5 healthcare marketing trends to look for in 2021

Simon Davies unpacks some of the most significant and lasting trends set to shape heathcare marketing in 2021.

Following a year of upheaval, uncertainty and change, where health has become top focus in Australia and internationally – healthcare marketing has understandably undergone significant shifts. There are, however, a few fundamental tenets of healthcare marketing that look set to remain in the foreseeable future. Trust, authenticity and creating captivating content are all continuing trends that agencies need to build into their marketing if they are to succeed in 2021 and beyond.

Below are five prominent aspects of marketing that everyone in the healthcare space needs to be across:

  1. Developing patient loyalty

Patient loyalty is one of the biggest factors that determines healthcare marketing success as it is built on a positive, trust-centred relationship with the patient, as well as ongoing customer satisfaction. Not only does patient loyalty lead to customer retention, but it can also help to embed brand values. 

There are a few things marketers can do to encourage patient loyalty. The first is to start with a foundation of trust. Medical education remains the most effective tactic – when a patient feels informed, they are more likely to find the healthcare experience positive. At the crux of this is appropriate language – making complex concepts more accessible without oversimplifying or talking down to patients is key.

Secondly, consistency in the tone and style of messaging helps the brand and what it’s offering become more readily understood, which increases the comfort factor for patients and keeps them loyal.

And finally, always setting and meeting expectations builds loyalty. Not only will patients feel assured that they understand what is happening with their health, when their expectations are met, they feel confident that the brand has their best interests at heart.

  1. Captivating content 

It’s no secret that captivating content is a central part of marketing but for healthcare this can vary from brand to brand depending on the demographic the business is targeting. The big winner, thanks to COVID-19, has been video, with simple but well-produced video content tracking well in lieu of face-to-face marketing.

This style of content should follow some of the best practice tactics to increase patient and customer rapport, including medical education and employing an informative and engaging tone. Video also has the benefit of being able to show as well as tell, so don’t forget the power of a compelling image or action.

  1. Video testimonials

One advantage of video is capturing testimonials directly from patients. Patients can represent themselves in their own words while also using tone and body language to convey so much more. The key to a successful testimonial is asking the right questions to get the best, most helpful responses from the patient. Place yourself in the shoes of your demographic: What do they want to know? What would they ask the patient? Seek to highlight your strengths at the same time.

Because of COVID-19, many agencies have not had a team in the field for months so using digital channels has become a go-to solution. Cutting through the digital noise is one of the biggest marketing challenges and video testimonials foster an emotional connection, are more memorable than text and are shared more often, making them one of the highest converting marketing tools available.

  1. Social media authenticity 

Authenticity should extend to all your marketing efforts, including social media channels. It is not enough to be relatable and engaging, authenticity requires a relationship founded on trust and consideration. 

This is where your brand values must come to the forefront of your social media voice. What does your brand prioritise with regard to healthcare? How do customers fit into those priorities? Lead with those values and centre them in the brand’s voice, the content you chose to post and the language you use to interact with the community.

  1. Interactive visual content

Digital channels are not a stopgap for the reduction in face-to-face marketing during COVID-related lockdown measures but digital is a channel worth investing in of its own accord. Part of your digital strategy should include interactive visual content, which will help brands stand out in an increasingly crowded channel.

Interactive visual content may include education elements such as infographics that show variables, calculators based on customer inputs or – yes, that medium again – video. Think webinars and live Q&A sessions rather than pre-recorded testimonials, which are in a separate category. 

Expect to see these trends strengthen in the coming year and seek tools that will help you sharpen your marketing in these areas.

Simon Davies is the CEO and founder of Bastion Brands.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.