Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is Communicating Value the Hospital Marketing Currency for Today?

How are you, the hospital marketing and communications expert, engaging the consumer and patient by telling your brand value story? Not the features and benefits story of what you do, but the value of what all that technology and bricks and mortar means to consumers and patients of your medical services?   

It is an important question. 

With healthcare turned upside down, and consumers are making choices based on diagnosis and treatment alternatives that are more price efficient, convenient and accessible that exclude the hospital options, how you answer the question will quickly determine success or failure in engaging or influencing choice.

The hospital and health system are in an undifferentiated market.

It’s not about quality or medical technology, or buildings or caring. In the end, its all the same in the consumer's mind. We all know it’s not, but hospitals have done remarkable work using marketing communications without any substantial proof points to back up the claims.  It’s the adage if one says something loud enough and long enough, people will believe. As an inadvertent effect of the effort, those items as a differentiator is off the table for the healthcare consumer. As the new adage states, seen one hospital, seen them all.

It’s not about clinical services and programs because hospitals try to be everything to everyone and have similar if not the same offerings. Most of the marketing communications when one analyzes the content across the spectrum of hospitals in a market is pretty much the same.

So if it’s not about the quality or what the hospital or health systems have in the way of capability, now what?

In today's world, it's about value for the healthcare consumer.
Can you answer the healthcare consumer’s question of why should I use the hospital or health system? After all, with all the diagnostic and treatment options available to the healthcare consumer that is far more cost efficient, convenient and accessible, the hospital is only needed for three things, emergency care, intensive care and acute care for medically complex conditions. 

In light of the continuing demise of the big box hospital and little differentiation among hospitals, value marketing is the only way to differentiate, engage and influence.

After all, if the marketing department is not engaging and influencing, then why bother at all?

Enter Value Marketing

Value marketing is making the case to the health care consumer how you are solving their medical problem, offering a solution, giving results and even making them happy.  

Value marketing communications are about a creative exchange between people and organizations in the marketplace.  It is a dynamic transaction that always changes based on the needs of the individual compared to what the hospital has to offer.

So instead of communicating about the mundane everyday activity, talk meaningfully about value and benefit. Compelling content with the right context can engage, influence, build relationships, and prove value.

Instead of talking about programs and services, talk about the value and benefits those same programs and services and what they bring to the healthcare consumer, i.e., outcomes, price, experience, and convenience.

Relegate those new buildings and high-tech diagnostic gizmos to the back page. Instead, create the story of the value and benefit of those objects in what they bring to the healthcare consumer and patient.

The healthcare consumer is awake and demanding more.  More value and benefit for them, not the hospital or health system enterprise.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide.  Michael is an established influencer and inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.

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