When it comes to executing digital tactics for any healthcare company, one of the first strategies and tactics everyone lands on is building or redesigning a branded or unbranded website. This happens, from what I can tell, for two reasons:
- The agency in question is looking to create the bedrock of an overall ecosystem that they can leverage into multiple versions (i.e., creating positive net income over an extended period of time).
- The website has become the single most ubiquitous digital property everyone has some attachment to and gravitational pull toward. In short, the website build or redesign is a go-to healthcare agency/client sell/ask simply because everyone involved knows what it is, how they think it should function, and most importantly, they believe it’s the one bedrock tool every consumer is looking for to drive awareness and/or conversions.
But here’s the thing: What if we’re all wrong? What if the premise that the simplest explanation tends to be the best is too simple a premise to work from?
What if our collective knowledge of website = good because of mass appeal/knowledge is skewed too heavily to what we think we know rather than reevaluating the metric for what the project KPIs call for?
A website is like an island in that unless something is driving to it, it will sit in the wilderness alone without anyone knowing it is there. In essence, a website needs the wind to blow its direction if, like Tom Hanks, it is ever to be found.
Yet, what happens if instead of constructing an ecosystem around the premise of an island floating along on its own accord, we structure a healthcare engagement ecosystem around third-party platforms we can use to generate traffic to a specific KPI embedded in that very same platform?
Social as KPI Transit
Typically, social is used as a driver to a landing page or deep-linked content within an unbranded/branded website. This doesn’t have to be the case. If your client has the goal of generating leads, drumming up donations, or building a DB of solid leads based on content-funneling and targeted ad buys, the social platform itself — Facebook/Twitter/Instagram — can serve as the main point of entry and exit to reach a KPI.
In that scenario, wherein many social platforms have the built-in capabilities of lead capture, targeted ad buys, direct donations, and intra-platform content marketing, why is a website even needed? If the platform itself — the driver — can serve as the landing page, lead generator, and conversion tool, why can’t it be looked at as the main source of KPI achievement? The movement is already underway, as shown below.
In other words, if the social platform can serve as both driver and landing, why is a website build needed?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the mindset (like most people) that a website is the online calling card for a brand — a needed destination in which to funnel consumers and clients through. I’m fully aware that what I’m stating flies in the convention of common thought; however, all the signs around us point to the fact that websites — as a whole — are much less important now than any time in the past decade.
With this in mind, what happens when we are wrong?
What happens when the website dies and advertising dollars prove to be of better use in constructing a healthcare ecosystem around the basis of social and driver transit rather than an evolving website?
If this comes to pass, it would usher in a new model for pharma advertising and marketing, one that transitions away from the bedrock of websites in favor of the transit of social with more power to the patient, caregiver, and health care professional.
Brad Yale can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. He believes data rigor, not gut feelings, should be the execution basis for all marketing tactics and optimizations.