Why Your Healthcare Organization Needs Effective Patient Personas

Examine the big picture of healthcare patient personas, and why they are critical to your marketing strategy.

When it comes to understanding your audience, the advantage is in the details. You may already be using audience segmentation to best support your current customers. However, there is still a need to develop an understanding of prospective customers and leads. Using extensive data and research, and a little creativity, patient personas can be developed as a tool to identify ideal customers on an individual level, thus strengthening your targeting.


What is Patient Persona?

A patient persona is a semi-fictionalized profile of your company’s ideal customer. Think of it like writing a story about your organization. If you were to cast someone in the role of customer, what would that person look, feel, and act like?



There is often a need to create more than one patient persona to represent your different ideal customers based on the product, service, where they fall in the patient journey, etc. That said, as you go through the segmentation process and begin to create patient personas, your organization’s story becomes a bit more complex.

Patient personas are backed by extensive data and research to ensure that they are an accurate representation of the real customers your organization intends to target. They are then used to help inform your marketing team’s decision-making.


Why Do Healthcare Companies Need Patient Personas?

Buyer personas have become an industry standard for CPG brands, but their use as “patient personas” are becoming increasingly relevant in the healthcare space.

Today’s consumers are more equipped with information and are empowered to make decisions about the products and services they choose. Further, end-users and B2B clients alike are inundated with choices and have more flexibility than ever in where they choose to grow their business.

That said, it is critical that you know who your ideal customer is and can target them at the right place, at the right time, with the right message. Not every customer or patient is a good fit, and your marketing strategy should acknowledge this. Patient personas allow you to develop a deep understanding of your customer and revise your strategy accordingly.


Patient personas can help to identify and inform:

  • • Content type (ad, blog, social posts, etc.)
    • Media outlets and channel
    • Product and service development
    • Sales cycle

  • • Customer experience
    • Personalization
    • Messaging

Patient Personas vs Segmentation

Patient personas and Segmentation are complementary marketing tools used to gain in-depth and accurate customer targeting. The segmentation process and development of patient personas go hand-in-hand. They are distinct devices that need separate processes and strategies to develop and implement.


    Audience segments are groups derived from a large body of data and organized into smaller subsets of personas that share specific criteria. These personas are commonly segmented by demographics, psychographics, geographic, behavior, and more.


    Patient personas on the other hand represent an individual rather than a group. They mirror shared data that can include information such as names, hobbies, interests, motivations, beliefs, and more.

Both segments and patient personas are used to target customers and often share data. However, patient personas dig a little deeper into the mindset and characteristics of an individual ideal customer. Together segmentation and patient personas are powerful tools for identifying and targeting customers.

Click here to learn more about audience segmentation!


Practical Application

To illustrate the potential of patient personas, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario. Say your company targets mid to upper-level hospital decision-makers. Within this broad category, there are several segments and further, several personas. Within a segment, you can determine an ideal customer and start creating a patient persona.

You can start by identifying the demographics and background of the decision-maker. Think about where they fall in the patient journey. Then dig a little deeper. Consider their beliefs, goals, motivations, etc.

As you use research to determine these factors, you will start to see a dynamic individual materialize. This persona can then be used to guide where, when, and how you target real customers that identify with it.

For example, take this persona we helped develop for a client in the cardiovascular space.

Creating this tool allowed the client to identify that their ideal customer is well-versed in technology and conducts her research online. This information can be used to develop messaging that is targeted to tech-natives on research platforms.

Further, she has a significant background in the cardiovascular field and her cognitive style is informal. That said, messaging should be knowledgeable, but not stiff.


The Benefits of Patient Personas:

The bottom line: patient personas are a powerful tool.

Not convinced? Take a look at the findings from research conducted by the Marketing Insider Group:

  • 93%

    of companies exceeded lean and revenue goals using patient personas

  • 36%

    of companies created shorter sales cycles with the help of patient personas

  • 56%

    of companies generated higher quality leads using patient personas

While clinicians and patients may share characteristics, we all primarily operate as individuals. The way we think, act, and make decisions is unique to us. Taking the time to conduct thorough market research, analyze customer data, and utilize advanced analytics tools will help your business drive meaningful connections with customers, create highly personalized campaigns, and achieve long-term success in your industry.

As you can see, clearly defined patient personas can empower you to reach the right person with the right message to drive conversion and help your organization thrive.

At Grayduck Health, our services are designed to get to the heart of your target patient audiences and bring them to life as individuals. Ready to add personas to your marketing strategy? Contact us to get started.

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