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Health Care Marketing

The Unique Challenges Of Health Care Marketing

Topic: The Unique Challenges Of Health Care Marketing

In the last 20 years, I’ve worked on digital marketing strategy across virtually every industry. But for the last several years, I’ve focused almost exclusively on health care.

What I’ve learned is that marketing for health care companies and medical practices has a very unique set of challenges that are unlike any other industry. Success in health care marketing demands that you have a clear understanding of how to navigate these challenges.

In this article, I’ve outlined some of the differences that I believe make healthcare marketing unique. My hope is to remind current health care marketers why having knowledge of the industry is so important, and to prepare new healthcare marketers for the strategies they’ll create.

Targeting Limitations

Perhaps the biggest challenge in health care marketing is targeting. Channels like search engine advertising are relatively easy as you can target patients searching for conditions and treatments. But outside of these channels, privacy regulations often prohibit targeting medical conditions. In fact, some platforms have even prohibited remarketing ads to brands in healthcare due to privacy concerns.

So a good health care marketing strategy will often rely on creative and messaging to attract the right patients. More advanced health care marketers will leverage platforms like programmatic networks where anonymized, privacy-safe data sets allow advanced targeting such as lookalike based on conditions.

HIPAA Compliance

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules are an important nuance of medical marketing that has implications not only for how marketing and leads are handled but also for your marketing tools, how your site is hosted, vendor relationships and much more.

Technology often moves faster than HIPAA can keep up, so it’s important to understand how new marketing technologies are compliant and where there are risks. As a marketer, you need to understand HIPAA, but you also need to know when to pull in legal or IT resources to help you make decisions.

A Specialized Marketing Stack

Many of the more popular marketing technology solutions aren’t HIPAA compliant. This means that marketers are sometimes driven to industry-specific tools that are HIPAA compliant. Compared to other industries, there are far more custom marketing tools developed specifically for health care marketers. Not only does the tool need to be built in a way that keeps your data compliant, but you’ll also generally want the vendors to sign a business associate agreement with you — it’s essentially a contract that outlines the vendors’ responsibility to use protected health information only in a secure and established way.

Topic Discussed: The Unique Challenges Of Health Care Marketing

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