Consumers without a medical degree have become self-proclaimed experts, determining the provider who’s best for them and the treatment needed for conditions — even diagnosing their own illnesses.

According to Pew Research, 72% of internet users say they looked online for health information.

As the healthcare industry marches into the digital age, it’s never been more important for medical providers to reach audiences across platforms: online, on social media, in print and everywhere else.

That’s why the future of the healthcare industry hinges on an integrated marketing approach.

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Why Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing focuses on a seamless interaction between the consumer and your brand. Whether on a bus shelter poster, on a radio program or on Instagram, consumers see and hear a consistent message.

We know that not everyone commutes to work, and won’t necessarily see a billboard along the highway. Similarly, not everyone in your target audience will watch a segment on the 6 p.m. news, or “Likes” your page on Facebook. Alone, these tactics may fall short, and so a brand must adapt to reach audiences across platforms, whether those platforms are traditional daily newspapers, social media or niche advertising through new media platforms like Hulu and Spotify.

In an increasingly fragmented media market, integrated marketing can ensure your brand is reaching its target audiences across platforms, all while driving home a consistent brand message.

Consistent messaging across platforms can also help with brand recall.

How to Use Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing starts with a brand establishing “ground rules” by defining its goals, target audiences and key messages.

From there, a brand can identify the voice of the consumer, understand which platforms will best reach and engage their target audiences, and determine where to focus their efforts.

If a brand’s audience skews younger, for example, it might make sense to focus on Snapchat, text alerts and in-app advertisements.

While most marketers are focused on the future of mobile advertising, it might not make sense for all brands, particularly for those whose audience skews older. Messages may better reach older target audiences through email marketing and TV news programs, for example. That said, brands can no longer exclude social media from their approaches — even with older audiences. In a 2015 update, Pew Research found that 56 percent of internet users ages 65 and older used Facebook, up from 45 percent who did so in late 2013 and 35 percent who did so in late 2012.

That’s why it is vital in integrated marketing to outline a specific, customized plan for a brand.

A marketing plan shouldn’t be one size fits all. It should be specific to a brand’s needs and most of all, to a consumer’s needs.

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Be One with the Customer

If a brand wants to reach its target audience, it must think like its target audience.

Imagine a day in the life of the brand’s typical consumer. From the moment a consumer’s alarm wakes him up to his last sleepy sighs of the day, how could the brand have reached him? Better yet, how could the brand have influenced him to take action?

This is where consistent messaging is vital to driving home your messages and shaping a unified consumer experience.

If your health care organization is interested in integrated marketing, talk with us.