New York Times

Healthcare Marketing: The Emergence of Cross Cultural Marketing

A current trend for brands is to communicate a singular message across several demographic and cultural audiences instead of communicating different messages to different social cultures and demographics.    

For years, marketers have watched as America has become more and more culturally diverse.  In response to this diversity, brands have looked at different demos and cultures and developed somewhat different marketing strategies for each.  But as a result of the 2010 census, a new trend is being discussed and is emerging.  It is being called cross-cultural marketing, aimed at a general market that is more of a mosaic than a melting pot.

Stuart Elliot, writing for the New York Times states that “cross cultural marketing is aimed at appealing across demographic groups to appeal to consumer similarities rather than differences.  By contrast, traditional multicultural marketing is directed at specific demographic groups like Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, women, etc.”

For quite some time now marketers have grouped audiences into segments, which emphasized their differences.    But now researchers and marketers are looking more to being cross-cultural and emphasizing those things the groups have in common.   Advertisers no longer want different messages segmented and targeted to different audiences but fewer messages or maybe even one primary message that seek to appeal to the common traits among differing groups.   It’s more of a mashup of cultures.

This has probably been the primary approach most healthcare marketers have always taken.  Because there is a universal need for the products and services we provide, it’s easier for us to take a cross-cultural approach to marketing.  But we have sometimes segmented markets and tailored our message specifically to these separate markets.  It makes sense to seek those commonalities and similarities across various cultures and communicate a singular message.   It certainly will make our brand stronger.   


Hospital Advertising: DVRs Not the Enemy Once Thought

Studies show that even when viewers watch their favorite shows on their DVR, many of them are watching the commercials.remote control

Many thought the coming of the DVR was going to be the end of television advertising or at least seriously affect its effectiveness. It makes sense, viewers will record their favorite shows to watch at a later time and when watching, skip through the commercials.  But that has not necessarily proven to be the case. 

Bill Carter,  in an article published in the New York Times on November the 1st, cited Nielsen in stating that 46 percent of viewers 18-49 years old are watching commercials during playback.  And considering that because of DVRs, the viewing audience of many shows, has actually increased, advertising effectiveness and has not taken the hit many predicted.  Not only can viewers watch their favorite shows when they first appear, they can now record the show and watch it whenever they wish.   This has caused significant increases for many programs. 

Two years ago, Nielsen started using the “commercial plus three” ratings which measured viewership for commercials in shows that are watched live or played back on VCRs within the next three days.  This resulted in shows like House increasing its ratings almost 18% and the Office viewership increasing 26%. 

DVR penetration has increased to 33% of American households and what was thought to be a death knell for television advertising has not proven to be the case at all.  Even though it’s counter intuitive, almost half of the people using their DVRs still watch the commercials. Carter quotes Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, in referring to television watching, “It’s still a passive activity”.  Apparently viewers watch television when using DVRs just like they do when they watch it live. They watch leisurely and passively, taking in the commercials rather than making the effort to fast forward through them. 

This is valuable information for hospital marketers who have relied upon television advertising to build and promote their brand. It means television advertising is still effective and is not eroding as quickly as many feared.

Television advertising still works. And the good news is that it works long after the programming has aired.