-party research to supplement the 1s and 0s can offer true emotional insights into why certain groups convert.
COVID-19 has increased expectations of customization of communications. Continuous misfires of communications as to where consumers are in their decision path will be a deterrent to marketing success. A current misfire example includes the inefficient use of media tactics, such as email and digital retargeting, that can be out of touch with where consumers are in their journey. The evolving complexities of data targeting have put more importance on an effective data strategy.
Content is king, and the queen continues to be distribution strategy! Customizing content, leveraging data via AI, and commitment to ongoing testing and learning are more important than ever. The ability to build in real time flexibility into customized content delivery will be a continuing evolution of the overall communications strategy, and be heavily driven by data and technology. The need to consider a collection of AI-powered tools to drive messaging and content in a more insightful way is of growing importance.
Leveraging insights from social and search mid- and lower-funnel engagements will have an immediate impact on content strategy and marketers’ go-to-market approach to communications. Those insights will need to be pressured tested continuously.
Content will need to be inherently shareable, flexible, and platform agnostic. And a continuing growth and dependence on data-driven and AI solutions will guide content strategy.
COVID-19 has increased consumer reliance on technology for entertainment and for how they get healthcare information. An omnichannel approach to media channel strategy has always been needed but is more important now, with consumers expecting to have the flexibility to engage with content on their own terms, when and how they want.
The focus for marketers is ensuring flexibility and access to information based on customer need and intuitively understanding their individual customer journeys, to get to a better outcome. The media channel or distribution strategy needs to provide a flexible palette for engagement, leveraging data and content insights for optimal outcomes.
Channel strategy is now inherently always digital (no more linear world) and it starts and begins with mobile. Channel strategy must encompass and have an understanding of the role of the channel in the customer journey, and the ability to remove barriers to successful marketing and customer conversion. Channel strategy must be reflective of great customer insight and be flexible to the insights and testing/learning coming from data-driven and AI insights.
Technology is providing a path to better outcomes for customers/patients, from a healthcare outcomes perspective.
The importance of technology providing a seamless and reliable platform for information is critical for good outcomes. Marketers must ensure a strong technological backbone for seamless and effortless engagement from a website, social platform, and any owned platform.
There is also a need to understand and effectively leverage home voice technology, virtual conference technology, virtual visits, and other technologically empowered engagements, to deliver better outcomes. Understanding the role they play by customer segment and within each unique healthcare journey, and ensuring that these new platforms are part of the media/channel mix, is also part of the omnichannel imperative.
Marketers have entered an evolving world where traditional marketing approaches have become less and less effective. The complexity of successful marketing is growing with data and technology propelling the new marketing plan process.
COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to be smarter with the use of data and technology, and a testing-centric mindset, to improve outcomes, to be better.