How to Refresh Your One-to-One Healthcare Marketing in 2023


an illustration of a doctor welcoming a patient. the patient stands behind a door frame shaped like an H for healthcare

One-to-one healthcare marketing is not a new concept. Ever since customer relationship management (CRM) tools were introduced to the healthcare marketing tech stack, hospitals and health systems have leveraged their databases to mine patient and prospect data for more precise segmentation. Electronic health records (EHRs), patients’ familiarity with and preferences for digital experiences and the data points that inform personalized marketing are all new variables driving one-to-one marketing forward.

What Is One-to-One Marketing?

One-to-one marketing, also known as account-based marketing (ABM), is a strategy of marketing to individuals, rather than a broad segment. One-to-one marketing relies on always-current information about the target. You achieve scale through sophisticated technology, such as artificial intelligence, which can automatically and dynamically personalize content based on data inputs.

Origins of One-to-One Marketing

One-to-one marketing was forged in the retail and finance sectors before it jumped to the healthcare industry. Initially, many marketers who implemented it relied heavily on rudimentary data points, such as first and last name, to add a personal touch to campaigns. More advanced one-to-one marketing may have leveraged a patient’s age to segment them into a health screening campaign or their appointment history to promote follow-up visits and/or check-ups.

In its early stages, one-to-one healthcare marketing was only as personalized as the data marketers could feed into it. And the slicing and dicing of that data was the job of the marketer.

The Evolution of One-to-One Healthcare Marketing

By today’s standards, the personas and segments that once guided one-to-one marketing could be described as quite flat. They rely on data points that say nothing of a patient’s goals, beliefs or cultural customs. The push of more psychographic data and the pull of consumer expectations have forced marketers to market not to composites or broad demographic groups, but to the person. 

EHRs and consumer data have allowed marketers to develop even more robust personas. And that same data has also allowed developers to build increasingly personalized user experiences that shape-shift depending on hundreds of variables. 

EHRs Provide More Data and Predictive Analytics

With the addition of EHR systems and data scientists to manage them, healthcare marketers have been able to take marketing to the person to the next level. Predictive analytics are one of the more exciting ways they’re doing this. Using the data stored in EHRs, health providers can anticipate and prevent poor health outcomes and generate custom patient risk profiles to make screenings and preventive medicine more targeted. 

Consumer Experiences Shape Healthcare Expectations

Netflix may have pioneered the recommendation engine, but it has become so ubiquitous, many consider it a basic requirement of the modern customer experience. Patients receive curated content, products, services and relationships from so many of the consumer brands they interact with that they have come to expect the same from their healthcare providers. In the same way that consumers expect retailers to recommend products that complement their tastes and interests, they expect their healthcare providers to provide guidance that reflects their medical concerns, life stage and health goals.

How to Execute One-to-One Healthcare Marketing in 2023

So what does next-generation personalization look like for the patient? It looks a lot like a good patient-provider relationship in which communication is frequent, timely, highly tailored to the patient and on their preferred terms. Some software companies, such as Epic, are rolling out solutions to combine these data streams and automate personalized patient communications. But even if new tech isn’t in your budget, you can still execute an impactful one-to-one healthcare marketing strategy.

Make Your Marketing and Communications Inclusive

This is a fundamental worth repeating. Patients must feel recognized, respected and safe just to seek care. In short, inclusivity is the bare minimum healthcare providers must demonstrate to win a patient’s trust.

Inclusivity is multi-faceted. The imagery, language and accessibility of your content all influence how inclusive it is. With the information patients provide in their health interactions, marketers can tailor their outreach to a multitude of demographic details.

Meet Patients Where They Are

Consumers report that they’re 20% more likely to seek medical information online than from their doctor. Healthcare providers can’t afford to ignore these behaviors and preferences. Digital content is an essential part of any comprehensive content strategy. Blogs, articles, video and social posts that respond to timely health questions and trending topics are the best way to get in front of patients on their information-gathering journey.

One way to determine where your patients are most engaged is to review referral data in your analytics platform. Which sources are most of your website visitors coming from, organic search, social media, email, somewhere else? Capitalize on the sources driving the most traffic, and scrutinize the sources that aren’t bringing eyes to your content for improvement opportunities.

Be a Lifestyle and Wellness Resource for Patients

Healthcare is a much broader concept than it used to be. Today’s healthcare consumer is seeking guidance on their diet, exercise, mental well-being—even screen time—in addition to physical health. There is a glut of information on all of these topics everywhere from newsstands to social media. But very little of that information has the trusted reputation and scientific backing of healthcare professionals.

Healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to become the go-to source of this information for their patients. For patients with diabetes, a monthly low-carb recipe delivered to their inbox can provide the practical support they need to stick to their treatment plan. Patients dealing with cancer may want referrals for counselors or therapists in addition to prescriptions for labs, imaging and medication. While providers don’t always have the time to curate recipes and referrals, marketers can configure their automatic follow-up emails, reminder texts and after-visit summaries triggered by diagnoses, test results and many other details documented by providers.  

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Marketing to the person doesn’t require creating a lot of new content, but rather using what you already have in a smarter, more effective way. Fill out the form below to get a FREE copy of our guide, and learn how make your content work harder for you.

Guide: How to Make Your Content Work Harder for You—Not the Other Way Around

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