Archive for December, 2010

Ho Ho Ho and Christmas Marketing

December 21, 2010

The other night I saw a Norelco ad with a robotic “droid” looking man on it. It caught my eye, not because it was unique, but because it was so different from their old ads with Saint Nick. Even if you aren’t old enough to remember seeing the spot during “Rudolf” or “Frosty” you have probably seen it somewhere.

Jolly Saint Nick comes sliding down the snowy slope on a rotary razor blade bobsled (http://bit.ly/8tTq8k). Sure it is silly, but it makes you smile. And you get a warm, lighthearted feeling from it. Isn’t that what this season is about – good will toward man or toward the brand?

From the iconic singers with candles to the animated polar bears, Coke usually does a good job of spreading cheer along with their product name. Budweiser has the Clydesdales with sleigh bells, and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Target has the bright lights and techno music. Going beyond tv spots, some companies are literally projecting their holiday spirit in a larger than life manner. H&M in Amsterdam (http://bit.ly/g4Kc4d) and Saks in NYC (http://bit.ly/f05sid) are using 3-D projection technology to create a fun and entertaining experience for the public. What could be more magical than walking down the street and seeing giant snowflakes fall down the side of a building?  Just seeing the video made me smile. Check it out for yourself and have a Merry Christmas and safe New Year.

 

Creating More Successful Brands

December 10, 2010

In hospital marketing, we talk a lot about strategies and objectives, different media vehicles, public relations, physician relations, administrators, budgets and budget cuts.

All things Brian Parsley, the final speaker at this year’s CHPRMS fall conference, didn’t touch. His topic was us. The marketers. The coordinators. The PR specialists. The VP’s. The people behind the positions.

Brian is part entrepreneur, stand-up comic, dot com survivor and one time chicken-cutter-upper. His message ranged widely, but touched on a handful of points that we, as people and as healthcare marketers, should embrace to achieve greater success.

People have choices.
People choose where they spend their money (or co-pay). Businesses have to care about acquisition and retention. One tweet I saw earlier this week by Eric Brody contrasted a morning doctor’s office experience with an afternoon visit to a Trader Joes. The difference? He blogged that he felt appreciated at Trader Joes; the exact opposite of how he felt earlier in the day at the doctor’s office. The ultimate question today is not how satisfied patients and customers are, but would they recommend us to someone they cared about?

It’s not about selling services and products.
It’s 100% about serving others. The more you serve the more you win. Brian talked about the honeymoon phase of a relationship and what makes it so good. It’s not the newness; it’s the willingness to reciprocate. Loving customers is something more and more brands are becoming known for: Zappos, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Southwest Airlines, and, more locally, Chick-fil-a. Their philosophies are customer-centered and strive to provide the best experience possible.

Brands are managed, not owned.
Brands are no longer limited to ads and buildings or stores; they’re everywhere. They are things, people, even feelings. Brands are written into e-mails, websites, collateral and social media. They are verbalized in voicemail messages and answering systems. There are even visual brands: how we carry ourselves, how connected we are to our live and work communities. Our personal brands are our reputations. Our personnel are a brand’s reputation.

Take care of customers; they take care of you.
Patients tell other patients. Moms talk to other moms. Word of mouth marketing is a very powerful marketing tool. Brian shared the experience of a physician practice that implemented a “patient first” policy where patients are given exceedingly good service from the front desk all the way to checkout and beyond. The whole practice was rewired for customer service. Not surprisingly, their referrals went through the roof. Make it easier for people to do business with you.

Build your value.
Know and live your values. Look at your willingness to serve other people. Don’t rely on excuses. Get better at social intelligence. Know you can always bounce back. Learn to love criticism and learn from it.

Be persistent.
Not sure if this is verifiable, but it sure feels right: 80% of all yeses happen between the 5th and the 22nd contact.

Communicate better.
However you communicate and whatever you communicate, you’re sharing a story. Many times, stories are retold, while facts are forgotten. Stories entertain in rich detail and create a vicarious experience.

It was an inspiring hour and a great way to close CHPRMS where so much of the conference centers on “talking shop.”

As Brian spoke, I found it very easy to think about what he was saying in the context of both my work life and personal life. We hear a lot these days about how brands need to interact with their customers. But it’s not just interaction we crave, there needs to be meaning, too.

Do we really want more from brands? Or do we want more from ourselves? It’s worth thinking about.

You can connect with Brian on Twitter or Facebook.

CHPRMS Day Two: Chris Bevolo Talks Marketing Measurement

December 8, 2010

Usually when you blog from a healthcare conference like CHPRMS, you listen, write and post as quickly as possible. With Chris’ presentation on Thursday, December 2, I knew that would not be the case.

His enlightening presentation on measuring healthcare marketing was a call-to-action for marketing professionals to better prove their worth as budgets, strategies and staff positions continually appear under the cost-cutting microscope.

In a world where many executives view marketing as an expense; Chris wants to help you demonstrate the value marketing efforts bring to your organization. He never suggests measuring is easy, but proving results builds a measurement discipline in your marketing program, puts efforts into perspective and shows what works.

His five steps for measurement:

Define the activity.
Pinpoint what you’re going to measure (and what you’re not going to measure) and when.

Identify desired metrics.
Will success be measured in financial metrics such as revenue, contribution margin or profit margin, acquisition cost or ROI? Or, will metrics be behavioral, to analyze real action and impact. Volumes, admissions, visits? Referrals? Website traffic or social media activity? Or, is your metric attitudinal such as awareness, perception, satisfaction or simply a willingness to recommend to others?

Set the measurement categories.
After you identify what’s to be measured and the metrics to measure by, establish categories for measurement. Check out page 21 of Chris’ presentation for activities and categories to measure joint replacement surgery volume, seminar attendance and a special joint pain are of the website.

Capture data.
Establish pre-activity numbers so you can measure ongoing and final usage. Establish how long measurement will last. The time length will depend on whether you’re measuring a marketing initiative for micro-level impact or for long-term macro-level results.

Evaluate and report.
Don’t wait. Be objective. And don’t hide bad answers or expect perfection. Chris likened marketing reporting to grand rounds. Rounds aren’t held to assign blame; they’re to see what works or doesn’t. He suggests approaching reporting like science: did an initiative meet your expectations or not? Measurement helps to understand why it did or why it didn’t.

His parting tips?

Negotiate your success up front. Being thorough on the front end inevitably refines marketing objectives. If you’re looking for a five percent bump in orthopedics, that’s a start. Be more strategic. Is success more joint replacement procedures? If so, which kind? Are there specific DRGs or payor mixes?

Be cautious with your objectives and focus on outcomes, not actions.

Create proxy actions. As marketers, we cannot drive heart surgery volume directly. We can, however, engage people in cardiac-related proxy actions that indirectly impact the cardiac program: screenings, measurable behaviors, heart-healthy recipes.

The big takeway? Healthcare marketing measurement will empower your organization’s marketing efforts and you as a marketing professional. Do it!

Learn more at http://www.chrisbevolo.com/ or follow Chris on Twitter @intervalchris.

CHPRMS General Session Day One: Social Media Best Practices from Chris Boyer

December 2, 2010

The CHPRMS Fall Conference kicked off with a general session featuring Chris Boyer, Senior Manager for Digital Communications at Inova Health System. Chris is a long-time Tweeter at Twitter healthcare marketing hashtags #hcmktg and #hcsm and for good reason. He has great insight for both those wading into social media for the first time and for those who consider themselves experienced users.

Rather than rehash what was a great presentation, I’ll pass along what I found to be my biggest takeaway from Chris’ session: pure positioning.

Many hospitals are positioning themselves with a product mindset: with the subject being a surgery, doctor, da Vinci robot, or new patient tower. But the answer is not a pure service message that’s based on amiability and compassion. He suggests it’s somewhere in the middle: a message that focuses on building trust. Patients want to know that hospitals can effectively address their issues and that they won’t get hurt in the process.

One of the greatest tools for building trust in today’s marketing budget: social media.

Whether your hospital participates in social media or not is 100% irrelevant. The conversations are already happening around you. People are telling several hundred friends about a nice nurse who went the extra mile for their family member in a status update. People are crabbing on Twitter about waiting too long in their doctor’s waiting room. People share triumphs, joys, petty complaints and sometimes untruths mistakenly attributed to your hospital. Social media is an opportunity for two-way communication with fans and foes but you have to be there to take part.

There are a million blog posts out there that tell you how and why to get involved in social media already so rather than go there I’ll share these points from Chris as he wrapped up his presentation today.

First, hospital marketers have to realize the role social media has and will have now and in the future. You have to change your message and how you market it. Facebook isn’t going away and it’s somewhere people live; it’s not like search. People do not spend hours sharing and liking on Google.

Second, if your organization is not participating you have to start or risk being left behind. If you participate in social media already, you have to get better.

Third, you need a good social media policy (so everyone knows the rules), to open doors (so everyone has access) and you need a plan (so you’re not wasting the precious little time you have).

Fourth, you need the right team and you need to target the right audience. And last, you need to measure. Rather than striving for friends, fans and followers, search for deeper meaning. Broaden your reach. Build your reputation. Cultivate relationships. And measure your results.

Chris shared several great case studies. The first, from Swedish, promoted their sleep lab services. The second was Innova’s Fit for 50 wellness initiative.

He shared way more than what I have covered here but it’s a lot to think about whether you’re tweeting, blogging or still watching from the sidelines. How will you move forward?


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