healthcare marketing
Healthcare marketing can be a volatile profession. Medical, dental, hospitals, physicians, insurances, wellness and pharma – all of these are changing rapidly every day. A marketer’s job to communicate with constituents, educate communities and promote new offerings is demanding. It becomes more challenging when there are mergers and rebranding efforts. Not to mention politicized healthcare reform and an overall negative sentiment regarding changes in the industry.

Lions, tigers, bears….and healthcare, oh my!?!

“Marketing in health care is challenging because there’s a considerable education factor. It’s not easy to cram all of the content, branding and messaging, not to mention any legalese, into a 30-second television commercial, a seven-second billboard view or a 15-second radio ad,” writes Maggie Ellison.

Luckily, experiential marketing allows healthcare marketers to tackle some of your largest obstacles.

While veering from the traditional, a strategic experiential marketing plan is easier to achieve than you might think. And experiential marketing can be very beneficial to healthcare marketers.

The Wizard may just agree.

Creates Direct Communication – to Consumers and to Brokers

Experiential offers longer engagement time, which is helpful when conveying a lot of information. TV, print, radio and digital ads can broadcast info but don’t give the audience a chance to ask questions or get deeper involved. Experiential marketing’s hallmark is its two-way communication. This leads to a better understanding of what the healthcare brand is saying.

Humana, for example, took a mobile registration station around New York. Brand ambassador teams supported its efforts and encouraged seniors to visit, learn more and sign up.

For a three-month pharma tour, we trained the tour managers extensively. This included new product and brand points, as well as required compliance training through the pharma brand’s legal team. At medical conventions and physician offices, a brand-hired pharmaceutical representative ensured accuracy. This tour was a valuable face-to-face opportunity for the brand. Plus, our team recorded much of the feedback that the pharma brand could use in future marketing pieces, as well.

Sensodyne created a fun environment to talk about oral health. Consumers played games and snapped photos. They also had the chance to talk privately with a professional dentist about their sensitive teeth.

Experiential marketing can also add some lighthearted fun to your conventional messaging. Broker relationships, for example, were strengthened after one insurance company hosted VIP parties with a surprise culinary competition.

Just because you’re in a serious industry doesn’t mean your marketing should always have a serious tone. Let down your guard a bit to show off your brand’s fun side, while staying authentic and professional.

Generates Positive Earned Media

During the #Hangry tour, No Kid Hungry earned ten national media placements and 15 major market media hits. For one grand opening celebration in Tempe, Arizona, Corner Bakery Cafe earned $100,000+ in earned media. Nationally or locally, across all industries, brand experiences speak to media.

Some of our brand experiences are specifically designed for media’s attention. We will collaborate with your PR team to write and distribute advisories. We will also create b-roll content from the experience. An on-site social media community manager can post campaign graphics.

Social engagement is another trademark for experiential marketing. The 2016 Event Track study found 98% of consumers create digital or social content at branded experiences. And 100% of those people share that content.

Whether the social share is organic or persuaded, experiential marketing is often amplified through online networks. This, of course, not only increases reach but leverages word-of-mouth which is critical in today’s marketing landscape.

Experiential marketing can turn a story away from the upheaval in your industry and create positive connections with media and the community.

Leverages Existing Partnerships

Does your healthcare brand already have partnerships in the community? Do you sponsor a sports team, or exhibit at local health fairs? Do you host a news segment on a local broadcast station?

Your experiential marketing plan can incorporate your existing partnerships.

To activate its sponsorship of the Columbus Mommy Mile run/walk, OhioHealth created a giant greeting card. Participants pinned hand-written messages to new moms and babies. Nurses of OhioHealth then delivered those notes within their local hospitals. The positive sentiments were uplifting for both participants and recipients. This likewise created positive vibes for the OhioHealth brand.

Sponsored content and opportunities are generally seen as more favorable than paid ads to consumers. Additionally, these partnerships may even co-op your experiential budgets. Strategically speaking, partnerships can give your experiential plan a push in the right direction.

Serves as Your Content Factory

Content is every marketer’s challenge. And how do you produce shareable content, without giving clinical advice?

A well-planned brand experience can actually serve a year’s worth of your content needs when done correctly. Look beyond social media to identify content pieces from your experiences. For example, you could schedule on-site interviews of medical professionals who attend. Or, you could film participant testimonials sharing ‘get well’ wishes for someone in the community. You could survey participants and use the information in a marketing report, blog articles, infographics, etc.

The possibilities are endless here, as long as you plan your content goals in advance.

Builds Reputation

Experiential marketing proves a brand’s credibility and builds long-term brand loyalty. Can you say the same for those radio ads you’re buying? These tailored campaigns address a brand’s specific challenges. So, if you need to tell a new story or shift perceptions, an experiential strategy may be just what the doctor ordered.

Experiences allow brands to show off their authenticity. Consumers can connect more deeply with a brand through live interactions and begin to feel differently about it. Research shows 74% of event attendees say they have a more positive opinion of the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event.

Brand experiences can also be do-good, feel-good moments for participants. Healthcare marketers have a natural link to people (or patients) who can benefit from a community coming together to do something kind for one another. When done tactfully, experiences linked to nice gestures can also boost the brand’s reputation.

Experiential marketing can change perception, humanize a brand or develop relationships with consumers. All of which are key for healthcare brands.