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.

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.

Laser-Focused Direct Mail With Personas

The best way to increase your chances of great response is to mail to people who are interested in your product or service. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to create personas.

The best way to increase your chances of great response is to mail to people who are interested in your product or service. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to create personas.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Many marketers are familiar with personas in their inbound or digital marketing, but for some reason have not applied them to their direct mail campaigns.

Benefits of Buyer Personas:

  1. Ability to target the right people for each message — send them only offers that they are interested in.
  2. Increase response — better offers equal a better response rate.
  3. Ability to find more prospects like your current customers — when you profile other people you can match them accurately to your current customers.

By creating buyer personas, you can identify who your ideal customers are, where they are and what they want. When you combine this with variable data direct mail you can laser focus your message to each individual based on that person’s persona while getting the benefits of postal discounts for mailing a larger quantity rather than doing a separate mailing for each persona.

We get asked many times, how can we create personas? Here are a few ways you can start researching:

  • Interview or survey current customers — create questions that answer what you need to know in order to build your personas.
  • Review LinkedIn profiles — try to find the common themes between each of your customers.
  • Ask questions on social media — this can give you a larger pool than just your customers, but be careful to fully vet each person responding before you add their input to your research.

After your research there are some best practices for building your personas:

  1. Focus on motives not behavior. Why are they doing what they are doing?
  2. Keep them fictional, but be as realistic as possible. Do not base them off of your most important customer, this can give you a skewed result.
  3. Choose one primary persona, this should be the group of people that will make you the most money.
  4. Create a story for each persona that is explained in five segments:
    • What is their job and demographics?
    • What does a day in their life look like?
    • What are their challenges or pain points?
    • How do they search for information?
    • What are their common objections to your product or service?

There are two big benefits to adding personas to your direct mail. The first is that you can save money on services and postage — and since direct mail’s biggest expense is postage, you can save a lot by not mailing to people who are not interested in what you are offering. The second is by getting more people to respond because they are interested in your offer. So, while you are saving money you are also making more money. It is a win-win situation!

Have you tried using personas in your direct mail? How has it worked for you?