Because it’s not believable.
Too many hospitals make too many claims about rankings, technology, and quality measures — industry jargon that causes consumers’ eyes to glaze over. It’s too much chest-thumping. Consumers in focus groups yawn and point out that all hospitals claim they’re the best, the first, and the only.
End result? They don’t believe any of it. And the chance to forge a meaningful, lasting connection with consumers is wasted.
The strongest brands are rooted in emotion, and health care is an inherently emotional product to sell. In its purest form, it’s about the dazzling moment your first child is born; the nervous optimism when your father survives a stroke; the way your life comes into sharp focus at the news that the cancer hasn’t come back. Why, then, do we strip hospital advertising of its emotion and talk about health care like we’re selling cars? (Does “Rated #1 by JD Powers & Associates” come to mind?)
Consumers are also bored by hospital advertising because so many hospitals walk and talk the same. Nationally ranked academic medical centers and community hospitals alike claim “world class medicine.” If Hospital A gets robotic surgery and promotes it, then Hospital B gets robotic surgery and promotes it — despite the fact that consumer focus groups say that the idea of robotic surgery is not something they’re interested in.
Let’s stop the madness and start doing it right. Let’s remember who we’re marketing to. Our audience is the patient, the nervous mother of three who just found a lump in her breast and is looking for information that gives her hope. The daughter whose father has a hip that just doesn’t work very well any more. Real people with real worries.
Because in the end it’s not about rankings, technology, or quality measures. It’s about making a Real Connection™ between the patient’s life and your care. You can amuse them, entertain them, bring them to tears — just don’t bore them.
Tracy has retired from our executive leadership team, but her insights will continue to ring true.