Blog Post

Omnichannel Communication in Healthcare

As marketers, we need to keep up with customer expectations. The retail and service sectors have developed seamless customer experiences, and patients are now expecting this service from their healthcare providers too. Integration of omnichannel communication strategies in healthcare organizations is necessary to meet the needs of patients in today’s market.

For Providers

As healthcare technologies have become more advanced, many providers have begun investing in omnichannel communication strategies to improve care and efficiency. Integrating telehealth with in-person care allows providers to mitigate risk between patients and providers during outbreaks and to better triage patient care. Integration of these services could also help to ease the congestion in ER waiting rooms, with patients being evaluated at home before arrival.

For Patients

Omnichannel strategies within healthcare systems will also increase patient experience and satisfaction. Integration of telehealth into traditional healthcare systems helps to reduce the barriers to access and improve care. Integrated systems can also facilitate better communication between patients and their healthcare providers via email and chat.

To meet the needs of patients, healthcare systems must invest in omnichannel communication systems. The expectation of seamless delivery is becoming more common as these systems become more widely used across industries. The future of healthcare is agile and integrated with omnichannel communication strategies to provide the best care for all.

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Communication Strategies for Public Health Marketers

As public health marketers, our communication strategies must work to build healthier communities. Poor communication, however, can lead to skepticism and mistrust from the communities we are trying to serve.

Missing the Mark

While well-intentioned, some types of public health communication are not going to work. Placing blame or shaming individuals who do not follow health recommendations does not work. Conversely, it will only further alienate individuals and dissuade them from asking questions or seeking help.

Inclusive Solutions

Well-received public health messaging meets people where they are and answers their questions. Not everyone has the same educational and cultural background, and it is important to take these factors into account when developing messaging. Utilizing the help of local community leaders in the development process can further improve how the information is received.

Working with communities is imperative in developing effective public health communications. Placing blame on individuals will not change their behavior and should instead be met with patience and understanding. Effective public health communication is important in maintaining the health and wellness of our communities.


Authentic Engagement in Digital Marketing

Authentic engagement is an important but often overlooked aspect of digital marketing and communication. Consumers are ever aware of a brand’s reputation and are less likely to be swayed by empty gestures. As the digital landscape changes, authentic engagement with consumers is becoming more important than ever. I’ve spoken with five experts to get their opinions on authentic engagement in digital marketing and here is what they had to say:

Consumer Expectations

Kimberly Taylor Ph.D.
Full Professor at Florida International University

Kimberly Taylor Ph.D., a professor at the FIU College of Business noted a shift in expectations that consumers place on brands and how they engage with the public. “Consumers often expect brands to engage authentically with an issue or with a consumer group, and not just post on social media during a particular month (such as for Black History or Breast Cancer Awareness.)  For example, in our study of breast cancer survivors, they said ‘I’m a cancer survivor all year!’ (not just in October), and they wanted to know what exactly a company was doing to help the cause beyond simply slapping a pink ribbon on a package.)  Moreover, a younger generation of consumers is not only accepting of brands actively engaging with social causes they support, but they have come to expect it, viewing a company’s silence as some level of complicity or disagreement.” These new customer expectations are part of the shifting landscape of digital marketing. As companies engage further on social media, and as those same platforms have waves of social and political engagement, the companies are also held to a different standard. The standard neutral stance of past operations has become much more obvious in the current environment.

Human Connection

Samantha Blanken
Marketing Manager at Mediafly

This changing landscape has also opened opportunities for brand growth and engagement, a sentiment shared with Marketing Manager Samantha Blanken. “This past year has opened the door for us to share more of who we are as individuals. For authentic marketing engagement, we must remember that we’re speaking to a human being, not a job title at a target company. Authenticity invites stronger connection and more meaningful engagement.” So even while expectations for organizations have risen, to have opportunities to connect with small groups of customers on a human level in a way that creates lasting relationships.

A Friendly Face

Catherine Whitlock, M.S.
Associate Vice President of Online Communications at Parkinson’s Foundation

These kinds of relationships are built on a clear knowledge of your brand’s values and goals. As noted by Catherine Whitlock, Associate Vice President of Online Communications at Parkinson’s Foundation, organizations can build trust by intentionally shaping their messaging through their goals. “When you’re communicating something about a serious and frightening lifelong disease like Parkinson’s, knowing that there is someone or some entity like the Parkinson’s Foundation who’s friendly and in your corner can make a huge difference. We actually define what we mean by friendly. We mean we’re approachable, but we’re not unprofessional. As an authority in helping someone live well with Parkinson’s, we can’t be all emojis and slang, but we can have just enough of it so people realize there is a human on the other side of the screen and that human is rooting for you.” This kind of messaging creates consistency in the minds of customers and clients so the organization can seem more relatable and reliable.

Cultural Competency

John Rodriguez M.S.M.
Senior Account Executive at
the community

There is also a need for brands to implement more authentic and culturally competent marketing strategies, as pointed out by Marketing Executive John Rodriguez. “There is a lack of authentic digital marketing (and overall marketing in general) to Hispanic Audiences. Many clients choose to tackle talking to Hispanic Audiences by casting multiracially and simply translating the work done for General Market. If clients want to truly engage with Hispanic Audiences, they need to push for more bespoke work that will actually be relevant to said audiences. It isn’t enough to cast and old Hispanic woman and push the ‘Abuelita’ trope, they must listen to the needs to Hispanic Audiences and tailor messaging properly.” Authentic messaging relies on a careful knowledge of customers’ home cultures. Clichés and generalizations from outside perspectives are not enough to show a real care for and value of diverse audiences.

Metrics of Success

Kaycee Conlee
Marketing Coordinator at
Ware Malcomb

Despite all this work, authentic engagement is not the only thing an organization uses to determine the success of a campaign, as pointed out by Marketing Coordinator Kaycee Conlee. “Authentic engagement in digital marketing is certainly valuable and important but with many platform’s emphasis on algorithms, it’s not always the goal for companies. Since any engagement, genuine or not, can boost your message on most platforms, a lot of marketers aim to trigger engagement with questions or polls, and authenticity is irrelevant.” While authentic engagement should remain a core value for organizations seeking to establish lasting relationships and value, technological constraints also impact the success of marketing campaigns. Often, marketers must achieve a careful balance between going viral and staying human.

Opportunities for Growth in Digital Marketing

Ultimately, authentic engagement on digital platforms presents a unique challenge and opportunity for digital marketers. The rise in social media marketing has organizations in constant contact with their customers. The largest reach can occur through having marketing campaigns go viral to reach as many people as possible. While this strategy may work in the short term, the success of an individual campaign may hurt the brand’s overall credibility. Keeping brand image, values, and reputation in mind will help in creating more authentic content that will connect with consumers and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors.

Human-centered communication is key for a brand to effectively create authentic content. Consumers don’t want to be viewed as a commodity for brands to acquire. Instead, the modern consumer is looking to form a meaningful relationship with a brand. This relationship has to be built on a human element that connects to the customer’s larger worldviews.   

There is pressure on brands today to support causes that connect with their audiences and values. Consumers notice and hold brands accountable if a brand is only supportive of a cause when it is convenient, using terms such as rainbow washing to refer to the performative allyship towards the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month (June). There is now an expectation for brands to authentically engage with causes year-round, as opposed to promoting their support when trending.

As the digital landscape changes, authentic engagement with consumers is becoming more relevant than ever. The modern consumer is more informed of a brand’s reputation and is more likely to act on their perceptions of it. Authentic engagement can no longer be overlooked and is now a cornerstone of digital marketing.

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Utilizing Population Data in Public Health Marketing

As a public health marketer population data can be a useful tool when developing campaigns and programing. Having a clear understanding of what the health habits and opinions of a population can help marketers meet people where they are and not speak ‘above’ or ‘below’ them.

Challenges Faced

There can be challenges however when using population health data. One of the most common is unreliable data due to respondent bias. It is not uncommon for an individual to misrepresent themselves if they think that their thoughts or actions are the ‘incorrect’ or ‘unhealthy’ ones, leading to less than accurate data.

Strategies for Success

This inaccuracy in data is often overcome in two ways. The first strategy is to ensure that survey questions are asked in a way that is not leading respondents towards one answer or another. The second common strategy is to cross check the responses with those from other similar datasets to check for any obvious inconsistencies.

Ultimately, accurate data is essential to building effective public health communications and marketing. With just a few additional steps, you can make sure that the data you’re using is reliable.

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Using Marketing Data to Assess Public Health Programming

Knowing how to interpret and apply research data is an important skill in public health marketing. Data can help to inform marketers of the success of their programming by using simple statistical tools, such as a paired t-test looking at pre- and post-intervention data. The ability to show the success of programming will help to inform stakeholders and justify campaign expansion.

For example, you work for a chain of retirement communities and there is an STI outbreak at one of the campuses. It would be wise to survey the population before and after a ‘safer sex’ campaign to determine its effectiveness and if it should be implemented on all of the campuses.

Communicating the effectiveness of a public health campaign to stakeholders is critical in maintaining and expanding programming. The ability to understand and apply marketing data can improve your odds of winning stakeholders over.

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Personalizing Data Communication

Communicating data to the public is one of the most difficult aspects of public health. Most data is on a population scale, so it can be hard for an individual to see where they fit in or how their actions matter. It is important to present the information accurately while also making it personal to the reader.

Current Standards

Photo by Atypeek Dgn from Pexels

For example, throughout the COVID epidemic much of the public health data presented has been death rates. This data was generally presented in percentages of the population or deaths per 100K people. While these statistics are accurate, it is easy for the individual to disassociate with them due to the magnitude. A healthy person may look at this data and think “Well I don’t have much personal risk, so I don’t need to take precautions.”

A Personalized Future

It can be much more effective to present information in personal terms. For example, an organization might ask the question: “What would happen if your grandparent got sick?” Strategies like this are effective because they connect abstract data to individuals’ experiences and to people they regularly see. Communicating data on a personal level is vital to changing opinions and policy and should not be overlooked.