By: Ashley Boyd, Director of Marketing & Business Development

The healthcare industry has been affected by COVID-19 in a very different way than many other industries. They are on the front-line fighting the virus: insuring sick patients, staffing nurses and doctors, caring for those in need, and more.

So how should the healthcare industry be thinking about marketing during COVID-19 as well as in a reopening economy?  Here are a few psychological insights that are important to address:

  • Fear: People are scared. They are afraid of getting sick and aren’t able to get the regular care they need. As a result, they are missing appointments and letting their health fall by the wayside. These fears can be alleviated by marketing effectively, and as the crisis begins to resolve, resulting in an eventual influx of health care visits.
  • Isolation: Due to social distancing guidelines, people are increasingly isolated right now. This is more extreme for older adults as well as people with chronic conditions who are at a higher-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. People long for empathy and connection during this time.
  • New Experiences: During times of crisis, people lose a sense of “the way things were” and feel a loss of identity. Often, this results in the formation of new identities and habits, resulting in a 75% increased receptiveness to trying new brands. Brands should focus on understanding these new customer segments and turning them into loyal followers.  

Right now, it is critical that companies understand and address their customers’ concerns in their marketing and deliver experiences that support new customer journeys. Here at Intermark, we are paying close attention to changes in the healthcare customer journey for patients, providers, caregivers/family members and more, and leveraging these insights to inform new marketing strategies for our clients. 

  • Authenticity: Consumers want to be understood. Healthcare companies should incorporate consumers’ attitudes, beliefs and fears in their marketing to be relevant and impactful. Many of their concerns are tied to the day-to-day uncertainty related to the crisis. So it’s important to use a “show, don’t tell” strategy to communicate how they can engage with your company while we’re social distancing and reopening. Example: Dove ‘Courage is Beautiful’
  • Shared Experiences: Consumers long for social connection right now. Healthcare companies can stay connected with their patient/member communities by engaging digitally through telehealth and other interactive tools, and technologies. Example: Children’s Wisconsin
  • Digital Mindset: Companies can reduce friction for their customers through improved digital experiences. Consumers expect an easy way to sign up for health insurance, talk with an advisor, schedule an appointment, check-in with their doctor via a telemedicine visit, and more. Example: Ethos
  • Personalization: Consumers expect a personalized care plan and experience that aligns with their health and life needs, as well as goals. Consumers want to stay healthy and avoid infection from COVID-19 but are also thinking about their long-term health, and steps they can take to protect their future. Example: New York Life ‘Agape’ 
  • Emotional Connection: Relationships matter. To build relationships with customers, companies can leverage behavioral economics in their messaging to engage customers in a more human way. Consumers don’t want to be sold to, and are more inclined to engage in conversations and experiences that deliver ongoing value. 

One advertisement that embodies creative strategies that could be leveraged for healthcare is Google’s Loretta ad. The spot is based on the experience of the grandfather of a Google employee, giving it genuine authenticity. The spot also emphasises the ability of technology to build personal, emotional connections, without digital friction.

To learn more about these strategies, tune in to our upcoming webinar, ‘Survive to Thrive: Psychology of Marketing During a Reopening Economy’ on May 26 at 10 AM CDT. 

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