How AdventHealth’s Revamped Digital Marketing Strategy Prepared the Organization for the Pandemic

By The SHSMD Team posted 09-08-2020 04:42 PM


In 2016, AdventHealth, based in Orlando, Florida, started creating an entirely new and centralized digital marketing team, adding new functions and new leadership. It also looked to other fields to find new leaders, including Anthony Cadieux, AdventHealth’s executive director of digital marketing, who joined the system after previously working for Ritz-Carlton, and Brandi West, executive director of digital brand and content strategy, who brought her global ecommerce and consumer roots to the health care space.

A New Digital Marketing Mindset and Centralization

At the beginning of their journey four years ago, AdventHealth leaders quickly determined that they needed to restructure their digital marketing to align several key disciplines that included data analytics, content development, media relations, reputation management, SEO, social media, strategy and the web.

Previously, digital efforts were decentralized and highly regionalized. Centralizing digital marketing into a guiding hub in the middle has meant much tighter communications throughout the system that includes nearly 50 hospitals and 80,000 caregivers. It also allowed AdventHealth leaders to quickly identify any trending opportunities across content and media so they could respond effectively.

Back in January, when COVID-19 began emerging in the U.S., AdventHealth was already tracking data and building its potential strategy. When the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, the system activated its digital response, immediately building a Coronavirus Resource Hub on its website. Especially during the early days with so many unknowns, this established AdventHealth as an expert source for consumers and online mentions of the system quadrupled.

As part of the earlier staffing of the new department, AdventHealth also added experts in search engine optimization and this helped the system to track trends as they started to emerge. With this information at hand, they created a dynamic set of messages about COVID-19 and how to seek care that addressed various consumer segments to help meet their current needs and drive them to the best care options.

Pivoting to Telehealth

Marketing leaders were prepared for the rapidly expanding need for telehealth and pivoted intentionally and immediately. The campaign promoting telehealth became one of the most successful digital marketing campaigns in the hospital system’s history with a more than 40 percent conversion rate in paid search.

Many consumers, they noticed, were not even sure where or how to seek care, so AdventHealth shifted its content approach to educate patients on the best pathways to find the information or services they needed amid the pandemic.

Without the centralized infrastructure, AdventHealth likely would have had all of its scattered regional teams attempting to respond to the pandemic on their own in piecemeal fashion. The centralization and emphasis on building a highly advanced team with deep experience enabled AdventHealth to respond effectively, serving consumers and building its brand.

Learning More

SHSMD members can read the full article from the most recent edition of Spectrum, including details on how Beaumont used patient stories, measured the impact of the campaign and maintained a consistent brand. Nonmembers, learn more about SHSMD and join. SHSMD members can also share resources, ideas and questions with peers in the MySHSMD community.

For more on responding to COVID-19, visit the SHSMD collection of COVID-19 resources, including links to AHA resources, the SHSMD podcast series COVID-19 Conversations and materials for crisis communications during COVID-19.

Cadieux and West are slated to share their story as part of SHSMD Connection 2020 Bytes, a virtual event scheduled for Oct. 26-28.

During the session — titled “Digital Marketing: Planning for the Unplanned” — the team will explore their methods of building out the team from scratch, its various components, and how the work helped prepare them for today’s crisis. They’ll also delve into some of the critical marketing technology tools (including social media monitoring and consumer segmentation software), digital strategies and results from the first four years, providing a few “thought starters” to guide your own process.

The session will also be available on-demand beginning in November.