August 7, 2023

The power of representation in healthcare marketing: Connecting through diverse communications

Effective marketing goes beyond promoting products and services. Customers demand connections with brands on a deeper level with customized, tailored messaging that makes them think ‘this brand is for ME’.

In today’s multicultural society, representation in healthcare marketing is critical to establishing meaningful connections and, ultimately, driving tangible business results. The inclusion of diverse communities must extend across platforms for several reasons:

  • Connecting authentically with the target audience: Healthcare marketing should mirror the diversity of the population it serves. Patient and HCP demographics are not monolithic. They come from various ethnic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Tailoring communications to represent these diverse groups ensures that healthcare organizations are reaching their target audiences effectively.
  • Strengthening trust and credibility: Representation helps build trust between healthcare brands and the providers or patients they want to connect with. When individuals see themselves reflected in marketing messages, they feel understood and validated. In turn, that makes these targets more likely to engage because their needs and experiences are acknowledged.
  • Springboarding growth for the common good: By directly addressing appropriate representation, we can allude to or increase awareness of healthcare disparities that may exist in our communities. This simple act of inclusion demonstrates the commitment to eliminating gaps in care and working towards equitable healthcare access and outcomes.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to assume that every brand has the resources to develop hundreds of personalized messages that include everyone in their target audience. At Schaefer, we frequently help clients deploy effective strategies to strike the balance between limited resources and representative communications. Those strategies include:

  • Start with language accessibility: Consider the preferred or native languages of your target audience. Let that guide your message, and even your platform. Move beyond direct translation of materials, and into transcreation, delivering a culturally relevant message that truly speaks your audience’s language.
  • Consider overall patient health literacy: Effective communications always begin with tailoring a message to meet audiences where they are. In the case of health literacy, understand the overall level of patient comprehension and ensure your materials are built appropriately. Break down complex medical procedures or MOAs into simple, digestible components. Use analogies to explain procedures or complex ideas in a clear, relatable way.
  • Harness the power of data: Leverage your existing customer data or turn to partners to help identify audience behaviors and preferences. Leverage the power of marketing automations, chatbots and other data services to create more customization at scale.
  • Leverage visual representation: Imagery will continue to be one of the strongest drivers of emotion and connection. Expand diversity in your imagery beyond just ethnicity to include age, body makeup, ability and more. Explore the flexibility that illustration can provide in delivering representation at scale.
  • Gather insight from your patient/HCP base and community organizations: Actively listen to the patients, HCPs or communities you’re targeting, so that you can better understand their needs, challenges and motivations. Learn what they really want from your brand and apply those learnings to create tailored messages that allow you to build more meaningful relationships.
  • Utilize testimonials and existing customer stories: Let your customers tell their own stories and share their direct experiences with your brand. Their stories are one of the strongest ways to humanize your brand and create relatability with a broader audience.

Representation in healthcare marketing is not just about meeting diversity quotas. It is about recognizing, celebrating and respecting the unique qualities of your diverse target audience, and intentionally deploying a messaging strategy that meets them where they are. By embracing representation and diversifying communications, healthcare brands can establish valuable connections, build trust, and ultimately provide more personalized and inclusive care.

At Schaefer Advertising, we understand the significance of representation in healthcare marketing. Our human-first approach focuses on diversifying communications to connect with your audiences more effectively. Through data-driven insights we can help your brand deploy inclusive strategies that deliver on your organizational goals. Contact us today to learn more about our patient-centered solutions and how we can assist you in creating impactful healthcare marketing campaigns.