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Saul Marquez, Host at Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Healthcare Consumerism: Applying Retail Marketing Techniques to Healthcare

Wednesday January 8th 2020

Healthcare Consumerism: Applying Retail Marketing Techniques to Healthcare

healthcare through shopping

Healthcare Consumerism Now


The past two decades have unraveled transformation in the healthcare industry. 


For one, there’s a significant change in the patient experience due to additional efforts to improve it, partly thanks to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and partly due to consumers demanding more.  While there’s still more room for improvement, from acute and specialty care, the U.S. health system is now more focused on providing patient-centric care. 


Another change we’ve seen is the increased number of innovations in all areas of the industry, with the use of A.I. integration and the use of EMRs to digital therapeutics and molecular diagnostics. 


Dwindling reimbursement, smaller payer mix, increased competition, reduced profit margins for providers and other factors have led to the consolidation of health systems.  


The U.S. healthcare market is now embracing a consumer-driven market, one very similar to the retail industry and every other industry that sells to consumers.  It has taken us a while to get here, but the time has come and the speed of adoption will only continue to increase.


“The advent of the Internet has led to new levels of information and service for consumers. Entertainment has changed. E-commerce has changed. The laggard has been healthcare. I mean that on several fronts in terms of pricing to value, in terms of information in the system, and in the treatment of patients as a customer. I think this is critical because it will bury businesses often called hospitals that don’t rise to the standards.” says Ken Robbins, CEO, and Founder of Response Mine Health, in our recent Outcomes Rocket podcast interview, 


Response Mine Health is an award-winning health marketing agency that seeks to empower clients specializing in health, wellness and fitness. Using the metrics of digital marketing, Response Mine Health offers the digital solutions your business needs to create more leads, increase your audience reach, establish trust, and tailor effective marketing campaigns for your business.  This could mean getting the help you need to develop the best patient acquisition strategy or even ways to attract physician talent to your hospital.


Applying the principles of retail marketing for improved outcomes


If you own a healthcare business or a healthcare provider, what can you do to rise above the competition? Here’s how Response Mine Health frames its approach.


First, it helps you understand how the customer experience must change. Some of the questions we must ask of our business are the following:


  • How do you find customers? 
  • How do they give information? 
  • Once they are in the office, how are the clients served? 
  • What kind of follow up is done to ensure customer satisfaction? 


Customer satisfaction is a major factor to consider in this consumer experience.  In healthcare, because either insurance, government or employers pay the bill, the patient gets left in the dust.  This way of the past will no longer serve health systems in keeping patients engaged with their system. The increased number of options from direct primary care, care clinics, telemedicine, app-based provider options, and more customer-responsive services will start to fill in the gap that hospitals are not providing in the consumer experience.  


Second, it will help your business transition to retail marketing techniques from the conventional medical marketing you are probably using now. According to Ken, “The retail industry is in the most aggressive, most rapacious competitive environment, so you can learn from how they deal with incredibly high levels of limber and agile competition.”


Third, it helps you understand direct marketing on an ROI basis. Aside from branding, you’ll also learn how to use metrics and data to attract more patients to your practice and facility. 


Ken shared an example of what they can do. “We work with a very large spine orthopedics neurosurgery group. And over the course of a couple of years, we help them transition from bringing in 3,500 surgeries a year to bring over 7,000 surgeries a year in the same facility with adding no more doctors, no more acquisition. The second thing is, we help them lower their costs of patient acquisition, actual new patient acquisition by over 50% in that same period of time.”


How did they do it? He said, “We help them work on their conversion funnel, their landing pages, how fast they respond to people inquiring about an MRI review or a consult. And the second thing is we showed them how to scale from the channels they were in, which were maybe half digital, half online to scaling up their digital marketing, which can be incredibly measurable, incredibly efficient, too, in ways they didn’t realize. So they began to move more money into online channels where their customers were. And then attract those customers more efficiently, which helped drive both volume and increase the efficiency.”


This is great for providers, But what if you’re a medical device company, or a pharma company, or a digital therapeutic company? Ken’s response, “I think that anyone selling to customers …doesn’t matter the industry…they have to step out of their shoes and step over into the customer’s shoes and see how frustrating it is to use their product or their service.


Going the extra mile


Healthcare is transitioning to a more consumer-driven model.  We have to take the necessary steps to “catch-up” before we get left behind.  My interview with Ken from Response Mine Health reminded me of the importance of getting beyond basic transactional marketing. We need marketing agencies to step up and we should expect them to be an advocate, think about all the difficulties your business is facing, and smooth things out.  That’s the type of work Ken and his team provide which has yielded major worthwhile results for their clients.


In our consumer-driven market, you as a business owner need to ensure that you’re providing your patients or your clients increased engagement and improved patient care. When you need a more innovative approach to leverage your business in health care’s competitive market, applying the principles of retail marketing mentioned by Ken Robbins will bring about the increased ROI you’re looking for.   Now’s the time to make your moves to stay relevant and thrive rather than just survive.  


To listen to my podcast interview with Ken, CEO of Response Mine Health click here.  For more information on Response Mine Health click here. 


Written By

Saul Marquez

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