Healthcare Marketing: Why Aren’t We Seeing More Traditional and Social Media Integration?

Traditional and Social Media should be integrated, sure. How much has been written and said about integration of traditional and social media?  How often have we been told integration is essential and is the   true test of effective advertising today?  Most healthcare marketers have struggled with this and have wrestled with ways to integrate the two. Some of us have made attempts at it but generally we haven’t been that successful.

Well healthcare marketers aren’t the only ones.  Even on advertising’s largest stage, the Super Bowl, integration did not occur. With all the talk about the necessity of integration you would think Super Bowl spots would have been loaded with such.  But not so.  Basically the only integration was the listing of a website or Facebook URL.  That’s it.

Lightspeed Research indicated almost two-thirds of 18-34 year-olds planning to watch the Super bowl have smartphones and intended to use them during the game.   Of those, 59% were planning on sending emails or text messages about the game, while 18% planned on checking out ads on their phonies.  With over 106 million watching the game there was a tremendous opportunity to forge new relationships.  The opportunity was missed.

Ian Schafer in a recent article in Ad Age discussed the irony of the situation.   Brands who ran ads in the Super Bowl, looked to social media to gauge their audiences’ reaction.   They carefully monitored how many views the spots received on YouTube, checked what was tweeted about their ads and monitored Google alerts for mentions.   While depending on social media to tract reaction, they failed to integrate social networking into their ads. In fact, practically every ad could have been aired prior to Al Gore’s invention of the internet.

Part of the reason is that’s it’s difficult to integrate the two in :30 secs.  Especially when you are being judged for creativity.  It’s difficult to get high marks for creativity when you take precious seconds to integrate social media. You can make an impression in :30 seconds but it’s difficult to start a relationship much less build one.

Yes, we should explore ways to integrate social media and traditional media. But don’t be so discouraged because, as healthcare marketers, we haven’t done such a great job with it.  Despite all the talk, the largest, most powerful brands in the world generally haven’t mastered the art (or science) of it either which says marketers are still trying to discover effective methods of integration.  We all agree it’s what we need to do, but finding effective and creative ways to accomplish it isn’t easy. Especially when we are being graded on creativity, immediate impact and instant effectiveness.

So we are not the only ones who are struggling to find ways for successful integration.  The big boys are too.  We all have to watch and experiment and learn.  The talk of the “experts” is good.  Their philosophy makes perfectly good sense.  We all agree.  But it will take time and experimentation to do it in practice.


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