That time of year

Use bad weather to your advantage, says marketing expert
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine – When the weather outside is frightful, HME providers should be taking advantage of opportunities to reach out to customers in a new way.

“The weather is always a topic of conversation,” said Justin Racine, marketing and e-commerce manager at Geriatric Medical. “It’s a good bridge to provide information to the patient that doesn’t seem intrusive—they are more open and receptive to it.”

Using predictive buying patterns for consumers based on the weather isn’t especially new in the greater retail world, but Racine says HME providers are less likely to apply the approach to their own marketing.

It’s too bad: A forecast of frigid temperatures that could exacerbate COPD symptoms, for instance, could serve as the basis of an email campaign, Racine says.

“(The message) can say, ‘The weather this weekend looks really cold, make sure you have enough medication, and here are the steps to take to ensure you do,’” he said.

The email can also contain tips for the patient to reduce the risk of a COPD outbreak, such as using a scarf or respiratory mask, Racine says.

“You are really looking to extend that relationship,” he said. “You’re not just selling product—you’re a resource and giving them tips to help them live better.”

With health care pushing more and more toward patient-centric models, and payments being tied more and more to outcomes, weather-based marketing is also one more way to strengthen referral relationships, Racine says.

“You can show that you are putting the patient’s best interest at heart,” he said. “Find what you are good at now and what you are doing really well, and use weather as a means to distribute the content.”