From the eyes of printers: Tips and tricks for healthcare marketing in 2014

From the eyes of printers: Tips and tricks for healthcare marketing in 2014

By Chowning Johnson on January 23rd, 2014

As 2013 closed out, we all focused on the holidays and our families. But it also gave us time to secretly ponder, an escape during family gatherings perhaps, on ways to make 2014 bigger and better for our clients—especially in their healthcare marketing efforts. No doubt we have some strategies and tactics in mind, but thought you might like to hear a slightly different perspective from the front lines. Two of our long-term printing partners, RGI’s Chief Marketing Officer Cindy Seel and Standard Press’ EVP and Marketing Strategist Linda Bishop, stepped up to the challenge providing some valuable insight below.

Dodge: What are some of the most interesting changes you’ve seen that are important for marketers and companies to be cognizant of?

RGI: Many marketers changed the way they go to market when the economy began to decline. Companies were forced to cut costs. Marketers shifted their efforts from print to digital marketing because there was little to no cost involved. Now companies are realizing that the integrated approach to marketing is the best fit; and that ROI can be accomplished with both.

There has also been a shift in responsibility for company sales and marketing departments have turned into profit centers. This change, coupled with the move for greater accountability, has created a more data driven marketing department that relies on multiple marketing channels to get their message out.

Standard Press: You need a strategy that drives people from one media channel to another. For example, people use print to create a catalog driving a buyer into a store, or online to order. Or maybe you send a postcard to someone so they visit your booth at an event. In all cases, no channel can stand alone, and each one has plusses and minuses. The real challenge we see for clients is putting together a comprehensive media plan where you truly are integrated—because research shows that integrated marketing will get the best results.

Dodge: You guys are on the frontlines of numerous marketing campaigns for both B2B and B2C companies. What are some common pitfalls to avoid? Any best practices tips?

RGI: For B2C companies one of the biggest pitfalls is failing to understand the need for really targeted data. Know your audience. A great place to start is with the data you already have on existing customers. After appending that data you can create a profile of your perfect customer, and can then use that profile to pull a more a targeted list for your campaign.

Whether your objective is to inform your audience or influence purchasing behavior, you should always continue to refine your campaign with testing. Incorporating a test into each campaign allows you to find out what works and what doesn’t. By not testing, you’re throwing away the opportunity to really increase ROI. Remember to test only one variable at a time, whether it’s the call to action, message or actual format. Finding successful triggers can generate an increase in response rates that result in a higher ROI.

And always measure. That’s where pretty vs. performance comes in – you truly need both for any successful campaign.

Just remember, if you start a campaign with bad data it doesn’t matter how good your call to action is or how strong your offer — you’ll have bad ROI.

Standard Press: Two of the biggest reasons why campaigns fail are too few touches and the wrong audience. To avoid these, work out a budget so you can touch people a minimum of 3 to 5 times and try to work on constantly improving your list by data appending and behavior-based marketing—for example, if they don’t respond after 5 touches, assess—don’t automatically keep investing in  non-responders.

Dodge: Any lessons learned from B2C marketing efforts that you think could benefit B2C companies?

RGI: Remember to involve your vendor during the strategy planning sessions. During a recent, very large direct mail project, we sat down with our client and reviewed their plan and strategy for the campaign prior to design and execution. By reviewing the project in advance we were able to suggest a different size for their direct mail piece that resulted in thousands of dollars in saved postage costs as well as a better way to execute the overall delivery.

Standard Press: Look for ways to create highly personalized campaigns for smaller market segments. Often, they will bring you significantly higher ROI because you increase relevancy and that drives a better response.