However, as healthcare marketing continuously undergoes paradigm shifts in response to changes in our society, environment and patient behavior, industry thought leaders are noticing a massive, and previously overlooked, gap in their marketing endeavors strengthening existing patient relationships through longterm patient engagement.
Shining a light on this topic, Eva LaMere, a healthcare marketing thought leader and the president of Austin Williams a fully integrated, fullservice marketing company, explains: “For years, healthcare marketing has revolved around strategies to acquire new patients. While many practices have been quite successful in this with the use of targeted, digital marketing strategies, these tactics often fell short in nurturing a lasting relationship with the patients.” And this is precisely the gap that Eva’s company, Austin Williams, aims to bridge in the healthcare marketing domain. “Whether it is patient acquisition, creating awareness of a new service, or fostering a long-term doctor-patient relationship, we look at healthcare marketing from endto- end, addressing all the marketing needs of a healthcare practice in order to ensure its success.”
Turning Patients into Loyal Advocates
It is no longer enough to just bring patients to a medical practice’s doors; the patient experience has to inspire patients to become advocates of a practice. The reason? Gripped by the era of a consumer-driven economy, even patients expect to be treated as consumers. They demand to be wellinformed of the healthcare services prior to their visit; they expect shorter wait times at the clinic; and they want the healthcare practice to follow up with them and ask for feedback. When those requisites are satisfactorily met by the practices, the patients share their reviews on common social platforms for others to read.
“Today, close to 80 percent of patients read those reviews before even deciding whether or not to visit a healthcare practice,” mentions Eva. These trends are adding a lot of stress on healthcare marketers who must rethink how they approach the status quo. According to Eva, relationship marketing driven by the ongoing reputation management of a practice is the answer. “We encourage patients to share their reviews about a physician or a practice, whether it’s on Google or any other healthcare aggregate site.
Austin Williams: Your Trusted Healthcare Marketing Partner
Whether it is patient acquisition, creating awareness of a new service, or fostering long term doctor patient relationships, we look at healthcare marketing from end to end, addressing all the marketing needs of a healthcare practice to help ensure its success
Another equally impressive approach that Austin Williams takes when it comes to encouraging doctorpatient relationships is gathering and creating a database of accurate information directly from the patients, rather than mining it from third-party organizations. “The idea is to help physicians use that data to understand their patients more closely, and to use the same insights to start a communication program (through email or any other traditional mode of outreach) and cultivate an ongoing relationship at a one-on-one level,” explains Eva. “At the end of the day, a patient should feel that their best interests are being taken into consideration.”
Under the Hood of Excellence
To help a client use that data to market their practice with digital precision, Austin Williams combines the industry’s most sophisticated tools with one of its most talented teams, customizing every digital campaign, driving efficiencies by market, media, and tactic and managing it all in real-time. Most importantly, they take those tools and experience and translate it into healthy outcomes for their clients.
Austin Williams starts by conducting discovery research among key internal and external stakeholders, influencers, and prospects as the first step to its marketing planning. This discovery helps them identify fertile ground for brand development, which is further supported by a SWOT analysis as an essential evaluative step. Utilizing the information and insight gathered from these early stages, the company tries to get responses to some of the common queries like: What does the brand stand for? And who are they looking to connect with? Based on that understanding, Austin Williams develops and cements a positioning that reflects a practice’s core differentiating factors. And when it comes to reaching targets and maximizing ROI, the company’s broad range of primary and secondary market research services helps their clients gain competitive advantage.
Elaborating on the benefits of these competencies, Eva shares that when COVID-19 hit, Austin Williams’ healthcare clients had to pivot to offer their services differently. They were either turning toward telehealth or augmenting the safety of their environments through remote communication. Evidently, this also necessitated a shift in their marketing endeavors. “So, during COVID-19, healthcare marketing grew even larger for us, and we worked with hospitals and large medical practices to enhance their internal and external marketing operations,” mentions Eva. “Urgent Care is another area that emerged alongside, and we have been doing a lot of work along those lines as well.”
Moving forward, the company will keep pursuing more ground-breaking innovations and driving growth in the solutions they offer. The company’s goal is to grow as a strong regional marketing agency while specializing in such industries as finance and higher education in addition to healthcare, adds Eva. “But, in all our endeavors, we will always remain at the cutting edge of what’s happening around us and never lose sight of the importance of research, because that’s where marketing begins,” concludes Eva.