Avoid These Healthcare Marketing Mistakes
Oops! Are You Sabotaging Your Marketing Efforts Without Even Knowing It?
We’ve been around the block a time or two in our 30-plus years. We’ve helped countless healthcare organizations create meaningful, engaging relationships with their patients and clinicians, developed communications strategies that deliver solutions to the toughest of challenges, and streamlined marketing efforts to save our clients time and money.
We asked a few folks from our team to share the most common marketing mistakes that plague even the greatest of healthcare organizations—and what to do about them. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Amy Stem, Account Manager
“Stop speaking to your audience like they’re physicians. I’m seeing it firsthand with some clients. They’re revamping their website and have made each point of contact for their specific area or specialty responsible for producing content. Therefore, the content is not consistent and often speaks directly to a medical audience. We suggest having a third party (Graphcom, hopefully!) get involved with creating content so it is easily digested by anyone who reads it and one consistent voice.
Another client had to cancel events after investing marketing dollars due to lack of interest. In regards to event promotion and awareness of special days, don’t promote your event too late so people can plan on attending. And, don’t promote the event via one medium only—remember that different methods target different people.
Remember to not only target the demographic of your event’s specific audience, but keep in mind that family and friends can help spread the word as well. (For example, a middle-aged daughter may see an event on Facebook that would be a great fit for her elderly parent.) Promote the event well in advance in a number of ways, including postcards, emailers, social media, flyers at various locations, and digital ads.
Remember to track the attendance and capture information. This could include information specific to the attendees as well as marketing information like “how did you hear about this event?” This will help to streamline your marketing efforts and guarantee that similar events are more profitable in the future. Remember to include the event on your organization’s online event calendar and social media as well.
2. Caitlin Sieg, Business Development Specialist
“Stop lecturing/educating and being clinical with messaging. Instead, focus on being inspirational to move people to act and engage.
Tear down the silos. Many healthcare organizations have created department silos. Creating an integrated strategy between all departments will lead to better messaging and efficiencies, and cost savings.
Catch up on integration digitally. Healthcare systems should focus on integrating their websites, patient portals, electronic medical records, and more so patients and staff have a smooth, more personalized experience online. The user shouldn’t know they’re in different systems. It should be one unified look and feel across all systems.”
3. Dave Sandoe, Executive Vice President and Director of Business Development
“Stop not insisting that everything is measurable. Every marketing project should have clearly defined goals and an agreed-upon goal within the project team assigned to it regarding what success looks like. Having a clearly defined goal and using analytics that are built into the project from the beginning as a way to measure the effectiveness of the outreach are critical in today’s marketing world.
Marketing budget dollars are a precious, premium resource. They need to be spent wisely with the highest potential for success and increased response from the target audience. Using analytics allows us to measure what happened in the past to help shape future outreach, but also, as the database grows with new information, additional campaigns can be shaped to further meet the audience where they are and when they want to be reached.
Over time, the information from the analytics can become predictive, so marketers can further maximize their marketing dollars by spending them on the audience with the highest likelihood to respond to their message. These best practice tactics reduce waste, help increase efficiency, and increase ROI.”
4. Kristin Hundley, Business Development Specialist
“Stop talking about your new machines or technology. Referred to as ‘chest beating,’ it’s a turn-off for customers because it comes off as bragging.
Instead, make an emotional connection by telling a story with a message that focuses on the consumer.”
5. Mark Brooks, Business Development Specialist
“Don’t be single-channeled. Every good marketing strategy uses multiple media tools to reach their audience. Email outreach can be effective and inexpensive, but print still has higher response rates. A varied approach gives the best opportunity for success.
Also, don’t be a stranger. Variable data marketing pieces allow you to speak directly to a recipient by name and/or demographic, not at a ‘member.'”
6. Ashley Woodford, Business Development Specialist
“In my experience with healthcare systems, because there are so many departments and because the marketing department can’t always watch them so closely, people tend to run wild with their brand, which discredits their marketing and tarnishes their identity.
For this reason, healthcare marketing folks should stop turning an eye to this, and instead provide others with appropriate brand standards guidelines, a library of digital assets that are at their disposal when creating work that doesn’t necessarily flow through the marketing department, and a formal process for getting approval on said materials before they hit the streets.”
7. Troy Dean, Vice President of Creative
“Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same tactic as previous months/years because ‘it’s what you’ve always done.’
Try reassessing some of your campaigns this year and determine what variables you can adjust to try and improve your results. Consider new platforms and methods of outreach, consider mixing in some forms of marketing that you haven’t used in the past, and be sure to measure your results to understand what moves are proving to be successful.”
8. Kelly Brooks, Creative Director
“Don’t rely solely on written content marketing. Do embrace the use of video, too.
Don’t forget about internal marketing efforts. Do shine a spotlight on employees and embrace a team culture.
Don’t ignore the financial strain of healthcare on many families today. Do promote community wellness events and other initiatives to help lower- and middle-income populations.”
9. Matt Livelsberger, President
“To secure is human.
Today’s headlines are filled with news of breaches resulting in thousands and sometimes millions of records being exposed. With today’s technology and the layers upon layers of security, how can this continue to occur? Are attackers staying one step ahead of security professionals? In some cases, yes, but in far too many cases the actual breach was not caused by a new technical vulnerability. Quite the opposite, in fact — most times, it’s the oldest vulnerability that’s at fault. Humans.
Creating and maintaining a truly secure operation requires ongoing vigilance and regular education. Fostering a culture of security is essential when handling sensitive data. We’re all human, and we all have basically the same tendencies. It can be particularly dangerous to lean too much on the technology safeguards that you may have in place and become a bit relaxed.
Keep vigilant and keep educating your staff about security — after all, the worst way to get your client on the news is by having a security breach!
10. Jennifer Yingling, Account Manager
“Don’t smash messaging for multiple audiences into one outreach/call to action/collateral.
Do segment your audience. Determine what you want to achieve and who in your audience segment can help you achieve that. Then, segment those groups based on what’s important to them. Craft messaging and imagery, as well as calls to action, to each of these audience segments to get the best return on your time and marketing dollars.”