Posted on February 2, 2012
By: Mike Milligan, President Legato
Marketing & Communications
Ok, so you've invested time, energy and dollars into branding or
rebranding your hospital. Now it's time to get the word
out, right? How about getting the word
Before you invest in marketing tactics to communicate with
external audiences, it's important to get internal buy-in from your
employees. After all, who's going to follow through on the brand
promises you make to external audiences? You got it! Your
In the report, "Transforming Employees Into Brand Advocates,"
five best practices were uncovered after interviewing experts from
academia to healthcare. Here's a brief summary.
- Share: We marketers have a tendency to keep
activities brand-related activities within the confines of our own
department. We need to start sharing. Marketing plans, campaigns,
brand insights, customer information … Share it-across the
- Involve. How can we expect
employees to take ownership of a brand promise if they don't feel
like they play an active role in driving the direction of the
brand? Involved them. Let employees' voices be heard. And listen to
what they have to say.
- Personalize: Don't let your 'marketing' title
put you on a self-proclaimed pedestal. Create a personal connection
with other employees. All of them. Help each employee understand
what the brand promise means-every day-in every role they
- Enable: Don't just tell employees what to do,
show them. Train them. Create guidelines for behavior. Let them
participate in hiring decisions for customer-facing employees. And
empower them to do what's right for the customer.
- Reinforce: Build off of the momentum employees
are creating. Small and large-scale recognition practices can help
employees stay energized about following through on brand
Got the T-shirt, now what? Keep in mind that
employee brand advocacy isn't created overnight with a free
T-shirt, a bumper sticker or an email from upper management. It
takes a concerted, continuous effort from everyone from the top
down-all the way down.
Once your employees are on the brandwagon, then-and only
then-can you truly fulfill your brand promises to your
Posted on February 7, 2012
OK, so you've invested a lot of time and money into
developing a website that will WOW your customers. But building
your website is only half of the battle. Marketing it is the
conquest that follows.
I won't get into the technical aspects of getting people to your
site (at least not in this post). Instead, let's focus on some
basic marketing tactics to drive people to your landing page.
Think you've already thought of everything? Think again. It
never hurts to check and cross-check to make sure you're leveraging
every opportunity to drive traffic to your site.
Sometimes, the most obvious avenues have been overlooked
because, quite frankly, they're blatantly obvious. Have you ever
received an invitation to an event or run an ad that inadvertently
left out a date, a time or a call to action? I rest my case.
Many organizations assume they have all of their marketing bases
covered when it comes to promoting their website. They put their
URL on business cards, letterhead, brochures, invoices-everything
that's fit to print.
Good start. But let's not forget the other not-so-top-of-mind
marketing opportunities, like:
- Becoming an active member in, and contributor to, forums that
are related to your site. Be sure to include your website link in
your forum signature.
- Submitting your site to healthcare industry-related
- Including your URL on videos you post on YouTube or other
- Exchanging links with reputable and respected sites that are
related to your business.
- Putting your URL on employee uniforms under the logo.
- Including the URL on employee nametags-at work, community
events-wherever nametags might be worn.
- Including your URL in your phone book ad.
- Putting your URL on company vehicles.
- Labeling your waiting room magazines, "Provided by …" with your
- Joining an industry chat group that allows your URL to be your
Don't let an opportunity to promote your URL pass by. With an
estimated 366, 848,000+ sites on the worldwide web, you can't
afford to have your site out of
Posted on February 13, 2012
Have you ever done a web search for "healthcare marketing?" Ever
look at how many results come up? I did: About 19,000,000 just
today. Or how about "rural healthcare marketing?" Just a measly
For both of these terms, I'm pleased to report that
Legato consistently ranks in the top 5 of organic Google listing,
and often is #1. I say this not to be boastful, but rather, to make
the point that these results don't just happen. They're part of
your marketing strategy, or, at least they should be.
Of course, I'm talking about Search Engine Optimization-or 'SEO'
Put simply, SEO strategies use keywords to maximize the amount
of traffic-relevant traffic-to your website. It's a
targeted way of driving people to your site who are specifically
looking for the services you provide.
SEO can help you:
- Get targeted traffic to your site. If consumers or patients
have entered your website's keywords/phrases into a search engine,
they're already interested in what you have to offer.
- Strengthen your brand. If your site gets a higher ranking than
other hospitals, more people see your name and become aware of your
- Stay ahead of your competition. Showing up on a page before
your competition can help increase the perceived position of your
hospital in the marketplace.
- Build brand credibility. When consumers find you organically,
they're usually more likely to bookmark your site, spend more time
on your site and return to your site and/or use your services.
SEO is a powerful tool. But maximizing search engine
rank-and-return positioning can be complex. If you don't have the
internal staff to help you develop an effective SEO campaign, it's
worth the investment to seek some help.
Surveys indicate that up to 85% of Internet users find websites
through search engines. However, the majority (some say up to 90%)
of Internet users don't go past the top 30 search engine results-at
most. They simply type something else in if they can't find a
With statistics like these, there is no doubt that the battle
for pole position on the search engine leader board will continue
to heat up.
So I ask … "Ladies and gentlemen: Are you ready to start your
Posted on February 16, 2012
By: Mike Milligan, President Legato Marketing and
Marketing and advertising. It's six of one, half-a-dozen of the
other-or so many mistakenly think.
No matter how often the two terms are inadvertently
interchanged, marketing is not the same as advertising. Advertising
is, however, part of marketing-but only one part.
Sure, you can take a shot in the dark with your advertising and
play a game of hit (barely) or miss (big time), but without
marketing, you won't even have a target to shoot at. Why?
Because marketing encompasses everything from identifying and
understanding your target market to how you'll reach those
consumers (which is where advertising comes in) and how you'll
differentiate yourself from the competition to get consumers to use
In addition to advertising, marketing includes other important
elements like market research, media planning, PR, product and
service pricing and distribution, brand development, community
involvement … It encompasses every touch point; every experience
consumers and prospects have with your organization.
That's why it not only makes sense to have a solid marketing
plan in place before you advertise, it's also critical to your
success. A comprehensive marketing plan can help you:
- Identify new/potential consumers
- Identify your strengths and areas for improvement
- Identify consumers' needs and wants
- Determine the demand for specific services
- Identify areas for growth
- Keep your budget and initiatives on track
- Respond to new opportunities
- Get your entire organization on the same page
- Evaluate your efforts and make adjustments
The list goes on, but I think you get the picture.
Yes, advertising is an important part of marketing. But it's not
a silver bullet. Before you take aim at developing a 'great
creative campaign,' make sure you have a comprehensive marketing
plan in your sights.
If you think it's hard to hit a moving target, try hitting one
you don't even know exists!
Posted on February 21, 2012
By: Mike Milligan, President Legato
Marketing & Communications
Your brand is what differentiates your hospital or clinic from
the competition. It's the veritable DNA of your organization.
That's why it's critical to conduct periodic audits to diagnose the
overall health of your brand.
A brand audit can provide a qualitative snapshot of how
consumers and stakeholders perceive your organization, its
professionals and its services. While branding research normally
looks at one audience (i.e., consumers), a complete brand audit
assesses relationships with all of the important stakeholders of
your brand, including both internal and external audiences.
For example, an audit can help you:
- Test for name recognition and guide strategic decisions in
market segmentation and messaging
- Determine how your brand is being managed, marketed and audited
- Assess your brand's strengths, weaknesses and inconsistencies,
as well as potential threats
- Identify growth opportunities including those achieved by brand
repositioning and brand extension
- Build greater efficiencies in your brand's communications
- Assess the consistency of your brand with consumer
- Define niche markets and related messaging
Brand audits can provide a roadmap you can follow to ensure
consistency in the way your organization is promoted and perceived,
which can ultimately strengthen your brand. And you know what that
A strong brand translates into customer loyalty. Customer
loyalty translates into increased revenue. And increased revenue
keeps your organization growing at a healthy rate.
Today, consumers define brands based on their emotional,
experiential and economic interactions. They will ultimately choose
the best-branded healthcare organization; an organization they
trust. Make sure it's yours.
Posted on February 27, 2012
By: Mike Milligan, President Legato Marketing &
With all the buzz about incorporating social media into the
marketing mix, many organizations believe they have left no stone
unturned or Twitter un-tweeted. But take a closer look and you'll
find that many haven't fully developed their 'social skills'.
While most hospitals and clinics have developed a functional
website and have dabbled in social networking, many have overlooked
other ways to tap into the social web to reach business goals. Take
training for example.
Including social media in healthcare training initiatives can
- Participants a forum to ask questions and engage in discussion
before and after training.
- Allow presenters to receive immediate feedback from
participants (e.g., do trainees fully understand a subject or is
more information needed?).
- The opportunity to complement marketing efforts by sharing
presentations or video from training sessions on Flickr and other
Another example: Using social media channels to get coverage
from mainstream media and industry publications.
One way to do this is to share success stories from innovative
treatments, surgeries or medical research via forums, blogs and
microblogs. Roughly 70 percent of journalists say they use social
networks to assist them when reporting. Take advantage of this
Another example … While it may not happen often, a natural
disaster such as flooding or a tornado can take its toll on a
community within minutes. And hospitals are often at the center of
it all. Healthcare providers can leverage social media networks to
provide real-time updates both for those directly affected by the
crisis and those watching from afar.
Long story short … Social media has many applications. Don't get
stuck in a web of doing what everyone else is doing. Constantly
refine your social skills. Your efforts can pay off in many
forms-from building trust and improving patient care-to gaining
media coverage, and attracting new patients and staff.