Marketing Strategy

Has COVID Created an Ultimatum for Healthcare Marketing?

In a recent social media interaction with Jared Johnson, Digital Brand Consultant and Founder of the Shift.Health Content Network, he made the following assertion:

We’ve known the answers for how to improve healthcare marketing for years. COVID has simply given us an ultimatum to accelerate those efforts or be left in the dust. It’s up to us.

Intrigued by the comment, I asked him what things he thought marketers should be doing to accelerate this shift to improve healthcare marketing.  Basically, what were the ultimatums for healthcare marketers as he saw them?  His response was so insightful, I wanted to share it with the HITMC provider marketing community:

1. Shift the focus from digital advertising to digital brand experience. Advertise less – a LOT less. Brands don’t win with logos and commercials anymore. The experience is the brand, so do whatever it takes to create an integrated digital brand experience that’s easy, sticky, and pervasive. Consumers change loyalty everyday because one brand’s digital experience has less friction than the other (Hello, Amazon!).

2. Shift the focus from building hype to building trust. Be the ones to guide consumers through the new healthcare landscape. We’re all begging for someone to explain how things work now. Answer their questions. Be there, and be transparent. Basic human empathy always wins.

3. Fix branded content marketing. Over 90% of blog posts get no backlinks. Very few brands earn substantial organic traffic because of Google zero-click trends and more ads. On top of that, most healthcare content is still “me-too.” Target every piece of content to a moment of relevance and use more than one format. It takes time and consistency for content to work. And we’re still underutilizing audio and video content and overthinking production.

4. Elevate marketing’s internal seat of influence by becoming architects of marketing operations strategies rather than “pretty thing producers.” Develop processes, team structures, and investment strategies to demonstrate a clear understanding of martech and analytics. No more reports about marketing activities – tie everything to a result. Give senior leadership every reason to view marketing as an indispensable member of the business strategy team. Show them we understand how we have to work together with Finance and IT and Clinical leaders to engage consumers in the ways in which they want to be engaged.

5. Go upstream and innovate the sick care business model. No more lipstick on a pig. Represent the Voice of the Healthcare Consumer at the leadership table and be tireless evangelists for disrupting outdated fee-for-service models. Bring the big ideas and create the vision for new care delivery models. Change the business model to incentivize keeping people and communities healthy while also growing the business. Make that sweet spot the ultimate priority.

Do you see these as the main marching orders that have come from COVID-19?  Do you disagree with any of these?  Are there others that you’d add to the list?  We’d love to hear your thoughts on what COVID-19 is driving in your healthcare marketing organization.

About the author


John Lynn

John Lynn is the Editor and Founder of the nationally renowned blog network The Healthcare Scene network currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 7000 articles. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. Plus, Healthcare Scene recently added Health IT focused career resources and to the network.
John also co-founded two companies: and Plus, John is the Founder of 10 other blogs including the Pure TV Network and Vegas Startups. John’s 25+ blogs have published over 15,000 blog posts, garnered over 30 million views and had over 122,000 comments. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

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The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!