How to Make Your Community Hospital Stand Out with Hospital Marketing
Running a community hospital in an area dominated by larger hospitals with more brand recognition and bigger budgets can be very difficult. It’s hard to stand out unless you have a convincing brand value proposition, a competitive advantage to exploit, and a smart hospital marketing strategy to gain market awareness.
This challenge is particularly seen in suburban or rural areas where community hospitals are going up against urban medical centers in larger nearby cities. Standing out can be hard, but it is possible to carve out a competitive advantage and stand out in a crowded market dominated by larger competitors.
The means to this outcome is a well-crafted hospital marketing strategy built around the natural benefits of being a community hospital.
Finding Advantages You Can Claim
The main advantage a smaller hospital has versus a larger hospital is simple: smaller hospitals mean doctors have fewer patients on average, thus improving patient relations and creating a more personable feel.
We see this all the time in the retail and service industries. You may not get the same selection in a smaller store as a larger one, but you’ll probably get better customer service than going with a larger chain. For example, if you’re using a plumber who knows you by name, you’ll probably get more prompt attention than going with a larger, more corporate plumbing company.
The same logic applies to hospitals. No patient wants to feel like they’re just one face out of thousands who make their way through the larger hospital, almost like an assembly line. Patients in, patients out. That’s the image of a large metro hospital that you want to portray. Your contrasting image is one where doctors and nurses have the time to get to know the members of their community and give them more direct attention.
Another major advantage is proximity. No one wants to travel 45-60 minutes each way to visit someone in the hospital, or go to see a doctor for a checkup. Community hospitals have a big advantage in that they are in their patient’s own backyard. You’re only a short drive away, and in emergency situations, that can be invaluable.
Finally, a big advantage is wait time. Wait times at large urban hospitals are almost always longer than they are in smaller, rural ones because of the sheer volume of patients they have to process. The message here is this: “Go to a place where you won’t spend more time waiting than you will actually being seen by a doctor.”
Hospital Marketing Methods to Capitalize on Advantages
Hospital marketing is all about creating perceptions. You want to paint a perception through your ad campaign that large hospitals are just too big. They’re impersonal, overcrowded, and inefficient. They can’t possibly care more about you as an individual as a community hospital does, because we’re your neighbors. Those are the perceptions you’re working to create.
Painting this picture with a traditional ad campaign is one way to differentiate yourself. Having an active social media presence is another. You can probably be more responsive to patients and their families online than a bigger hospital can, even if they have more resources. Capitalize on that.
Make sure you are creating a cohesive message across all of your marketing channels, traditional and digital. A campaign-style format is best because you are working with a central theme and everything synergizes well with everything else.
A smaller, rural community hospital can compete with larger, big city hospitals. It’s all about playing to your strengths and creating brand perceptions that favor you.
TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information or view our previous work and see what stories we can tell for you.