Answering common concerns can drive volume and preference.
When a market goes through the kind of wild swings we’ve seen in the healthcare industry over the past decade, it can be hard for marketers to predict the ways consumers will balance their needs against their means to meet those needs. Particularly in healthcare, where costs are spiraling while incomes remain flat, marketers are struggling to know how they can reach their mostly female targets in an effective way.
Fortunately, there are a few constants healthcare marketers can depend on.
- Everyone needs healthcare at some point in life, and some people — like children and the elderly — need it frequently.
- Women make the great majority of healthcare decisions, particularly those for children.
- Consumers will always have questions: about processes, costs, procedures, diagnoses, holistic care, alternative treatments, risks, qualifications, second opinions … the list is endless.
- If we anticipate and answer those questions, we are well-positioned to drive volume.
Knowing that women are doing most of the shopping and decision-making for healthcare, it makes sense for hospital marketers to reach out to women with answers to their questions.
This has been on my mind recently because of my upcoming elbow surgery. While I was in the process of choosing a surgeon and hospital, I came across very few marketing materials that answered my questions and concerns. For example:
- How much help will I need after the surgery? I’ll have the use of only one arm, so there’s a lot I don’t think I’ll be able to do.
- If I end up needing aftercare services at home, how do I find those? Will my surgeon or the surgery team at the hospital be able to help me access those services?
- Will I see the surgeon the day of my surgery to ask any questions that might come up ahead of the operation? Or will I see only the hospital staff who will care for me before and after the surgery?
My healthcare-shopping experience made me realize there’s an opportunity for hospital marketers to answer common patient questions like these. Had I seen marketing materials for a hospital that advertised services like nurse navigators, or that showed what a typical surgery looks like — including, say, a short clip of a surgeon interacting with a patient before an operation — I would have been highly receptive to those messages, and thus more likely to choose that hospital.
It seems simple, but it’s a point worth making: Answering women’s questions will earn you patients.