Watching what’s going on in the healthcare online marketing space has been a wild ride in 2009. Hospitals and patient-oriented healthcare organizations had to rethink everything about the way they used to do business. The recession and how the technology around marketing changed the landscape for everyone.
Here is what I think were the top 5 biggest buzz words in the healthcare online marketing space:
- ROI: Ennui set in long before the debate was done. As Shel Holtz so accurately points out, “Return on Investment, when raised in the board room, is the amount, expressed as a percentage, that is earned on a company’s total capital, calculated by dividing the total capital into earnings before interest, taxes, or dividends are paid. ROI is synonymous with ROR—Rate of Return. A series of precise mathematical formulae are used to calculate ROI.” (I know that seemed really boring to read, and you probably skimmed it but go back! It’s really important to understand.) Therefore, when marketers talk about ROI, they need to be careful, because boardroom execs think about it from a different perspective. For a great report on how to measure market performance for hospitals and health systems, see “Yes we can”, download the PDF and read it. Now.
- Patient Engagement: Clearly, hospitals think the best way to make healthcare better is to be collaborative; that’s why they’re so stuck on the term multidisciplinary. But can medicine be made better by collaborations between physicians and patients? I think we’re going to find out, and to learn more about it, read “Making Healthcare Better with Patient Engagement.”
- Viral Videos: From the dancing down the aisle video, to the cats, everyone is talking about how to get a video to go viral. And hospitals were no exception. From the weird pink gloves that everyone loved, to the videos of physicians talking about their view on patient care, every healthcare organization that was paying any attention created a channel on YouTube.
- Traditional media vs. social media: Ah, there always must be a war somewhere. The poor journalists who actually check facts and create stories from different sources of information are going the way of the dinosaur. The consumers whose lives are vastly improved because they can ask healthcare questions into deep cyberspace, and get an answer in return are rejoicing in the streets. Right? But how credible is the information? I don’t think we’ve heard the last of traditional media just yet, and I think the hospitals have a tremendous opportunity to become a huge part of that consumer/doctor dialogue.
- Social media marketing: Need I say anything else? This was THE BUZZ word of 2009 like Gone with the Wind was going to win the Best Picture Oscar in 1939. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, you name it- all healthcare organizations needed to think about how they were going to engage. The brave ones jumped in and learned from their mistakes. Others dipped in a toe. Again, we’ll see how it all shakes out.
So, all in all, 2009 was fun. Predictions for the buzzwords of 2010 in healthcare online marketing? Just some of my guesses- we can look back next year and see if I was right:
- Healthcare reform impact on healthcare marketing
- Better search (and I don’t really care who gets us there)
- Mobile platforms