Posted on December 9, 2011
By: John Corpus, Vice President,
Let us get the basics out of the way: employees are your most
important asset; the patient is always right; brand = promise =
experience! But, what does all of this mean?
Does your organization truly believe that its employees
are its most important asset? More importantly, do the
actions of your system demonstrate this? I am familiar with a
number of healthcare entities that tout this message, giving notice
to the public while trying to convince their employees at the same
time. Yet, actions mean more than words and usually indicate
Your employees are your strongest ambassadors: do they tell
their friends and families how much you value them or how much you
take advantage of them? Do they interact indifferently with
patients and complain about various aspects of work or are they
friendly and professional during patient interaction? Make sure
that the answers here are positive, for believe it or not, your
employees' actions will attest more to how you value them than you
Is the patient REALLY always right? We know
that this is not true. Does it matter? No! The concept of right or
wrong is second to the experience. Instead, ask yourself if the
patient walks away feeling respected, valued, and understood. Make
your employees feel this way, and it will trickle down to the
patients. In other words, treat them like they are your most
important asset and they will do the same with their patients.
Has your organization constructed a brand promise it can
keep? Perhaps even more important is whether the promise
is meaningful or desired by the patient. Think about it: did you
develop your brand promise based upon what patients want or upon
what you think patients want.
Patient-/customer-centered service development and enhancement
are paramount. Do it right the first time; determine what patients
want versus what you have to offer; determine what patients want to
buy before determining what you want to sell; continuously explore
the needs of your patients instead of believing that you know what
the patient needs.
Am I saying anything new? No. We tend to forget the basics
however, often getting lost in the bottom-line once business is
So, keep these points in mind:
- Stop telling everyone how your employees are your greatest
asset - it means nothing when every other organization is saying
the same thing. Be different: treat your employees as if they are
your most important asset; their actions and statements will speak
for themselves and are worth more than anything you can say.
- It does not matter if the patient is always right or sometimes
wrong. What does matter is making the patient feel respected,
valued, and understood, by turning any negative event into a
- Patient experience defines your brand promise. Make sure that
you are focused on the needs and desires of your patients versus
what works best for the organization and its bottom-line.
Posted on December 20, 2011
By: Kris Miskella, Account Executive, Legato Marketing
"Naughty or nice," "Santa's little helpers," "bah humbug," "ring
in the New Year." You're likely to hear a steady stream of these
phrases this time of year. You can "tis" and "twas" your way
through the entire holiday season. And while they may bring happy
feelings of nostalgia during the holidays, there is no place for
clichés in advertising.
We use clichés because they're easy and safe. But this type of
average work inevitably becomes white noise mixed in with the rest
of the advertisers on billboards, radio, online and elsewhere.
Healthcare advertisers are some of the worst offenders.
"Personal care," "high quality care," "skilled surgeons" and
"caring nurses" are a few of the most common headlines in the
healthcare industry. People expect skilled surgeons and caring
nurses, they're give-ins - not your competitive advantage.
It's scary, but it's time to stretch what's expected and
accepted in healthcare advertising. Stop treating healthcare as if
it's a fragile leg lamp (yes, another holiday cliché). Strong
advertising that will truly capture attention and make the audience
take notice has to be out-there. Dancing hamsters and shark focus
groups are unique and memorable, but just imagine if something like
that came out of a hospital. These days, any idea that seems
extreme shouldn't be tossed aside - it should be moved to the
'keeper' pile. Different works. As long as the message is
I'm not suggesting that a community hospital spend 30 percent of
its annual budget on a commercial full of dancing rodents. But
there are easy ways that healthcare organizations can start
Social Media. For an industry that relies
heavily on word-of-mouth and referrals, an active presence on
twitter and Facebook is vital but social media outlets are
also one of the easiest mediums for dipping your toes in
'out-there' marketing tactics. Ask your 'fans' to send a picture or
video of their craziest dance moves; people have tons of weird
talents that they love sharing with others - and this offers a
great opportunity to insert a 'we treat you like
the unique, one-of-a-kind patent you are' message. Hopefully
you end up with some wild videos that will keep potential patients
coming back for more.
Video. Use social media outlets to broadcast a
video that showcases the personality of your healthcare
organization. Video offers the opportunity to be a little
riskier than with traditional television while still taking
advantage of the medium's image-enhancing benefits. Have
your employees let loose on camera: people want to connect
with their healthcare providers and it's nice to see doctors and
nurses let down their guard.
Guerilla Marketing. Create awareness for your
organization with interactive campaigns in your
community. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch outline and next
to it write the message: "Hop to good health." Or, place a
fun-house mirror in a heavily trafficked area and paint this
message: "Laughter is good for your health." These techniques will
get people buzzing.
Advertising. Now is when you have to 'put your
money where your mouth is' and run with the concept that steps
'outside the box.' As long as the message is there, bizarre
concepts have the power to capture your audience's attention and
become memorable. Take a calculated risk and make sure to track
results. You'll likely see your courage pay off.
There are countless ways of stretching the boundaries of
healthcare marketing, but to avoid becoming a "Twelve Days of
Christmas" parody I'll stop here.
Posted on December 26, 2011
name is Mike Milligan, I'm 44, and I'm a healthcare nerd.
Ok, I've publicly declared what my teenage girls have said since
they could speak.
But, being comfortable with my high geek level, I took the day
after Christmas to finish up my self-study course on Competitive
Strategy from the American College of Healthcare Executives
And yes, I enjoyed it.
I appreciated the reminder about how differentiation and service
are so critical in healthcare. But not as always glaringly
obvious to me throughout the year, is that consumers need to value
that differentiation. Do consumers view the attributes of a
service as unique or different? In other words, why should
And this, my friends, is where marketing strategy comes in to
play. We as marketers need to help consumers not only
understand what makes our sleep center unique; they need to fully
understand and appreciate how this differentiation benefits
them. In other words, branding and awareness have their
roles, but so does good ol' fashioned persuasion.
Another takeaway for me is to not become complacent. I'll
encourage our clients to make sure we have our differentiation
defined for the various services before we advertise - and that we
don't rely on advertising to cover for poorly defined
strategies. We need to ask the tough questions, and use the
answers to define and refine our products and services into
market-ready profit centers.
Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy New Year,