Kunur Patel

Hospital Marketers Should Learn From Retailers: Holidays are Social (Media)

Over half of national retail advertisers embraced social media as part of their media mix for the 2009 holidays.

Just two years ago, only 4% of national retail advertisers utilized social media in their marketing strategies.  But in 2009 more than half  embraced social media.   According to a survey by BDO Seidman, of those retailers using social media, 76% are focusing on Facebook, 50% on Twitter, 14% on MySpace and 14% on YouTube.

Natalie Zmuda and Kunur Patel wrote in the December 7th issue of Advertising Age that Facebook was the second most visited site in the US on Black Friday.  And on that day “4.3% of Facebook users and 2.3% Twitter users visited the website of a top 500 retailer immediately after perusing the social-network site.”

Some of the retailers Zmuda and Patel cited as successfully using social network sites were Best Buy, ebay, JC Penney, Toy ‘R ‘Us and Wal-Mart.  These retailers used a combination of giveaways, support for traditional advertising, customer service, charitable donations and promotion of online specials.  Amazon, Abercrombie and Fitch, Kohl’s, Old Navy and Target were listed as retailers who did not do such a great job utilizing social media.  Their various sins were lack of coordination with traditional media, lack of holiday specials, unanswered consumer complaints and unchecked pages.

This gives a microcosm of how extensive social media is used both successfully and poorly by retailers.  Lessons are abundant for healthcare marketers:


  • Social media is a viable option and should be included in a hospital’s marketing strategy.   As can be seen by the dramatic growth in the use of social media, retailers are way ahead in recognizing the value and importance of social networking.
  • When done right, social media can be very effective.  It can create and enhance relationships with consumers.  It can create an ongoing conversation with consumers. 
  • When done poorly, social media can damage a brand.  When a brand isn’t active and engaged and doesn’t respond to consumer comments it sends a message that it’s not consumer-focused.

Social media is growing.  Brands are recognizing the value and benefits of engaging in social media.  Hospital marketers can learn valuable lessons.  Retailers have taught us that indeed the holidays are very social.   


Hospital Advertising: Online Advertising is about the Creative!

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Study shows creative is more important than placement for effective online advertising.

A study conducted by Dynamic Logic has determined that creative is the most influential factor in determining effectiveness in online advertising.  Marketers spend a great amount of time determining the right placement, the optimal target and web measurements and analytics but perhaps give too little consideration to the most important factor – the creative.

Kunur Patel reports the findings of the Dynamic Logic study in the October 20, 2009 issue of Advertising Age and states that bad creative is what makes online advertising ineffective.  Over 170,000 online ads were included in the study and the company determined that creative factors such as persistent branding, strong calls to action and human faces make for better ad recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.  The recent study supported Dynamic Logic’s past research that found creative quality is 50-75% responsible for the campaign’s success or failure.  “But media people spend most of their time trying to optimize and measure campaigns”, stated Ken Mallon, Senior VP-custom solutions for Dynamic Logic.

While it seems the study’s conclusions are obvious, Amy Taylor, research manager of custom solutions for Dynamic Logic stated the firm still sees a “shockingly large percentage of creative that falls short of it\s potential”.

Based on the study, Dynamic logic, offers some recommendations for better-performing digital creative:

  • Highlight the brand prominently throughout the ad.  Logos should be omnipresent.
  • Make each second count.  Ad should support the message at all times.
  • Reveal ads don’t work.  Get straight to the point.
  • Stay simple.  No more than two messages per ad.
  • Use people.  People imagery works very well.

Of course it’s important to place your ad on the right site to reach a highly targeted audience.  But it’s only effective if the creative is right too!