Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier in Healthcare Marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most exciting trends in business these days. Whether it’s manufacturing or transportation, real estate or retail, these technologies are impacting a wide variety of different spaces – but perhaps most significantly in healthcare.

There’s so much potential here to explore. After all, who wouldn’t want to invest their limited resources to make better decisions and work more efficiently?

Understanding how to use AI can seem intimidating for those of us who are already struggling to keep up with our hectic schedules. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that way. With an open mind and a willingness to learn, you can adopt a gradual approach that applies these technologies and reaps great benefits.

Ready to see how this applies to healthcare marketing today?

Keep reading to find out!

What Exactly is “Artificial Intelligence” Anyway?

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Before we begin, it’s important to clarify the terminology.

You’ve undoubtedly seen countless references to AI over the past few years. If you’re confused about what that means, you aren’t alone. Like “algorithm” and “internet of things,” AI seems to be a term that has multiple meanings assigned to it. You may hear it casually referenced in conversations without any context or understanding of what it actually means.

In simple terms, AI is a suite of technologies that act as a “second brain” to help people make better decisions. They start by using mathematics and computing power to process enormous amounts of data; it is then used to spot meaningful patterns and make objective decisions based on ongoing assessments. This type of data processing happens at a scale far beyond the capabilities of a human brain.

What makes AI truly unique is its capability to learn. The more data these technologies process, the more efficient they become. Decisions improve gradually with more data inputs, some of which include the results of previous decisions.

Why AI Will Become a Key Player in Healthcare

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Consider some of the major forces shaping healthcare today. The amount of digital health-related data is skyrocketing. Patients are becoming active partners in their journey to better health, doing their own research before consulting providers – often online. And there’s always the constant pressure to limit healthcare expenses.

These factors combined create the perfect climate for AI to thrive. The amount of data available and the demand for that data have never been higher.

According to a 2021 Allied Market Research report, AI in the global healthcare market generated more than $8 billion in 2020. That amount is predicted to reach more than $194 billion by 2030 – an annual growth rate of 38.1%!

We are already seeing remarkable AI applications in the healthcare space. These range from the development of new pharmaceuticals and diagnostic aids for health providers to wearable devices and robot-assisted surgery. The entire scope of healthcare – from prevention to post-intervention and follow-up – is in play.

Although these technologies are still in their infancy, the outlook in the healthcare space has been optimistic. According to a survey from OptumIQ, 90 percent of healthcare executives expect to see a positive return on investment for AI sooner than they previously anticipated, with half of them expecting an ROI in less than three years.

AI is certainly showing great promise in helping to provide better healthcare, but how can it benefit your healthcare marketing?

The Incredible Potential of AI for Healthcare Marketers

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It used to be difficult for healthcare marketers to gather the information needed to track the results of their efforts. How well are those sales reps doing? Is that content strategy paying off, or should there be a change in strategy? Without hard data, it felt like guesswork and relying on an instinctive knowledge of the target audience.

Today, healthcare marketers are facing the opposite problem. We are swimming in data. Big Data. We have analytics platforms, customer relationship management systems, and countless other information sources generating more data than we know what to do with.

Somewhere lurking in all that data are meaningful clues to help us make better decisions. But it’s a challenge to keep up! Our time, resources, and energy are limited and overloaded. After all, we’re only human…

That’s where AI comes in.

AI can help healthcare marketers sift through the jumble of data, pick out meaningful insights, and adjust our tactics accordingly. With its help, marketers can better match just the right messaging, with the right people at exactly the right time and with the right format.

The result? Stronger connections with the people who matter the most: our target audience.

AI Use Cases for Healthcare Marketers 

There are already so many ways AI can help healthcare marketers. And we can expect to see this list multiply as the technologies continue to evolve.

Here are just a few ways you can take advantage of AI in your marketing:

  • Segment audiences with precision. Every member of your audience is unique, but patterns emerge based on their attitudes and behavior. AI helps marketers better understand – and connect with – their audiences by dividing a single group into manageable segments. Identify segments whose behavior indicates that they might churn (like canceled appointments with sales reps) and act quickly to keep them engaged.
  • Personalize messaging. When viewing their audience as multiple segments instead of a single homogenous group, marketers can use AI to tailor their approach to best suit the needs of each segment individually. Content can be optimized for each segment, guiding them seamlessly throughout their customer journey. Imagine being able to offer the ideal piece of content most likely to strengthen the relationship, at the time and in the format your audience prefers. Personalize the web pages displayed on your site, curate email newsletters, or change the way your mobile app looks – all based on someone’s previous interactions. These are just a few possibilities when it comes to using personalized content with AI.
  • Generate content automatically. The demands for more healthcare content seem endless. AI can help marketers keep up. AI can be used to generate everything from email subject lines and social media posts, to entire blog posts and website content. Natural language processing (NLP), a branch of AI that focuses on helping computers understand how humans write and speak, helps analyze complex medical issues and present them in simple terms. AI can also help repurpose content into different formats and optimize it to rank better in search engines.
  • Optimize paid advertising campaigns. AI helps make online ad campaigns more profitable. Instead of starting from scratch, AI can find lookalike audiences to better understand which ads resonate with audiences similar to yours. Split-test different headlines and calls to action. Adjust your ad spend automatically based on certain criteria, such as changing cost per impressions. Allocate your budget in real-time and even predict ad performance before you launch your next campaign.

Make Big Data Less Overwhelming

We are still in AI’s infancy for healthcare marketing, but there are more opportunities today than ever before to better connect with providers and patients – all thanks to the wonders of AI.

You don’t have to be a math whiz or data scientist to use these technologies either. The key? An open mind along with a willingness to learn and try new things. In no time, you can start using AI to make Big Data more accessible and less overwhelming.

Just start small. Pick one or two use cases that you’d like AI to help automate. The insights you discover will help guide you forward, and the AI will learn right along with you. The result? greater bandwidth (more free time and energy) and better information to help you focus on what’s important: big-picture strategic decisions based on real data in real-time. And that can make all the difference.

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