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Are You Getting the Best Response from your Health Care Marketing?

successful health care marketingHealth care has always been a difficult industry in which to market. The most effective tactic in health care marketing has traditionally been word of mouth, but in this competitive environment there’s more to marketing than hoping people will spread the word about your practice or business. There’s a way to market health care and health care services, and it’s not dissimilar to the methods that businesses in other industries use to get ahead.

It’s about segmenting consumer populations and giving each patient or customer a personalized message.


Segmentation involves taking a heterogeneous marketplace of consumers and employing analytic techniques to break the population into smaller, homogeneous groups composed of individuals with similar traits:

  • Demographics
  • Socioeconomics
  • Behaviors
  • Attitudes
  • Personalities
  • Needs
  • or any other uniting characteristics…

The emergent segments are then profiled and serve as key targets for messaging and consumer behavior change. As listed above, there are various approaches to consumer segmentation, each with its advantages, disadvantages and ability to produce deep insights into consumer motivations and behaviors.

In past articles, I have written about the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches to consumer segmentation. For a closer look at this, please download c2b solutions’ whitepaper, Psychographic Segmentation and the Healthcare Consumer.

The key is that health care consumers are not all motivated by the same things, nor do they have the same personal barriers to behavior change. A “one size fits all” approach to health care consumers will be of limited success. Whether it’s in getting a consumer to choose your service or motivating a patient to change his behavior, segmentation can enable health care providers to maximize success by customizing propositions toward sub-populations of like-minded consumers.

Marketing Media

Marketing isn’t just about having clever slogans and funny commercials. In fact, where you market is just as important as how you market. You always want to choose the media that will get you maximum return on your investment. And, again, bigger isn’t always better.

Instead of going for an ad in the biggest newspaper or on the most popular website, your main goal should be to find trackable ways to market your organization with the vehicles that are most effective with your target segment. The idea is to use the analytics provided by these media to target and refine your message, and the success of your methodology will ultimately result in a bigger audience.

You can get the same reach, only with a more effective marketing approach, and you’ll spend a lot less.


It takes real work to find your stride in health care marketing. You could try a lot of different ideas in order to discover what works for your customers; however, segmenting consumers allows you to hone in on the specific motivations and triggers for different sub-populations. It provides a great way to diversify your marketing as it allows you to tweak a single message in a way that will appeal to multiple groups of people at the same time.

But in order to find that message, you must be able to benchmark the performance of your marketing effort. For internal purposes, you’ll want to measure the numbers of each campaign against the other campaigns you’re running. You can also compare your figures to external data.

In an email campaign, for example, MailChimp states that the average click-through rate on a promotional message is 3.64 percent. If you’re in the ballpark of that number, you’re on the right track. But if you’re under three percent, you’ve got some work to do. Effective segmentation with its tailored messaging and user experience should drive significantly higher numbers. For example, when I worked at P&G, my team achieved three times the Visit To Order rates for healthcare products in a CRM campaign leveraging psychographic segmentation.

Identifying Engagement

Benchmarking is the start of your health care marketing efforts, but it’s just one step of the journey. Your next mission is to find which customers respond best to your efforts. Who is your Prime Prospect, the 20% of consumers who will drive 80% of your growth/cost savings in the next 18-24 months? Once you have that data, you can figure out why certain things worked and apply those lessons to larger segments of your customer base.

Today’s marketing software makes it easy to determine who’s getting the most out of your marketing campaigns. Email software can show you who opens your emails and clicks the links contained therein. Social media sites such as Facebook track who likes your discussions and participates in your discussions. If you can track it, you can use it to your advantage. You can validate whether you are on the right track with segmentation.

As you see which customers are the most engaged, take a look at what makes those people unique. While nothing is guaranteed with marketing, the numbers generally don’t lie. Use them to your advantage and test these approaches on people who are similar to your most engaged patients and consumers.

The days of generic health care marketing messages and word of mouth referrals are long gone. In today’s world, you have to stand out. And to stand out, you have to win the attention of those you can reach and influence.

Using trackable marketing methods and segmenting consumers are effective ways to generate an active and engaged following. Refine your approach as you see what works, and take note of those patients and customers who eat up everything you distribute. Over time, individuals like those will become the norm.

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change


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