Social Media vs. Traditional Media for Hospital Marketing

Information SocietyWhat is considered a liability for traditional media is touted as an asset for social media.

Some clarity is needed.

You often hear an advertiser say, “radio and television advertising are too fragmented – it’s just not effective anymore.” And then you will hear some say, “Social media is so good because you can really drill down and finely tune your target audience.”

While both statements have some truth in them, it’s very confusing. What some marketers label as a liability for traditional media, they credit as an asset for social media. Is that fair?

Social media is a fairly recent phenomenon that is here to stay and if used effectively, can deliver positive results. But in jumping on the social media train, is radio and television getting a bad rap?

Hospital marketers are exploring how to utilize social media to target specific narrowly defined target audiences. And that’s good. Those efforts should be continued.

But at the same time, hospitals marketers should not discredit radio and television. Yes, media buyers in the past could buy 3-5 radio stations in the market and buy 3 major television networks and reach everyone. That’s certainly not true anymore. Now there is a multitude of radio stations in the local markets and scores of television networks that can be bought.

In one way, this is not good – a large mass audience cannot any longer be reached cost effectively. However, the proliferation of stations and networks allow more targeted advertising within each medium.

Local radio formats and cable networks can be matched with the target audience for each hospital service line. So now radio and television can more effectively reach a narrow audience creating more impressions for the same or fewer dollars without paying for so much wasted exposure.

Social media creates an abundance of new opportunities and should be pursued by hospital marketing departments. But radio and television should not be quickly dismissed because they too can provide more narrow targeted audiences. Yes, it requires more work, more research, more creativity, but the opportunities are abundant in radio and television also. 

It’s not social media verses traditional advertising. It’s the integration of both to more effectively reach the appropriate audience. 


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