Hitting Consumer Healthcare Home Runs with Digital Engagement

Engagement Marketing


Last Tuesday was no doubt an exciting day to be in Chicago—the Cubs advanced to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2003 and boisterous cheers could be heard throughout every bar with a TV in the city. But Anthony Rizzo wasn’t the only heavy hitter in Chicago last week. Health insurance MVPs were also out and about attending AHIP’s Consumer Experience & Digital Experience conference. The show aimed to bring health plans practical ways that digital engagement can help transform how consumers interact with their health and the health system.

There’s no doubt that consumers have high expectations that a brand should “know them” and communicate with them based on how they actually are interacting with that brand e.g. don’t send me a promotional email after I just made a purchase from you (cue consumer eyerolls). As consumers yourselves, you know that there’s nothing more personal to you than your health needs and motivations—one size definitely does not fit all. Digital healthcare experiences are no exception, and health consumers expect healthcare companies to deliver the same personalized experience they get with any other consumer brand.

Changing the Way Consumer Healthcare Marketers Think

Riding this big wave of healthcare consumerization, the big themes from the show revolved around how healthcare companies can play catch up with those consumer expectations, changing the way they think about:

  • Personalization: Not just delivering a personalized message but truly communicating on an individual basis and knowing when, how often, and on which channels they want to be engaged with.
  • One Transformation Team: Looking inside to see why consumer engagement has been so difficult in healthcare. Transformation comes from breaking down organizational silos to centering all activities around the consumer, not around the function or fear.
  • New Ways to Engage: From wearables to the formerly feared mobile and social channels, the digital world has blown open a whole new way to reach the digital health consumer.

If you’re familiar with the principles of engagement marketing, you’re starting to see how the ABCDEs of engagement marketing would really pay off for healthcare marketers. And with the landscape forever shifted by healthcare reform and more Americans now choosing their own health plans, healthcare companies need to find effective and innovative ways to demonstrate their value to this new empowered consumer, but how? That’s just the question we wanted to answer during our session on Transformational Consumer Engagement Marketing.

6 Lessons from the Healthcare Experts

Sure, everyone wants to be “transformational,” but few have the roadmap on how to get there. Marketo along with our partners John Common of Intelligent Demand, and Steve Krizman formerly of Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, shared their hard learned lessons from the trenches on how to get started:

Lesson 1: Collaboration and alignment are essential: define roles and process clearly and bring in executive sponsors early—and keep them informed!

Lesson 2: Think omni-channel throughout the customer journey.

Lesson 3: Get your core technology stack in place as early as you can (MA, CRM, CMS).

Lesson 4: Have courage! It takes bravery to be the change agent but you can do it.

Lesson 5: Test and learn—an agile approach works best.

Lesson 6: Be aspirational but set realistic expectations—especially in the beginning.

To learn more about how healthcare companies can transform their consumer marketing, check out the Marketo and Intelligent Demand presentation from AHIP and the Health Insurance Plans’ Guide to Consumer Marketing.