The State of Digital Marketing in Healthcare in 2021

The survey results are in! See how the pandemic has shifted digital priorities and investments.

Presented September 15, 2021

This webinar is free for members of eHealthcare Strategy & Trends

Not a member yet?

Start your trial membership.

Sign up for a free 7-day trial
to watch this webinar
and download the slides

Plus, get access to all member resources.

Already a member? 
Log in to watch. 

Your Presenter:
Ben DillonChief Strategy Officer, Geonetric

Ben Dillon

Sponsored by Geonetric and eHealthcare Strategy & Trends
This event is free to attend thanks to our sponsor.

Budgets are rebounding. Digital strategy is the number one hot job. Marketers are accelerating efforts in personalization. These are just a few of the insights you’ll learn in this SNEAK PEEK webinar on the 2021 Digital Healthcare Marketing Trends Survey results.

As healthcare marketers navigate digital marketing post-pandemic, the results of this survey will shed light on how COVID-19 impacted everything from digital transformation efforts to telehealth adoption to digital ad spend. Plus, it has all the key staffing, budgeting, and website benchmarking data you’ve come to rely on.

Sign up today for this free webinar and you’ll learn:

  • How the pandemic shifted priorities and investments
  • Where organizations are investing when it comes to virtual care capabilities
  • What leading organizations are doing differently than others in terms of goal setting, digital marketing tactics, and spending
  • What are the hottest areas for staffing
  • Where healthcare marketers feel most behind — and how that compares to the agency perspective

Your Presenter

Ben Dillon
Chief Strategy Officer

Ben Dillon is Chief Strategy Officer of Geonetric, a healthcare digital agency that works with health systems, hospitals, and clinics around the country. A sought-after speaker, writer, and blogger, Ben is an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. He serves on the editorial advisory board of eHealthcare Strategy & Trends, and was a past president of SHSMD.

Ben Dillon


Welcome to today's webinar, The State of Digital Marketing in Health Care in 20 21.
I'm, Jane Weber Boubakeur, Executive Editor of Plain English Healthcare.
We are the publishers of Strategic Health Care Marketing and E healthcare Strategy and Trends, and producers are the E healthcare leadership awards.
In today's presentation, we'll share highlights from the latest edition of the Hill Digital Trends Survey.
The results of this survey shed light on how Coping 19 impacted everything from digital transformation efforts to telehealth adoption and digital ad spend.
And now we'd like to introduce our speaker for today's presentation.
Ben Dillon is Chief Strategy Officer of Geometric, a Healthcare Digital Agency that works with health systems, hospitals and clinics around the country.
The sought after speaker, writer and Blogger, Ben is an influential voice in healthcare marketing, Helping organizations embrace online strategies to engage health consumers.
Ben serves on the editorial advisory board of E healthcare Strategy and Trends and is a past president of SHSMD.
Today's presentation will be approximately 45 minutes followed by a 10 to 15 minute Q&A.
Submit your questions, type them into the control panel, and hit send. We'll hold your questions until the end, but feel free to submit them at anytime.
Immediately following the webinar, we'll send out a PDF of the presentation slides.
Today's session is being recorded, and you'll receive a link to access the recording as soon as it's been processed and is available for viewing.
Also, everyone who registered will receive an e-mail with a PDF of the full survey report in the coming weeks.
And now I'd like to turn it over to our good friend and esteemed presenter Ben Dylan, then. please go ahead.
Thanks so much Jane. And thanks to everyone who's joining us today.
This is always one of my favorite projects to go and do the data collection and analysis and always one of my favorite things to get up and share with the community.
Now of course, we're doing the survey again in partnership with the healthcare strategy and trends, they've been a wonderful partner.
But the way I'm referring to as geometric I'm part of geometric we are a full service digital marketing agency and web technology partner.
We offer website design, and development, and traditional marketing, SEO, content development, all sorts of things. And of course, you can get the full rundown on what we do and stories about our success with clients at geometric dot com.
I also wanna give a shout out to our survey Advisory Board, and we've been doing this survey over the course of the last 15 years. The last few years, though, we've kind of broaden the pool a little bit of folks who are providing direct input on, what's important enough for us to be asking about, how are we asking questions. All sorts of different things that has really made the survey better every single year. And so, I just want to thank all of the folks.
Then, again, we've got health care provider organization, people.
We've got people coming from different consultants, Cs and vendors and things like that. Matt Humphrey from the Healthcare Strategy and Trends and Plain English Media is has been an important part of this. This group, as well. in the survey that we do is better for all of your participation. So thank you so much for providing your guidance.
And, as Jane mentioned, you'll all be getting a nice, digital e-book of the President of one of the presentation. But, you know, of the survey data, It's going to include things that we talked about in the presentation. We don't have time today to hit on everything. So there are things that will be in the book that are beyond what we'll be talking about today, were a couple of weeks out from that, making great progress. So, keep your eyes on. Your inbox should have a link coming your way to relatively.
Couple of things about our survey, as we get into it here, it was a tough year to get a lot of data. We did have a good group of folks.
We had 83 medical providers in the final result set, 23 agency vendor consultant partners. And that's one of the things that we do in the survey, that it thinks a little bit different than some of the other surveys you may see out there, is, we surveyed both people within healthcare provider organizations.
We have a slightly different set of questions for those folks who are supporting healthcare provider organizations, and sometimes we compare the results of those questions and get some really interesting insights there as well.
So, that's one thing that, I think, is a little bit unique about the data we bring to the table here today.
The other is, instead of just presenting, what does the results across everyone that we've surveyed look alike?
We break the groups down into groups that are ahead of the game, that sort of digital, either organizations or groups that are doing well, and you know, keeping up the average group.
The group that is maybe falling behind a little bit the laggards.
This isn't a judgement call on our part we're not making. We're not putting you in those groups.
By by hard decisions, we ask a set of questions or 22 categories that respondents use to rate how their organization's doing.
Well, in each of those 22 areas, we score each of those, you know, significantly behind, somewhat behind, doing, OK, somebody had significantly ahead, we score them, -2 plus 2, we add them all up, and we get a range of potential scores from to plus 44.
We plot all those out.
That's what we used to determine what group each particular respondent falls into, and this is what that distribution look like this year.
Why do I mention, as well?
The way that I think has been most useful from the feedback that I've gotten, as people look to use this data, has really been to go through and score your own organization across those 22 categories. So when you get that, the e-book is a great way to sort of start attacking the e-book.
Score yourself, figure out where you fall, and much of the data is cut based on those different areas, And it helps you understand, Hey, like, if I want to keep up with the group that I'm in today, what does that look like?
Or, if I'm in the average group, and I really want to move up to build additional leader, what are the things that leaders are doing that's different than what we're doing today, and I think it really helps to make the data much more actionable for people who are trying to work through it.
This year, you know, scores lower than were in the laggard group scores higher than plus five when the leader group and everything in the middle was average. And we did that really, mostly to try and make those groups relatively evenly sized.
So the question we use to do that scoring is, how are you doing in each of these areas compared to your competitors? And obviously, that's really useful for that leader laggard breakout.
It's also really interesting to look at what areas do health systems feel like they're doing well, and where are they struggling, how are different groups, maybe excelling in different areas, in ways that might be useful as we strategize for the future?
Now, because these are the questions that we used to put organizations in these groups, like, the answer should be that the leaders score better than the average that score better than the ladder, right? It'd be weird if that wasn't the case, because, again, these are the scores we use to to develop those groupings. And so that's what those first three columns or laggard average leader. The next column is overall looking at all respondents, and averaging those up, What are those scores look like? And then we have this weird column over on the right, that's the leader, laggard Delta, basically, what's the difference between the leader score and the laggards?
We put that out there because sometimes it's great to see where everyone's doing well and where leaders are particularly excelling. But I often find it more useful to look at where our leaders outperforming everyone else by the widest march, and that's what that particular column is going to tell us.
So, across the board, we see that health systems feel really strongly about the performance of social media.
And then, also pretty good about web hosting and web design.
This is this listing management, which I think is a bit of a shift from past years.
That's been one that I think, for a number of years, a lot of health systems really struggled with. It seems like we're feeling pretty good about where that's at now in digital advertising.
Now, that's the overall score, not necessarily what we see as the top scores in any of the given. Groupings, though, right, Leaders feel great about how they're doing in digital advertising.
The average group feels great in social media and in web design.
And the laggards, to be fair, they don't feel great about much of what they do. Social media, they feel pretty good about this year.
They feel really good about their Web hosting as well. So kudos for having a second score above zero this year. We'll have to continue to work on that.
We look at the areas where leaders outperform everyone else, though.
We have a very different picture, right? We get things like content development and content marketing, where they're scoring almost two full points above everyone else. Analytics, another area, where there, even though it's relatively low in their overall priority order, there a outpacing other groups by a huge Margin.
Then digital strategy was the number one area where that the number one largest delta between leaders and laggards there. And digital strategy has been an area over the last, I'd say, two surveys.
We've really seen leaders go big and it seems to be one of the things that's been a huge differentiator for them over the course of the last couple of years when it comes to digital.
We also ask a question about, well, where healthcare is furthest behind other industries. And as I mentioned earlier, we have provider respondents, they got this question.
We also have these agency vendor consulted respondents, and they got this same question.
So, same question, same list of functional areas that we've been talking about, we use that lists throughout the survey in a number of places, But very different answers in some places.
Providers, Most behind, in areas like personalization, user experience, and CRM.
Where vendors, that top item with digital strategy, followed by user experience, and personalization. So some items, the same. Some items pretty different there. Whoops.
We realize it's a little bit difficult to tell where one item appears in one list and then also on the other. So, not sure, I love the web of lines that we put together here, but it's an attempt to try to map between the two lists.
So you can see where the differences are largest providers, I'm sorry, Reiner's, feel more behind, in areas like CRM, mobile App Development, marketing automation, Web design, and digital advertising. Those were much higher on their list than on their vendors and consultancy lists.
The vendors see digital strategy as is a huge area where, where is their number one item? Where Healthcare's behind. Providers have that much lower on their list is a Number eight. Also felt that health care is further behind in areas like user research, content marketing, video production, social media, and Web hosting.
All right, let's shift our focus now to staffing.
We're gonna talk a little bit about team size. What areas are getting the most staffing attention today? Where organizations may be outsourcing or insourcing more of what they do, where we see growth in the coming year as well.
So sort of starting out with the big picture, what are the total team sizes? Not so different than what we saw last year. Maybe a smidge smaller but not not really a significant difference from what we saw last year.
The overall grouping team sizes were 13.8 FTEs, leaders were 20, 21.5. The average group was 11.2 laggards were 8.3. So we do see much larger teams coming with those leaders than with some of the other groups.
That number comes out to us asking, How many FTEs do you have assigned to? Each of these functional areas? And people are signing Whole FTEs or partial. FTE is a lot of people are, sharing roles, are spending part of their time in digital and part of their time, in other parts of marketing, or IT, or some other part of the organization.
Um, This year, content development, and really moved to the top of the list, and the last couple of years, That has been through general website management, it seems like, maybe, there's been more specialist specialization of roles this year. General Website management really fell down quite a good amount from what we saw last year and then, actually the last couple of years. Content development, project management analytics, all areas, that really matriculated at the top of the list.
And again, project management was relatively robust analytics. There's been a huge growth in what we're seeing there.
Some growth again, content development as well.
Now, laggards, most staff area is content marketing followed by project management.
Content marketing is also a big staff focus for average respondents second only to content development I think in a lot of ways everyone's kind of gotten the message that content and having a great engine within your organization to develop quality content really makes everything else you're doing from a digital marketing perspective. Easier and more effective. And so I think we've seen that reflected in the amount of staff investment going into that.
Now, of course, not everything that gets done gets done by internal staff and there's a lot of work from partners with kinda labeled this outsourcing, but it's really, you know, there's external partners that you're working with. Outsourcing trends have held relatively steady from past years. We see the most outsourcing occurring in areas like web hosting in web development, digital advertising, web design, and business listing management.
Um, leaders are particularly excelling or particularly outsourcing, I should say, in areas like CRM, mobile app development, analytics.
So again, that the areas where they're outsourcing in most areas where there may be outsourcing more than everyone else.
We also looked, to get a sense of the general trend, right? We see these numbers every year about which areas organizations are doing their Outsourcing in which areas are keeping more in House.
But we did get a good picture out of that, about whether outsourcing was expanding or if organizations were pulling things in and doing more things in House, again, as a general trend. And I think the answer we get is a general trend is, it's really mix.
Most organizations are maintaining more or less the balance of internal staffing and outsourcing that they've had in the past, um, in the organizations that are shifting, again at the overall level, pretty balanced between those that are doing more work in-house and doing more outsourcing.
Within the different groups, though, there's a little bit of bias one way or another. In the case of laggards, a lot of bias. For leaders, an average little more biased towards doing more work in house. Although we certainly have a group that are doing more outsourcing to partners.
The laggards, the organizations that are falling behind, really are leaning heavily on those outsource partners in order to help them execute. And hopefully I think help them catch up with some of their counterparts in the aperture.
We also looked this year at what are the big areas of investment from a staffing perspective. And we've asked this different ways the last couple of years. I'm like the way that we did it this year, although it's a little bit different than than what we've done in the past.
We asked, essentially, if you're able to add staff in the coming year, what are your top three priority areas for adding that staff? And so, we kept the differentiation of the first, second, and third. There are a couple of items here that I think it tells a bit of a story to see which things got a number one priority vote versus 2 or 3. We didn't do any weighting. So this is just the straight percentage Eric Street layout here from a numbers perspective.
But as you look down the list, you see things like, no, web design is pretty low on that list.
But the people who need web design, that is top of their list, right? So as we think about the hot jobs in healthcare, digital marketing, for the coming year, Certainly content development, digital advertising, online reputation management, we're all, you know, pretty good, but digital strategy runs away with it, and by a huge margin, not what we expected. But I think it's great to see that focused on digital strategy. And again, it's an area that I think we've seen leaders really excelling in, and this did come from a combination of all the cohort. So leaders are continuing to double down here.
Everyone else is looking at this as a way to continue to accelerate what they're doing from a digital perspective.
There's also a question.
And we only asked this question of the agency vendor consulting side of the result set, and we asked them, What are the areas where you're for each of these functional areas again? Where are your clients?
Investing insufficiently?
Where are they investing adequately? Where are they over investing these things? Maybe not surprisingly, nothing made it into the over investment category. They didn't feel like their clients are spending too much in any area.
You know, agency consultants. I live in that side of the world.
Again, take it with a grain of salt.
But I think it is interesting where they felt that health systems were under investing by the most.
And their top vote getters were personalization, user experience, video production, and digital strategy. So, those are themes that we've seen come up. I think again and again and again already as sort of top areas, areas where there's been more investment area, where there is expected to be more investment. And certainly I think agencies concur that those are priority areas to be doing more investment in the future. I will weigh down at the bottom, web development did breakeven. So, they got an adequate investment score. So kudos for that.
Let's move on to talk dollars, and we look at this from a number of different perspectives, and this is based a lot on feedback that we got from our advisory board.
You know, sometimes coming up with just a number is challenging, although it's it's something that everybody wants. So we still do that.
But we are showing today how overall marketing budget and digital marketing budgets are expected to change in the coming year.
Um, but that seemed kind of insufficient for this year. We had this huge budget cliff in 20 20, just knowing that budgets went up this year from last year doesn't really tell us a lot.
So we also asked a question about how those budgets, both your overall marketing budget and your digital marketing budget, compared to things pre pandemic.
Then we've been watching for years, the shift from traditional to Digital, and we've seen indications of that in a variety of ways.
We're curious if that's sped up during the pandemic, slowed, down during the course of the pandemic. Kind of what's happening there, as well. This is only a slice of the data from budgets and kinda the numbers side of the game.
There is more data that will be in the e-book when that becomes a fail.
So, let's start off by looking at how budgets changed from last year.
And, again, last year was an odd one, those 2020 budget saw the single largest cuts that we've seen, you know, over the 15 years that we've run this survey.
So it's no surprise that we're seeing a lot of increases in overall marketing budgets and digital marketing budgets coming into Twitter and you're coming in looking forward in 20 21.
Laggards where the group that took the biggest hit last year they were most likely to be seen cuts leaders were least likely to be seeing cuts. And so we now see the flip side of that where laggards are most likely to be getting an increase in budget leaders.
Maybe most likely to be reading the same but they were the most likely to hold on to all that budget through the pandemic as well.
Looking at digital marketing. Very similar picture and, again, big growth, I think, across the board here in terms of budgets from the past now.
That growth is really exciting to see. It's exciting to see so many of these things rebounding.
I will say that particular for the, particularly for the digital marketing budgets, seeing 4%, Seeing a decrease, would still be in a typical year, a relatively large percentage for organizations that are seeing a digital marketing budget cut.
So, well, I'm not saying that this is necessarily another sign of doom but it's interesting that we're still seeing that many organizations post pandemic looking to make cuts in additional marketing spend.
So next we compare this to what was happening pre pandemic.
Alright, and again, we've got overall marketing budget on the top.
We've got the digital marketing budget on the bottom.
And the result, again, kind of runs the gamut.
We have on the overall marketing budget, a little bit of a preference towards budgets being higher than before the pandemic, but really it's it's 24% higher to the 20% that are going to be lower. So a little a little bit on the growth side. But not maybe as much as we had expected to see.
although again a little more than half of the budgets sort of getting back to or remaining where they were pre pandemic digital marketing budgets varying a little bit better, a little more than 2 to 1 in terms of the numbers that are seeing higher digital marketing budget post pandemic than they saw, pre pandemic 30% versus a little less than 14 percent there.
So we are seeing those digital marketing budgets rebound and a little bit more robust.
Again, as we saw before, laggards who have traditionally had smaller budgets by sort of every single way that we've looked at this. Whether it's overall budgets or budget relative size, things like that. They're more likely to be seeing a higher post pandemic budget, both an overall marketing and digital.
Then some of the other groups are.
But, again, they've they've had smaller budgets to begin with and hopefully that means that they've, they've they've earned the right to have a little bit more. That's a trend that will continue.
We also have looked quite a bit at how the spend has shifted from traditional budgets to digital budgets, and again, we see this, we see signs of this every year. This is the first time we've asked this question, in quite this way.
In the past, we've looked at church like what we saw before.
And we said, Well, you know, the overall marketing budget is holding steady, but the digital marketing budgets growing, or the overall marketing budgets shrinking, but the digital marketing marketing budget, is holding steady. And that's better indication to say, OK, we're seeing the investment continue to shift from digital or from traditional to digital.
This year we kind of said, OK, is it faster or slower than we've seen in the past?
And the answer is that by a pretty wide margin, the pandemic has sped up the shift of spending from traditional media to digital.
The need to have that agility to be able to change gears quickly, to be able to put messages out there. Very quickly without scheduling anything.
It's it really, I think the the pros and the benefits of many of the digital media areas really play themselves out over the course of the pandemic. Can. We saw, we're seeing, again, a big, big shift towards faster transition, to digital spend, and, again, particularly amongst groups that are a little bit behind the ball, maybe not been spending as aggressively as a lot of their peers have interns.
Let's flip next to digital front door, and this is really a bit of a shift in the way that we look at digital capabilities, and features, and functions.
We sort of have a lot of things. Where we were just kind of asking specifically about web features. We broaden that out a little bit with a lot of organizations, focusing more on digital front door to look at a wide range of capabilities that really fit it under that digital front door umbrella.
And here we look at these a couple of different ways.
So first, we ask, what's the relative importance of all these things? How important is this to your digital plans in the future?
We ask, What are your capabilities in this area today? And of course, we'll look quite a bit at the gaps between important to capability to kind of see where we have work to do.
There's a lot of data here. So we're only giving you kind of a slight piece of it. There's there's a lot more within the epoch that will come in a couple weeks.
Couple areas that we wanted to make sure to talk about though, and kind of explore a little bit with, with the group, at first, I will point to the virtual care item on the left, just right off the bat.
It is a huge testament to the progress made during the pandemic, that the average capability score for virtual care and telehealth was so high.
And, in fact, higher than the stated importance, which is something that that doesn't happen in a lot of these areas right now.
So, we saw that huge surge of capability, huge investment.
You know, anecdotally, I know that we had organizations that were working with it, you know, had five year plans for telehealth that were eclipsed within a couple of weeks during the pandemic. And so, we've really You know, I think it shows the potential to do things quickly to make change quickly when we can get all the stars aligned. I hope we don't lose all of that as we move into more of a business, as usual, kind of operating mode in the future.
But also say that if we do asked this question, if we collected this data maybe six months or eight months earlier, I suspect the importance on the virtual care and telehealth item would have been much higher as well. I think it's come down a little bit. As we've re-open the door in person care has become available again.
Aside from that virtual care item, Care Access, this is obviously a huge pillar of digital front door. And this includes things like appointment scheduling for new patients to current patients.
Yeah, queuing for urgent care can call head, seeding sort of thing.
Um, these are all items that rate relatively highly in terms of priority.
And while appointed essentially for current patients has close that gap between performance and capabilities quite a bit, appointment scheduling for new patients and some of these other items, we've still got a lot of work to do in terms of some of the digital care access opportunities that are out there.
Now, we did dig into Telehealth a little bit further and we asked a couple more questions here.
And, and again, the expansion of these capabilities has been really astounding but we wanted to try that, quantify that a little bit, understand where organizations had been or understand where they are now and just sort of see how some of those things mapped up together.
Prior to the pandemic, 41% of responder organizations had some level of telehealth capabilities.
But only 6% characterize those capabilities as quote unquote robust. But it's only 6% of respondents had really robust, you know, virtual care capabilities. And most organizations, you know, maybe we're piloting it, things like that. A lot of them have little or nothing.
3 and five really.
No capabilities all to speak of untrusting that to post pandemic only 1% of responding organizations have little or no virtual care capabilities.
That is absolutely astounding for an industry that often is is classified for how slow and, you know, slow to adopt new things.
That we can move that fast over the course of such a short period of time.
96% expanded virtual care programs with over half indicating that they did so with a high degree of provider adoption.
Granted, it was, it wasn't necessary, right? It was, it was absolutely absolutely necessary for a lot of these organizations to survive. But, I still think it's astounding to just see the numbers and understand how far we've come.
We also matrix this up and again, I'll point out the number of organizations that had robust virtual capabilities prior to the pandemic is really small. So, as we as we cross these up and you look at those numbers and you think they're a little weird, it's a very small.
But, I think it's it's kind of interesting for us to see the organizations that have at least basic virtual care capabilities going into the pandemic did fare much better in terms of rolling out capabilities during the pandemic and gaining a high degree of product provider adoption.
Having your feet wet, having some foundation, maybe having people who had responsibility and understood the ins and outs of this functional area before all of this happened, absolutely help those organizations to execute over the course of the pandemic.
The other area that we wanted to talk about from a digital front door perspective was what we've got are bundled here is conversion or assessment or triage really self-service capabilities.
Self-service capabilities are one of the pillars of that digital front door experience.
one of the things that almost every organization is going down that Growed is looking for as as a goal of what they want to accomplish there.
Some of these high risk priority items, right?
Bill payment, patient forums, event registration are things that have been mainstays of the health care web experience for a long time. And so we see that the capabilities are pretty well in line. Maybe even a little bit higher than the stated importance of these items.
There are a couple of things that maybe haven't been as well adopted before, and I think we still have some work to do.
Health assessments, the ability for people to sort of see how they're, how they're doing.
We think of these sometimes as soft conversions, when it's just too much to ask for someone to click a Facebook ad, then you are asked to meet with, with the surgeon of some sort, like that's a big chunk, doing something that maybe can take them on a journey. Things like that. Those are a great role for health assessments to play.
I think we've got a lot of work to do there.
Online care navigation, like, really taking people's hands and helping them to find what the care, methods and approaches that are most appropriate for them as that mix of in person urgent care, telehealth, you know, all these different things gets gets bigger and more complicated.
Again, I think a huge opportunity for organizations to provide some self-service capabilities and improve care access for the consumers.
All right.
Again, there's more digital front door coming in the e-book. Uh, you know, if you, if you're excited about that data, that there's, there's a bunch of other areas we explore there.
one area where we did a particular deep dive, though, that we talk about a little bit within digital front door is personalization.
So, we did a deep dive on that, and we wanted to share some of that information with you today as well.
So, one of the things that we've watched over the last couple of years is how, or what methods organizations and individuals are using to personalize, particularly that the web experience.
It's, you know, web personalization is seeing more usage every year in healthcare.
It's been kind of a slow growth kind of thing, but we're seeing real progress there, um, and let you know, the last two years. Geography was far and away the most often used method of personalization, right. Targeting things to you based on where you are physically where. G geographically or some point that you picked it's the center of your health care, you.
This year, we saw that get eclipsed by a little bit here, by traffic source or campaign. So a lot of this is people using different campaigns, sending people to a landing page and adapting that landing page to match, say the messaging and creative.
For that particular ad, someone clicked on that particular message that somebody clicked on, the number of things that kind of fall into, into the applications for that.
But an area of this thing that's seen really big growth here in the last couple of years, we're also seeing much more aggressive use of user provided the preferences. So, basically, you know, I am a patient, or I am interested in these subject areas, things of that nature.
Then, of course, user behaviors, where watch someone interact with the site, and then, based on the things that they do on the site, start to modify the experience on that site, and based on, on those, those elements of engagement.
Another area that we've asked about over the last several years has been, if respondents feel that their organization can demonstrate that website personalization has improved the performance of their digital market.
This really is an indication of value that respondent see in website personalization. And we have seen that improve year after year. I will say a couple of years ago, the first time we asked this question.
There were a lot of people that seemed downright angry about what they were getting out of website. Personalization, this seems to be a journey.
It seems to take some time, and it seems like it does take some investment over a period of time before organizations really feel like they're getting the value out of some of these tools that they've, that they've invested.
This year, more than half of survey respondents agree, right, Either agree or strongly agree that they can demonstrate that value.
Still not a home run. You know, It's not like we're seeing 50% strongly agree, but that 45% agree is a huge step forward in terms of the kinds of numbers are seeing here, But a third are neutral here. Most importantly, I think we don't see, any strongly disagrees, Personalization, share. And again, that's something that a couple of years ago in particular, we were shocked at the number of organizations that felt like they strongly disagreed.
Personalization was improving digital marketing.
So, we're coming around, it's taking time.
And I think it's an indication, again, this is not easy.
It's not just to flip the switch. There is some organizational learning. It's different from organization to organization and population population. But, there is value if you stick with it and learn.
We also asked a bit about what the barriers were to personalization.
Um, challenges in executing on web personalization and delivering value has been one of those things that I've just been very curious about over time and this year, the most cited barrier to personalization is that that folks feel like they need an easier way, right? Even when you bring the tools in, those tools are not simple. There's a lot of complexity there.
Oftentimes, it just requires a lot to execute on, those things, to manage personalization campaigns, things of that nature, so again, adoption continues to grow, but it's not always easy to, to make these things really pay off for organizations, despite the flashy product demos that can be difficult to co-ordinate these things. We're also seeing some indication that it's hard to measure success on somebody's personalization measures. And that just didn't know. It takes time to gain the expertise needed to really make these tools shine.
Let's now move on to Colt. What is important?
How do we measure it and what are the speed bumps that are preventing us from reaching our potential in terms of digital?
So let's start here with importance, and, again, reflecting a little bit to what we saw last year.
We had pandemic closures and re openings.
And through that process, we saw the importance of patient acquisition gell from kind of a top third item to number one and number one by a really large margin.
This year, we've seen that patient acquisition maybe rollback a little bit closer to where it has been, traditionally.
And we've seen consumer experienced consumer engagement and patient satisfaction, hop to the top of the list, And I want to note here that it's not just that they've, they've hit the top of the list, because patient acquisition has come down, the scores, the important scores, for, particularly for consumer engagement, patient, engage, I'm sorry, consumer experience.
Consumer engagement, and patient satisfaction, have gone up by quite a bit. The raw scores here really increase. There seems to be something happening here where we're, that is clearly more important than it's been in the past, not just other things becoming less important.
We've also returned a bit to that very clear delineation that we've seen in the past.
But the most important things are stuff all related to patients and consumers.
The financial metrics are clearly in that next bucket, and then all of the other audiences, employees, and physicians, and donors are all in that bottom group.
I will say, though, that the the line between the patient and consumer goals of the financial goals has tightened up quite a bit.
So that the difference in importance there, we used to see a nice stepped down, disregarded the things like Roy.
They're pretty close here still. This year. So, a little bit different patterns than we've seen in the past.
We also share added in digital transformation. Again, lots of buzz out there is part of lots of executive conversations. It actually reading quite a bit lower on this overall list than we anticipated that. And we're a little bit torn about why, exactly that. It could be something that's getting a lot of conversation in the C suite.
But for the people that are kinda, know, in the trenches on this stuff day-to-day who are responding to the survey, it maybe hasn't made it down to them in quite the same way.
I could also be: the digital transformation is an initiative, but the goals of that are: things, like consumer experience, and patient satisfaction, and things like that, So, so, it's presenting.
The goals are being presented in the increased importance, But maybe digital transformation as a goal unto itself is, is a little bit on. It's not quite sure how, how to interpret that one yet.
But that's, that is where it fell, right smack in the middle.
We take that same list and we ask, OK.
how well are you able to demonstrate the digital marketing is back skull today?
And of course, there's going to be a gap here, the cap as much of the important part.
Lots of these do align with the important scores.
There are a couple of exceptions, we'll talk about them here in a SEC.
Um, respondents do have the greatest clarity on consumer and patient goals. The least clarity and areas of population health, physician engagement, fund raising, and community relations.
So let's look at those gaps.
Yet, some of these things or have really moved from past years, last year, we had this.
This odd one more ROI really took a jump and, you know, the gap was was strongly closed between um, the importance and the ability to demonstrate around roi is stepping back a little bit we're seeing a little bit more of that gap.
I think this is more where we expect it to be.
Last year we had we had the roi the ability to demonstrate ROI much higher than the ability to demonstrate revenue or profitability, which which led us to scratch our head just a little bit, but it's kind of return to that, that grouping there, The thing that's really different this year is in most years passed and again, with Roy being the exception last year, the financial goals have been the ones that breaks gap in the past.
This year, the greatest gaps are in patient satisfaction and consumer experience, and then the financial metrics kind of fallen there, along with physician, Gage became an expert.
But, the patient satisfaction consumer experience, we're seeing this, this pattern here. There's something here.
We've seen that importance jump up quite a bit.
We see a big gap here now between that importance and our ability to demonstrate impact.
And so we really anticipate that this is a sign that there's going to be greater focus on patient satisfaction, consumer experience, as goals, as focus areas going forward.
Um, when we look at some of the other trends that are happening in health care more generally, write greater competition, lower levels of patient loyalty, More service splitting for patients, things like that.
It makes sense that these are areas of focus in order to counter some of those trends or respond to some of those trends.
Honestly, they really weren't aligned with a lot of the principles of digital front door, that many health systems are undertaking today as well.
We also ask about the barriers to digital marketing success, And we could have put this out as number.
I often find that it's really interesting to see, kind of what the grouping is, where organizations actually scored these things.
But, uh, the top area that organizations cited as a barrier to the additional marketing success was the inability to support online transactions with offline operations.
Um, we saw that kinda jump up a little bit last year in pastures before.
This was really only an item that we saw noted in that meter.
Organizations that we're getting into more things that touched operations, that that had intersections with the rest of the organization, that just, you know, required co-operation from a lot of other parts of the organization to execute.
This year, we're really seeing pretty significant levels of frustration on this front, across the board.
And so, you know, this is a big area that organizations need to focus on. Leaners.
actually, we're seeing a little bit more progress here, that everyone else on the inability to measure effectiveness or roi kind of fill ended up pretty strong number two, but, but that inability to support online transactions by offline operations really was at the top of that list.
Now, we dug and again this year into an area that we've asked about a bit in past years as well. What are our barriers to tracking our why?
And we, we only asked this of organizations respondents to the survey that indicated they're having some challenges here. So some of these groupings had some pretty small ends, the leader group, in particular. So I think it's interesting. I don't want us to draw too strong of conclusion from any particular number that appears here.
Um, and as we dig a little deeper into this, we, despite the ongoing implementation of more CRM platforms, more different pieces of the marketing technology stack that are supposed to help us get to some of these answers, the top item here continues to be a lack of tools or infrastructures for tracking.
And that's been the case for the last couple of years. A lack of expertise is snuck up a little bit here. Again, it could be the individual organizations involved a little bit here as well.
I think that, as we saw last year, the most interesting one to me, was that the no fault, no, formal justification required, Right.
This is essentially saying, hey, we don't track ROI, because no one's asking us to justify our investments in this kind of financial needs, which, which I think is fascinating.
Um, also interesting. I think this year, again, hard to draw any conclusions, but none of our leaders indicated that that was one of the things getting in that way.
So, we may be seeing that as as groups are doing more of this, that it's becoming an expectation amongst those leader groups that they can deliver on some roi numbers for the efforts that they're investing in.
Our, our last item that we wanted to get into here was a whole new question for us really looking at how important are different marketing channels?
And, uh, these are scored from a zero to a three, that's kind of our range here.
And you know, we've, we've listed this out just sort of an overall importance for the most part.
The chub channels aren't any surprise right, your website, search, both organic and paid, Facebook organic, and paid.
I think maybe content marketing as the number three most important item is a bit more surprising, but probably represents just a value that's being seen by a lot of health care organizations that have been investing in that strategy here over the last couple of years.
Um, we were really curious about uptake of newer channels, like Tick tock and Snapchat. I'm not sure if we can think of those as newer channels, but there's certainly newer than Facebook and Twitter is the world. They really fell to the bottom of the list.
Um, some other things, that we were: Just curious if we were finding out into the mix for organizations, hyper local, social media platforms, like next door.
Pretty low. On the list, medically focused channels, like Sumo and ..., pretty low on the list.
We also sort of pulled some of this data out, and it's the same data.
Just kinda cut out some of the, the, some of the data points, some of the items, and some groups, some like things together.
Really looking at search and social here.
Um, in trying to answer the question, to what extent is that world becoming pay to play?
Great, do we feel like organic is still, is valuable, more valuable than the paid options?
To what extent is the pay to play mentality, kicking in, where, where we feel like maybe that paid is a requirement, or maybe more valuable, more important, than the organic use of plastics.
And what we found here, is that, really, across all of these channels, organic use of the channel is still considered more important by respondents than paid advertising.
Although there are places where that gap is, we're really starting to disappear. It's getting very small. And that's particularly true in some key channels, like Facebook Search and YouTube.
I think Facebook in has done maybe the best job of adding value in both of those channels. Really good job of adding value to those. Also good job as of gradually tightening the organic spigot so that the ad side of the equation has greater relative value.
that we're we're seeing that gap close quite a bit within within a couple of these channels. And and that's particularly true amongst digital leaders.
Organizations that are more aggressive, are more in on the paid side, serve as a channel, never kept.
Um, there are some other social platforms that are failing to have as strong an impact there, right? LinkedIn, Twitter, right?
Still fairly important from an organic perspective. But that gap between the organic and paid side of things like LinkedIn is much, much broader.
It's within our audience than what we're seeing with search and Facebook and YouTube.
Um, then, you know that the Snapchat and tic tacs the world are still prefer nonetheless but it's interesting to see how things are progressing there as well.
All right.
Again, we've covered a ton of ground, um, loving, you know, having spent so much time in the data here over the last couple of weeks.
The book is a couple of weeks out.
There is a lot more within the book that we were than we were able to cover today in our presentation.
But with that, we do have some time for some questions.
We do. we do have time and that was great. It's re-assuring to me that even in the midst of covered when things were so challenging that we as an industry still made progress. So that's that's great news for all of us. So let's say let's get started with some questions.
Let's see, came in the wrong place here, They were with me. Can you, can you talk about digital strategy?
Digital strategy was listed in the, where we're doing well, That's one of the categories. Can you sort of describe what that entails? And how the focus on it has changed over time?
You know, I think, again, I've, I've been in this business for more than 20 years in the, in the digital side of things, there was a long time where I think we largely understood the things that we were trying to execute on, Or even when there was maybe need for more strategy, Honestly, folks wanted to really invest in implementing or executing on things that they were seeing other places.
And there were some pretty strong models to follow, and in a lot of cases, to be fair, like we could, you can get away with just executing on a plan without spending a lot on strategy development.
I think, as we're sort of getting to a place where we're cutting new trails, right, as we're looking to do more interactively with consumers like Fastly change, the experience for them from a digital perspective, as we're here as the tech stack. And the number of tools and options.
And things we have available to us, is, is vastly expanded as we're, you know, really looking to change the pace of advancement within the digital realm. The need to invest in sort of looking around at what's out there.
Understanding what the competitive landscape is looking like, looking at how consumer expectations are changing and developing a multi-pronged strategy for working with an engaging consumers and has just become much more important than it ever was.
I don't think anyone, particularly in kind of a leader category, understands from where they are today.
Like, what the next 3 to 5 years are gonna look like, without really investing in, you know, taking some time to, to plan for that.
It's not just something that they see in 10 other places, slow moving, slow, evolving. We can, you know, take that.
Things we'd like in a bunch of other places and just slap them together, like B That's not going to get us where we want to go in this next stage.
We're just seeing organizations really looking at it, taking some time, investing from a staff perspective, from a consulting perspective, in building out those roadmaps for where they want to go here over the next couple of years.
and then part two of that question, there was another question about TV people. The staff that would need would be needed in. Digital strategy came up, again, as the number one area, where people needed help. So what are the qualifications of the digital strategy person that you would want to hire?
Yeah, I think it's gonna depend a little bit on where you're at, but I think, you know, people who can put together a process by which they can evaluate those things.
Ideally, people who maybe have some, some background and some foundation so they understand what the things are that I'm looking at, an echo you these things, completely combs is very useful.
Honestly, there's a certain element to this, which is just, can, can the, the partner that you're working with or the people that you're hiring, sort of think strategically about these things.
Many of, you know, many folks in the space have been functioning in a very kind of tactical and execution mode, because that's, that's where we've needed them to be for a long time.
Just taking a step back and being able to put together a strategy that looks at how the pieces fit together.
Or, you know, we see these challenges.
We want, you know, these things to happen.
This is the stuff we're going to need to do in order to execute that, and put together those kinds of plans, are really important, And so some of those people are coming out of strategy, some of those people are just sort of veteran digital people.
You know, we're seeing a wide range of different backgrounds of people kind of leading some of those initiatives, but it does take some time and some effort.
Particularly as you're doing data gathering and you're kind of working through assessing a number of different things that need to happen there.
We tend to do a lot of staffing in our staffing assessment.
Competitive analyzes, you know, like, we have a process that we, we use when doing so when I work with clients.
And it hits a lot of different elements of what's out there, understanding different tech stack, all kinds of stuff, OK?
Next question. Why does nailing your content make everything else easier? That was one of the things you said. Why does your company have your content together than everything else is easier?
Sure, And to be fair, this is a drum I've been beating for a number of years, much, you know, often driven by data that I'm seeing coming out of the server.
Um, so many of these more, yeah, new, shiny objects, if you will, within, within that digital marketing community.
Things like personalization and things like marketing automation.
Like, they require a constant beating of content to order gorilla.
And so, if you've already got the engine that is putting great content out there, actionable content, out there, engaging content out there, and they can then also steer to adapt to the needs of some of the different channels you're working with.
When you start to get into no more digital campaign Oracle here, you know, drip campaigns, you know.
Brand journalism, Like, I mean, there's a bunch of these different things that I think have just seen great success within Healthcare. They all require a lot of content to make them happen.
And so, yeah, organizations that can't develop that content, don't already have that kept capacity available to them, either with internal people or through partners, I think really struggle to get the full backups.
Excellent. But, we're right at the top of the hour, so we're going to have to close it off now. So, thank you, Ben, for a great presentation, and thank you Gina ...
for co-sponsoring it with us, and thank you to all who participated in the Q&A.
And just a reminder that we will send out a PDF of the presentation slides immediately following the webinar, And you'll receive a link to access the recording as soon as it's been processed and is available for viewing.
Also, everyone who registered for today's webinar will receive an e-mail with the PDF of the full survey report with even more wonderful data in the coming weeks. And if you're planning to attend HCI, see this year, be sure to join us for the E Healthcare Leadership Awards.
It's a Gala Luncheon on November fourth and Ben will be with us, as it were in the presenters with .... So, we'd like to thank you for attending today's webinar, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your day.