Mobile Marketing for Hospitals

Hospital Marketing: Making the Case for Mobile

The facts are overwhelming when considering whether your hospital should go mobile.  The small screen is the place to be.

An astonishing fact: there are 48 million people in the world who have mobile phones but do not have electricity in their homes.  That shows the impact of mobile on our lives.  It’s estimated that the off-grid, on-net population will reach 138 million by 2015.

Ann Tracy Mueller posted on statistics showing the use of mobile is growing exponentially. Citing Kevin Roberts from a Cisco report in his Blogging Innovation site, the case is made for the impact of mobile and the need for healthcare marketers to be mobile-savvy and mobile-ready.

  • Global mobile traffic nearly tripled for the third year in a row in 2010.
  • Mobile video traffic will exceed 50 percent of all mobile data traffic for the first time in 2011.
  • In early 2010, iPhone use was at least four times higher than that of any other smart phone platform. By the end of 2010, iPhone use was only 1.75 times higher than that of number two, Android.
  • There will be 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015, up 56-fold from 14 million at the end of 2010.
  • There will be more than 7.1 billion mobile-connected devices in 2015, roughly equivalent to the world’s population by then (7.2 billion).

The numbers are staggering.  But they are understandable.  Think how much you use your mobile device.  How much you see the people around you using there’s.  How many people do you know who don’t have a mobile phone?  Probably not many.  The numbers are clear.  The stats are obvious.

As healthcare marketers, in the very least, we need to make sure our internet presence is mobile-friendly.  And we should be exploring ways to create and use mobile apps to market our hospital.  Information is being accessed from mobile devices, including information about one’s health.  We must make sure our health information and information about our organization and services are easily mobile-accessible.

Not convinced yet?  Here’s one more bit of information from Roberts that should remove any doubt about the need for our hospital to be mobile-friendly:

“The average smartphone will generate 1.3 gigabytes of traffic per month in 2015, 16 times more than the 2010 average of 79 megabytes per month.  Growth in the next five years will see global mobile traffic reach 6.3 exabytes per month by 2015. How big is that? It’s been suggested that every word ever spoken by human beings would equate to five exabytes. So six every month is a lot of chatter!”


Healthcare Marketing: Mobile is Part of the Consumers’ Driving Experience

Consumers use mobile devices while driving.  And even though they are concerned about safety they refuse to give up their devices.  They even want more capabilities.       

Much is being discussed today about the dangers of using mobile devices while driving.  Some states have enacted laws making texting or the use of cell phone while driving illegal. But despite the safety concerns, drivers view cell phones and music players necessary items to their driving experience.  In fact, consumers want more capabilities and more convenience.

Rimma Katz reporting in an article for Mobile Marketer, cites a study conducted by G2 Marketing which indicates drivers are very much attached to their mobile devices, and feel disconnected without them.   The study indicated that drive time has become work-time or stay-in-touch time via phone calls.  Time spent driving is no longer viewed as down time but is used as catch-up time for business and personal conversations.

When confronted with the dangers of such activity, drivers were not willing to give up their devices but rather wanted hands-free capabilities. “Drivers wanted wireless capability permanently installed in their vehicles, using installed speakers, and felt his would allow them to pay more attention to the road while using their phone” stated Gretchen Gehrett, president of G2 marketing.

Gehrett continued, “Today’s in-vehicle environment reflects the societal trend of being given exactly what we want, when we want it.”  It’s all about convenience and maximizing the time we have.

The purpose here is not to discuss the pros and cons of using mobile devices while driving.  Or to highlight the potential safety hazards.  The intent is to point out how attached consumers are to their cell phones and how it is viewed as an ever-present necessity.  Mobile phones have become part of our person and we can hardly stand to be without them. That is a marketing lesson.  With people being more and more dependent on their phones, we must discover how to enter that world to effectively communicate and become engaged with consumers.

BMW claims to offer “The Ultimate Driving Experience” but it may be more certain to say that the driver and his cell phone is “the ultimate driving experience”.


Healthcare Marketing: We’re Going Mobile

With the increased penetration of smart phones, consumers are becoming more and more dependent on their cell phones for just about every form of communication.   This presents opportunities for companies, hospitals and brands to market themselves to consumers.

Over 82% of Americans now own a cell phone.  And 60% of those phones are less than a year old.  The increase in smart phones is growing exponentially.  And smart phones are equipped with more and more communication and information options. Soon the cellphone will be used for almost all forms of communication and information gathering – texting, emailing, internet search, GPS, electronic coupons, and more.

Consumers are connected to each other and the world via their cell phones. This creates opportunities for brands to market themselves to consumers via mobile marketing. One of the compelling advantages for mobile marketing is its omnipresence. Frank Powell recently discussed omnipresence as one of the advantages of mobile marketing in an article in Mobile Marketer.  He cites that mobile phone users are within arm’s reach of their phone 90% of their waking hours.  And much of this time is when other media are not available. Mobile phones are not location-centric but are person-centric.  They are where the owner is.

Powell cites in his article two main reasons why mobile marketing can be so powerful

1. Customers can always be reached.

2. Customers can almost always be interrupted.

Although the invasive nature of cellphones cause heartburn for many people, it is a medium that cannot be ignored.  Just as social media has begun to be included in hospital’s marketing plans, we must turn our eyes to mobile marketing and be ready to take advantage of the unlimited opportunities it will offer.  Never before has there been a medium that is so ever-present with our customers and patients. And there has never been a medium upon which our customers and patients have been so dependent.


Hospital Advertising: Increase Effectiveness of Ads with SMS Call To Action

Mobil Phones - Many Hands and Phones

Consumers are much more likely to respond to an ad using text messaging than visiting a website.

Hospital marketers have learned to add a web-based call to action to their ads. It has become fairly typical. But is there a better way to get results?

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium advertised its new Fantase aquatic show with television ads on the 4 major networks. The ads featured a contest in which the viewers could register to win a hotel stay and VIP seats for the show’s premiere. The ads directed viewers to a website to register.  The one exception was one ad, which gave viewers the option to enter the contest by sending a text message.

The amazing results according to Mobile were that the call to action using SMS generated 325% more entries than the web based call to action. 52% of entries were via text message even though that option was only given on 25% of the television ads. 

The experiment indicated consumers are much more likely to respond by texting than by visiting a website. The reasons texting is more effective is because:

  • Texting is easier
  • Texting is more immediate-real time
  • A text number is easier to remember than a web address.
  • Texting takes less time
  • Mobile phones are almost always with the consumer.

For ads that have a call to action, hospital marketers should consider if texting could be used. If so, the Shedd Aquarium experience would indicate the response could significantly improve. 90% of all mobile phones in the U.S. are SMS capable and texting started outpacing voice calls as early as 2007. The frequent use of texting demands that marketers explore how to use it to increase the number of responses and get more immediate response.

It’s an opportunity that cannot be ignored. Why expect a consumer to go to a website to respond to an ad when it can be as easy as punching 5 numbers on the cell phone which is sitting nearby?