Customer Motivation: What Difference Does It Make?

The decision to undergo a healthcare procedure — and by whom — can be a complicated, emotional, non-linear journey. Understanding the customer motivation can make the difference between them moving forward with your provider, going elsewhere or simply taking no action at all.

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Not long ago a marketing colleague remarked, “What difference does it make what their motivations are?”

To her, it was all about logic. A consumer in need of a healthcare service would conduct an online search, go to a website and move through the marketing funnel if the right engagement elements were in place. That made me wonder, are we losing sight of what makes a person tick? The customer motivation?

The rise of digital marketing makes it easy to track activity and measure conversions from the top of the funnel down through appointment-making. By using A/B or multivariate testing, you can make page tweaks to see if your throughput improves. But this data-based view of the world doesn’t provide visibility into the emotional context that drives some health care decisions.

There are different types of health care services, of course. Simple things like getting a primary care appointment or a flu shot can be based on convenience and almost transactional in nature. But many other health care decisions are ‘considered purchases.’

The decision to undergo a procedure — and by whom — can be a complicated, emotional, non-linear journey. In these instances, understanding the prospect’s motivations can make the difference between them moving forward with your provider, going elsewhere or simply taking no action at all. Understanding customer motivation is particularly important among the ‘aging in’ demographic where respect and sentiment are the norms.

We know this intuitively in other situations. When you are considering a purchase for home or work, you’ll look at information about features, pricing and warranty, but all things being equal, chances are you will buy from the company or representative who “gets you.” An organization that explicitly recognizes and embraces your customer motivation is building a bridge that you are more likely to cross.

5 Emotional Elements That Add Customer Motivation to Your Marketing

So how can you factor in emotional elements and conversion funnels in your marketing?

  1. Identify the services that are likely to be considered purchases. These are usually for chronic conditions where the consumer adapts by reducing activities, self-medicating or living in a constant state of worry.
  2. Use physician interviews or patient questionnaires in those service lines to probe for the length of time they have had the condition and ranking the factors (motivations) that drove them to seek treatment. Some patients may be willing to provide a video testimonial with the understanding it is intended to help others who are wrestling with a similar decision.
  3. Consider adding subtle variations to your online downstream content so that a visitor can see others with similar motivations. This provides validation to the prospective patient and places your facility in the context of ‘getting it.’ Tag your response mechanism from each section so any CRM nurturing campaign can leverage this insight.
  4. Use different motivating factors in your external messaging. Consider using call tracking so someone who is responding to a “play with the grand kids” message sees a different phone number or URL link than the consumer motivated by “being tired of the pain” or “wanting to travel again.”
  5. Segment your online reports so that you can see the volume generated by each type of message and rate of fall-off through the funnel. Remember, higher inbound volume doesn’t always equate to the highest percentage or volume of conversions.

Author: Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford became interested in healthcare listening to the conversations around the patio table as his parents and their colleagues talked about work. For the past 30 years he's used his marketing expertise to help medical groups, hospitals and health systems connect with consumers, physicians, employers, brokers and health plans. He advocates for a strategic approach to marketing, audience-based communications, coordination between marketing and customer service functions, and early inclusion of the marketing discipline when planning services. His work has earned more than a dozen awards over the past few years. He’s no stranger to healthcare reorganizations or healthcare reform, from the failed effort during the 90s to the implementation of the ACA to today’s efforts at repeal. His blog, Healthcare Marketing Survival Guide, offers advice for B2C and B2B healthcare marketers trying to chart their course during uncertain times. Connect with him via LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @health_crawford.

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