In the digital age, storytelling matters. Even for what could easily be a more analytical, information-forward genre like medical marketing. Your website is no longer just a portal for patients to find your address or look up a doctor. It needs to tell your story, share your practice values, and feel humanized and real.\u00a0 What is medical marketing?\u00a0 As with other industries, the goal of medical marketing is to market the brand effectively to the public\u2013\u2013in this case, anything to do with the medical field. Doing this usually involves \u201cintegration of the traditional marketing field with public health research, theory and practice.\u201d Depending on the type of company or product you\u2019re marketing in this field, the subject matter can be complicated to convey to a larger audience. Medical marketing in the digital age can be difficult also with the Your Money or Your Life restrictions on SEO and Google, which hold pages in this field to \u201chigher page quality.\u201d\u00a0 Traditionally, this sector of marketing \u201crelies heavily on old-school tactics like referrals and TV advertising.\u201d But, in 2020, those old school ways have less of an impact and get lost in the noise of other ads online. A Salesforce blog points out that medical marketing needs to have a fresh approach with digital marketing and well-rounded customer experience.\u00a0 Today\u2019s medical marketing is about much more than the types of services offered or how the brand can make users healthier. It\u2019s about being human, \u201cconcise but comprehensive,\u201d and creating relationships.\u00a0 More stories, fewer stats So, how is that done? Simple. With storytelling.\u00a0 This doesn\u2019t mean your brand site begins with once upon a time and takes a tangent into unrelated information and stories. The medical field is multidisciplinary, which means its marketing needs to be as well. Imagine that you own a medical supply company that targets both organizations and individual consumers. Your subject is specialized and your marketing materials might not be something a consumer would choose to read while drinking their morning coffee. But dig a little deeper into your brand. What\u2019s the point of your products? Who is your audience? And how are the products used? The story behind the materials is where you should focus here. Medical supplies can empower people to take charge of their health. It\u2019s not just a blood pressure monitor; it\u2019s making sure you walk your daughter down the aisle. And it\u2019s not just a glucose monitor; it\u2019s not letting your diagnosis be a life sentence. Medical marketing today requires extra thought and finesse. \u201cThe best marketers, like the best healthcare providers, understand human needs and respond to them accordingly,\u201d which means telling your story well. Storytelling works because it:\u00a0 Uses emotions Consumers mostly remember how an ad made them feel, not the statistics thrown onto the screen. Did it make them laugh? Cry? Shout in frustration? Although the aim here is to create a positive impact on your medical marketing, that doesn\u2019t mean the emotion has to always be positive. When using storytelling to sell your brand, it \u201cevokes an emotional response\u2013\u2013and strong emotions are scientifically proven to improve memory.\u201d Differentiates your brand One of the goals of branding is to be different. No (good) marketer sets out to do what\u2019s been done before. You should always be pushing the boundaries and making new connections with timeless concepts. Medical brands can easily take an analytical approach to marketing where they showcase what they offer, what makes them better, and other facts that fail to get to the heart of their brand. Storytelling \u201coffers a \u2018why,\u2019 communicating your values, your history, your identity, and your goals for the future.\u201d\u00a0 Focuses on solutions Preventative healthcare has been a hot topic lately as it focuses on addressing health issues before they become serious. Solution marketing is the opposite of problem- and pain-based stories. Whereas problem stories \u201cillustrate what might happen if a patient doesn\u2019t take action,\u201d solution stories are powerful reasons why taking action will help. Avoiding fear-mongering in your marketing can go a long way. You can understand your patient\u2019s vulnerabilities without exploiting them.\u00a0 Builds trust Storytelling lets consumers know that they are seen as humans and will be cared for. Whether you are marketing for a healthcare practice, a medical device, or a telehealth company, your job is to understand your consumer\u2019s needs. \u201cWhen patients can relate to their doctors on a personal level, they\u2019re much more likely to stay loyal,\u201d and the same thing goes for relating to a brand.\u00a0\u00a0 Telling a great brand story isn\u2019t always easy. You have to understand your consumers on a deeper level and make your marketing authentic. Storyteller Seth Godin outlines the essentials of a great story: they are true, make a promise, are trusted, are subtle, happen fast, appeal to other senses besides logic, focus on a specific audience, don\u2019t contradict themselves, and agree with our world view.\u00a0 The bottom line: medical marketing centers around patient care. Patients are not just the numbers and diagnoses on a form. They\u2019re living, breathing humans with a full spectrum of emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Speak to them.\u00a0 Don\u2019t lose focus\u00a0 Don\u2019t get us wrong, keywords and word count (among other things) are important for SEO. And SEO is important for your brand. But don\u2019t let the optimization details muddle your story and erase the human element in your work. Craft your brand story (with optimization in mind, that\u2019s okay!) and tell it well.\u00a0 How to keep your brand human\u00a0 Besides storytelling, there are a few other strategies for making your medical marketing more human. \u201cOn average, it takes a minimum of 6-7 brand touches for someone to remember your brand,\u201d so every word matters. In the age of digital distraction, human brands have the unique ability to fight through the noise and be heard. So what are some qualities of a humanized brand? Brands that care about humans, talk like humans, have personality, know their audience, and evolve are displaying humanized and empathetic qualities. What else can brands do to be more human?\u00a0 Show customer appreciation Your brand is only as strong as your most loyal customer. A personalized welcome or thank you letter (or email), a note upon purchase, or a piece of company swag can go a long way and \u201cturn those customers into brand ambassadors.\u201d Whatever your choice, make it authentic to your brand and make your customers feel heard and appreciated. In this same vein, make sure your customer service department is top-notch and memorable. Remember, they are literally the human face (or voice) or a medical office or brand.\u00a0 Apologize when you need to Human brands make human mistakes. That\u2019s okay as long as you own up to them in a timely, authentic way. Whether you shared an inappropriate meme or were tone-deaf with a recent ad, your brand should \u201cacknowledge its failings.\u201d\u00a0 Showcase your relatability Sure, you can do this with a well-placed social ad, but don\u2019t forget about the people in your organization. The team page on your website is a great place to show the \u201crelatable, funny, intelligent individuals who are there to help.\u201d This page is one of many where you can add in relatability and humanity to what could otherwise be a complicated message.\u00a0 Personality and Personalization\u00a0 There are countless ways brands can add in more personality and personalization. You can achieve personality through humor, blog posts, or social media messaging. Your tone, word choice, humor, and emotion are all necessary ingredients when concocting a brand. In medical marketing, personality can fall to the wayside, but don\u2019t let it happen. Personalization simply takes your brand tone and speaks to individual users. Maybe that\u2019s with your welcome letters, automated marketing, or your eNews.\u00a0 A simple rule of thumb when trying to be human is to be true to your brand. Be mindful of the type of company and product you have and who is in your target audience. But also know that your consumers \u201ccan tell when you\u2019re trying too hard to sound smart, and they\u2019re not interested in your fancy jargon.\u201d\u00a0 Top pieces of medical marketing\u00a0 Keeping your brand human with the above elements is not an exact science, but it does create synergy when done right. Our favorite pieces of medical marketing keep their brands human by connecting with consumers on a deeper level.\u00a0 Kaiser Permanente\u2019s Thrive\u00a0 There\u2019s a reason Kaier\u2019s Thrive campaign is often used as a case study for medical marketing done right. It\u2019s impactful, human, raw, and inspiring. Using research that showed people \u201cdidn\u2019t care much for health care, they cared a whole lot about health,\u201d they began speaking to the patient\u2019s emotions, life goals, happiness, and total wellness. Their \u201crallying cry,\u201d Thrive, carried forward the campaign and reinvented the health care language. Suddenly, it was about living well and thriving, making sure people felt cared for, and empowered. They flipped the industry on its head with one little word with a big impact.\u00a0 Dignity Health\u2019s Humankindness\u00a0 Dignity Health began as Catholic Healthcare West before rebranding to be more inclusive in the early 2010s. Their Hello Humankindness campaign focused on patient care and happiness as a way to speed up healing and create total wellness. The campaign put it this way: \u201cFor all the negativity, disease, and toxicity in our lives, we have a very real and very powerful tool against it. We call it humankindness.\u201d Like Kaiser, Dignity took basic healthcare a step further, and their medical marketing goal was to empower their patients and spread kindness.\u00a0\u00a0 United Healthcare\u2019s We Dare You\u00a0 United Healthcare\u2019s interactive campaign focused on healthier habits. Their promoted dares, quizzes, and prizes \u201cworked on encouraging their followers to make one small healthy change per month and document it on social media.\u201d Not only did the campaign create awareness, but it also promoted a healthier lifestyle in a fun, on-brand way.\u00a0 Lumosity\u2019s brain-teasing ads Lumosity creates games that train your brain for healthier habits and better memory. The company added 10-minute games onto their Facebook ads as \u201can effective tool to engage with their followers\u201d and as a literal brain break from the scrolling. The successful campaign helped to further the app\u2019s mission of engaging and challenging people. What now?\u00a0 Your medical marketing may look different than the above, or be very similar. But whether you are working in-house or through an agency for a company in the health and medical field, it should be your main goal to create an emotionally relevant, human brand. When you utilize emotions, tell stories, connect with your users, and go beyond the statistics, you can create meaningful work with a lasting impact.