What Healthcare Consumers Want, ft. Stephen Moegling, Chief Strategy Officer


The business of healthcare is complex. And when it comes to the consumer, those inflection points are as complex as ever. We’re asking people to make evaluated thoughtful decisions about taking the next step of their healthcare journey. But how can we drive consumer awareness before healthcare is needed?

Listen to Stephen Moegling and Chris Hemphill as they discuss strategies for engaging healthcare consumers with relevant, timely content that goes beyond traditional audience targeting.

This conversation is brought to you by Actium Health in partnership with the Forum for Healthcare Strategists.

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Chris Hemphill

Podcast Host
Hello Healthcare


Stephen Moegling

Chief Strategy Officer
Insights Plus Action

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Stephen Moegling (00:00):
I think the business of healthcare is so complex. And then if we come to the consumer, the audience for whom we’re hoping to engage, those inflection points are as complex as anything as well, as we’re asking people to make evaluated thoughtful decisions about taking the next step of their healthcare journey.

Chris Hemphill (00:26):
Hello, Healthcare. I’m extremely happy to be joined with Stephen Moegling, who is the chief Strategy officer for Hailey Sault. Hailey Sault is a digital marketing performance agency that focuses on driving this type of performance with healthcare systems.

Stephen Moegling (00:45):
That’s right.

Chris Hemphill (00:46):
So it’s an extremely exciting topic that we’ve been discussing, which is on just concepts around amplifying the performance of an overall marketing funnel. Today, we’ll just be talking about just the overall structure of establishing the type of relationship that results in conversions and patient lifetime value.
Steve, do you want to give some background, not only on your role at Hailey Sault, but just kind of why you’re here and what’s got your interest in this industry and solving these kinds of problems?

Stephen Moegling (01:22):
Sure. Appreciate you having me here, Chris.

Chris Hemphill (01:24):
Thank you.

Stephen Moegling (01:25):
Well, I’ll just start by acknowledging that I’ve been in healthcare marketing now for about 25 years, and I didn’t come into healthcare thinking that I was going to be in healthcare, that I had a driving cause or a passion. But once I got that healthcare bug, I didn’t want to represent any other brand that wasn’t going to be about the health and wellbeing of the audience.
And how I got into that mindset was when I was 21 years old, my first job out of college as a copywriter for an ad agency, one of our clients was Kotex tampons. And I was given a brief to write advertising for Kotex tampons, and I thought, well, this is kind of ironic. I’m a 21-year-old guy writing for a product for which I don’t use. And I sat there looking at the brief in what was being asked of me as a writer, and I realized that there was this huge inflection point that I had missed my entire academic career going into graduation, which is I really have to appreciate an audience for which I am not, and I have to appreciate the subtleties of that buyer, that consumer, and the need structure, and I have to somehow separate who I am as a writer from that audience. And that really kind of opened the door to what is, in my mind, very possible in terms of really appreciating the audience, no matter how different the audience might be from who I am personally.
And then fast forward into my career working with healthcare brands, I was developing strategies for oncology patients and strategies for people who had needed hip replacements, all things that I had not yet experienced, but if I could somehow have a dedicated focus and passion for that consumer for whom I’m hoping to engage, really great things could happen. So that was the doorway into the aha moment of really appreciating healthcare and appreciating the consumer.

Chris Hemphill (03:38):
Your point on the importance of appreciating the audience is a good fuel and theme for this conversation, I think, because do we approach the audience from the perspective that they’re automatons who we send out some communication to a hundred people and there’s some percentage of them that convert? Or do we look at them as people who are making decisions that impact their own wellbeing, their day to day, not just life in general, not just to life or death situations, but just how well they’re able to cope with the experiences that they have in life? Appreciating the audience gives rise to understanding how to nurture, understanding the path to nurturing these relationships over time that I’m not going to necessarily make a decision-based on one piece of outreach that I received at some random time, but if across multiple channels, across multiple avenues of engagement, I’ve become more familiar with a particular brand or provider, et cetera, that makes me much more comfortable with that right hook or that ask that comes from time to time.

Stephen Moegling (04:54):
That’s right. That’s right. I think the business of healthcare is so complex. And then if we’d come to the consumer, the audience for whom we’re hoping to engage, those inflection points are as complex as anything as well as we’re asking people to make evaluated thoughtful decisions about taking the next step of their healthcare journey. And as we know in our industry and as we study human populations, there is this push-pull of trying to get people to be more proactive in thinking forward about health. But oftentimes, the conversations that we’re having from a marketing standpoint are things that people don’t want to think about. People don’t want to think about getting cancer. They don’t want to think about heart disease. They don’t want to think about stroke. They don’t want think about living in abject pain for a long time.
And so that grist of trying to help people to say, “Hey, let’s just take a few moments to think about scheduling that mammography. Let’s just take a few minutes to think about maybe asking that physician for some advice and counsel.” There’s a very tender moment in that exchange, and to kind of stay rooted in understanding all of the multiple factors going on in one individual’s life, I think, opens the door up to a lot of creativity, a lot of respect, and hopefully engagement to take the next best to action.

Chris Hemphill (06:25):
Excellent. And when we think about that all the way down to that engagement to take the next best action bottom of the funnel versus all the other things that we’re talking about that are higher up in the funnel than that conversion point, one thing that we know about the funnel is the next best action, that’s a one-to-one decision, a one-to-one ask versus a lot of the things that we’re talking about. When we talk about organic social media, we’re talking about big numbers of people, big swaths of people in this process.
So when it comes to considering where all these people are simultaneously or similarly in their care journeys and the types of communication to engage them with, can you talk about that since we’re focused on that organic social aspect of it? Can you talk about the decision process and basically how you use this information to start planning out the interactions?

Stephen Moegling (07:22):
Sure. Yeah. Just so I think for context of having a shared language for how we’re thinking about this topic, one of the things that I would offer is to first and foremost understand what does the consumer want in the moment in a social media engagement, for example. So if I were running a paid social media campaign, my healthcare client would absolutely want that click to call for an appointment, just have some measurable action for which we can demonstrate downstream ROI.
But when you bring up the idea of organic social media, so to put in context, a health system who has a content planning calendar where they need to be on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, virtually every day, what we find with our healthcare clients is that they’re struggling to come up with content that is relevant and engaging. So they default to what nurses week wants, or they default to some health editorial planning calendar, which has its use, but again, going back to what does the consumer want, they probably don’t want the hospital to just push out those messages that benefit the hospital. They want to have an organic content experience that lifts them up, that appeals to their interests and needs.
So when you look at the top of the funnel versus bottom of the funnel and where are we in that cycle for a consumer, our proposition at Hailey Sault is to say, hey, give the consumer the content that she’s interested in, things that are relevant to her life. Maybe there’s a direct correlation with healthcare. Maybe there’s none. Maybe we’re just going to engage with foodies on social media and provide some really interesting recipes, and that might open the door up to say, “Gosh, I liked this content that I saw on social media. I think I will follow this brand.” Now we have an opportunity to build a longer term relationship so that when your firm comes in and sends that CRM message to, “Hey, it’s time for your mammography,” the ideal state is the consumer says, “I trust this brand. I’ve been engaging with this brand. I like this brand, and yeah, it is time to schedule that memo, and I’ll do that right now.”

Chris Hemphill (09:51):
So how do you determine, look, we want to know what the patient wants, what our consumers want, depending on where they are in that patient-consumer continuum. We talked about that a little bit before, but how do we know what people want? How do we determine what goes into these in the moment interactions?

Stephen Moegling (10:13):
Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of different ways to answer that question. I think if our audience today are primarily marketing communications professionals, we’ll want to look at some kind of data point that lets us know, hey, this piece of content was relevant or engaging or interesting. And so that’s going to be a like, a share, a comment, a forward, some kind of action here. And over time you start to build up a body of knowledge to say, oh, this is the type of content that seems to engage our audiences. And then you can extract from that to say, okay, now what do we do with that? Well, one obvious answer is, well, let’s produce more of that content. Let’s up our game with that type of content and actually add more value to that.
Another way to also then look at it is to say, Well, how can we marry? And again, we’re using the use case here of organic social to say, now that we’ve got really, really great engagement with our organic channels, how can we move that audience from engaging in interesting content to engaging in the brand in a more meaningful way? And so that might mean inviting that prospective consumer patient to take a next step. Why don’t you go over to our website and learn more about these services that are probably relevant to you? Or maybe making a direct ask or maybe marrying the data from organic social with paid marketing, with CRM, so we can start to bring a beautiful loop between all of our digital marketing ecosystem elements.

Chris Hemphill (11:47):
And one question that I have too that goes a layer deeper than this, because I like to just get an example of the types of communications that this thinking has enabled. Do you have maybe a story or a case study? Is this directly at a service line level, or could you walk me through just how some of the formulation of some of the communications, maybe if you have some examples?

Stephen Moegling (12:14):
Yeah. Well, maybe I’ll give an example that might be helpful to the audience in terms of maybe how they might think about their social media content and going back to starting first with that consumer, that patient mindset.
As we were developing content strategies for health systems for their social media content, we realize that traditional audience personas are helpful, but sometimes a little bit limited as far as how do we end up producing content that is relevant. So a different framework that we often will incorporate are the ideas of using consumer archetypes, which is just a different thread on the persona modeling.
And so for us, how we define archetypes is we say, okay, in our health system’s larger community, we can identify that we have people who are foodies, people who are travel enthusiasts, people who are discoverers, people who are discovering new ways to improve their health, people who are very early on that health journey, for example, or having a life change that requires them to become a student again. And so our proposition and what we encourage our clients to do is think about the consumer archetype, come up with four, five, 10, or maybe even more archetypes of the mindsets, the preferences, the passions of these consumer archetypes, and then begin building content around those archetypes and seeing which of those archetypes are most engaging with that social media proposition.

Chris Hemphill (13:56):
Excellent. So I like that formulation of looking to these groups, then looking at commonalities, determining archetypes, but not just sticking with them but experimenting with them and kind of understanding and perhaps evolving that archetype and what that group is more likely to respond to over time.

Stephen Moegling (14:18):
Yeah, yeah. We find it to be a helpful exercise to think about archetypes for social media content because, well, if we were doing a direct conversion ask, much like what your firm does, personas in the modeling and the patient data points, that’s all infinitely helpful in being able to orchestrate the right message at the right time for the right conversion and the right care experience. But with social media, it’s such a broad construct. And day to day, we find that our health system content planning teams are just struggling with coming up with big ideas and especially with how do you feed that machine of content because it’s all so ongoing.
So we look at those archetypes and we look at those structures to say, okay, build around these people who are interested in these things and find those intersections with their current lives and what they want to see, what they want to engage with, what they want to share, and find a through line with back into the organization, the health system to say, well, now what is your value proposition? Don’t sell the health system. Sell the desired consumer experience first. And once you marry and can make a connection there, then we can bring them deeper into the classic marketing funnel.

Chris Hemphill (15:41):
So the clients that you work with on projects like this, what are the types of results that they’re looking for, or how do they arrive at understanding that this output, this method was successful?

Stephen Moegling (15:58):
Well, I think what we’re finding now, Chris, is that our health system clients and our contemporaries in our industry are a lot more sophisticated in terms of what they expect from say social media. And that’s kind of what we’re talking about now, so I’ll just stay there, but we can branch out. And what I mean by more sophisticated is I think in the earlier days of social media, good thoughtful marketers were very quick to say, “Well, what’s the ROI?” After all, that’s what’s being asked of them by their stakeholders in leadership. So therefore you would naturally think, well, what’s the ROI on organic social media or social media in general?
But I think we’ve reached a tipping point where marketers are saying, well, maybe ROI isn’t the right measurement for social media per se. Maybe good, great social media content is a means to an end, and it’s a means to bring somebody deeper into that brand experience so that we’ve earned the right as a health system to then make more of the deeper ask, which often looks like come in to see us, have a care experience, come meet our positions, come schedule an appointment. And once we earn the right with, for example, social media, then we can make the deeper ask, which is ultimately the ROI proposition.

Chris Hemphill (17:26):
Sorry. Yeah, but really good thought there because if it’s a relentless pursuit of what channel is most associated with ROI without giving thought to the relationship, then it seems like everything would funnel into a few things like search or email and things like that and ignore the upper parts of the funnel that we’re focused on here.

Stephen Moegling (17:50):
That’s right. Yeah, because you’ve just named some of the core… We lean into those tools because that’s the moment of care decision. There is a trigger, somebody’s doing a search, you want to be there. And so our philosophy is yes, yes, and there are many people out there who aren’t ready, who aren’t even thinking about a care experience. They don’t realize that there is a need in their life that requires a healthcare intervention or solution. So let’s build a relationship with these people through as many tools and channels as possible because we never know when that person is going to then tip over into that trigger and that care need.

Chris Hemphill (18:36):
And I just want to wrap it up with just a question on kind of the process around doing this. For folks that are watching and wanting to get a perspective on how to get started, what would you say is the best way to start identifying and sussing out these arch types to plan for interactions and things like that?

Stephen Moegling (18:57):
Yeah. Well, that’s a great question and I’ll try to land this plane because I want to give your audience tangible tools. I like action to myself. Well, the first thing I would do if we’re talking to a health system audience, is say, let’s do a quick honest review of our current social content. And by the way, probably the first assessment is are we enjoying creating this content? Right? Let’s just start actually not just with the consumer but ourselves. Are we generating content on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that we would actually want to engage with? Because oftentimes the answer is, well, not really. We really feel like we’re being pushed to promote certain things. And it’s like, would you engage with that content? Is that something of interest?
And then from there, say, okay, well let’s start looking at your audiences. Let’s start thinking more holistically. Let’s take as much data that the marketer or the team has. So if they’re working with your company, they have access to a lot of data. If they’re not working with your company, maybe they have disparate pieces of data, but they’ve got some framework. And then from there to build those consumer archetypes, start identifying who in the marketplace, just conceptually, what are the interests of the community, what does the composition of the marketplace on the whole look like?
And then from there, I would say just make some educated hypothesis or assumptions about the type of archetypes and come up with four, five, 10 different types of archetypes and then begin experimenting with content around those archetypes. And in short order, thanks to the wonderful tools that we have available, we’ll know what the engagement looks like. We’ll know what topics are rising to the top and then just continue that experimental process to find out, okay, this is a winner, and mapping back to what I just said about the team internally, do you team enjoy working on this content? Because I really think that’s a really important question that’s almost never asked.

Chris Hemphill (21:06):
Well, there’s a beauty here is that you mentioned kind of the monthly driven campaigns, and this is the month to discuss this, this is the month to discuss that, the editorial driven campaigns. But one of my favorite words is experimentation, and this opens the door, along with the things that you’re doing right now, to experiment with how we reach out to those archetypes and then see how that performance varies. For the folks that want to continue the conversation with you on social media, what’s the best way they can reach out and start having these discussions?

Stephen Moegling (21:42):
Yeah. So our firm’s name is Hailey Sault. It’s S-A-U-L-T, French word. So you can find us online, and we’re on all the channels, and look forward to engaging.

Chris Hemphill (21:54):
All right. Well, fantastic and thank you for sitting down and sharing these insights with us. One thing, one point I want to make, you can tell me if I’m wrong on it, but I feel like if you take a funnel and you zoom all the way in on a funnel, all the way down to one person, then that one person, you’re discussing a journey, right?

Stephen Moegling (22:14):

Chris Hemphill (22:14):
So we had a really good conversation with Chris Boyer about Chris Boyer, who’s the VP of digital health at Beth Israel Lahey Health system in Boston, and also the Touch Point Podcast. But it’s in the show… He’s the host of the Touch Point Podcast. Show notes, you can find it, or you can click on the screen. But Chris had some really good insights on defining that consumer journey. With that, I really appreciate you for hanging out with us for a while and you for sticking with us and listening to us for a while. And until we see you next time, hello.

Speaker 3 (23:00):
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