Hosptial Marketing

Healthcare Marketing: Decisions without Considering Consumer Costly

Recent snafus prove that we should think from the consumer’s perspective.  And not about what’s best for our organization’s operations.

Recently Facebook made changes to its social network’s interface.  This was closely on the heels of earlier changes that Facebook users weren’t even used to yet.  And users were not happy.  Then Netflix customers who were already unhappy with a price increase were then angered more when the company announced it was separating its streaming video offering from its video rental business to create a new company.

Two very successful corporations who had great loyalty and good will but unilaterally made decisions, which were good operationally without considering the impact on consumers.  It’s a mistake many companies make.  Although not as widely discussed and criticized as these two.   Both of these companies thought they could do anything they wanted and consumers would accept it.  They never even considered what the consumer would think.  It was good operationally for each of them and that was the basis of their decision.

So a management decision that made complete sense internally backfired because no one bothered to consider or ask what their customers thought. And now they’re paying a large cost in public perception, consumer loyalty and sales.  Their brand has been tarnished.

Healthcare organizations sometimes make the same mistake.  In an effort to cut costs, improve efficiency and increase productivity, hospitals and healthcare organizations make decisions that make sense internally but may not be received well by patients.

It proves that we need to listen to the consumer and evaluate every decision from the customer’s perspective.  In a very competitive marketplace with pressures on the bottom-line organizations can ill afford to alienate customers.  Decisions made without considering the consumer may save money but it could cost far more in business, consumer locality and brand perception.

Of course we know this.  But sometimes we forget.  We look at decisions from every angle except from the viewpoint of the consumer.  Sometimes it takes highly publicized snafus like Facebook and Netflix to remind us that what our customers think is of extreme importance.  May we not get so removed from our customers that we repeat the mistake. 


Healthcare Marketing: 10 Myths of Social Media Marketing

Healthcare executives have many misperceptions about social media.  Here’s debunking 10 of the most common ones that commonly undermine business strategies according to  Garreth Bloor, writing for memeburn.

It’s worthwhile to look at these myths as they apply to healthcare marketing.  

  • Myth 1:Social Marketing is great because it’s free.”

Even if social media doesn’t cost very much, it does require a tremendous investment of time and energy.  And healthcare marketers have very little time to commit to new projects.  Especially ones that will be ongoing and continual.

  • Myth 2: “Everyone’s doing it, so I need to.”

Even though so many have jumped on the social media bandwagon, many are not doing it well.   Doing it half-hearted or without a clear objective and strategy could do more harm than not participating at all.

  • Myth 3: ” I can just post our press releases on social media.

Not really.  It requires much more. The social environment is not another platform for you to promote your hospital.  Rather it’s a place to take part in a conversation, in people’s everyday conversation and be there to provide useful information to your readers on their terms.

  • Myth 4: “I need to be everywhere, dominating every type of social media.

Not true.  Be present where your patients and potential patients are.  And do only what you can do well.  The best thing healthcare marketers can do is to invest your time and energy into one or two sites your audience use regularly.

  • Myth 5: “Twitter is a tool for egomaniacs to tell people what they had for breakfast.”

This a myth coined accurately by journalist Eric Rice. However, as her research has found, tweeting gives your hospital a more “human” face.  They can see your brand personality.  Twitter helps turn your organization.  Appealing and engaging.

  •  Myth 6: “Facebook is more for my kids, not for my business.

Facebook ‘ fastest growing audience is women 40+ It has become a very adult medium. It allows you to enhance that “human” feeling with photos, helpful healthy tips and ongoing discussions with your customers.

  • Myth 7: “Social media won’t take much time.

An estimate of 1-2 hours per day may be required to actively participate in the conversations being conducted and created on social media. A busy healthcare marketing director will not likely be able to effectively maintain a social presence if it becomes just another task on the “to do” list.

  • Myth 8: “The threat of receiving negative public posts and complaints is too high

Consumers are already commenting in their offline and online social circles. It’s better to be part of the conversation so you can strategically defend your brand and respond in a timely way to problems. Being where the discussion is allows you to address existing problems and discover brewing issues before they get out of hand.

  • Myth 9: “This thing’s useless – I tried it for a month and it didn’t work.”

Social marketing doesn’t give you instant, measurable results.  It will take time for people to find you, warm up to you, and start adding to your conversations.

  • Myth 10: “Our customers don’t use social media sites.”

The audience is there and they’re going to have their conversations with or without you.  Take your primary target demo and look how many within your marketing area use social media.  It’s easy to research and you might be surprised.

For healthcare marketers, participating in social media is not easy.  It requires a commitment of time and energy.  And perhaps dispelling some of the myths will be helpful.