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Healthcare Is Personal: Shouldn't Your Healthcare Company's Communications Be, Too?

Learn how personalizing print marketing communications can help healthcare companies enhance customer relationships.

No matter what industry we’re talking about, a common theme is that today’s consumers are demanding more personalized experiences than ever before. They expect brands they patronize to treat them as friends, rather than as transactions. They expect outreach to reflect their preferences and to indicate that the business remembers them, is able and willing to provide personalized value, and is sincere in its efforts to connect.

This is true in every industry, and healthcare is no exception. In fact, the highly personal, private and emotional nature of healthcare makes the responsibility to personalize the customer experience even greater, as the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) remind us in their recent report, “Bridging Worlds.”

"The practice of healthcare touches intimate and often emotional elements of our humanity. Health is one of the most—if not the most—personal aspects of our lives. Connecting to the emotional aspects of people’s motivations is vital to forging a relationship. The one-size-fits-all approach to consumers often produces the opposite effect."

However, the report goes on to say, healthcare systems tend to lag behind other industries in creating and nurturing those emotional connections with customers.

As far as strategies to build customer relationships and drive business go, personalizing print marketing communication is a pretty good one. McKinsey reports that it can reduce acquisition costs by as much as half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent. And research from Canon Solutions America shows that simply adding a person’s name to a mailer can increase the response rate by up to 44 percent. (Add color, too, and you boost the response rate by up to 135 percent!)

Customers want to see communication that reflects their experiences, especially in healthcare businesses, where a significant part of building trust is indicating that you know your patients’ history and needs. Recent research from Marketo found that 79 percent of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions they’ve had with the brand. The ability to tailor communication to each recipient is important in building that relationship and encouraging customers to continue patronizing your business.

So, what’s stopping healthcare businesses from delivering personalized communications to current and would-be clients?

The way we see it, there are three key factors deterring healthcare companies from creating the personalized marketing interactions customers crave. The first is the sheer cost of printing, packing and mailing variable information. The second is the management burden. Keeping track of different materials for different patients (or potential patients), ensuring every piece maintains brand standards and confirming that each customer gets the correct version of the document require enough oversight to head off even the most organized marketing leaders. And the burden only increases when a company has multiple locations across the country, and the team at headquarters has to oversee the same process for several local leaders.

And finally, there are added privacy concerns around sending personalized communications, as the chances that patients’ secure information will be compromised due to a printing, mailing or management error. The risk — both in patient fallout and regulatory sanctions — often feels too big to make personalization worth it.

Eliminating the Obstacles to Personalized Communication — and Maximizing the ROI

While we understand that the challenges of creating personalized campaigns can feel too big for brand leaders (who are already stretched thin) to bear on their own, we also know that the ROI of building strong customer relationships through tailored communication is too great to pass up.

What these marketing teams need is a one-stop print marketing execution partner who can take the management burden off their shoulders, ensure total patient privacy and save costs through strategic print and mailing capabilities. Here at OneTouchPoint, we specialize in exactly that, empowering healthcare providers to create powerful print marketing communications without busting the budget or compromising privacy. To discover how we partner with healthcare organizations across the country, we invite you to read our recent blog post and download our data sheet. When you’re ready, contact us for next steps.