The current state of the health care industry is not for the slow and timid. In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act along with the dynamics of the digital world has put consumers back in charge of their health. And thanks to advancements in technology, consumers have greater access to information and new health care options. They demand better quality and fairly priced care—and they know they can get it.
This puts pressure on the industry to improve service without raising cost. As I explained in a recent blog post, digital transformation can help health care companies drive innovation in key areas of the business.
To drive digital transformation, health care firms need to embrace customer-centricity and enable employees and health providers to engage with consumers. Because marketers are increasingly becoming responsible for customer experience, CMOs are in a unique position to drive authentic customer engagement in the organization.
A systematic approach to marketing strategy is required to get engagement right. That’s why, when explaining engagement with colleagues and other leaders in the industry, I find it helpful to use a framework—what I call the 5 Cs of modern marketing—to simplify the approach.
The 5 Cs of modern marketing
The consumer needs to be at the center of your enterprise.
From strategy to tactics, you need to think about the needs and experiences of modern consumers—people who are connected, social and highly informed. Fostering a consumer-centric culture ensures that everybody in the organization (from marketing to sales and technology) has the same standards by which they measure consumer experience, loyalty and business growth. Understanding consumer needs and behavior should be a priority for health care companies and their marketing teams.
Modern marketing needs to drive convergence and break down silos at various levels. From a data standpoint, convergence is required to get a fuller picture of the consumer—the 360 view. To develop marketing programs that build affinity with consumers, companies need to remove data silos and build a universal understanding of the consumer.
In reality, however, organizational silos are a persistent challenge. For instance, marketing teams are often isolated from sales and don’t share information and data with each other. Even within the same department, silos exist. Often within a marketing department, the social media team has its own set of data, separate from the CRM and demand generation teams.
Companies need an infrastructure to connect data across different platforms, using data as the glue that ties the consumer journey together. To get actionable insight from various sources of consumer intelligence, integration is key. Allocate time and resources to connect technology, data and teams together.
Apply the same principles of convergence to build a connected marketing technology ecosystem, establishing an integrated experience planning process that is channel agnostic and not channel focused.
Data doesn’t magically turn into insight.
Context is required to influence real behavioral change. The opportunity for health care providers isn’t just to provide personalized information to consumers. To bring real value, the information has to be contextualized with what’s going on in a consumer’s life at any given point of time. Leveraging online and offline signals from consumer behavior, brands need to add value through contextual experiences that meet consumer’s emotional and functional needs.
Content, in my definition, is any experience or connection a consumer has with a brand. It’s not about a single channel, touchpoint or device type. Content is ubiquitous across the consumer lifecycle.
Content and context work together. Creating valuable content for consumers requires a deep understanding of their current context.
To inspire behavioral changes among consumers, companies must provide meaningful, influential and contextual content. Without it, content is meaningless.
Ultimately, engagement is a means to an end, and that end is to increase the bottom line. When companies get engagement right, any kind of commercial behavior becomes an organic output—because consumers are happy to participate.
The question health care executives need to ask is ‘how can we anticipate the needs of the consumer and make it easy for them to access our services?’. Providing convenience and contextual content is key. An understanding of the motivations and behaviors of consumers will help you provide a fast, seamless experience.
Use these 5 Cs as a starting point
To get more out of your digital efforts, you need a strong foundation that puts the consumer at the center of what you do. These 5 Cs are a useful start to making that happen.
Of course, the big challenge for marketing leaders in the health care industry is the transition from strategy to execution; after all, today’s consumers demand tangible experiences. Companies that get these 5 Cs right and execute on them effectively will produce services and experiences that are more relevant to today’s consumers.