Do these comments sound familiar? “We could feature an African American family in this maternity ad.” “Let’s get these service line brochures translated into Spanish.” “How can we speak to our Asian American community?”
Just a few years ago, comments like these typically were the
extent of the conversations hospital marketers were having about multicultural marketing.
But simply including images of diverse families in your banner ads and offering
translated collateral is no longer enough. Cultural differences are about more
than skin color and language. They’re about perceptions, beliefs, customs and
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.