“Is vomiting a symptom of COVID?,” Is sneezing a symptom of coronavirus?” “Is there a coronavirus cure?” These are among the top searches from Google Search Trends during the pandemic.
The intense focus on health and wellness represents a massive opportunity for health care brands to deliver relevant, meaningful marketing messages to consumers. Here at TEGNA Marketing Solutions, we work with hundreds of health care brands all across the country and have identified three consumer trends to help your brand create experiences that educate patients and connects with audiences.
The Rise of Telehealth
Since March, the public mindset is avoiding doctor’s offices and healthcare facilities for non-emergencies. Consumers feel staying away allows resources to go to those who need it most and reduces their exposure to the virus. With these new behaviors, the pandemic has advanced telemedicine ten years in just a few months.
Teledoc Health – multinational telemedicine and virtual healthcare company – reported in their Q2 earnings call that year-over-year, the first six months of 2020 showed a 144% growth in visits and 63% revenue growth. We see this trend only continuing to grow. Because of increasing familiarity and comfort with telemedicine, 2021 is expecting usage and revenue growth beyond 2020.
Marketing Action Plan: Many consumers are continuing to put off in-person visits and unnecessary or non-life-threatening procedures. Meanwhile, some patients are wary of Telehealth services because it’s such a new and unfamiliar concept. This sentiment makes it more critical than ever to focus messaging on reducing the stress of the unknown.
Healthcare brands looking to get connected with both new and existing patients should create messaging focuses on telemedicine and safety:
- Telemedicine. Healthcare brands can walk patients through telehealth processes. This messaging can include setting up an appointment, what to expect, and the screening processes. Make sure the messaging helps foster an understanding of telehealth and what the patient experience will be.
- Safety. Many patients keep up with CDC guidelines and regulations. Be sure to put your patient’s safety top of mind and encourage preventative measures, such as wearing a mask and washing hands often. In marketing, consider sharing images of and writing copy around socially distanced offices, masked personnel, and other displays of your staff adhering to CDC guidance.
Loss of Health Insurance
During the pandemic, an estimated one in five adults have reported they or their partner were laid off or furloughed and resulting in a loss of health care coverage. Experts are predicting the pandemic could bring about an end to tying health insurance to employment status. It will be critical for health care providers to stay on top of these conversations and trends to connect with both new and existing patients.
Marketing Action Plan: As health insurance coverage changes in the months and years to come, new population segments will have access to health care services. Keeping up with these trends, completing audience segmentation, and making sure your health care brand targets the best audience possible through the most impactful channels and with the most relevant personalized message has never been more important.
The Shift in Viewing Habits
With so many Americans spending more time at home while quarantining, they’re spending more time in front of the TV with linear broadcast and digital streaming media. There’s no doubt video consumption is up as audiences experience a “seismic shift to streaming” while also increasing the amount of time they spend checking in with local news outlets for accurate coronavirus updates.
A Pew Research Center study found that 46% of Americans listed local news outlets as their primary source for coronavirus news. Additionally, 23% of Americans are paying more attention to local news broadcasts than before. As a result, local news ratings and digital metrics see record highs as consumers turn to trusted local information providers. Streaming is also up. According to The Wrap, the average household is streaming 92% more content compared to last year.
Marketing Action Plan: The consumption of video, whether through streaming services or linear television, is significant. Health care marketers should rely heavily on a video strategy and align marketing messages with trusted local broadcast news brands, corresponding digital properties, and OTT.
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