Patience is an overlooked virtue in the world of marketing and communications.

I know that’s not a popular sentiment, especially in our fast-paced, mobile-first, Google-everything world. Are you one of the people checking your smartphone an average of 52 times per day?

Digital marketing understandably was front and center at two great conferences Chartwell Agency recently attended and spoke at, organized by the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society and the Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations.

Several conference sessions also emphasized the importance of getting to know your audience better – both on the front end and after they’ve interacted with your brand. That’s where the patience comes in because doing this takes time and planning (something we advocate for through our facilitation and training service line). The desire to merely get more business is a complicated ask.

Let’s dive deeper into two ways to learn more about potential and current clients, customers and patients.

Map your patients’ journeys.

Using the health care patient as an example, we know the journey from need to research to evaluation to making a decision is more long-and-winding road rather than a straight path. If you’re kicking off a digital advertising campaign, you need to identify the demographics of the people you’re trying to target. Do you know the demographics of your current patients for individual service lines? Do you know the room for growth, both in capacity and target market?

Creating personas for your ideal patient is a good place to start. Another starting point is determining the various touchpoints these patients have with your brand. It’s important to invite the right people to the table for these discussions – that means involving more than just administrators and decisionmakers. The best way to learn about how people interact with your brand is by getting feedback from team members at those various touchpoints (registration, billing, medical records, etc.) and through focus groups comprised of individuals who’ve used your services.

Pay attention to your data and leads.

Do you have a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system? Are you mining the system for how individuals are responding to your marketing and using the data to determine your next steps? It’s OK if the answer is “no.” Progress, not perfection, right?

We often say that many advertising and marketing strategies can deliver people to your front door, whether that’s your website or your actual place of business. But the interaction and (hopefully) the eventual sale, transaction or appointment-booking is dependent on the efficiency of your people and your processes. There is gold in following up and following through – just ask anyone who’s been reminded by Amazon to buy a recently searched item.

Ultimately, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the who, what, why, when, where and how of promoting your brand, but these are all important questions to consider. Prioritizing patience in the process may translate into better, more qualified leads and outcomes. We can help create a strategy to help reach that destination.