Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare marketing

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion In Healthcare Marketing

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts are growing in influence and healthcare organizations are looking for more impactful ways to prioritize DEI in their core marketing and content strategies. Even though it requires putting in extra effort, and reviewing an already established marketing strategy and assets, weaving DEI principles into marketing efforts can greatly benefit organizations, their employees, and the communities they serve. 


Start from within by building a strong, transparent DEI program


It may seem obvious, but the marketing team should not be solely responsible for outlining and implementing DEI initiatives, it must be an organization-wide conversation. Embracing DEI can lead to more effective patient care, a better understanding of diverse patient needs, and an enhanced reputation in the community. If your organization has not started on your DEI journey, hosting roundtable discussions is a great way to get started, build momentum, and create buy-in from all stakeholders. These discussions can provide valuable insights from employees of varied backgrounds, helping the organization understand the diverse needs and perspectives of both staff and patients. If you have started your DEI journey, the marketing team should be poised and ready to communicate that with all stakeholders. 


Spend time communicating DEI principles internally


It’s crucial for healthcare organizations to ensure their values and initiatives around DEI are not only accurate but transparent and well-communicated internally as part of a robust endomarketing (internal) strategy. Endomarketing is just as vital, especially as a multi-location, multi-speciality healthcare organization, as the external components, sometimes even more so.  This internal transparency fosters trust and a sense of belonging among employees, which naturally extends to patient care. To start, consider infusing DEI messaging into existing content, showing a commitment to diversity without making it the sole focus. You should also be soliciting regular feedback from employees. 


Integrating DEI into existing marketing and content strategies 


Healthcare organizations have many opportunities to tell unique stories which should reflect the organization’s commitment to DEI. From transformative messaging to website accessibility, incorporating DEI principles into an existing marketing and content strategy can range in priority and depth. Some of the most successful attempts at integrating DEI have been those that ask the right questions and bring to light new perspectives. 


  1. Do not create a DEI-specific campaign for marketing. Rather, it’s essential to embed these values genuinely and factually in all organizational communications, not use them as fodder for marketing materials. This will not be appreciated by your audience, and every time you try to boast about your DEI initiatives, it will seem disingenuous. Instead, what you can do is address the issues that your diverse audience might be facing. For instance, over 50% of women missed or skipped a preventative care appointment and 47% of LGBTQ people say they feel dismissed in a medical setting. Touching on these statistics in a patient-centric way shows an organization’s willingness to have the tough conversations and support patients from diverse backgrounds without outright boasting about a DEI program. 
  2. Regularly review and reflect on your organization’s messaging, objectives, and goals through a DEI lens. Your healthcare organization’s commitment to DEI should be evident in all messaging around services, achievements, and community engagement, across all mediums. For example, patient success stories, staff testimonials, and community outreach programs should naturally demonstrate the organization’s inclusive culture. Ask the following questions as you evaluate your strategy:a. Do the stories you are telling reflect your key demographic?
    b. Are you using inclusive, gender-neutral wording?
    c. Would this offend your audience?
    d. Are you using idioms or turns of phrase that are outdated or unclear?


  3. Gather feedback from employees, especially those not directly involved in marketing, to provide a fresh perspective on how the organization’s DEI efforts are perceived internally and externally. This feedback can be invaluable in fine-tuning your DEI approach. Additionally, employees that spend the most time with patients will have unique insights into the lives of this diverse audience. Use this information to build meaningful campaigns that help employees provide more holistic and informed care and patients get access to the care they deserve.
  4. Use inclusive imagery and ensure accessibility for websites and marketing materials. Ensuring that websites and resources are accessible to people of diverse backgrounds, including language translation and alternate hearing and vision options, is crucial to success. This practice not only reflects a commitment to DEI, but also improves the patient experience. If your patients walk into an office with hard-to-read and English-language only posters, it’s going to feel very unwelcoming for a lot of them. Luckily, you can take small steps to embrace the diversity of the communities you serve, which will go a long way in creating satisfied patients.
  5. Double down on DEI in recruitment marketing. Aligning recruitment efforts with DEI principles is essential for building a diverse and inclusive workforce. Healthcare organizations should strive to attract candidates from various backgrounds, enhancing the organization’s ability to cater to a diverse patient base. To attract diverse candidates, ensure you are varying the posting channel and requirements when possible and using language that aligns with your diverse audience.

Integrating DEI into marketing strategies should not be about checking a box on a list of best practices. DEI is about genuinely understanding and reflecting the diverse world we live in. For healthcare organizations, this means not only better marketing outcomes but also an enhanced ability to provide care that resonates with and meets the needs of all patients. If you need more guidance on how to approach DEI in marketing, contact MDG. We’ve worked with a variety of healthcare organizations to build comprehensive, DEI-forward marketing and content strategies that convert.