Direct Digital Marketing and Healthcare

Josh GordonDirect digital marketing is popping up in more and more industries, as marketers across a variety of disciplines are seeing the demonstrated value of a relevant marketing communications strategy coordinated between the email, Web, and mobile channels. The latest industry to leverage direct digital marketing for their target audience is the healthcare industry. Before exploring the specific programs within the healthcare industry let's look at some really interesting data from some recent research studies.

E-Marketer just published some research about healthcare and pharma as it relates to Internet users. In 2009 78 percent of US Internet users have searched online for health information. Stating the obvious – it is significant that more than three quarters of US Internet users searches for healthcare information online. For direct digital marketers, here is a captive audience – termed “cyberchondriac’s – of folks with real needs. For healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies, providing valuable, timely and relevant information to people who are seeking it out helps develop a strong bond between brand and patient.

According to a study from Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, 61 percent of US adults (that is all adults, not just Internet users) went online to get information about healthcare in the latter part of 2008. For perspective, 83 percent of adults in the United States use the Internet. Of that number, 61 percent go online looking for medical information.

Social media also plays a role. Some health information websites post videos containing valuable information for patients, and hospitals have the opportunity to do to the same, or host the videos on their website.

Relevance is at the heart of all direct digital marketing. Healthcare is an industry where relevance should be mandatory. Communicating the wrong information, or not communicating information quickly enough, can make a significant impact on the life of a patient.

While the term “cyberchondriac” is not necessarily accurate, the fact that such a term exists proves that adults in the US are seeking information. There are direct digital marketing programs available right now for healthcare marketers to implement and begin serving patients better than ever before.

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