Healthcare Systems Have a Brand Advantage: Now is the Right Time to Use It


Healthcare brands have an unfair advantage over most other brands: the key is using their own patient data to drive patient activation and become top of mind and the go-to resource for health and wellness.

Healthcare providers are in a unique branding position. They can solve some of the most important issues consumers face: their health and wellness. And they also likely know more about their patients than any other brand. Healthcare providers should be the primary, trusted resource for health.

Yet, when you look at these facts, what you see is opportunity waiting, not opportunity taken.

  • During the height of the pandemic, more than twice as many people got information about the health crisis from the media, than those who did from their healthcare provider. 
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100,000 lives could be saved each year if people went through preventive health screenings, like those for chronic diseases and colorectal cancer.
  • More than 8 out of 10 people in a recent Actium Health survey said they are likely or extremely likely to improve their health this year.
healthcare branding and media source

Healthcare Branding: The Missed Opportunity

We’re all accustomed to having information at our fingertips. And who better to have accurate information than healthcare providers? While some national healthcare organizations do have strong branding presences on the web, like Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, most people turn first to search engines like Google and Bing, or even social media, instead of going to their healthcare provider’s site.

Why? One reason is habit. We’re all used to searching generically, rather than typing in specific websites (with a few exceptions, like perhaps Amazon). Another reason is friction. Do we remember our health provider’s website? Given all the mergers, do we even remember the correct name to look it up in search? That difficulty causes what’s called “friction” in behavioral economics, and as humans, we avoid it.

The opportunity for healthcare marketers isn’t search engine optimization (although that helps). It’s making it as easy as possible for consumers to follow up on their good intentions through proactive outreach. Clicking on a link from a trusted source is much simpler than looking something up.

Your patients’ data is right in your system. You can email them, mail them, call them or text them. And better than any customer relationship management system (CRM), you have electronic health records (EHR). With CRM Intelligence software, you can identify and predict who is most in need of screening for a mammogram, colon cancer, heart disease or general wellness. All the puzzle pieces are there, sitting in your system.

Healthcare Branding: Your Mail Isn’t Junk Mail

True, the average American sees 6,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day, most of them unwanted and ignored. Maybe you’re hesitant to add to that pile. But healthcare is different. In a recent Actium Health survey, State of Patient Engagement in 2022, patients said they wanted to hear from their doctors. And great news. Comparing 2021 to 2022, survey participants said healthcare providers are doing a better job of reaching out to them.

Healthcare branding: Information sent to patients

The Audience is Ready: What’s My Line?

If consumers want to take better care of their health, and healthcare systems have the tools to tell them how, what’s the next step? How do you, as a healthcare marketer, convert the desire to be healthier and the willingness to hear more from their doctor?

The answer is artificial intelligence (AI) or CRM intelligence. AI models can connect with your health organization’s existing data sources to detect correlations between billions of rows and columns of patient data to prioritize – and predict – the most relevant action(s) for each patient. That means it can figure out which patients to prioritize and engage for your service lines.

Three Keys To Reaching the Audience Who Wants to Hear from You

Combine data + technology. To be top of mind, your brand needs to go beyond visibility to relevance. Rather than sending out general campaigns and blanket communications, use CRM Intelligence for always-on campaigns that combine the data you already have with insights based on AI to facilitate the ideal outreach: relevant, targeted, and timely.

Automatic adjustments. Given that your patients want to hear from you, and they want to take more action to manage their health, you might think always-on campaigns will overwhelm your call centers (not enough agents), service lines (too many appointments) or frustrate your patients (not enough availability). CRM Intelligence includes appointment availability sensing to dynamically facilitate and throttle communication outreach to the right patients at the right time to optimize conversion and deliver a great patient experience.

Attribute. As with any activity you do in marketing, ROI and attribution is key. Whether it’s patient volume or revenue, you’ll want to be able to show that your investment is leading to the desired business and health outcomes. 

As healthcare providers, most of us are exceptionally good at designing great customer experiences when patients are with us in person. But for the rest of a patient’s healthcare journey, we as providers are (mostly) out of sight, out of mind. Though we place great value on our brand promises, we don’t alway deliver on those promises beyond the four walls of our facilities.

Actium Health’s research, and in fact any data about Americans and their health, shows that we can’t afford those part-time relationships. We need to deliver a more full-time, responsive, proactive relationship that engages and activates patients. We have the solutions they need; let’s be top-of-mind and make it easy for them to be more proactive about their healthcare.

To learn more, check out our latest survey report, Tracking American Sentiment: Managing Healthcare is Hard.

Tracking American Sentiment: Managing Healthcare is Hard