Buffalo Bill Didn’t Tweet, but Healthcare Companies Should

Social media within healthcare is sort of like the Wild West. The laws are unclear and intimidating, many are trying to decide how to best navigate the new terrain and the most pioneering individuals have a head start mining for gold.

There are many reasons why social health is developing at such a mind-boggling pace. According to a white paper published by HP, social platforms facilitate patient and provider education, encourage patient health reporting and help patients connect with others who are affected by similar health conditions. Since this brave new world is so expansive and has so many angles worth exploring, this article will be the first in a short series. To begin, let’s explore a few statistics and consider what the data is telling us about the importance of social media adoption for professionals within this space.

According to Mediabistro, over 40% of patients report that information they find through social channels impacts how they deal with their own health.

  • Why should you care? Given the number of individuals using social media today, social tools have the potential to help a huge number of individuals improve their health and wellbeing. From a strictly altruistic perspective, health organizations should take notice. However, in a time when population health, chronic disease management and patient satisfaction are so closely tied to reimbursement, profitability and long term viability make their way into the conversation. Can healthcare organizations afford to not be social (I will touch on social media and Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements in a later article in this series)?

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42% of healthcare consumers use social media to obtain information about health providers, treatments and products.

  • Why should you care? A growing majority of today’s healthcare consumers are social and mobile savvy. Since they’re turning to social platforms to gather and share health information, doesn’t it make sense for health leaders to be active there as well? Tech-savvy patients classify companies and professionals lacking a strong social media presence as “behind the times,” effectively removing them from their shortlist of places to receive care. This fact is driven home by this infographic by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group which states, “41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.”

According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Medicine and PatientsLikeMe, a surprisingly large percentage of individuals are in favor of sharing their health information on social networks despite possible data compromise risks.

  • Why should you care? As more and more patients become comfortable with sharing personal health information on social media, the amount of data will boom. This rich source of information could prove extremely beneficial not only for disease tracking and health research purposes, but also for health organizations seeking to identify competitive advantages. Does anyone else see a potential marketing automation tie-in here?

What’s the bottom line? Healthcare organizations that don’t currently have a social and mobile strategy need one ASAP. As Kelly Barnes, U.S. Health Industries Leader at PwC puts it, “Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions, and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter.” If you need help with your approach contact StrataBlue today!

How Can Marketing Automation Help Your Business?

Getting clicks and impressions on your online content has value, especially when it earns leads. But the bottom line for all businesses is the revenue.

Your business (hopefully) has a social media presence and you send out a weekly email newsletter. Your marketing department stays on top of current trends and brainstorms creative ways to get your message conveyed. You have eye-catching landing pages put in place and your website clicks are increasing. You have assembled the best sales team possibly, but you can’t seem to put your finger on what’s working and what’s not. This is a gap that most marketers don’t know how to fill: how do you tie together all of your efforts to increase revenue?

78% of high-performing marketers indicate that marketing automation systems are partly responsible for improving revenue contribution. Also, 25% of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are already using marketing automation!

So what exactly is marketing automation? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. 44% of B2B buyers do not know what marketing automation is. Marketing automation is a technology that helps move leads from the top of the marketing funnel to becoming a sale at the bottom. This uses a range of information, incorporating both inbound (such as social media) and outbound (such as email) functionality in addition to CRM integration to streamline, automate and measure your marketing efforts. In turn, this will help increase your efficiency and boost your revenue.

Here are some of the key benefits of marketing automation:

  • ROI. One of the most important features of marketing automation is tracking your results. Find out what’s working and what’s not so that you can change your process to help generate more revenue. You can also assign a score to your leads to track your progress through the sales funnel so that you know what’s most important and pressing.
  • Customer Retention. Marketing automation lets you understand your customers’ behavior, allowing you to reach them in a customized manner at different points in the sales process. This also creates customers loyalty and facilitates a long-lasting relationship.
  • Cross Selling. When you know the characteristics, behaviors and actions of your customers, you’ll know how to cross-promote. If you customers likes Product A, they’ll love Product B but hate Product C. This will help turn a customer from a one-time buyer to a devoted fan.
  • Cost Reduction. Cut the amount of time you spend on marketing by automating tasks such as email. Marketing automation provides 70% shorter sales cycles and 54% improvement in sales quota achievement. Think of all the time and resources you could save!
  • Lead Nurturing. One study says that 84% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. Instead of cold calling, find out exactly when to nurture leads for a sale. You’ll be able to get in front of your customers when they have the intent of buying instead of blindly marketing to them. Not only that, but you’ll know what your potential lead wants, needs and cares about in advance.

Marketing automation isn’t just for large corporations any more; many small and medium businsses are using this software to help improve their marketing strategy. If you’re ready to make the leap instead of being left in the dust, contact us!

Will You Need Marketing Automation in 2014?

This week, Reportlinker.com made a new report available from Frost & Sullivan on marketing automation software. Weighing in at 129 pages, the marketing report is the sort of thing that will require a strong cup of coffee to properly absorb. Still, as marketing analysis reports go, this one is an eye opener.

2013 could arguably be the year of marketing automation. In short, marketing automation is staying in contact with your customers, keeping them interested in your brand and collecting their data in order to sell better products. That’s a bit like trying to explain the cloud or an internal combustion engine in a sentence, but this blog isn’t about definitions. This is about why you should care about marketing automation in 2014.

Growth. Marketing automation is growing by as much as 50% annually. It’s already a billion dollar business, and it’s only continuing to expand into new markets. And adoption of marketing automation has only just begun to explode outside of the niche technology market.

Change. Marketing automation is already a big deal for larger B2B situations. But if 2013 was the year of marketing automation, 2014 will be the year of small and medium business (SMB). The top tier of marketing automation software (MAS) providers are diverse and ever-changing. The barrier for entry is low—meaning there are many choices when it comes to providers. In other words, the diversified field and new technology makes marketing automation ripe for businesses wishing to get started.

Opportunity. Small businesses have only just begun to use MAS, but they have the best chance for growth and profitability. Collecting customer data means understanding what products to sell without wasting time and money on hit-and-miss marketing. Storing and updating customer information means keeping those same patrons happy with new products tailored for them.  Finally, moving expenses to the cloud means large potential savings in terms of data storage and server use. The ROI is self-explanatory.

Innovation. Moving to the cloud and selecting the right MAS isn’t something your company should do—it’s something your company will do. The innovators are already moving to the cloud to save money, time and data. Within a few short years, most SMBs will adopt these techniques in order to stay competitive. The late adopters may find themselves rushing to find service while losing money and customers. Marketing automation isn’t a question of if, but when.

Interested in discussing MAS and cloud migration further? Contact us and we can help you get started.