By Chuck Bryant, Relationary Marketing | 1.4.17
Healthcare in Nashville is a billion-dollar industry, but not all of what drives consumers’ medical decisions is based on what happens on the operating table or in the physician’s office.
With more than 20 years under his belt, Mark Lee Taylor knows a thing or two about how to inform and advertise to those looking for care for themselves or their loved ones.
Taylor is the Director of Communications for the Clinical Services Group at HCA, where he develops new and innovating ways to connect with consumers in the healthcare sector. He will be moderating a panel on how to navigate the shift toward consumerism in healthcare marketing at NAMA’s Power Lunch on Thursday, Jan. 12, at City Winery.
According to Taylor, many people see healthcare as a consumerist service or product until they or a loved one need healthcare, at which point it becomes a vital need. This urgency sets healthcare apart from most other industries in which major decisions can be postponed or researched over time.
That’s where healthcare marketing comes in – providing information as immediately and seamlessly as possible, while also minimizing negative experiences and impact, Taylor explained.
“People have to look at a lot of information fast and have to find a lot of answers fast. The marketer that can provide the easiest pathway to give them information and solve their problem really has the upper hand,” Taylor said.
Having worked as a healthcare marketing pioneer in the ‘90s with St. Thomas Heart Institute, Taylor has noticed a significant shift in both the focus of the industry and its consumers in just a couple of decades.
“A lot of the advertising campaigns for hospitals were centered around caring and how much the hospitals provided care, what great care they provided. It focused on advertising and community outreach more than any other marketing technique. Things have certainly changed since then,” Taylor said.
Today, he said, there is an inherent expectation that there is caring in the service industry, so people are more interested in good outcomes and cost transparency. Taylor believes that easy access to healthcare information – both true and false – has contributed to this shift.
“There’s so much more information available than there was previously. Before that, you had to rely on a physician or someone else or word of mouth to find out what you wanted. Back when we were doing advertising for healthcare systems, we were just trying to get people to indicate that they wanted to make a choice about where they went,” Taylor said.
Today’s healthcare consumers not only have more of a choice in where they seek care, but they are also “savvier” consumers with a higher service expectation, Taylor continued. Whereas patients might previously have been willing to wait two hours at a physician’s office, consumers today place emphasis on access and convenience in each step of their healthcare process
“There’s a lot of internal resistance in healthcare to refer to patients as consumers, and I think that point has finally hit the tipping point where people understand ‘Oh, they’re patients and consumers. Consumers have choices and are not going to blindly go where they’re sent.’”
Looking toward the future of healthcare marketing, Taylor said that big focuses will be on implementation of service standards in the physician’s offices and quick, convenient means of response between health care services and consumers.
“There’s two ways of looking at anything, and life’s all about how you look at it. In this case, it’s a really exciting time to be in healthcare. We’re going to need creative, innovative ideas more than ever. And who is it that comes up with those things in America? It’s marketers,” he said.
Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn.
On Jan. 12, Taylor will moderate How Consumerism is Affecting Healthcare Marketing alongside SmileDirectClub’s Hal Hassall, Nicole Provonchee of MissionPoint Health, and Celina Burns, consultant to Healthcare Blue Book at the NAMA Power Lunch at City Winery. Register now.
Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.
Chuck Bryant is co-founder and CEO of Relationary Marketing, a podcast production agency that creates broadcast-quality interviews for rich content marketing, event promotion, relationship nurturing and thought leadership.