Menu Close
Mission Control / Healthcare

Why You Should Be Segmenting All of Your Hospital’s Marketing Efforts

Not all patients are the same, and if you’re not factoring their varying needs into your outreach, you’re missing a big opportunity.


By Colleen Ringer

Consumer expectations around healthcare have shifted, and they’re continuing to shift. Today’s consumers are thinking about healthcare from a retail perspective and expecting to be treated like consumers, not necessarily patients. One of the ways that marketers can help meet some of those expectations is through a curated, targeted approach to outreach that speaks directly to their needs.

Granted there will always be a place for broader messaging around quality of care and availability of services, but to build a deeper relationship with consumers, you need to segment your healthcare marketing efforts.

Show Them You Understand Them

Consumers want to know that you get them, their needs and what’s important to them. It’s one of the things that retail does so well. You can do that by highlighting services that make sense for where they are in life.

Recently, we worked with Ochsner Health to map out and develop a series of emails and direct mail pieces that segments patients by age, gender and phase of life. Younger recipients receive messaging about urgent care and virtual visits, while older consumers receive messaging that underscores the availability of specialists and continuity of care. The result? Each audience sees themselves and their needs reflected not only in the content, but in the imagery as well.

Make Sure the Right Message Gets to the Right Audience

Imagine how effective an ad about colon cancer screening would be for a 25-year-old. Now what about for a 55-year-old? Casting a narrower net can be a more effective use of your time and budget.

Our work on a recent Facebook ad campaign for UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center centered on six different ads — each with unique cancer screening messaging and specific audiences. This meant that the ad highlighting the need for an annual mammogram, for example, only reached women in the appropriate age range.

Convert Existing Patients to Relevant Services

Segmenting your marketing efforts can also help you introduce current patients to relevant, adjacent services in an organic way. One example of that in action is the email campaign we worked on with Ochsner Health that aims to convert existing obstetrics patients to pediatrics patients. Moms-to-be receive monthly emails with relevant content, ranging from what to look for in a pediatrician to a typical well-child checkup schedule, that also encourages them to find a pediatrician at Ochsner.

You Likely Already Have the Assets You Need to Do It

If your hospital or healthcare system already produces content on a regular basis, it’ll be even easier for you to reach different audiences with the right messaging. You can take assets you have now — articles, videos, recipes — and compile them into an incredibly effective campaign.

Some of our recent work with Vanderbilt University Medical Center involved repacking existing content from its content hub, My Southern Health, into a print magazine geared toward those at risk for lung cancer. We also used the same approach to create a downloadable guide for moms-to-be and partners of moms-to-be.

From emails to print pieces to direct mail, your existing content can serve as the fuel to power a whole host of segmented campaigns.

Start Segmenting Today (With a Little Help)

Let’s talk about your audiences and develop a plan to reach each group with the right messaging.

Get in Touch

Colleen Ringer Overlay Blue
Colleen Ringer Editorial Director

Colleen has worked with clients large and small for more than a decade as a writer, editor and content strategist. She has managed content marketing programs for national and global brands, including hospital systems, universities and nonprofits. Before entering the world of content marketing, Colleen lived in the land of magazine publishing and wrote about architecture, design and travel.

As a mother of a video game-obsessed son, Colleen spends part of her free time learning about Fortnite and the other part trying to recruit her son to root for the Arizona Cardinals. She loves a good book, a strong iced tea and when her Fantasy Football team is winning.

Get the latest C/A insights direct to your inbox. Sign up here for our newsletter.