Hospitals: Are you marketing to the right audience?

Hospitals and health systems trying to capture a greater portion of their market should take a closer look at their marketing campaigns.

According to a report from Adweek, marketers may be missing an important segment of their audience. Here are three tips from the report on finding that audience and crafting the right message to reach it.

1. Women are the chief healthcare decision makers.
Women are the "chief medical officers" of their families, according to Adweek. It cites a 2015 study from healthcare communications company GreyHealth Group that found women make decisions for their families 94 percent of the time.

"Women lean into healthcare and are typically a more captive audience" than men, TBWAWorldHealth CEO Sharon Callahan said, according to Adweek. "Our goal should be to further fuel and meaningfully tap into this curiosity. Marketers need to respect their knowledge and not operate at the 101 level — but still keep it simple."

2. Understand what women are looking for.
GreyHealth Group CEO Lynn O'Connor Vos — whose experience spans nursing, marketing and advertising — told Adweek women are looking for information and resources to make educated decisions for themselves and their families. The focus of hospital marketing campaigns should be more holistic and show how services can improve health in the long term, rather than focus on immediate fixes, according to Adweek.

However, holistic messaging should not be confused with idealistic messaging. Women are looking for realistic, insightful marketing, not simply happy pictures. Amy Hansen, senior vice president and creative director of healthcare advertising company HCB Health, told Adweek healthcare marketers need learn very specifically what their female audience cares about and how they can help them address their needs.

3. Fill unmet needs.
Almost two-thirds of women said they lack the time to find health information, according to data cited by Adweek, and just more than half felt the best information is available online. This means women want to find quick information, but are not finding it online.

The majority do not fully trust their insurance provider (78 percent) or pharmaceutical companies (83 percent), according to the report. This presents an opportunity for hospitals and health systems to provide their audiences with the information they need and ultimately capture more consumers.


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