While getting content onto a web page is still important, there’s a growing awareness that just being there is not the goal. Healthcare organizations are looking critically at how their tools and techniques align, integrate and provide insights to help digital marketing teams drive engagement, attract patients and promote their brands.
If you’re considering a new content management system for your hospital website, watch this video and learn how to:
- Separate the promise from the hype in next-generation marketing stacks
- Understand what’s changing and what’s not in the digital marketing ecosystem
- Identify critical pieces you may be missing in your digital marketing toolbox
- Know when you should partner for expertise, and when you should cultivate in house
- Choose a future-proof CMS in a rapidly evolving ecosystem of digital marketing tools
Ben: Hello and welcome to our webinar, Choosing the Right CMS in an Evolving Marketing Ecosystem. I’m Ben Dillon, Chief Strategy Officer here at Geonetric, and I’ll be your host for today’s webinar. Joining me today is Jennie Ocken, Technical Product Strategist at Geonetric. Jennie leads Geonetric’s engineering team, helping them prioritize, test, document, and deliver new features and functionality. Integrated marketing systems are all in vogue and yesterday’s content management systems have become today’s experienced platforms.
The art of getting content on new web pages is still important because a growing awareness by just being there is not the goal. Healthcare organizations of all sizes are taking a critical look how their tools and techniques align, integrate, and provide the insights necessary to help their digital marketing teams drive engagement, attract patients, and promote their brands. Today we’ll discuss what to consider when choosing your next CMS and digital marketing partner, including the state of digital marketing, critical pieces you may be missing, and how to make sure your next CMS is the last one you’ll ever need.
Jennie: Let’s start the discussion today with where marketing is and how marketing is changing. We’re seeing a lot that the core of marketing is the same, but the way we communicate is changing dramatically. We’re moving to multiple stacks and consumer-driven decision making, especially within the health marketing. Within health marketing we’re seeing that changes in legislation are really changing the way that we’re having conversations with patients, but the truth is that health marketing is not changing. In many ways it’s the same thing that we’ve always done. It’s always the same goal, figuring out what people want and then telling them how you have it for them, and at the same time it’s always been changing.
What we need to do now is different and yet the same from we’ve always done. What we’re doing now is making sure that we’re communicating to people where they are and how they want to be communicated with. So let’s start this discussion with the stages of the marketing funnel, and let’s use an example from health marketing. First off, awareness, I’m pregnant. This is probably the clearest awareness of a condition that anyone’s ever going to get, that little positive test at which point you’re going to move to interest. You’re going to visit your doctor, you’re going to get your final prescription, and your final test that tell you are in fact pregnant and onto consideration with the ultrasound, baby prep classes.
Finally, we’re to intent, where we’re getting pretty follow along and we need to actually start figuring out what we’re doing, not just thinking about the fact that we’re pregnant, but thinking about what delivery is going to be like. At that point you’re going to hit evaluation. You’re going to go on personal [SP] tours. You’re going to actually talk to other people who’ve had babies in the area and figure out what you want to do particularly. Purchase is the day when the baby arrives, and hopefully you’ve made a good choice of where to have the baby, whether a midwife or an actual hospital.
After the delivery, it’s about building loyalty, having a good experience and having plans may be for the next one or to tell your friends and family about it, which leads directly into advocacy, telling people about your experience. So let’s break these steps down a little bit more and talk about them within digital marketing and the things that you can do to make the most of each stuff. Awareness used to be about making your physical property are offering visible to the right customers. Within the digital world it’s about cutting for the noise to ensure the right people are hearing about your offering at the right time.
Specifically when we look at the statistics around awareness, most people are going online for health-related information and they’re starting at the internet when they have an issue. Often they’re even going online and diagnosing their own medical condition and some don’t even get pass this point. They’re not going to seek a professional opinion. They’re using mobile apps to manage their health and even wearable devices, so digital is becoming more omnipresent throughout the entire ecosystem and is becoming something that people are trying more and more, too. Paid search ads are really working to get people to take that next step, to think a little bit more about what their health information means.
Ben: You don’t want to need to be dependent upon paid searches as the only way to get to people to your site, however, and the platform you select can really have a big impact on how well your site presents to the search engines in an organic perspective. So you want to look at what the SEO friendly components of the system are. How are URLs structured? What does the XML site map look like? How is that generated? How is it helping to tell the search engines how to process your site? There are also a lot of details that are a little bit hard to choose out without getting into them, things like how is the page structured from an HTML standpoint and what the micro data do you fit into certain entities, for instance, positions that can really help search engines process that, understand it better, and present your result more elegantly?
You’ll also want to look at what people get to when they come to the site. In addition to all the normal key pages that are part of the said experience every day, you also want the ability to easily create landing pages and in some cases micro sites as targets for inbound traffic, and that’s particularly important when you are paying for traffic or doing specific campaigns on social media and in other places. Your ability to create those things easily is really going to help you execute on campaigns and other efforts over the long term.
Jennie: Some people never get past awareness. A lot do move on to interest where they are not just aware of the condition, but they are starting to think about what do I need to do about this? How to I learn more about what this condition means to me? Often people are training online for that information. Specifically blogs are a place where health companies are really seeing an increase in website traffic because they’re proving that more personable interaction. The other thing is the first entrance into the health system is often the provider. People are turning to their doctors over other healthcare professionals or family and friends or even other people with the same condition because they want to get that professional opinion about what’s going on and they want to have a personal relationship with their provider.
But that relationship, which is both online and off, has some struggles because many physicians are at capacity or over extended. Seeing 22 patients per day and spending only 20 minutes per patient, that’s not a lot of time for people to fare it out all of the issues that they’re dealing with.
Ben: That’s one of those areas that I think it’s very neglected with a lot of hospital websites today. The reality is that a lot of our sites tend to go right for the close, like, “Let me tell you about us. Let me tell you why we’re the best. Let me tell you why you should pick us.” Very often people have a lot of stages of their decision making process before they ever get to the point where they’re even deciding to take action or seek care, let alone trying to pick between one possible option and another.
So we really need to warm up the conversation with things that are of more interest to you. Let’s talk about you rather than let me talk about us. So, this is the place where consumer health libraries come into play, or blogs. We’re seeing a lot of organizations using a more casual voice with a lot of content very often that content is designed to be more consumer interest as well. Brand journalism being a big component of this, just bring out articles in the flavor of web and do things like that, that are unique to your organization that might highlight your physicians and your services, but are really talking about them in very different way.
It’s not a hard sales pitch. It’s about building a relationship, leading up to the point when someone might actually be wanting to make a decision. This is also the place where other content that is relevant both to what you’re doing and to your consumers make a lot of sense. Recipes area great piece of that process as well. I think that being a piece of content that a lot of people do engage with again and again. Now, getting that content as part of the experience is great, but you do need to make it part of the experience that you’re intentionally creating here.
It’s very easy to purchase a lot of these things and connect them onto the site of your website that in a self-contained portal. It’s an easy way to navigate it once you get there, but the numbers that we see with many, many sites is that they get a little or no actual usage unless you’re point in the content into the core experience that you’re creating in some different ways. Now, if that’s content you’re creating, something like blog, you really need to connect the dots between that blog and other parts of your website and then incorporating social into the experience can be a big part of that as well. We’ll talk about that more as we go to our stages.
Jennie: This is really the first point where we’re seeing integration being a keyword that we’re using to talk about how content works with other content and getting that across the spectrum and engagement at different points. Let’s talk more then about consideration. So now I’m not just interested but I’m thinking about actual engaging with someone else, thinking about actually going forward and doing something about my condition or my specific problem.
At this point, this is again where people really focus on themselves, on my specific symptoms or departments or conditions or diseases. At the beginning of this search process, I’m not going to be using branded terms, such as the specific hospital. It’s more towards the end of the search process where I’m going to start looking at specifically a facility or a provider, and that will be a transition point for me, looking more for specific areas. But there will be a point further on in this process where I am saying, “I’m committed to this provider or this facility.”
Ben: This is one of those places where I think the unique needs of healthcare really come into play. We’ve got a lot of information that traditionally lives within silos, either within our site or outside of site. That can be service line information, information of our locations, information about our providers. Those things are all part of the consideration process for consumers, but it’s a little unclear how any individual consumer is going to enter into investigating that and wanting to learn more.
So as they can enter any place in the mix, we want to make sure that wherever they are they can get to all of the different information they need in order to guide them to that process. We see this being a particularly important as search engines become the doorway to our organization more and more often. A huge portion of traffic for many consumers, for this kind of traffic is the search engine. So they’re jumping right into the midst of this process somewhere. We don’t necessarily have the opportunity to shape where they start and then where they go.
So, as we look at this, every component of that needs to be a landing page that can direct them into that mix, and importantly we need to interconnect that information, the service line information, the location information, provider information, classes, the health library. All these things need to be connected in the way, they can guide each person to the next stage of their journey regardless of where they’re actually at along that journey at that particular moment.
Jennie: The next big point that somebody gets to his intent. I am now at a point where I’m thinking, “I am going to take the next step.” It’s not just that I’m considering and researching anymore. I intend to go and actually deal with the condition or see a doctor. During this phase it’s really where I’m thinking about booking an appointment and I’m going to be driven towards a hospital site usually by search, but also by social media. I’m going to be talking to friends online. I’m going to be looking and researching how other people have dealt with this issue or looking at reviews.
Ben: As we think of the different ways that people are coming into our sites, whether it’s organic search, paid search, social media campaigns, any of those things, we realize we’re engaging with people in a different way digitally than maybe we’ve done in the past because there are many different paths that they can take along with that journey. As we look at the way the contents are put together therefore, we need to look not just the used case for where that content is being consumed but how it fits into this whole marketing component of things and particularly again that organic search.
One thing that we’re starting to play with quite a lot here is flipping the blog paradigm on its head. So we tend to think of a blog as something that sits in a separate silo of its own, very often in a separate platform, and we could certainly interconnect things between those platforms. We can create a good experience by sharing some of that stuff back and forth, connecting doctors into the blog, connecting blogs in the service line information and so forth. The trick is from an SEO perspective that’s still in a very different place. So we’re looking at it and flipping that around.
You still have a place where you can go to consume all that content, but it’s actually being pulled together from across different areas of your website where information about pregnancy will live within the pregnancy section of your site, information about cardiology will live within the heart care section of your site, and so forth. By putting that content together, it gives better weight to that section of the site to the search engines. From an experiential standpoint though, people can still get at it either from within that particular section of the website where you’re looking and exploring heart disease, for instance, or there’s some sort of content hub front door that pulls the stuff all together in different ways.
Jennie: It seems like this is also a place where being really patient-focused in your writing is essential and then the way you’re delivering content. Because you need to focus on what they’re looking for, not just what you as a facility, as a hospital, think that you want to deliver in getting very clinical. At this point now, it’s evaluation. I’ve slimmed myself down to one or two choices. I know which direction I’m going to and I need to just make the final decision.
What we’re really seeing in the research here is this is where mobile actually has a great deal of influence. People who research on a mobile device and are able to get to the hospital site through a mobile site are more likely to book online. It’s also a place where you’re again looking at symptoms and conditions, and this can take a really a long time. Evaluation is real and it’s timely. It can take over two weeks and many people visit two or more hospital sites during this time.
Ben: So, keeping in mind that this as a complex decision, and I think in many cases a difficult decision for consumers to make, there is a consideration process, and the time that’s involved is important for us to keep in mind as we’re constructing what the right set of content of functionality is to help guide people down the path. Because of the time involved, there are opportunities for us to stay in front of people throughout their decision making process. Now, there are many different tools for that. There are things like remarketing and retargeting where you can actually put targeted advertising that follows people after they leave the site.
It’s a great option, particularly if you don’t identify the individual who you’re interacting with while they’re on your site, or there’s some more personalized options, using things like marketing automation and email newsletters. If you have an opportunity to put in a soft conversion, say a quiz or a health risk assessment, that allow us people to stratify their risks but also gives you some information that allows you to message to them after this particular visit to the site, you then can set up some automated ways to continue to message to them, to stay in front of them as they may take several weeks to actually come to a decision to seek care and where to seek that care.
Jennie: Finally we’re at purchase. In most health situations, this is considered when they’re going make the appointment and follow through on that. In our original example this would be the point where I’ve decided, “Okay, this is the hospital that I’m going to have my child at.” Often people in this point are going through the actual process of booking online. A lot of places are actually starting to offer digital sales scheduling. It’s becoming more and more common.
Also that reputation piece is very essential. Patients are focused on the reputation of the facility and also focused on whether or not that facility is going to meet their needs. A lot of patients are willing to have a video visit. So all of these things are happening online to encourage that final moment of purchase, and yet healthcare and pharma industry are only spending 2.8% of total digital ad spend. They’re not really into that process. They’re not really committing to digital spend.
Ben: I’d say also that the purchase process within healthcare is one of the most complicated buying processes that anyone goes through during their normal consumer lives. It’s not something we can order online. It’s not just setting up an appointment. It’s a complex interaction of third party payers and multiple resources, and very often both you picking the doctor and the doctor’s willingness to accept you as a patient. It could be a very complex process to begin with. We make it more difficult in many cases by not having those online conversion opportunities for those consumers who want to interact with us online.
They’ve already expressed preference for the channel. It’s how they’ve done their research, it’s how they found you, it’s how they’ve investigated you and other options, and then they get to the point where they actually want to make an appointment, and more often than not we force them to pick up the phone and make the phone call. So as much as possible, when we can keep that interaction and that final conversion online, we’re going to do better. We’re not going to lose as many people along the way. Operationally though I understand not every organization is ready to do those things.
So what we want to have is many only appointment request or appointment scheduling options online. We want to have the screenings and classes and other things further the natural doorways into certain services. We want to have those things online. When we need to pick up the phone, we need to make sure that that process actually works. It works every time. We encourage the use of trackable phone numbers for these things so you can identify who actually came from your online interaction points and were they able to complete their interactions when they picked up that phone and called.
In many cases those services come with a recording option, so you can sit down and you can review the interactions that people have after they finished the digital part of their interaction, and you can make sure that the experience that they’re getting when they pick up the phone and make that call is consistent with that experience they had before they made their decisions.
Jennie: Now we’re moving into loyalty. This is really the post-purchase point of the process where you’re really saying, “Okay, I want to make this person return for all of their future healthcare needs.” This is a place where we’re finding that patients actually feel more valued as a patient when their doctor use social medias or blogs. This is because we’re building a community. People want to share stories and have that interaction with somebody else who either understands their experience or can help them through their experience. The other thing that we’re seeing is that pharma companies are starting to market more and more directly to consumers, especially online, through websites and social media. And so patients are starting to ask for prescriptions by name, which means if you aren’t building that community with your patients, the pharma companies are.
Ben: We’re seeing other industries deal with the loyalty question in a wide variety of different ways. Car makers, for instance, have really gone down this road to marketing aggressively to people after they’ve bought a car so that they can feel good about their experience and it reinforces the fact that they made the right decision along the way. In many cases, we’re not allowed to do those sorts of things. We’re not allowed to manage the customer’s survey process in quite that way, but the thing that we are able to do and that many organizations don’t do is to attempt to get data very shortly after patient encounters happened. In a timely enough fashion they can actually intervene and do service recovery when something’s going wrong.
There’s a number of different ways to go about in doing this certainly. Making sure that you’re actively tracking what people are saying about you in the digital world is an important and critical stuff, but there’s also lots of opportunities today to do surveys right at discharge or right at checkout or to do followup surveys that happen immediately afterwards. This is in addition to things like CG CAHPS that are already going on some of the required stuff that you need to do that gets you data in a more timely fashion and often connected to the individual consumer so you can determine who needs interacting with if there’s a service problem that you wanted to have to do recovery.
Jennie: That service recovery is not only important for that single patient, but also for everyone else that’s going to interact with that review. You need to be able to recover those negative reviews and help other people who are going to use them when making a decision to understand that you’re there and responding very quickly. Now we’re going to get to advocacy. This is turning loyal customers into people who commit to and bring other people into the area. This is where we’re really seeing patients do recommend their experience, there’s the facility to other people, where we’ll post online or post on our review site, and people who watched those patient testimonials are more likely to end up becoming patients themselves. If you are asking for those stories and for those recommendations, you’re not simply going to get them.
Ben: There’s nothing you can say as an official hospital spokesperson that is as powerful as the voice of someone that someone knows and the experiences they’ve have with your organization or even people they don’t know who just are in the same role that they’re in as a patient who’s been experiencing the system. Those other consumers have a volume with their voice that they’ve never had in the past and the internet loves them to put that out there and have it live out there really forever.
Again, there’s a number of different tools that you want to do to both cultivate advocacy, as well as to make sure that you’ve got online reputation management that really makes sense. There are options to cultivate ratings on third party sites. You can encourage people to go out there and to put the ratings there as a way to make sure that those sites have a representative view of your hospital or your health system of the doctor they saw and so forth. In addition to that, there are things you can do on your site. It’s really important to make sure you’re chasing down the incredible stories that I’m sure happened in your organization every day, to find ways to tell those stories either through video or text on your website.
In addition to that, we can use some of the other tools that we already have. I mentioned CG CAHPS ratings already, who are already doing surveying of your doctors all of the time to get real information, statistically significant information about the service level that they are providing. Share that information, make that part of the story you’re telling about your doctors and you’ll find that that becomes much more powerful, and frankly what you’re putting out there becomes much more compelling.
Jennie: We’ve talked a lot about the process that we go through as patients making decisions and as marketers we should consider when we were engaging with those patients. But now we need to separate how we make that happen with our marketing tools, with our marketing stack, and identify what digital marketing things that we need. It’s not just that we have tools that make the work easier. It’s really that these days the tools that make the work. A lot of what we do as marketers is work with tools to help us engage with customers and it’s really about changing that way that we’re engaging with people.
Ben: A friend of mine recently described this as very similar to having his first child. When you go out there and you’re talking about doing more with digital and you’re adopting these tools and doing more with social, you ask questions like, “How much more time is this going to take?” You’ve seen new parents sometimes looking at this in this way. “How much more time does it going to take out of my life when I have a child? How many travel opportunities that may get missed? How is this going to change these things?” The reality is it changes your life in so much more dramatic ways. They’re trying to measure how many hours a day additional it’s going to take you to care for that child relieves the wrong starting points, the wrong question. I think with digital marketing, as you get more serious about it, as you corporate it in everything you do, that same thing happens.
Jennie: One of the places that you have to start is your content. In fact your content ends up being the center of your digital ecosystem. It’s about information architecture and persuasive content and having things that you can then push out to all of your other areas that you’re going to engage with patients that is really compelling and helping them through their journey from their point of view.
Ben: I’ll say that no matter how good the tool is that you put out there, if you don’t have really solid information architecture, if you don’t have great writing with it, ultimately the tools, that’s not going to be that effective. You can buy fantastic tools and still build a really lousy website. I’ve seen lots of organizations do that. So instead, you need to make sure you’re executing on things as well. There are, however, things the tool can do to make it easier. We’re looking very much beyond just the page of content these days as we look at how content needs to be structured and organized and connected together.
We’ve talked a lot already about how we want to interconnect things that live within our sites. If you’re just dumping content in pages, it is almost impossible to do the level of cross link that you need to do within a hospital website. We’ve got so many relationships between locations, in doctors, in services, in classes, that in order to present that stuff throughout a site that’s often thousands of pages, you really need to make sure that the system underlying that is doing a lot of that for you automatically.
Jennie: As you push that content out to other systems, this is a place that’s really essential within that structured content to be able to write once and publish everywhere and know that you’re getting the same content, the same powerful content out to all of your users.
Ben: As we’re seeing more organizations do digital sign engine, do mobile apps, and do live billboards and things like that, the ability to do that publishing to a variety of different channels becomes more and more important.
Jennie: The next tool we really think about is search engine optimization. This is really how you’re going to get people move across the entire internet to where you need them to engage with you. It’s about reputation management and it’s both paid and earned search engine optimization. So not only how you’re paying to get your listings at the top, but how you’re earning that place within being relevant within your content.
Ben: As you look at organic search optimization, obviously content, great content is always the most important thing. However, how many content management system that spoon feeds that information to the search engines makes it easy for them to understand and make sure that they’re able to find all of the content you’re trying to present. It gives guidance for how it should be consumed and how should be indexed. It helps tremendously in making sure you’re getting the right presentation of that people are ultimately searching.
Again, we talked about a lot of these tools a little bit already. Having great XML site maps that really presents this information in a logical way and that guide search engines to the site in ways that really makes sense. In some cases having SEO friendly URLs really helps, particularly if there’s given specific keywords, and we find that very much, for instance, with physicians, in physician directories, having the actual physician’s name in the URL helps tremendously to boost when someone is searching for them by name above other options out there that may not be quite as nice about presenting your doctors for you. There’s also a tremendous amount of underlying structuring that’s happening today. We refer all of this collectively as micro data.
One piece of this is what we call Schema, Schema.org, and it allows us to tell the search engines about a location or about a physician in a way that they can easily process. There’s other micro data that we work in there as well and we’ll talk more about that over the next few minutes. There’s also some fairly archaic things as we present these stories in different ways. It’s important that we are giving Google or Bing or the other search engines clear guidance about duplicate content that might exist. So in particular you need to manage what they call canonical.
So when you have, for instance, a physician that exists in several places in your site because you’ve interwoven it into the experience in that way you need to make sure that Google understands yes, this is important, but this is just another instance of our official version of this page, so that Google doesn’t penalize you for trying to massage the data in some ways that sometimes look inappropriate to it. Likewise, you need to give the search engines guidance and what pages not to index and not to list. You need to make sure that you’re content management system provides you the opportunity to block those things out as well.
Jennie: Another thing that we’re finding that’s really helping with findability online is provider ratings. Those providers that have provider ratings within the actual corporate website, they’re getting more traffic to those pages, and those pages are becoming both more relevant and more reputable to the end users.
Ben: Ultimately less and less of what a search engine like Google presents is the traditional page results that used to be the only thing that you found on there. It’s trying to answer more questions and pour more information, for right [SP] into the experience on the search results page, and it’s trying to present more information to help you make decisions between the different options, including stars and ratings and those sorts of things, helps that tremendously. Providing some of these micro data helps it to fill out that profile that is trying to present directly to the user.
Jennie: Next tool that’s really important to have social sharing, and this includes not only having blogs or something like that on your site where you’re building a community, but also using the paid social networks, like Facebook or LinkedIn or Pinterest or any of the others, to help you build a community and help patients connect within that community.
Ben: For the social networks, this is very much a two-way street. When someone is on your site and wants to share information to social networks, you can include micro data that helps to guide how that information is being presented on a Facebook or Twitter or some other social network. Unfortunately those platforms don’t necessarily agree on standard formats for these things, so you ultimately or you often have to present different flavors that micro data for each of the social networks that you want to support more deeply.
But you can really help to guide how information the people are sharing from your site gets presented on those networks. Likewise, you want to make sure that the things you’re sharing from the social perspective can be incorporated into your site, and that might be pulling information from blogs or from other social networks into the experience that you’re creating on your website as well. One other little note here, you need to be really careful that the partners that you’re working with understand the underlying challenges of some of the things that some of these social networks are trying to do.
There’s been a controversy of late, for instance, around the Facebook like button and some of the things that Facebook’s been doing with it to track user behavior in ways that I think most of us get a little uncomfortable with in the healthcare realm. So make sure that you’re working with a partner who understands these issues specifically for healthcare and are helping to protect you and your patients from behaviors that might not be appropriate.
Jennie: Marketing automation is the next tool that a lot of people use to push out valuable data to their patients and to their visitors. This is the place where you have a great deal of opportunity of helping people along that path, where if you first engage with them during their inter-stage, moving them towards evaluation, and finally purchase.
Ben: Here again, you need to make sure that you’re pushing valuable content out. This is a way to keep in front of people and to continue to engage with them. Now, several years ago, I think there was a lot of general thinking that we were going to get these unified platforms that pull a lot of these different components together, but they wouldn’t just be a web content management system, but they would also include customer relationship management and marketing automation and maybe some other pieces of the digital stack. What we’ve seen is while that works for some organizations, by enlarge different organizations have different needs at each of these components.
In some organizations you’re going to need huge, very powerful customer relationship management systems or very sophisticated marketing automation systems, and others won’t. So we find that a lot of these packages that attempt to do all of these things together end up not really fitting the needs and scope of many of their individual customers particularly well. So we’ve seen more organizations going to a hybrid approach where they’re picking the right marketing automation platform or the right customer relationship management platform for them. You just need to make sure that all of these pieces fit together and work together well when you actually go to execute.
Jennie: We’re also seeing the same trend outside of the health market industry, where a lot of people were building built in one customer relationship management and marketing automation tools. In fact, a lot of those companies were consolidating into one, they’re now splitting apart again and being more independent of each other because they were not actually solving the problems, which it brings us directly into customer relationship management. It’s about understanding the patient journey and maybe some segment discovery and groundwork for our lie. These are very sophisticated tools. We’re often seeing that our clients aren’t fully embracing them or having a hard time understanding exactly what to make use with them.
Ben: The CRM space within health care is a little different than in other industries. Certainly you’re going and you’re acquiring all sorts of data about your market. You’re also providing a lot of your internal data, but you have to be careful about when you’re using one data set or another, where as I think in retail, for instance, those things get merged together in ways that you sort of ignore where the data actually originated from. We need to be a little bit more careful because of some of the privacy laws and some of the other issues that work there. Likewise, a lot of the focus that we have is really in tracking the downstream ROI that the financial impact of different things were doing from a marketing perspective.
The tools from a CRM perspective in healthcare are getting much better at that, that requires you have trackable interactions along the way that you can feed in to determine that you’re going to have these things down the road. Again, when you’re not actively converting consumers who are engaging digitally, when you’re not converting them online, you tend to lose that thread, and it becomes unclear that the digital component of the experience they had is actually the thing that led them to ultimately seeking care with your organization. Another thing that’s very important as we tie these pieces together is the need for real time integration from your website into your customer relationship management, and in particular your marketing animation systems.
There’s real opportunity here when someone interacts with your site to push something to your CRM and trigger automated marketing activities off of that. Again, as we looked at scenarios where people are taking weeks to make decisions about major healthcare events, these are the places where if we can put something out there and we can start to interact with them, we can start to communicate with them that we have an opportunity to persuade them and to move them down a better path for their health. It’s difficult to do without real time integration and without some of these marketing flows set up proactively.
Jennie: The final piece of the tool set is really analytics, knowing what works, building that ROI, discovering those segments, and understanding customers better so you can provide the right content and the right path.
Ben: I’ll say that for general web analytics, nearly every health system is using Google Analytics as the platform. It’s a powerful tool, the price is right, and it lets you do an awful lot, and the learning curve on it is relatively modest. That said, different platforms do a better or worse job of actually integrating the information of what’s going on in your site into Google Analytics.
So while seeing where a particular or where traffic is coming from or what that traffic is doing is pretty normal, things like outbound links or file downloads often are not captured within the tool unless the platform you’re working with is taking the extra time to think through and understand how those might be an important part of what you’re experiencing and what you need to understand about individual visits. The other thing I’d say is there’s a lot that happens within your site that’s not going to go into GA, things like understanding form submissions or the way that people are using modules. That information really in most cases needs to live within a separate dashboard that’s available to you from your vendor.
Jennie: We’ve talked a lot about the tools that you can use to find your market and about how integration is really the key here. Anymore it’s not just about finding your market, it’s about finding your digital presence. When you start looking for that digital presence, we’re no longer in a place where it’s a single stack, it’s a single tool that’s going to help you find that way. It’s a rapidly evolving ecosystem of multiple digital marketing tools. You need to find the center of that digital presence, and that really starts with creating a plan, understanding how your patients are finding information using data and matching their needs by making connections.
Ben: This is one of those places where I see a lot of organizations start to fall down. Those who take a half day or a day and they’ll sit in a room and they’ll brainstorm personas. They’ll try to think though what their market might look like and they make up names, you pick pictures, and you do a lot of those kinds of things, which is fun, but ultimately it doesn’t tell you much about what your actual segments are and how the behavior of those segments is meaningfully different. I’m a big fan of data as you’re doing segment discovery. Watching how people are using your site, watching what the patterns are, and using the data to drive the personas, and then ultimately testing to see Windows personas, one of those Windows segments actually act differently in different scenarios.
Jennie: The next step is really understanding your online strategy doesn’t necessarily replace your offline strategy. It reinforces, it makes sure that you have a consistent message across all channels, and really it’s important when you’re talking healthcare that you have a healthcare-specific option. There’s a lot of value to working with partners who understand this market.
Ben: I’ve seen more and more organizations starting to build digital marketing groups or e-health groups that are separate and distinct from the normal marketing channels or marketing department that exist within the organization. The goal of standing up a specific function within the organization was to make sure that you had the resource to support it. It was never the intent to break it off for marketing and make those things not talk to each other within your organization anymore. It’s really critical that you’re coordinating all the different channels. As we started out this conversation, the goals of your marketing fundamentally haven’t changed.
You’re still trying to build awareness, you’re trying to engage health consumers, you’re trying to move them down the path and help them make the right decisions for their health. That’s true in digital as it is in traditional marketing. So making sure that you have multi-channel unified strategies that incorporate both the old strategies and tools, as well as this new set of tools you have to execute to accomplish these things is really important.
Jennie: At the end of the day, it’s about focus and making sure you know what the center of your marketing stack is, knowing that you are providing content that moves patients along their journey and helps them really understand how to engage with you.
Ben: Ultimately the destination website, that core website for your hospital or your health system, is going to be that core. You’re reaching out more than ever before. You’re having to watch and manage more different properties out there, more different endpoints where people are finding information, customer review sites, social media sites, all of these places. The reality though is that core that holds it all together, the place where in more cases than not you’re going to drive people in order to bring them along this journey with you, is still going to be that core destination website. So while you’re connecting all the dots, that website and the CMS behind it is still the rock of those marketing efforts.
Jennie: We just want to make sure that you have all of the sources that we used for today’s presentation. We’ll have this out on the website. You can take a look at this later and then we can open up for questions.
Ben: Yes, so now we’ll open the floor for questions. We’ll cover as many as we can in the time we have remaining. Don’t worry though. If we don’t get to your question we’ll follow up with you after we’re done today.