By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

A few years ago, I presented at a conference for marketers who worked for gas and electric utility companies. Before the presentation, I researched customer attitudes about power utilities. The findings revealed high levels of dissatisfaction with the format of electric and gas utility bills. Customers were also frustrated with utility websites, particularly when accessing them through smartphones. They complained that they often couldn’t get answers to basic questions, such as: How much do I owe? When will someone work on the power outage on my street?

The research pointed to a basic content marketing problem the industry faced: Customers were getting a monthly reminder of how poorly they were being communicated with.

In healthcare, there’s a similar problem. We talk about ways to engage customers with content—building brand awareness and making them more likely to choose Provider X when a care need emerges. But there are basic customer interactions more in need of fixing—confusing medical bills, for example, are prominent among the problems.

AARP recently sponsored a A Bill You Can Understand, a competition in which groups were invited to submit redesigned medical bills and a new way to process billing. (The website has a lot of information about the problem, the challenge and how the winner approached redesigning a better bill.)

We sometimes think of content marketing as an effort to generate customers. But what about after the sale, when those customers become “owners” of your product? Great content marketing is about more than one transaction. It’s about building sustainable customer relationships by helping customers use your product, not hyping your product or service.

Think of owner’s manuals, Q&A segments of websites and bills as examples of where content can be written in more of a compassionate, human voice and designed to be more intuitive and helpful. Patients who are presented with better content might be more likely to seek care, be more compliant with care instructions—and actually understand how to pay their bills.







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