Health care consumers have been routinely sacrificing their health and longevity by delaying and avoiding care due to the escalating costs of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Miraculously, however, the tides are turning, and we’re witnessing a vital and positive shift in health care consumer behavior with the surge in well-being programs.
Well-being programs, in essence, were designed to establish and reinforce positive behavior change. With the guidance of virtual wellness coaches, biometric screenings, holistic educational resources and incentive options, companies that implement well-being programs often boast decreased health care costs and healthier employees.
According to “The 8th Annual Industry Pulse Report,” released by the HealthCare Executive Group and Change Healthcare, 25.4% of respondents listed “incentives” as the key to encouraging positive and engaged health behavior, whereas only 3.4% of respondents identified high-deductible health plans.
Applying Behavior Change Principles To Health Care Marketing
The growing adoption of these programs is based on the fundamental understanding that daily healthy habits will result in positive and lasting behavior change. How do we take this proven approach to behavior change and apply it across health care marketing?
In some situations, people don’t look to change their unhealthy behavior until the habit becomes a tangible barrier to something in their life. Everyone knows smoking is terrible for your health. So, which is a more effective marketing campaign for a 40-year-old father to get him to change his behavior and quit? An advertisement stating “Smoking Kills,” or one that shows a daughter walking down the aisle stating, “You Won’t Want To Miss This,” with a call to action (CTA) to a smoking cessation program?
Your health care marketing has to, first and foremost, appeal to the emotional and human side of people. Impactful and memorable marketing campaigns are what resonate with your audience long term. At emagine, we apply the following keys to our clients’ marketing campaigns to impact and alter consumer behavior.
1. Build An Emotional Connection: If you’re looking to truly make a difference, it starts here. As referenced in the example above, your marketing should embody a genuine, empathetic, emotional connection with your audience. Translate what matters most to your audience through your campaigns. Spark that motivation for them to take action now.
2. Create An Engaging Community: A sense of community lets your audience feel they are not alone. It provides a safe and social way for them to share stories, challenges and their overall journey toward health, hope and happiness with others. Social networking platforms are a great community builder, providing your audience with a universal location to learn, connect, motivate and grow with one another. According to the aforementioned study, social media was cited by health care leaders as one of the top strategies used to engage with their consumers.
3. Build Brand Pillars Of Trust And Transparency: Your consumers want your brand to be authentic, reliable and trustworthy. Create and offer educational resources to your consumers. Arm them with the appropriate tools to help them manage the health care needs of not only themselves but of their loved ones, as well. A resource center is an excellent way to house your materials in one convenient location on your website.
4. Invest In Mobile: Virtual care has empowered consumers to take back control of their health. Mobile technology has opened countless doorways to health care across America. In the past few years, we’ve seen mobile health empower consumers to self-diagnose, video chat with their doctors, and manage their prescriptions and appointments all from the palm of their hand. In fact, 79% of health care leaders feel diagnostic apps have the “greatest potential” for evolving the future of health care.
5. Strive For Accessibility And Affordability: The inability for high-deductible health plans to succeed with this consumer behavior change is, in part, because of these barriers to care. Fortunately, virtual care has stemmed from the desire to significantly reduce — or eliminate — both. The recent venture between Apple, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway is a prime example of organizations looking to transform health care. Actively strive for accessibility and affordability to stay competitive and truly impact consumer behavior.
6. Get Involved With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Consumers want to know you are an accountable and environmentally friendly brand, investing in the social impact your brand has on its community and our planet. By building CSR into your marketing strategy, you can highlight key ways you’re taking action to make a difference to your audience.
7. Empower Your Consumers: Now, more than ever, consumers are actively taking control of their health. Empowering your consumers includes not only getting them to take that first step but keeping them motivated to continue making lasting progress.
As Confucius is credited for having said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” This methodology is equally true for behavior change. Ingraining behavior change that lasts a lifetime is done by creating and reinforcing positive, daily healthy habits in your consumers. Infuse these seven key health care marketing tactics to impact and alter consumer behavior, and remarkable change can follow.