5 ways to be a disruptive health care communicator
And, no, you don’t even need to dance on the tables to get your point across.
Sometimes, it’s hard being a marketing pro for a hospital. You have to help drive interest for a service many people in the community don’t really want.
(Who wants to go to a hospital?) Health care is a highly regulated industry and the culture of many hospitals tends to be conservative, which can
be stifling for creative types. Your internal stakeholders are not only strong-willed, but often fancy themselves marketers. Budgets are tight and
resources are stretched thin across competing departments.
No wonder many experienced hospital marketers feel like they’re suffering from extreme cognitive dissonance.
Time for us hospital marketers to face these challenges head-on, to engage in “disruptive” marketing within our organizations.
We can’t continue doing things the same old same old ways. Broadcast marketing has lost its effectiveness, although we might ask if TV and radio
advertising have ever been effective. I say it’s time to stop dismissing effective marketing strategies and tactics from other industries as “not relevant
to hospitals.” We can learn a lot from companies like Google, Starbucks and GM.
Let’s stop feeling stressed and afraid, and be more confident in our abilities. Here’s how:
Stop marketing from your organizational perspective—focus on the patient.
Only a few patients really care about the latest robotic advancements in your surgical suite, or who you nominated as the new CFO. They expect
your hospital to be innovative and fiscally sound. Find topics that are address their needs – like how they could easily connect with your services, or
how they could download forms. Or talk about your healthcare services in terms that are meaningful to them: back pain instead of back surgery.
Use measurement, not assumptions, to drive your decisions.
Hospital marketers often make decisions based on anecdotal evidence, assumptions, or worse what management feel to be true. Let’s leave
“truthiness” to Steven Colbert and start practicing evidence-based marketing. Measure what you’re doing to see what works and to discover what doesn’t.
It’s not just “one-and-done.”
After launching a new website or email marketing campaign, review how it’s doing and make improvements based on what you learn. If you have a campaign
that ends, debrief and note lessons learned. Good marketing is not a 100-yard dash where you finish quickly and collapse at the end; it’s a marathon.
Stay with it for the long haul.
Put people in the right roles, regardless of job description.
To positively affect a disruptive change, make sure that you’re working to your and your team’s strengths. Reach outside of your organization, if you
can, and enlist help from others. Got nurses who are good at social media? Let them help out. Build a flexible team responsive to the market’s needs
not just the org chart’s
Always do the right thing.
Even if it’s the hardest thing to do, doing the right thing is worth it. Converting your website to be patient-centric. Not letting a doctor dictate
your media spend. Whatever the “right thing” is, know that it yields the highest ROI. Don’t let office politics and inflated egos prevent you from
building the right marketing strategy to meet the business needs of your health care organization. To do this, strengthen your resolve and never give
up, even when you feel like you should
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