Survey Results: Marketing Challenges, Owned & Paid Media Tactics

Comparing challenges and tactics for healthcare marketers

What are your biggest marketing challenges for the coming year?

Participants in our 2013 Healthcare Marketing Survey identified a range of marketing challenges with a fairly even number of responses for each subject. One challenge stood out, however; measuring the return on marketing investment.

Marketers are struggling to develop realistic objectives and metrics to prove the effectiveness of their efforts, especially with a proliferation of new media channels. (Find tools to help you measure inbound marketing and outbound marketing efforts in recent issues of Protocol.)

Some of the other leading responses included implementing a social media strategy, communicating a consistent brand message and image, and delivering a superior patient experience.

What’s interesting is that although we are currently going through healthcare reform, it is not on the top of everyone’s minds yet. Only 28% indicated that they consider healthcare reform to be a marketing challenge.

It is also interesting that only 25% of respondents were concerned with aligning physicians and staff. Over the years, we’ve found that organizational alignment has a huge impact on marketing and patient experience that traditional advertising alone cannot achieve. (Read a white paper on organizational alignment here.)


What owned media do you currently use for marketing?

Websites and Facebook pages topped the responses to the question about owned media usage. Interior common areas, E-newsletters, Twitter feeds and YouTube channels were ranked in a second tier of owned media, followed by a three-way tie among digital displays, online video and fleet vehicles.

While there has been a strong growth in the use of owned channels, there remains significant opportunity for hospitals and physician practices to do more heavy lifting with low cost media such as online videos, blogs and exam room marketing.


What paid media do you currently use for marketing?

The top five paid media channels used by our survey respondents were newspaper advertising, radio, direct mail, email and online banner ads. We were quite surprised to see that more than half of respondents are still relying on newspaper, radio and direct mail. These are all very expensive channels with typically low response rates.

Equally surprising was that some low cost channels were so underutilized, especially ads on social networks, paid search, and mobile advertising. There is definitely an opportunity to leverage some of these newer, more effective paid channels.