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Marketing in Healthcare: How is Healthcare Marketing Different from Marketing in Other Industries?

In the modern world, a marketing strategy has become an essential component of almost every industry, including healthcare. However, healthcare marketing is unique — distinct from marketing in other industries due to the complex nature of the healthcare sector.

For example, did you know that approximately 90 percent of Americans search for health information via social media?

Beyond tone of voice, healthcare organizations must prioritize accuracy and clarity when communicating with patients, especially when utilizing social channels. This is because misleading information or vague messaging can damage the credibility of your brand and make it difficult for patients to trust you.

Additionally, marketers must be sure to follow all relevant healthcare regulations when disseminating medical information to ensure compliance with industry best practices.

With the fast pace of healthcare innovation, it’s also essential to stay abreast of new technologies, policies, and regulations so that your brand messaging remains relevant and timely.

Are you ready to take your healthcare marketing to the next level and get your brand noticed? Connect with Beacon Media + Marketing today for a free consultation!

What is Healthcare Marketing?

Healthcare marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that focuses on promoting medical services, products, and healthcare organizations. It also involves the strategic planning and execution of promotional activities to connect healthcare providers, facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers with their target audiences. As such, healthcare marketing encompasses a wide range of activities — from advertising medical services and treatments to building a positive reputation for healthcare organizations.

Why Healthcare Marketing Matters

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, where innovations and advancements are continually shaping the industry, effective communication and strategic promotion play a pivotal role. And this is where healthcare marketing comes into play.

  1. Patient Awareness: Healthcare marketing raises awareness about medical conditions, available treatments, and preventive measures. It also educates the public about health concerns, empowering them to make informed decisions about their well-being.
  2. Patient Engagement: Effective healthcare marketing engages patients by providing them with valuable information, resources, and support throughout their healthcare journey.
  3. Healthcare Provider Promotion: Healthcare professionals and organizations need to establish credibility and trust. And marketing helps them build a strong online presence, showcase their expertise, and connect with patients seeking reliable medical care.
  4. Medical Product Promotion: From pharmaceuticals to medical devices, marketing helps introduce and explain the benefits of innovative medical products to both healthcare professionals and consumers.

How is Healthcare Marketing Different From Marketing in Other Industries?

7 elements that set healthcare marketing apart infographic

It should go without saying that strong and strategic marketing efforts are integral for growing your brand. Through the use of digital marketing and traditional channels, marketing in healthcare should be no different than marketing for any other industry. But when we take a deeper look, it’s a different story altogether.

When creating marketing strategies for your healthcare facility, you need to take special care in consideration of the following elements.

Ethical Considerations

One of the most significant distinctions in healthcare marketing is the strict ethical guidelines that organizations must adhere to. The healthcare industry deals with sensitive matters related to people’s health and well-being. As a result, we as marketers must exercise caution to avoid making false claims, sensationalizing medical conditions, or using fear tactics. Unlike other industries, healthcare marketing demands a higher level of transparency and truthfulness to ensure patient safety and trust.

In addition, the subject matter in your written and visual content needs to be structured in a sensitive manner. This is because many prospective patients may be viewing marketing materials such as blogs or advertisements. As such, many of these individuals may be going through a particularly difficult time dealing with an illness while trying to seek care for themselves — or for loved ones. The priority then becomes structuring your content accordingly to keep potential patients engaged while not making them feel singled out or overly anxious about their health.

Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare is heavily regulated by government agencies to protect patients and maintain industry integrity. Marketing materials must comply with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. This means that healthcare marketers have limited flexibility in terms of data usage, patient privacy, and information sharing compared to marketers in other sectors.

For example, HIPAA strictly protects patient information. And this can be extended to how you’re able to acquire or publish testimonials or reviews. Keep in mind that significant fines can be levied if patient information is compromised, whether patients write this in a review themselves or if you respond in such a way as to compromise their personal information.

Complexity of Information

Healthcare products and services often involve intricate medical terminology and complex treatment options. Effective healthcare marketing requires the ability to translate technical information into easily understandable content for patients and their families. Unlike other industries where marketing might focus on features and benefits, healthcare marketing often needs to educate and empower patients to make informed decisions about their health.

For example, using overly complex words and industry jargon in your marketing materials is going to be off-putting for most patients who don’t have a medical degree. Readers want you to get to the point quickly; otherwise, they’ll likely leave your site and look elsewhere for what they’re trying to find. And since nobody wants to look up every other word in a dictionary, using language that a wide audience can understand is essential. A few ways you can do this is by breaking down terms to be easily understood, providing basic and relatable definitions, or linking to other sources with a more in-depth explanation of complex terms.

Patient-Centric Approach

In healthcare marketing, the focus is squarely on the patient. While other industries might target a broader consumer base, healthcare marketing tailors its messages to address specific patient needs and concerns. This patient-centric approach requires marketers to have a deep understanding of patients’ emotions, fears, and aspirations, as well as the ability to build strong relationships based on empathy and trust.

Basically, patients don’t want to feel like they’re just another face in the waiting room or “patient number 23” who’s been waiting for two hours after their scheduled appointment time. Your patients need to know you — and you need to know them. And this is how healthcare marketing agencies can significantly impact and elevate your brand: by showing your vulnerable side and helping you to genuinely connect with your target audience.

Trust and Credibility

In any healthcare organization, the decisions made on a daily basis can be deeply personal and often life-altering. Consequently, establishing trust and credibility is paramount for any healthcare marketing campaign — and this needs to come from being genuine and transparent. This is because patients are more likely to trust recommendations from medical professionals and reputable institutions. Healthcare marketers must also collaborate closely with healthcare professionals to develop campaigns that not only resonate with patients but also align with medical best practices.

Keep in mind that regardless of the marketing techniques used, trust and credibility are ultimately up to the healthcare providers’ own due diligence to ensure that they’re meeting the mark. Marketing can be right on point and deliver a message of trustworthiness. But just remember, a patient’s direct experience with you will be the final deciding factor for establishing trust and credibility

Long Decision Cycles

Healthcare decisions are typically not impulsive; they involve careful consideration and consultation with healthcare providers. This elongated decision-making process sets healthcare marketing strategies apart from other industries where purchases can be made quickly. This is why we as healthcare marketers create strategies that engage patients throughout their journey — providing valuable information and support at every stage.

Though this process is not unlike the buyer’s journey through a typical marketing funnel, the dynamics involved must be agile enough to go with the ebb and flow of such things as medical breakthroughs — and personal complications that may make one’s healthcare journey longer, or more difficult. And having messaging that keeps patients engaged is critical in these situations.

Emphasis on Education

Educational content also plays a crucial role when marketing healthcare services. Patients often seek information to understand their conditions, treatment options, and prevention strategies. And healthcare marketers must create informative content that empowers patients to take control of their health. This educational aspect is more prominent in healthcare marketing compared to other industries.

While certain healthcare marketing efforts focus on relating with the patient as a person, educational content is often one of the best means for drawing in a prospective patient who is dealing with a health issue for the first time and doesn’t know where to turn. For example, you’ve probably had a few patients who have Googled their symptoms prior to their visit and immediately begun to think the worst. Thus, having educational content that can be both informative and comforting can set them on their health journey with the best foot forward — instead of being filled with worry or apprehension.

How Does Healthcare Marketing Work?

Traditional marketing methods are used in the healthcare industry. But healthcare marketing is different because, at the end of the day, we’re not only selling the idea of better health — we’re selling the idea of a better life.

Once you are able to interest and attract patients, you can help guide them along their health journey by data-driven marketing, all while keeping them engaged with the services provided by your clinic.

In today’s interconnected world, a strong healthcare marketer understands that conventional marketing philosophies in healthcare are most effective when both digital and traditional channels are leveraged. This specialized marketing method is perfect for targeting your ideal clients, all while featuring similar marketing goals that marketing for other industries typically includes, such as:

  • Building brand awareness locally
  • Generating organic leads
  • Creating a platform for thought leadership
  • Building customer relationships
  • Building social proof

As stated, using conventional marketing approaches is part of medical marketing. But the key to marketing for a healthcare business lives in connecting (and staying connected) with your patients. Because your livelihood relies on being able to maintain your patients’ health.

Experience Healthcare Marketing Success With Beacon Media + Marketing

At Beacon Media + Marketing, we know that healthcare companies vary both in scope and the services provided. And while many traditional marketers insist on doing things the same way for all industries — we know this is simply not a viable approach when it comes to marketing for healthcare clients.

Healthcare consumers deserve a personalized approach. And it’s this approach that will make you stand out from traditional marketing strategies.

As marketing professionals, we know that your patients matter the most to you. So, naturally, you want to provide them with the most comfortable and seamless healthcare experience possible. And with a healthcare marketing agency, you can achieve this result.

Our marketing team is well-versed in medical education and advertising in the healthcare space — from mental health clinics and functional medicine practices to primary health facilities and beyond. No matter if we’re designing your website or crafting valuable content for your ideal client, we know the importance of marketing for a healthcare practice — and we’ve got you covered for all of your healthcare marketing needs.

Are you ready to improve your patients’ lives and enhance your marketing efforts? Reach out to Beacon Media + Marketing today for a free discovery call.

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