Trends and Changes in Your 2021 Marketing Planning
Some of the biggest lessons we learned from marketing in 2020 were that your marketing plans need to keep your practice focused and disciplined, but they also must be adaptable to sudden changes and events. It also pointed out how important it is to consistently stay on top of your marketing activities, investments, and results.
Like other industries, elective healthcare services took a hit from the pandemic, but surprisingly, the industry and practices were able to adjust where many practices not only survived but thrived. This was largely driven by the fact that consumer interest in cosmetic and elective surgeries and treatments remained relatively high, even higher cost procedures. Since April, Google search activity for elective services has consistently increased. Check out the consumer search activity (Google Trends) for some of the more expensive elective cosmetic services.
Practices that continued to work and adjust their marketing plans to get interested prospects into their sales funnel were the ones that prospered once restrictions were lessened or lifted. Of course every practice experienced some level of panicked reactions but planning and practice-building discipline helped minimized these impulses.
Planning for 2021
As practices make and adjust marketing plans for 2021, there is still a high amount of uncertainty. Recent increases in infection and unemployment rates have practices hedging their marketing bets, not knowing how quickly things will start get back to some sense of normalcy.
However, the recent FDA approval of vaccines and government stimulus have given financial experts and practices at least something upon which to anticipate and base plans. For instance, although luxury industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, MarketWatch is optimistic for many in those industries to see a turnaround within 2021.
Projected Earnings Per Share – Disney
Projected Earnings Per Share – Marriott
Projected Earnings Per Share – United Airlines
Projected Earnings Per Share – Daimler-Mercedes Benz
Finance and industry experts agree that the timeframe for growth in 2021 will depend on infection rates and the effective distribution of vaccines. However, most anticipate impact in late Spring to mid-summer.
Coincidentally, this would align similarly with traditional increases in cosmetic services due to seasonal Spring demand and tax return dollars.
Therefore, if you are considering investing in projects that require some time, such as a new website, custom video production, branding update, SEO changes, etc., you should plan on starting those projects as soon as possible to be in position to leverage projected upturns later in the year. Consequently, we have seen an unusually high amount of marketing planning activity from practices this time of year compared to previous years.
Download our Free 2021 Digital Marketing Calendar.
Other Marketing Trends to Leverage in 2021
Although telephone-generated leads are still the most valuable leads for your practice (and needs to be a primary part of your marketing and design strategies), pivots business and consumers made to adjust to the pandemic, particularly the boom of digital communication with prospects and patients will become permanent. This not only includes the use of virtual consultations and telemedicine, but more personalized text messaging and live chat. Not only has remote living and working in 2020 accelerated the implementation of these services but buying-powered millennials continue to embrace and drive their demand.
The days of relying solely on an email form to communicate online with visitors needs to be expanded and provide more immediacy and engagement. For some practices that are in more rural settings, this may be less of an issue. But practices in larger, more competitive markets, not only do you need to offer them, but they also need to be increasingly personalized. Less expensive, automated chatbots and template messages will eventually give way to more “live” digital communication and services.
If your practice has not already fully set up utilizing these lead-generating and sales systems, include them in your 2021 plan and budget to ensure effective implementation.
Social media will continue its growing impact on elective surgery/treatment marketing as consumers become increasingly able to make purchases (Facebook) without ever leaving the platform. As social commerce for retail brands becomes more common for consumers, practices will be able to increasingly engage with accepting online prospects for direct response marketing and lead generation.
At the same time, social media will continue to play an evolving role in developing your practice’s online “brand” and personality through more targeted and consistent remarketing. By building and nurturing a more loyal online community and audience, your social media efforts will also pay dividends in boosting your organic Google rankings. As Google continues to put more weight in user signals and favoring brands, practices that consistently integrate their multi-channel marketing channels and grow their digital identity and brand will capture more market share.
Since effective social media marketing is not a fully mercenary effort by an outside agency, it will require some practice to 1) invest more resources (devoted staff), 2) plan and execute more efficiently, or 3) reduce the number of social media channels it will consistently manage, focusing more energy on a smaller handful of platforms. If you are like most practices, it will likely be a combination of all three. But the most important part is increasing your practice’s organization, planning and execution of social media activities.
If you have not finalized your marketing plans for the coming year, or are continuing to update it, download our Free 2021 Digital Marketing Calendar. Whether you use it or not, it will provide insights and suggestions to making your campaigns run smoother and not let items or opportunities slip through the cracks.