The Future of Healthcare Marketing: 4 Trends to Watch this Year

future trends healthcare marketingWondering what the coming year portends in terms of marketing your practice? The folks at healthcare marketing agency Franklin Street have given it some serious thought and identified four trends that will reshape how consumers find, select and interact with their providers in 2013 and beyond:

Mobile Matters

It’s official: There are now more smartphone users than non-smartphone users and 91% of those forward-thinking people keep their phones beside them 24 hours a day. In fact, according to Harris Interactive, most people check their devices for calls, texts and emails at least once an hour.

Takeaway: According to comScore, health information is the fastest-growing search category on mobile devices. Coupled with the fact that 70% of mobile searches result in action within an hour, it’s imperative that your practice website provide an easy, enjoyable experience for mobile users.

Trust is Priceless

People are increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising and brand messaging: According to the report, trust in brands has dropped 50% since 2001! The more limited the supply, the more precious it becomes and the more value consumers give to businesses that provide it.

Takeaway: Do your marketing messages promote your practice or potential patients’ understanding of what they can expect from their cosmetic surgery experiences? Consumers aren’t looking for lectures (or sales pitches); they’re looking for doctors who recognize their concerns, treat them as individuals and take the time that builds trust and, in time, new business.

Fostering Feedback Loops

According to the report, 80% of people say discussing goals with others makes them easier to achieve. At RealSelf, we see these sorts of interpersonal feedback loops every day as aesthetic consumers inquire about procedures, share their personal experiences and provide support to others considering their options.

Takeaway: Online conversations about cosmetic surgery are booming — more than 3 million aesthetic consumers visit RealSelf every month — and doctors can reach those consumers by answering questions, posting before and after photos and engaging with them long before they’ve decided on a particular provider.

Youth Rules

Between medical innovations, demographic changes and ever-present media imagery, the desire to stay young while aging is only going to increase going forward. Aesthetic professionals who recognize the trends have an unsurpassed opportunity to help consumers stay “forever young.”

Takeaway: Make sure your marketing efforts speak to both younger consumers and young-at-heart ones. Fresh design, openness to outside input and embedded social-sharing capabilities provide cues that you’re up-to-speed on current technology and as forward-thinking as the consumers who are considering your services.

Needless to say, perhaps, none of the above is taking place in a vacuum and each of the four trends influences the others. As the report notes,

The one thing that all these trends have in common is the rise of health engagement, where smart brands build conversations outside of traditional advertising venues—whether it’s through a smartphone, in an online chat room or at a Zumba class.

Doctors who adapt to these trends will find themselves in good position to build their practices for years to come; those who don’t stand a good chance of being left behind.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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