I have become a connoisseur of healthcare marketing messages over the years and am often underwhelmed. From billboards to TV and radio ads, I can spot a useless ad campaign within five seconds or 500 feet. The marketer, I predict, was roped into promoting something based on one person’s ego.
For example: Some organization buys an expensive piece of diagnostic equipment and then thinks that everyone and their mother need to know about it. Here’s the problem… nobody cares about the technology unless it will make their lives better. You need to answer the consumer’s one and only question which is; what’s in it for me? (WIIFM)
From the Consumer’s Vantage Point
Let’s look at a more specific example from the consumer’s vantage point. A radiology department purchases the latest and greatest in digital mammography advertises the heck out of it. That’s great but what I, the consumer, want is timely results. You’ve got the great technology but WIIFM? Who is getting my results to me? How soon will I get them? Will I get them while on site? Will you be calling, sending me an e-mail or do I wait for snail mail for two weeks? Don’t tell me about the widget. Tell me how it’s going to make my life better. How about using that great machine to do my mammogram on the same day as my annual exam and pap? After all, both segments of the female anatomy are attached to the same person. And that person would like you to respect her time.
Here’s another healthcare marketing example. Your billboards say that you can have same day access. When I call, I am told that there will be a two week wait, because I am a new patient. This is a common occurrence in our mystery shopping experiences. If you really only have same day access for your established patients, wouldn’t it make more sense to send them a letter and let them know rather than promising the rest of us something that you have no intention of delivering?
What about rankings and awards?
And please don’t brag to me about your rankings and awards unless it means that you can deliver a consistently positive experience when I come into your hospital, medical practice or ambulatory center. Because frankly, I (your consumer) expect you to know what you are doing and to do the right the first time. I don’t care about awards unless it means I can be guaranteed a better experience – every single time.
Your consumers are more sophisticated than ever. They are on the internet looking up symptoms, treatments, costs and providers. They are becoming well versed in quality, safety and satisfaction data available on line and take that information into consideration when they make medical decisions. So when you advertise your awards and high tech machinery, just remember that your patients are looking up your scorecards and they will judge for themselves when they come in contact with you. Make sure that your messages are consistent with the experience. Then and only then, will you earn consumer trust and loyalty.