Hospital Marketing: Patient Testimonials Connect

patient_testimonialsPatient testimonials that are genuine and authentic can effectively build a hospital’s image and brand.

The research is clear. Consumers trust their friends and neighbors when it comes to making healthcare choices. Consumers are generally skeptical. They don’t believe everything they’re told. Especially in advertising. But how can they argue with the testimony of someone they know, or live down the street, or share a common experience? 

Over the past year, I’ve observed several focus group sessions as randomly selected consumers discussed their feelings and opinions about healthcare. It was clear over and over that consumers are skeptics about hospital advertising, but it was also clear that they trusted the advice of friends and family members. So it seems obvious that patient testimonials can be very effective in hospital marketing.

However, there are a few issues.

  1. The testimonials must be authentic and real. A voiceover telling a story might be effective, but how can you argue with the patient’s own voice and own words telling their story? It’s not just slick words that tell a story, but real credible storytelling. No one can argue with another’s own personal story. It resonates with the audience.
  2. Using patient testimonials are hard work and time consuming. The patient with the compelling story must be identified. They must agree to be featured in the hospital’s advertising. Interviews have to be conducted. The patient must approve scripts and ads. A convenient time for the patient has to be set to film and record their story.
  3. And the way to tell the story may not be in perfect sound bite s or in a: 30-second time frame. Editing can be more difficult and time consuming. All of this is not easy and is very time consuming. But it can render outstanding results. It puts a face on the place.

Testimonial advertising is not the hottest creative approach. It is somewhat limiting creatively and visually and is not the hit of advertising award shows. Some creatives would even say patient testimonials are bland and passé. But if they speak to the consumer authentically, they are then believable and credible. Patient testimonials can create a bond with other consumers that can effectively build a hospital’s brand.

Testimonials also align with the current trend toward social media and consumer-controlled marketing. The patient testimonial starts a conversation that can be very beneficial to the hospital. 

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