January 11, 2010
Hospitals should be careful advertising wait times for their ER. It could be misleading.
Some hospitals are now advertising wait times for their ER. Such tactics are receiving much publicity and attention. Hospitals are using digital billboards or referencing websites where patients can see current wait times. On the one hand, these hospitals should be applauded for communicating relevant patient information and for being aggressive with their marketing. But there are some points that should be considered before advertising wait times.
Wait times at a hospital’s ER are always fluid. Circumstances can drastically change wait times. Serious injuries that are presented at the ER will take precedence over less serious ones. Should that happen, the patient could feel seriously misled by the information advertised. A person with chest pains could think they would have to wait a certain length of time based on advertised times and not realize they would receive treatment priority regardless of wait times.
“Frankly, my opinion is that it’s a very bad idea to put waiting times up on a billboard,” stated Dr. David Seaberg, an American College of Emergency Physicians board member and dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga for an article in the Los Angeles Times. “When you get seen is a very complex process….To put out a number can be misleading.”
A few hospitals are also buying a service that allows a patient to go online and for a fee, reserve a time to be seen. This is a bit risky because a patient doesn’t always know how serious their condition is. While they had rather wait at home instead of in an ER, they would be much safer in an ER in case complications develop or conditions worsen. Additionally, in essence, to “sell” appointment times seems a bit inappropriate for healthcare organizations.
Again, marketing aggressiveness and a hospital’s efforts to be transparent and communicate helpful consumer information is to be commended. But a hospital has the obligation to act responsibly and to do what’s best in patient care. It can be questioned if advertising ER wait times is fulfilling that obligation.
When it comes to advertising ER wait times, perhaps the best thing to do is wait?
January 11, 2010
Relying on niche marketing may cost you the opportunity to reach a new audience and grow your brand.
Mass marketing is becoming more difficult due to fragmented media. Mass marketing often means paying for wasted exposure…exposure that is not effective for your brand. And mass marketing can be more costly. So the current trend is to niche market. To narrowly target audiences. To allocate time and resources to reach a narrowly defined audience of current or highly potential audience. And there are valid arguments for such a marketing approach.
However, there is a significant downside. You may be missing the opportunity to develop new customers and new markets. Advertising has the ability to expose consumers to new ideas, new options and choices. Consumers may never know they would want to try a product or service without advertising that exposes the consumer to that product or service. Consumers may not know they have choices without exposure to advertising.
One of the great attributes of advertising in a free enterprise system is its ability to create a mass market by creating awareness for the product or service. In an interview in Forbes of Susan Credle, U.S. chief office of Publicis Leo Burnett, Chicago, Credle states it very well, “Unlike a lot of people who claim advertising pushes products on people, I’ve always believed advertising exposes people to choices. Advertising might show me something that I’d never thought about before, something that might make a difference in my life. And on the business side, brands might find people they never knew would love them. When I was in high school I saw a Chanel spot shot by Ridley Scott: Share the Fantasy. Was I the target? Absolutely not. Did I go out and buy Chanel No. 5? Yes. And do I still buy Chanel products today? Yes. All because of an ad I never would have seen if they were narrowly targeting”.
Niche marketing has it advantages. But so does mass marketing. To solely rely on niche or narrow marketing, you could be missing the opportunity to attract new customers and create new markets. It could limit your customer base to a niche and never reach a potentially strong and profitable market.
November 29, 2009
Newspapers provide strong reach as large numbers of adults access news either in print or online.
Many have written newspapers off. It’s not considered to be a viable advertising medium by some. Newspaper advertising revenues, down 45% in the last four years, seem to support this.
However, Scarborough’s latest Integrated Newspaper Audience study revealed that 74% of American adults either read a newspaper or visit a newspaper Web site at least once a week. Even though the Audit Bureau of Circulations shows a 14% decline in audience of the 125 largest newspapers since 2004, newspapers still reach 171 million Americans.
Erik Sass reported in the November 17th issue of MediaPost that newspapers deliver even higher readership among the well-heeled and well-educated. He cites that the Scarborough study indicates that 79% of white-collar workers, 82% of adults with household incomes over $100,000 and 84% of college graduates have read a newspaper in the past week.
It must be noted that a growing number of adults access the print medium online. A Nielson Online study for the Newspaper Association of America indicates that unique monthly visits to newspaper websites have increased from 41.1 million in 2004 to 71.8 million in 2009.
So even though there is much written about the death of American newspapers, they still provide a great reach opportunity. With the combination of space advertising and online advertising, newspapers can still be effective at reaching a large audience, especially among the more affluent and well-educated. And in smaller markets, community newspapers can even provide stronger audiences. Newspapers still have a place in the media plans of local hospitals.
Americans receive their news in new and various ways. Certainly this affects media strategies. But newspapers can’t be written off. Either in print or on the web, it’s still “read all over”.