Content Marketing in Healthcare: Reaching an 80-Year-Old Patient Population

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Integrated Marketing Forum focused on using content to fuel marketing and drive business. Two things caught my attention and motivated me to attend; the amazing list of speakers and a talk focused on healthcare content marketing. I have to admit I don’t often see a healthcare company presenting at a marketing conference and was interested to see what I could learn and share with the larger healthcare marketing community.

Tricia Todd from Edwards Lifesciences presented Marketing a Medical Breakthrough: Finding a Way in a Restricted Environment. With the introduction of transcatheter heart valves Edwards Lifesciences faced a challenge. They needed to create a communication and education plan that resonated with an 80-year-old patient population and a complex group of healthcare professionals, while working within the FDA guidelines. With time and careful planning they were able to accomplish both goals.

10 Things I Learned from the Edwards Lifesciences Journey 

  1. Go for substance not sizzle
    • Be the subject matter expert, meet the patient’s educational needs during their time of crisis
  2. Know the persona of your patient population
    • This isn’t simply demographic data, truly define who they are so you understand their needs and how best to engage them
  3. Speak their language
    • This is critical in driving patient awareness and understanding of a new treatment option
    • Understanding the persona of your patient population makes speaking their language so much easier, see #2
  4. Define all of the customers involved so messaging can be targeted
    • Patients, family, caregivers
    • Referring physicians
    • Implanting physicians
  5. Use the appropriate language for each customer group
    • The B2C (patient) and the B2B (healthcare professionals) messaging must be adjusted to fit the customer, see #4
  6. Talk directly to the patients
    • Include videos of real patients sharing their experiences
  7. Tailor the content and media to the audience
    • For the patients, use a format that is easier to understand, low density, more visuals, no hyperlinks, easy scrolling
    • Edwards went with a simple website seniors could easily navigate
  8. Identify and address significant patient issues such as how to find a local physician that offered this new procedure
    • Edwards included a hospital and medical staff locator in the website, utilizing zip codes to find nearby facilities
  9. Provided appropriate support tools
    • ‘What to Expect’ section describing the treatment process
    • Discussion guide patients could take with them to doctor visits
  10. Measure success of the overall website, the different sections and tools
    • Refine and change as learnings grow

The end result, is an excellent example of content marketing in the healthcare setting. Kudos to Edwards Lifesciences for pushing the boundaries and delivering best in class content.