In marketing, and specifically healthcare marketing, it’s remarkably easy to get caught in the weeds of executing a marketing plan, and eventually lose sight of who you are talking to. In order to establish manageable objectives with clear cut expected results for a campaign, we’ve found it’s helpful in the initial phases of planning to anchor the marketing strategy around three essential elements.
1. IDENTIFY PRIMARY AND SECONDARY AUDIENCES
Most healthcare marketing campaigns target multiple groups of different audiences. This may be because there are numerous groups of end users and they need to cast a wide net (for example: a marketing campaign advertising an urgent care facility may target a lower income urban millennial man at the same time as targeting a high income middle aged suburban woman). Alternatively, there may be various groups of decision makers for the product or service, but with only one end user (a nursing facility may target the aging senior, the aging senior’s adult caregiving children, and referral sources such as hospital case managers and discharge planners).
The primary audience could be quite small (example: individuals with diabetes ages 65-70 in one specific zip code), or it might be quite large (example: all healthcare consumers in Pennsylvania).
Whatever the case, it’s important to define these separate audiences, as well as identify which audiences take priority over others for the campaign. It may be impossible to communicate to everyone you wish to reach, so, by establishing a clear group of top prospects, it will likely be easier and more manageable to create a successful campaign.
2. DEVELOP MESSAGES FOR EACH SPECIFIC AUDIENCE
It can be difficult to craft overall messaging that works for all audiences, and it’s downright impractical to think that one message can cover all your bases. It’s important to decipher which audiences are looking for which messages, and then create a portion of the campaign centered around that messaging.
In the example of the nursing facility, a hospital case manager (referral source) may be looking for a center that has a quick turnaround with admittance, while the caregiver/adult child is looking for a center that is close to their home. The aging senior may just be looking for a nursing facility that has friendly people, social interaction, and good food. Each of these messages is very distinct, and could stand on its own for a full campaign. If possible, separate creative executions should be developed to communicate these values to the multiple audiences.
3. USE THE APPROPRIATE MEDIA TACTICS TO COMMUNICATE EACH MESSAGE
It is critical to connect the messaging you have with the people who are looking for it and want to learn more. You can’t communicate everything to everyone. Once the audiences have been identified and proper messaging has been developed, each audience needs to be served the content through a medium they are familiar with and actively use.
With the nursing facility, the caregiver/adult child will be more likely to see brand related material on social media or through Google Adwords while searching for solutions for their aging parent. The hospital case manager may consume messaging while viewing a brand sponsored eblast from a trusted resource. The aging senior might be more likely to see a TV spot during the 5 pm network news or read a print ad in the newspaper.
By mapping out these three elements before planning for a campaign, agency and client are more clearly able to establish specific objectives and expected results. Once the campaign is implemented, the campaign success can be measured by referring back to these components of the plan.