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Improving Patient Care Through Integrated Marketing Automation

By 11.08.18
Reading time: 4 minutes

It has been an exciting couple of months.

I attended my first Dreamforce. It was an incredible experience to see all the innovation being driven in the Healthcare Industry. Following the conference, my colleague, John Turner, published an overview of the Dreamforce Marketing Keynote on the Silverline blog. The overarching theme of the keynote was the empowerment of consumers and how they are dealing with having more choices than ever before.

Following that, I was able to attend the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development. I was impressed with the creativity that hospitals are using to better engage their patients. Though, there also seems to be a good deal of traditional marketing initiatives in play that are still driving success. Most surprising to me was that I did not see a great deal of marketing automation applied to help address common challenges in Healthcare. There are a wide variety of tools out there, including, of course, Pardot and Marketing Cloud, that provide a robust automation platform for Healthcare companies today.

Marketing in Healthcare Today

The ultimate goal of a marketer is to target an audience and engage with them across every step in the consumer (patient/member) lifecycle. Successful marketing automation is about laying out an entire customer journey, from initial brand awareness to becoming a brand evangelist or advocate.

As I stated in a recent article, there are two constants in Healthcare today—the pressure and pace of change are accelerating, and all industry dynamics are trending towards providing the consumer with an optimized experience dealing with the overall health system. Having a robust marketing automation approach is critical to addressing these challenges in today’s environment.

Historically, healthcare marketing professionals have been somewhat reactive to patient needs and have been very heavily dependent on an agency approach to marketing. In order to become more proactive and enhance the way they communicate with patients, marketers need access to and control over marketing automation tools and data to establish and deepen relationships with their patients and members. Consideration needs to be given to a strategy that includes a mix of self-service and supported-service capability. Healthcare companies need to have flexibility within data sources and algorithms to target their appropriate consumers.

My observation is that the Healthcare ecosystem is actually moving away from the mindset to simply fill the top of the funnel with as many new potential patients and contacts with caregivers as possible. While this is still a requirement, it is just as crucial for organizations to get better at managing and growing relationships at every phase of the patient journey. Providers must engage with consumers in the marketplace to introduce them to their services of course, but it is of growing importance that they offer support throughout the entire diagnostic and treatment process.

A robust CRM system that includes important health data, tied with marketing automation and tracking, can give you the overall view of your patient that is crucial in knowing how to interact with them at each step in their journey. It can also provide tailored solutions to enable your institution’s specific needs.

Today’s Marketer in Healthcare Needs Four Key Skills and Toolsets for Success

With the pace of change and increased choice patients have today, Healthcare marketers need to ensure they have the following capabilities:

Audience insight and segmentation.

This requires you to understand who your audience is, how to dynamically segment them, which of their behaviors you need to better understand, what key data is necessary to integrate and analyze.

Real-time listening and responding.

Social listening with the integrated multi-channel management of the information.

Automation and orchestration.

Understanding and documentation of customer journeys and having the capability of creating and adding dynamic content

Analytics and optimization.

Focus on reporting, data-driven content and channel decisions, and predictive intelligence for decisions

Best Practice for Marketing Automation

So now you have all the skills you need, what do you do now?

While all clients are unique and clients often have high-priority journeys that are driven by internal needs such as regulatory compliance or external needs such as market demand, Silverline typically recommends a high-level approach that focuses on journey development across two key phases:

  • Data capture, patient follow-up/compliance, and persistency journeys
  • New patient/new procedure outreach

These phases typically address several critical areas of core functionality. A successful patient/consumer journey benefits from capabilities like Onboarding, Ongoing Support, and Internal Cost Reductions and Channel Management.


Welcoming a new consumer is a central part of creating a positive experience. Marketing automation can help do a better job of making sure the first set of digital experiences that a new consumer has with your organization is positive. A successful journey that starts with onboarding can be beneficial to the overall relationship when you are required to gather information for licensing and appointment processes, mass-onboarding for adding distribution companies, online registrations, or capturing key health and insurance information to ensure seamless and continuous service.

Ongoing Support

To ensure you’re extending your services and capabilities, you need to continuously engage with consumers. Ensure that you are leveraging what you know about past interactions to make sure that the next thing that you offer is well targeted to their needs. This can include follow up content, educational content, milestone communications, schedule reminders, product alerts, electronic bill delivery, and payment information.

Internal Cost Reductions and Channel Management

In today’s environment, you can increase overall internal efficiency and reduce cost by shifting away from traditional print materials and incorporating more digital interactions and information. Customize consumer communication channels based on their preferences to allow content to be delivered via mail, email, text, in-app push, or social. Enable engagement to be redirected from direct mail content to a portal, email, or in an app for cost reductions.

Marketing Automation Success Factors

Move away from a reactive marketing approach and position your organization to participate in an automated, proactive, and data-driven world. Modern marketing requires you to think differently about data. Unleash the power of automation with a focus on personalization and responsiveness. It is increasingly important for Marketing teams to create a seamless patient experience across all channels of engagement.

All of this change adds new dimensions to the patient experience, which is evolving into a broader patient/consumer experience. The journey is just getting started…

Interested in learning more? Contact us today.


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