Lauren Leone: “What we’ve seen a lot of groups do over the last few years is focus heavily on gettting new patients in the door at all costs. What wasn’t necessarily happening was an effort to retain patients, to build loyalty. What ended up happening is everyone has a large volume of lapsed patients who they have contact information for, who still live in their area, and who very well could come in and fill an appointment slot but we’re spending all this money on new, new, new all the time.”
It’s that time of year when we uncover the crucial healthcare marketing trends for 2024! Join our Chief Growth Officer, Lauren Leone, and CEO, Alex Membrillo as they deliver actionable insights and success-driven recommendations for the upcoming year.
Explore the changing landscape of healthcare advertising, emphasizing the adoption of a comprehensive approach and engaging patients earlier in their decision-making journey. With a focus on financial constraints, our hosts stress the significance of not just pursuing new patient acquisition but also investing in retaining and reactivating existing patients. Lauren and Alex delve into the transformative realm of healthcare digitalization, showcasing how technology and data-driven strategies can propel growth and improve patient outcomes. Discover essential elements of a successful digital presence, from creating a user-friendly website with integrated features to harnessing analytics and tracking technologies.
For healthcare groups eyeing digital transformation, this episode is indispensable, providing invaluable insights to make astute investments in the upcoming year. Say goodbye to impersonal experiences and embrace a digital presence that genuinely embodies your brand. Join us as we uncover the pivotal themes and trends shaping the industry!
Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.
Alex Membrillo: This is our most anticipated episode all year, I think. My babies ask for it every week, Daddy, when are we going to hear about the healthcare marketing trends for 2024? Babies, it’s okay. That’s tonight. That’s tonight. I can redo this story. Honestly, guys, welcome Lauren Leone, our Chief Growth Officer to Ignite. What’s up?
Lauren Leone: My kids are not asking for this episode.
Alex: You need to be selling your kids because they’re the future generation of Cardinals. All right, guys. We’re going to talk 2023. Man, big slowdown. A lot has changed. We’re not seeing as much M&A and tuck-ins, we’re not getting to do all that fun acquisition stuff where we’re building a website. Not as much of that. A lot more de novos. Think that’ll continue?
Lauren: Yes. I guess that’s commentary on lending and the real estate market and a lot of other…
Alex: With your private equity experience, Lauren, what do currently that you think might continue?
Lauren: I don’t know. I definitely see the slowdown in the tuck-ins, but I just got off the phone with one of our women’s health clients that is under LOI on a number of groups. I think it probably depends on the maturity of the market that you’re in and groups that are just in the early stages of their consolidation. There’s a ton of private practices still to be consolidated or to be part– Nowadays, we’re using the word partnership because a lot of them are retaining brands. In other areas where either the providers are harder to come by, there’s not as many businesses, they’re just doing de novo. It’s easier to stand up a new clinic and hire someone.
Alex: I’ve also seen where they’re just starting a new platform from the ground up, hiring the provider, dentist, or whatever it is that’s just started. They’re branding the thing from the beginning. I think that’s smart. Anyways, growth still has to happen and sellers are getting more acclimated to the multiples they’re not going to get anymore. They are starting to sell. They’re just giving up on trying to get the ridiculous multiple. Let’s talk about the hippo in the room. The big thing that changed in ’23 that we didn’t have to deal with as much in 2022 is HIPAA-compliant marketing. Lauren, talk about what you see. We had pixel gain this year. Telemarketers exactly in 10 seconds what they have to get off their website and then what evolving next year.
Lauren: Yes. if you are still in October, 2023 and going into next year using the engine pixels, you have the Metapixel on your website, Google pixel, GA4 pixel. That’s step number one. Stop. Ask yourself the question of, am I using this in a compliant way? If not, think about putting, rebuilding my tech stack on your PNL for next year on your budget.
Alex: Yes. What are some of those fun, fancy things or not so fancy? Let’s be not fancy because we are not fancy judging by the costume I’m wearing today. It’s Halloween, but I’m just dressed like this normally. What are the things marketers need to put in place? [unintelligible 00:02:58] first, fancy next.
Lauren: At its most basic, what you could be looking at is something like a paid, although not super expensive analytics solution to replace Google Analytics 4.
Alex: What’s your favorite one?
Lauren: We’ve seen mixed panel as the best of both worlds in terms of relatively low costs. Super easy barrier to entry for clients. It’s not a big shock going from free GA4 to mixed panel and relatively easy implementation. If you need something more complex, there’s a ton of other solutions out there, a Heap or Amplitude.
Alex: We talked about the [unintelligible 00:03:31] and I’m getting off Google Analytics. What’s the boujee thing of getting data insights next year?
Lauren: You could also look at a CDP. In not every case is having the Metapixel on your website an issue. If you’re using a CDP properly and then collecting data, controlling what then gets passed back into platform, you could certainly still use some of those solutions, but those are extensive and require not only the initial implementation, but you have to have a plan for maintenance.
Alex: Yes, absolutely. Not easy. If your in-house team is not experienced and doesn’t have a lot of them, don’t go to CDP route. We see with our clients that have CDP, it takes a big internal lift. We aren’t the tech experts and we can’t help too much with it.
Lauren: The number one thing that’s going to dictate what you ultimately choose. Don’t go too far down the path without having this conversation internally. Do you have your own BAA that you need the vendor to sign? Can you sign a standard BAA from the vendor? That will make or break your decision. Start there. What are your compliance requirements? What is your risk tolerance as an organization? Then go see to build a tech stack that meets those minimums. If you do it in reverse, you’re going to build a tech stack and then find yourself in the same place where your compliance isn’t happy with it and you’ve got to redo it.
Alex: Yes. Yes. Absolutely, guys. One step at a time. They’re a simple solution. You got to get the Google on the Metapixel off Google Analytics pixel off. Then you got to send these offline conversions back into the engines, guys, a line, a patient prison mix panel. That’s a simple-ish solution before you go CDP and all kinds of crazy. All right. Enough on the HIPAA in the room.
Let’s talk about how advertising has changed. Our best clients don’t just do SEO and search anymore. It used to be, it was off the chain since we owned the company the last 14 years. Our best clients are not just relying on that anymore. Why? What are they doing different?
Lauren: Yes, it’s a crowded market. Two years ago, it was like, if you were heavily invested in digital, you had to step up on everybody. There was a lot of reliance on physician referrals and offline marketing. Everybody has joined the digital landscape, which means it’s crowded, it’s expensive, and there’s a lot of noise to cut through. Everybody on the surface looks the same. What we see a lot of successful groups doing is really thinking long-term about full funnel. How am I going to tell the stories? How am I going to enter or get in front of the patient earlier in their consideration journey? Maybe when they’re researching symptoms, they’re comparing solutions, they’re comparing provider types or practices. This very bottom-funnel approach of just like gobble them up on the near-me terms is not going to be sustainable.
We get groups coming in and saying, well, I used to get a $5 CPA, and as a result of the landscape, the number of advertisers, how competitive it is, if you want to work on being able to scale, potentially find some efficiencies, you’ve got to move out into a wider channel mix.
Alex: Yes, absolutely. You’re talking about making sure you’re present during symptom condition, all that stuff. Even before that, right? Your target demo lives in the area. You want them to become aware. How do you do that?
Lauren: There’s certain use cases for that. I think speak with your marketing team to figure out where in that funnel is the best place to join. Getting on the social feeds where we spend how many hours a day? The young generation, four or five hours a day, the older generations, two to three, and then you’ve got outside of the social world. You’re in apps, you’re, whatever you’re reading about on the internet, you’re looking up a recipe, like where do you spend your time intersecting with that now is also like OTT and streaming services, the streaming audio we’re all listening to, Spotify while we’re working or you’re using Hulu, everybody’s cut the cord or YouTube TV.
There’s all these other touch points that technically are digital inventory that you could be buying and to be there is a little bit easier than it used to be to be on like a linear TV or traditional radio buy. You have all these other avenues now where you can start getting in front of your demo earlier.
Alex: Yes, absolutely. What’s interesting about this is that you can’t remarket in healthcare, right? You can show certain ads for a certain length of time on social and see who’s engaging and keep showing them new messaging. You’re not just blanketing showing every mom and 30319 your ads forever. Money’s getting tied to interest rates around. We’re heading into a recession. I don’t care what Powell says is definitely going to happen and it’s going to be a hard land. Looking at that and knowing that you’re going to have to squeeze more out of every dollar, can we continue to just focus so much on that new patient acquisition?
Lauren: Yes. What we’ve seen a lot of groups do over the last few years is focus heavily at get new patients in the door at all costs. What wasn’t necessarily happening was an effort to retain patients, to build loyalty. What ended up happening is everyone has a large volume of lapsed patients who they have contact information for, who still live in their area, and who very well could come in and fill an appointment slot but we’re spending all this money on new, new, new all the time.
The channels to reactivate or win back that patient look like SMS and email, maybe a little bit of callback, auto dialing, you can throw a postcard in there depending on your demographic, but it’s so much cheaper. It’s about five times cheaper and in the vertical, some verticals much more to market to those existing consumers and try to bring them back in to fill– the appointment slot is the same, right? We highly encourage groups that are not doing anything with their database of lapsed patients and their EHR to stand up a program that helps you identify who’s lapsed and re-engage them in real time.
Alex: Yes. A lot of groups aren’t doing something, but it’s not custom, it’s not based on actual EHR information on when they came in, what treatment they were seeking and creating different pathways, right? It’s like Lauren said, the appointment’s the same. I like that saying. I don’t know where we got that from, but I like that. You just want to fill it with revenue, have a really good re-engagement and in time you’re increasing your patient lifetime value, which makes your acceptable [unintelligible 00:09:33], if you will, on the net news higher, which means you can advertise more, steal market share because you’re going to capture them for longer and beat your competitors over time. I love that. Lauren, we keep hearing digital transformation. What does that mean?
Lauren: Some people will read that as redo my website, which is technically true, but if you’re going to go through this process of really identifying unique USPs as a business and then projecting those in all that you do, building a digital storefront
that includes integrated online scheduling, live chat, SMS features, that patient access is part of creating that digital front door. Your analytics and technologies powering that and tracking what happens on that, that’s also part of your digital front door or your digital transformation. Then I think what I’ve seen a lot of groups leaning into or why they’re even considering doing a digital transformation is also because the way brands are presenting themselves and healthcare is changing with, things like TikTok and all of this first-party content, just being authentic. How do I take my digital properties and go from feeling like maybe a very cold, scientific, or clinical experience to something that feels very warm, feels very authentic, shows who we are as people, working with people in our community, makes access very simple, and then carrying all of those themes through not just your website, but how you talk about yourself on social media, how your front desk staff engages with the patients when they walk in the door, your waiting room experience? These are just some of the major themes that I’ve seen groups talking about and where they want to invest next year.
Alex: Absolutely, guys, don’t let ChatGPT take over the world. You still need your own spin, your own voice. Lauren, that was awesome. Thank you for touching on all these awesome trends. Now the babies can sleep easy knowing that they’re in good hands for 2024. I appreciate all your knowledge. See you later.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.