Archive for the ‘Kitchen Sink’ Category

Key Points to Help Your Healthcare Marketing Connect with Patients

June 16, 2014

Since we were young we have been taught the importance of sharing. Today that is easier than ever to do with email and multiple social media platforms. And for the healthcare industry, sharing health information is becoming more of the norm. A recent Pew Report stated that 26% of adult internet users have read or watched someone else’s health or medical experience and 16% have gone online to find others who share the same health concerns. One study found that people trust health information shared by hospitals and doctors online 10-15% more than by other patients they know.

Hospitals and physician practices need to consider how key points or stories about their care can be distributed in a way that is compelling and easy for people to share with others. Sharing is about relationships – give and take. Knowing who shares and why is an important first step. A New York Times study found that:

  • 94% of study participants consider how information they share will be useful to the recipient
  • 84% share because it is a way to show support for issues they care about
  • 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  • Only 49% share to inform others of products and try to change opinions

The study found six personas for sharing; altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives. Their personas are based on four segments defined by:

  • Emotional motivations
  • Desired presentation of self
  • Role of sharing in life
  • Value of being first to share

One key point to increase sharing is to appeal to consumers’ (patients’) needs to connect with each other and not to a brand. Yet it seems that healthcare marketing is often missing the mark. A Spark Report found that although 41% of respondents said that social media would affect their choice of a medical facility, hospital, or doctor, only 18% of Facebook posts by hospitals are for the public while the rest target employees. Other key points to increase sharing include trust, simplicity, humor and urgency.

The Pew report states “that patients and caregivers have critical health information — about themselves, about each other, about treatments — and they want to share what they know to help other people.” Before your next post or email, check your content based on the above criteria and ask yourself if you are engaging your patients or just sending them information.

 

What is your persona?

  1. Altruist – Helpful, reliable, thoughtful, connected
  2. Careerist – Valuable, intelligent, network
  3. Hipster – Creative, young, popular, cutting-edge
  4. Boomerang – Reaction, validation, empowered
  5. Connector – Creative, relaxed, thoughtful, making plans
  6. Selective – Resourceful, careful, thoughtful, informative

 

Lessons Learned from Fast Food Service Relevant for Healthcare Customer Engagement

April 9, 2014

The focus for hospitals and physician practices has been to deliver excellent customer service to engage patients and visitors. Which is fine, as far as that went.

Focusing on just customer service by itself is passé in today’s fast moving world. Customer engagement is the marketing tool that hospitals and physician practices are wisely embracing. Simply put, that means that in addition to delivering excellent customer service, your communications with customers – patients, visitors and even employees – need to be done in an engaging, ongoing manner. It’s about more than just communicating information. You want to pull them in with frequent two-way conversations in order to develop successful relationships.

Recently, I was engaged on a retail level by Chick-Fil-A regarding their Founder Truett Cathy. I received an email that it was his birthday and was urged to join them in wishing him a happy birthday. Because I absolutely love their food and have a great deal of admiration for Mr. Cathy and the brand he has developed, I took a moment – on my phone – to send him a birthday greeting. I received a reply thanking me and inviting me to join them soon for a meal. This was a very simple, but effective, means of engaging me as a customer and leaving me with a warm feeling towards this company – and their brand.

The beauty is, that if done correctly, what works for your customer, will work for your healthcare practice or hospital. One simple way is to use social media to make it easy for them to contact you online and give them options. Get patient input on how to enhance quality improvement. Give them ways to interact with you on their schedule. Remember, it’s a mobile society and customers are constantly seeking information and resolution 24-hours a day. Create positive experiences and outcomes for them. The more you interact in helping to solve their issues, the more loyalty you create for your hospital or physician practice.

And, yes, I am planning on visiting my neighborhood Chick-Fil-A for a meal soon!

Designer Babies

May 7, 2013

As I dive into the research phase of marketing, differentiation is at the very heart of the discovery process.

The concept of differentiation brings back fond memories of college Biology. Stem cell research was a hot topic then and continues to fuel heated conversation on both sides of the debate.

DesignerBaby http://news.msn.com/science-technology/2-year-old-girl-gets-new-life-with-windpipe-made-from-stem-cells

The ‘con’ side fears stem cell research will lead to a society of “designer babies”. The ‘pro’ side views it as scientific research that will lead to a better understanding of cell function. Whichever side you gravitate to, what can’t be debated is the fact that stem cells are programmed to differentiate. They become very specific, specialized units. These units adapt to a form and function that distinguishes them from all others.

This formula for success holds true in the marketing efforts of your organization. Ask yourself………

Differentiation     What does your organization do well on a daily basis? How do these practices set you apart?

Segmentation        Are you able to clearly identify all possible market segments?

Specification          Is your campaign specific to your audience?

Specialization       In what areas does your organization specialize? Do your areas of expertise allow you to adapt to the ever-changing social marketplace?

The success of any marketing effort lies in your ability to identify those characteristics that distinguish you from all others. This seemingly small act of due diligence is certain to guide you to a “designer baby” of your very own!

A Prescription for Hospital Gym Marketing

September 13, 2012

Prescription for ExerciseAs the focus on preventive medicine has increased, many hospitals have incorporated gyms and wellness centers in their list of services. After building the gym the question becomes how to get and keep a vibrant membership.

In addition to traditional marketing for your hospital’s gym, you also can look inward and enlist your physicians, since they are the front line for patient wellness. A recent CDC study shows physicians are advising a much greater percentage of their patients to exercise than they were 10 years ago.

A Healthy Prescription

The hospital’s gym can offer a healthy prescription plan for physicians to give their patients. This can be a coupon card, much like a pharmaceutical discount coupon, With an offer on one side that might include a discounted or free two-month membership and an initial consult with a trainer to review physician recommendations. The back of the card has room for the physician to write a start level and goals for the patient’s exercise regimen.

The physician can recommend exercise or write their patient a prescription for it. Telling someone they need to exercise is good, but an actual prescription may have more impact in emphasizing the importance of exercise for better health.

Of course the patient is given the recommendation or prescription for exercise, not the gym. They can exercise in their house or the park, but the coupon card is given along with the prescription as an added incentive. This can be beneficial for all parties. The physician gains another tool to help improve his patients’ health. The patient gets more detailed exercise information and a discount to a gym. The hospital gains good will for providing the gym discount and possibly acquires new long-term members.

What do hawks, birthing services and hospitals have in common?

June 8, 2012

Working primarily with hospitals, I read a lot of articles about controlling preventable errors. But, I recently found out that sometimes they just can’t be prevented – even for a healthcare advertising agency .

Our outdoor representative recently informed us that a vinyl we thought had been taken down for a hospital outdoor board was still up and that he had a really good excuse, one we hadn’t encountered before. Of course, I’m rolling my eyes and thinking “Right!”

Well, he was right. Here’s the story.

The installer for the outdoor company had started the process of taking the vinyl down when he noticed a nest being built.  A hawk had decided that the space in between the two outdoor boards was a fine place to build its nest. As you may know, it is a federal offense to harm a hawk or its eggs. And, the hawk kept attacking the installer to get him away from its nest. Suffice it to say, the outdoor company left the nest alone and the eggs hatched about two weeks later and, according to some research, it will be about ten more weeks before they leave the nest.

Although, I am still shaking my head and laughing, I do find it very fitting that the creative for the outdoor board was focused on birthing services at the hospital.

Image

“L” Stands for loser.

February 10, 2012

Another Super Bowl is in the books. Over hyped? Yes! Bad halftime show? Yes! But the game was great and Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday so why not enjoy.

Now it’s time to prepare for next season. The NFL players are resting, getting needed surgery and getting prepared for mini camps. Just like the players, the NFL is already working on future Super Bowls. And that’s a good thing because the NFL has a little problem with Super Bowl 50. Ever since the first Super Bowl, the league has numbered them using Roman numerals. That would make Super Bowl 50, Super Bowl “L”. “L” stands for loser. This creates a heck of a problem to solve. The league has managed it’s way through and around  Super Bowl IV in 1970 and Super Bowl XXX in 1996. But having a giant “L” with a sponsor’s logo like, say, Nike’s swoosh right above it could be a little awkward. Not to mention being awkward for the host city.

SO. Just like players trying to get stronger and faster, a crack team of designers and sharp thinkers are squirreled away trying to solve this big problem for a big client. Maybe they will take this opportunity to convert the Super Bowl to Arabic numerals. After all 50 is a huge mile stone. They didn’t think there would be ten Super Bowls let alone fifty. Maybe they’ll have the “L” stand for something other than “Loser” or find a way to hide it in the design. Who knows. But what a fun challenge that would be.

I have a lot of great ideas. I’ll just sit back a wait for the NFL to call.

Three births, three patient experiences.

March 29, 2011

My wife and I are the proud parents of three boys. I know, wow, three boys. Trust me, it’s a blast and we were blessed with three relatively smooth deliveries. Interestingly enough, each boy was delivered at a different hospital and each experience was very different.

The experience we had with the birth of our first son wasn’t what we expected. Your first child is never what you expect, but I’m talking about the patient experience. The hospital was cold and clinical, it was the area’s teaching hospital dedicated to “academic medicine.” My wife felt like a science experiment. The saving grace was a nurse working in the nursery at night; we’ll call her KT. She really loved babies and she loved her job. She made us feel like we had our own nurse caring just for us. We still remember her and I think my wife would include her in our will if she could find her.

Because of our first patient experience, we chose to deliver our second son at the local “boutique” hospital. It was like checking into a hotel to have a baby. It was quiet and comfortable, but we didn’t experience any hospital staff with the same passion of KT. We were treated fine and the delivery went well, but we didn’t leave feeling like we had been given care that was unforgettable.

Maybe I’m being too picky. I often think it’s unfair to expect everyone at a hospital treating my wife and me to exhibit the same kind of passion and zeal as KT’s. Or is it?

Recently my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our third son. We didn’t know what to expect. Our third son was delivered in a different city than his older brothers. My wife’s OB chose the hospital.

From the time we checked in to the time we left, we were reminded of KT because the entire staff worked with her passion and zeal. One nurse came to our room to check my son’s hearing. He started coughing and the nurse picked him up and cleared his throat. This is not uncommon but she did this gladly even though it wasn’t life threatening and not her job. Another nurse came by after her shift just to check on my wife before she left the hospital. It didn’t matter that another nurse was already on duty. Another nurse moved heaven and earth to get me a roll-away bed. I didn’t ask for a bed, all I did was make a joke about the couch being uncomfortable.

Not only are these doctors, nurses and staff members good at what they do, they love what they do and it shows.

I’m a Creative Director in the healthcare/hospital marketing field. One of the coolest things I get to do is witness the work of doctors, nurses and staff who really love what they do. When you talk with them their passion shines through. They believe in what they do and they love it.

As a “creative”, I’m always looking for new and different ways to communicate a client’s competitive advantage. I love what I do. We can saturate the market with a campaign message and light up the web with interactive and social media content. But the most powerful communications tool can be one doctor, nurse or staff member doing their job with a passion that makes them unforgettable to their patients. That’s a real competitive advantage.

While the recent great patient experience is still fresh in our minds, I know we will always remember this hospital stay with a smile. The same way we remember KT.

Overdose of Buzzwords

March 23, 2011

And, we call ourselves wordsmiths.

About a month ago, one PR strategist, Adam Sherk launched a study of 23 overused PR buzzwords utilizing PRFilter, a website that aggregates news releases. Later, PRFilter did a more extensive look at Sherk’s findings and discovered the number one overused buzzword in news releases, based on the number of uses in a 24-hour period, was “leading,” followed by “solutions.” The remaining 21 overused words are below, along with their incidence within 24 hours.

Assuming these news releases were written by professionals, it’s embarrassing. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure I’ve committed my share of these unpardonable sins over the years, but some of these words are so worn and meaningless, it’s hard to believe any professional would be caught using them today.

Ok, now I’m going back over this post and check for all the buzzwords that may have snuck in.

http://tinyurl.com/46t99nc

1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
6. top (370)
7. unique (282)
8. great (245)
9. extensive (215)
10. leading provider (153)
11. exclusive (143)
12. premier (136)
13. flexible (119)
14. award winning / winner (106)
15. dynamic (95)
16. fastest (70)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)
20. biggest (54)
21. easy to use (51)
22. largest (34)
23. real time (8)

Don’t Shortchange Yourself

February 22, 2011

The poor economy has caused much belt-tightening over the past couple of years, with everyone wanting to get the most bang for their buck. To me that is recognizing value, not necessarily finding the cheapest price. It can be easy to fall into the trap of being a penny-wise but a pound-foolish. Sure it is great to come in under-budget, but don’t under-cut your project in the process.

Know your limits and rely on other people who can bring something to the table. Find vendors who will make suggestions to improve your original idea or who have a special talent to enhance the final project, making it great as opposed to good. Sometimes getting it great does cost more financially, not much more, but more.  But what are the long-term rewards of standing out with great work and valuing exceptional quality? And what are the pitfalls of just being good. Is good, good enough for others?

I acknowledged my limitations when my husband and I had an addition built on our home. It was not a large or complicated, and, as a designer, I knew exactly how I wanted it to look and flow. I could have sketched it out and worked with the builder but we hired the architect who drew our original house plans. If we were going to spend a lot of money to build it, why would we scrimp on one of the most important points in the process? We wanted someone who did this work day-in and day-out and knew things about home design that we would never know. Sure it cost more, but the outcome was much better than anything I could have done. Not only did the architect make great suggestions for adjustments, but he also informed us of new building materials that provided greater efficiency. Most importantly I was assured of not making a costly mistake or having multiple change orders during construction (cha ching, cha ching). The additional cost of the architect probably saved me money in the long run and significantly improved the outcome.

So when doing anything in life and work consider value. Is saving the extra dollar really doing just that? Don’t shortchange yourself. It may end up costing you much more than that dollar in the long run.

Is Being the Closest Hospital Enough?

February 1, 2011

Travel around the country, especially in smaller communities, and it’s amazing how many community hospitals use little more than the selling point that they are close to home. Often, that or some form of it will be their tagline.

Our experience is that just isn’t enough. One, our research shows consumers know exactly where the closest hospital is, so telling them something they already know well isn’t likely to change their minds. More important, the more profitable consumers – the commercially insured – can and will drive for care they think will make a difference.

They not only want the care to be closer, they want to know it’s at least as good as, if not better than, what they’ll find at the larger facility 30 minutes or an hour away. In other words, convenience is not enough to keep them from making the drive.

Check out this very successful campaign we created for Meadows Regional Medical Center to turn the shorter distance into a life-saving selling proposition.


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