Using Experiential Education to Market Your Healthcare Center
Experiential Education is the Key to Memorable Healthcare Marketing
A picture is worth a thousand words, but an experience is priceless. Experiential education is helping healthcare centers inform existing and potential patients on subjects vital to their wellbeing. Healthcare may not be a trendy and popular topic in patients’ social lives, but it can make an impression in their minds if delivered the right way.
In order to make complex subjects and healthcare topics relevant and digestible to the average patient, your healthcare center needs to leverage experience. Experience promotes engagement by giving patients a platform to have a conversation with healthcare centers, which facilitates genuine learning. Here’s our guide to experiential marketing, why it matters and how to use it.
The Healthcare Knowledge Obstacles
How do you explain a new medication, its uses and side effects in less than a minute? And how do you grab and keep patients’ attention while doing so? No matter how groundbreaking a healthcare topic is, many marketers struggle to successfully condense such heavy topics into 30-second television or radio ads.
Engaging patients enough to educate them on an important healthcare topic can be challenging. Healthcare is a complex and significant subject requiring accurate representation. However, unlike other industries, healthcare struggles to marry principle with creativity. By being cold and sterile in representing the clinical aspects of a topic, patients may lose interest. But by taking an entirely creative approach, healthcare centers can lose credibility as a medical resource.
A lot of healthcare centers have turned to content marketing to help build relationships with patients and become a trusted resource for information and advice. And while creative content should always be a part of your marketing strategy, experiential education is the key to delivering a completely unique encounter. When used in tandem, experience and content can elevate your healthcare center’s relationship with patients.
How Experiential Learning Activities Make a Difference
Patients are most likely to understand and relate to something when they’ve been personally engaged with it. Patients thrive upon unique situations and distinct interactions that will be different each time. Because health is individual to every patient, experiential marketing is significant for allowing him or her to form an emotional connection with a brand, product or healthcare center through longer and more active engagement. This relationship helps to increase brand loyalty and strengthen brand recognition, making your healthcare center become your patients’ first call.
Feeling connected with a brand is the first step in starting a lasting conversation. A potential patient will be much more likely to reach out if they feel like their voice will be heard, and experiential marketing promotes this exchange. Patients can ask questions and get much more involved than they could by simply hearing a generic radio spot.
Experiential marketing promotes two-way communication, which means that both the patient and the center are able to understand one another. For example, if a patient were to see an advertisement online and have a question, they aren’t likely to go out of their way to find an answer. However, experiential marketing provides a platform for patients to ask questions and for healthcare centers to provide the right answers.
The ultimate goal of your marketing is to build a relationship and encourage patients to trust your center with their health. But it can be challenging to decide where your resources should be allocated to help improve this relationship. Luckily, experiential marketing has proven to be a worthwhile investment as 2017’s largest digital and alternative media platform.
A memorable experience is one worth sharing, which is exactly what your patients need to do. A study by Center for Studying Health System Change showed that 50 percent of patients choose a new hospital or doctor based on the opinions of friends and family. Word of mouth is a valuable currency for your healthcare center, and experiences are the best investment to diversify your portfolio. Experiential interactions actually drive activity that leads to 50 to 80% of word of mouth in any given product category.
How to Implement Experiential Education in Your Marketing
So, you’ve decided that experiential marketing is right for your healthcare center, but now may be wondering where to begin and how to get patients engaged. Don’t worry; you don’t need a celebrity advocate’s video testimonial or write an original song. In order to be approachable, you just need to design something that engages patients by using a little imagination.
Pop-up events, billboards, interactive signage, and other non-conventional interactions are things that encourage patients to come forward and engage. Let patients test a new healthcare tool or interact with a 3D representation while chatting with a representative that can make the conversation well rounded. Leaving patients with something to take home is a great way to extend the experience and provide a memorable leave behind.
Chris LeBlanc, evok’s VP, creative director and healthcare category captain weighs in, “Patients are more empowered than ever before. Technology has allowed people to be hyper-connected to information and access to providers. This is reshaping the omnichannel patient experience, resulting in stronger outcomes. As marketers, we are always trying to find ways to increase communication and engagement while increasing ROI.”
Creating an experience for patients doesn’t mean there has to be a full, sensory moment. You can effectively place your healthcare center in spots that patients wouldn’t expect but are certain to see. Brigham and Women’s Hospital decorated this staircase with information about their center, but patients had to make the climb in order to get the full experience. This is a simple, but effective way to grab patients’ attention in a place that is guaranteed to get a lot of foot traffic.
How to Take the Experience One Step Further
The content generated from just one experiential event can transcend to improve your marketing elsewhere. Take advantage of your experiential investments and partner with an agency that knows how to get the most out of every resource. The right agency can dedicate time to garnering content that can be stretched beyond one event. For example, while hosting a pop-up event to directly communicate with patients, a social media coordinator could be designated to photograph the event for social media content.