Healthcare Marketing Personas: What They Are and How to Use Them

Posted in Category: Articles 4 min read

Personas, or consumer profiles, can be powerful tools for building an effective sales and marketing strategy or creating the perfect product. Personas help you understand what patients, providers, and caregivers may THINK, FEEL, AND DO when engaging with your healthcare organization. Having established personas makes it easier to understand, embody, and contextualize the points of view of others, and to identify issues and opportunities for improving healthcare interactions. Personas also humanize the process and help to generate compelling narratives that reflect the people you serve.

Free E-Book: Unlock the Secrets of Human-Centered Healthcare Marketing Personas

Despite the fact that the human condition is at the center of everything you do as a healthcare marketer, the truth is that without insights it can be difficult to create truly human-centered marketing in healthcare. Personas not only make this challenging work easier, but when done well they are a powerful tool for building empathic healthcare marketing programs.

We created this in-depth eBook as a helpful guide for both new healthcare marketers just learning the trade and veterans who might want to brush up on the technique. Packed with useful “how-tos” and turnkey worksheets, this is an invaluable resource for any healthcare marketing team.

Complete this short form to download your free copy now.

Building Effective Healthcare Marketing Personas That Reflect Your Community

In their most basic form, healthcare marketing personas are fictional characters that bring a target audience to life. They contain the usual metrics like demographics and attitudes on health, and more obscure information, such as hobbies, media consumption, and personal values. The more detailed a persona is, the better they perform. A well-built healthcare marketing persona paints a clear picture of a segment of your audience, which makes it easier to come up with ideas. For example, if I told you to come up with a way to market women’s health services to retirees, what might you come up with? You might already have some ideas, but it’s more likely that you won’t know where to start. Because retirees is such a broad category, it’s difficult to make a deep connection.

To tackle this issue, create fictional characters or ‘personalities’ that bring to life user data for a target audience. Anticipate and understand what patients, providers and caregivers may think, do, and feel when engaging in a particular product, service or experience with your healthcare organization.

Personas make it easier to understand and embody the point of view of others and to identify issues and opportunities for improving healthcare interactions. Personas also humanize the process and help to generate compelling narratives that reflect the people you serve.

It is important not to base personas off of known individuals as this can inhibit perception. Use personas as an engaging exercise with your marketing team to reflect on the individuals that you aim to serve and assess whether the means for patient engagement is relevant or if additional opportunities may exist.

At LIFT, we recommend conducting the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise. Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research.

How Healthcare Consumer Personas Fuel Patient-Centric Healthcare Marketing

  • Personas keep the focus on the people, which helps you come up with answers that address their needs.
  • Personas make it easier to understand and embody others’ point of view, and to identify issues and opportunities for improving healthcare interactions.
  • Personas build empathy and humanize the process, helping to generate compelling narratives that reflect the people you serve.
  • Personas facilitate communication and decision making for the marketing team, which improves workflow and increases productivity.
  • Personas provide a preliminary way of measuring marketing success, serving as a litmus test for marketing ideas.

Addressing Common Concerns About Healthcare Marketing Personas

If you’re new to healthcare marketing persona development, you might be asking yourself: “Why should I spend time creating fake people when I could spend my time actually marketing?” And we get it. Your time and resources are worth more now than ever before. But take a minute to indulge us in why spending the extra effort is worth your while. A key component of success in marketing is the ability to connect with the target audience. Going without a persona can often lead to marketers substituting themselves or, worse still, stereotypes in for their audience. Moving forward in those situations can easily result in tone-deaf messages that harm the organization’s brand.

You might also be wondering. “If I build and use personas, I will be so focused on marketing to one group that I’ll miss the rest of my market?” When a marketer decides to focus on the “entire” market, what they’re really doing is marketing the average person. The reasoning, it’s assumed, is that this way they can cover the most number people. This turns out to be a fool’s errand, however, as the average does not exist, and by focusing on marketing to the “average” they end up marketing to exactly no one.

Using Personas in Your Healthcare Marketing Efforts 

Personas make a lot of sense for healthcare marketing, and developing them is a particularly good step if you are committed to crafting a brand voice and marketing strategy that resonates with key stakeholders in your community. Give them a try. Bring them to your next meeting. Having them will help you focus your team to create more patient-centric healthcare marketing.