Showing posts with label #hcmkt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #hcmkt. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Importance of Communicating the Value of the Hospital During a Pandemic- Not Features


With the resurgence of COVID-19 combined with the start of the flu season and colder damper weather, and so much uncertainty, conflicting viewpoints, gaslighting, and outright false facts in society, how is the hospital and health system communicating value?

Image by Yogesh More from Pixabay

Why value and not features, benefits, and awards?

Patients and the community are scared, and there has been a loss of trust exhibited by patients not returning for care at pre-pandemic levels. With so much uncertainty, is it time to move healthcare marketing beyond "all about us" to the value and benefit brought to the patient and community?

Unless you are a new provider in the market, features and services or vague quality and excellence claims may be falling on deaf ears. 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

It's about value, benefit, price, and convenience on the patient's terms in today's world.

It's about answering the patient's question of trust and benefit of using you. 

In today's world, you need to have a compelling value proposition with messaging that provides clear and understandable benefits to patients.

Enter Value Marketing

Value marketing makes the case to your patients how you are their partner in solving their medical problem, offering a solution, giving results, and even make them satisfied to whatever extent possible.

Value marketing is about a creative exchange between the patient and the hospital in the marketplace. It is a dynamic transaction that continually changes based on the patient and community needs compared to what the hospital, or physician for that matter, offers.

Change the message from communicating what is done every day to the value and benefit of medical services and the positive impact on health.

Instead of talking about programs and services that everybody else has, talk about the value and benefits of those same programs and services and what they bring to the patient, i.e., outcomes, price, experience, and convenience.

As an alternative to saying we have the latest high-tech gizmo, talk about the value and benefit of what that latest most fantastic high-tech gizmo brings to the patient.

As a substitute to just communicating the Best Hospitals or 100 Top Hospitals awards for care, for example, talk to your patient and community about the value and benefit of that award by putting context around the content.

Stop talking at your audiences, speak to them by providing meaningful content that has context, delivered to them when they want it, on the device and format desired—message patients by offering value-based solutions to their healthcare needs. 

Image by Lisa Caroselli from Pixabay


The patient desperately wants to trust and return for care. But they need proof it's safe. They need to know the value and benefit for them, not the hospital.

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 is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

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For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Time Has Come to Make Hospital Marketing Sticky, Here’s How

With all the things that hospital leadership have on their plates and keeping them up at night, there is one area that could improve their marketing. That is making the hospital marketing stickier by being more creative.

Image by ptra from Pixabay

Creativity in hospital marketing is not a sin. 

Now that being said, the creative and production values of cable and broadcast television advertisements are particularly good and of excellent quality for the most part. Where the hospital marketing fails is on the creative side is with email, digital, paid social, print advertisements, and direct mail. 

Nobody remembers the advertisements.  But the healthcare and patient remembers what they saw on social media or the Internet. The healthcare consumer is talking and searching for healthcare information to learn and make choices.  But is the hospital or health system listening? 

Welcome to the experience economy, where the experience of care trumps the products and services of care. 

“In an experience economy, it’s not about what you do, but more about how you do it.”, Grant Leboff, Sticker Marketing- How To Win Customers In A Digital Age.

Now what? 

Time for a change. 

To grow and thrive in the experience economy, it means moving from traditional marketing to experiential marketing that addresses the needs of and meets the experience expectations of the patient. Stickier marketing is even more important during a pandemic when trust is low, and people are not returning to healthcare providers. The hospital experience has changed, and hospitals need to be creative on how to address and communicate that change. 


Image by Gerd Atlmann from Pixabay

Making provider marketing sticky is all about communicating care experience and engagement on a personal level. And given the multitude of ways, one of the most effective will be social media. 

Social media is about amplification and your ability to amplify the experience and brand messaging.  

Here are ten new marketing rules in an experience economy for making provider marketing stickier: 

1.       Understand fully and completely, the healthcare consumer and person experience. There are over 147 touchpoints for patient experience within a hospital. It’s vital in the experience economy that marketing understands what information they are seeking and deliver it to them at the right occasion touchpoint with the right call-to-action. 

2.       Content is king. Make it memorable. It’s how you drive engagement through effective and compelling storytelling around the experience of care, not the how of the care, from the web site to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc., by focusing on the experience, not features, and benefits. Be visual. Be compelling. 

3.       Identify and work with key influencers.  Local influencers can provide amplification of your message through social media. Encourage user-generated content. 

4.       Testimonials about the experience of care and engagement from patients and families are needed for the digital stories as proof points. 

5.       Integrate and communicate the value of the brand, key brand messages, and brand promise across all channels. 

6.       Use social media and SEO to amplify your message. Influencer’s and patient’s providing testimonials need to complete online reviews to raise your placement in Google and other search engine results. 

7.       Integrate the information and experience across all channels and platforms the connected patient uses- desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc. for a seamless experience. No disconnects. The patient moves freely between all devices, now expecting the same experience on all of them. 

8.       Traditional marketing now needs to focus more on price, outcomes, experience, and engagement.  No more pretty building, smiling doctors, shiny new equipment. 

9.       Teach employees how to use their social media channels to amplify the provider. 

10.   Teach the healthcare organization that marketing today is no longer about transactions but value.  Transactions will come after the value is understood.

Some will say that marketing has no place in the experience or engagement management process.  When you look at that advice, what success have you had in managing the experience and engaging the patient on their terms, not the hospitals? Or, are you just treading water until the next healthcare market catches you unawares. 

There is no escaping or slowing down the experience economy as it overtakes providers—time to make the hospital marketing stickier. 

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 is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.



Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dark Social- What You Can’t See, Can Hurt Your Hospital

Bright social, where you can see your handiwork, and revel in the brilliance of your content in attempts to influence the choice of the healthcare consumer and patients in selecting the hospital and physicians for treatment could be falling way short.

Falling short you say?

Not entirely mind you, but with the changes in all of the social media platforms as a result of fake news, phony followers, misuse of user data, etc.,  Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and other social media platforms as restrictive content publishing houses only represents one-third of all the activity in social media on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Where in the world is this going?

Two-thirds of internet social media activity occurs in what has been termed dark social. I am not speaking of the nefarious activities of drug dealers, gun runners, blackmailers, etc. using TOR or another program that allows one to search the web anonymously. I am referring to all the social media activities that can’t be traced such as email link sharing, some applications, and one-on-one messaging.

Now what?

For example, a healthcare consumer is looking for a new physician or hospital.   The individual researches on the IoT, speaks with work colleagues and others, reads some published content about the brilliance of the physician or the hospital, and utilizes several social media platforms. 

But in this process, friends and others may send an email, might use Facebook Messenger. Google Hangouts or WhatsApp Messenger, send an SMS text with a link to a source of information or solution that would be of interest. It is the method of sharing information that makes it dark and potentially untraceable.

And what is of interest to me at least, is not the quantity of dark social traffic, but the quality of that sharing traffic that goes on unseen.

Think about this for a moment.

How important is the recommendation from someone you know about a service or solution when you receive a link to a website or shares some meaningful information? It’s one-on-one messaging as compared to the mass messaging which has some traits of personalization, but still a mass-market message.

Therein lays the opportunity. Remember all the talk and activity about word-of-mouth marketing that was always the perceived key to success over the years? Well, word-of-mouth marketing hasn’t gone away, it’s just gone dark. 

Pun intended.

So how do you reach the two-thirds of the internet that are currently not visible to you? Most marketers use some form of marketing automation providing us at least the fundamental information of  “shared.” Seeing the word “SHARED” can be the equivalent of shouting the word  “squirrel” and having the dog reaction of quickly turning around in the Disney movie Up.  Does your neck hurt yet?

But by who and where was it shared?

Was it shared externally or internally in the recipient’s organization?  Was it shared with a supportive recommendation message, or, reaching high in the chuckle factor? Important to know as dark sharing impacts and influences the healthcare consumer's buyer’s journey.

Changing how we track what’s going on.

We are early in the process of discovering the hidden treasure trove of data in dark social, but there are ways to begin to understand how your information is being shared and used.

It’s all about the embedded code.

One way is to add trackable code to URLs someone may copy and paste in messages. Another way is to add trackable code to your website content for when it is copied and pasted.  When publishers participate with your short trackable code is added to any text for when it is copied and pasted into a message.

It’s early, and more ways are being developed to track the activity on dark social. But all marketers need to begin to understand and respond to the influence of dark social on their marketing and find ways to see to be able to leverage that which is unseen.

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 Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Extra, extra, read all about it. Hospitals Discover Patient Brand Evangelist Influencer Marketing

Do you know who your patient hospital brand evangelists are? I ask this question for a very important reason.  In an age of little provider differentiation in the retail medical marketplace with me-too messaging, how is a healthcare consumer to make a choice?

Now that being said, I realize that many healthcare leaders will dispute the above statement.  But the fact is it is little if any messaging differentiation.  I was there in the same place but made a conscious effort to move away from the “me too” messaging.

So where am I going with this?

Healthcare consumers and patients are demanding price and quality transparency, as is CMS, employers, and other key constituents. Maybe what they want is more price certainty and to know what the value is they are receiving for the dollar paid?  But few in the hospital or health system segment are listening to the needs and demands of the healthcare consumer. Then they howl loudly than a third-party releases data that is publically available on the hospitals or health systems prices and quality.

Consider for a moment. 
1.       Consumers of healthcare are shopping.
2.       Consumers are now paying over one-third of the cost of care out of pocket.
3.       A consumer uses the internet and social media 41 percent of the time in gathering information to make provider choice.

And the answer by hospitals and health systems is marketing trust our expertise, buildings, and technology with messages that are full of ambiguous claims and statements.

Now that being said, kudos to UChicago Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital for leading the way in the Chicago healthcare market by bucking that trend. They comprehend the value of the patient as a brand evangelist and influencer. And that is gratifying to me as a topic I have been writing about for a few years now. But let me be clear, I in no way claim any influence in the hospitals or their agency’s marketing direction. It’s nice to be proven right.

For the rest of the hospitals and health systems that do not yet comprehend the value and effectiveness of the patient as brand evangelist and influence, this is for you.

Let me give you an example. When employed as the Regional Director of Marketing at a multihospital health system, I developed with BVK the Third Opinion Oncology campaign.  Upon an individual receiving a cancer diagnosis, the next step is the second medical opinion.  But we found that there was a third step. The patient then talks to everyone and anyone that went through that cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Instead of going to the market with a look at our great oncologists, technology, expertise and it’s all about your messaging, we went in a very different direction. The campaign focused on three individuals with common cancer diagnoses of breast, colon, and prostate. By the way, it was hard to find those three brand evangelists. 

The simple message-  “Ask me how I beat breast cancer,” Jane@hosptial.org with a professional photo of the individual, email, print, billboard, and direct mail. Calls and emails went to my RN based call center. Before the campaign launch, a detailed Q&A with the three individuals, clinicians, and oncologists to identify the type of questions they had and the answers.  When a question came in that, we did not have an answer for we went back to the individuals and clinicians for an answer.

The entire campaign pulled the consumer to the hospital, pushed through to the oncologist, then pulled the oncologist to the hospital.

I did not message quality, technology, drugs, surgery; we care about you or anything else. I didn't say best and brightest; it’s all about you, or we are the only choices. Those are arrogant and pejorative vague claims that are indefensible. One message that was clear and unambiguous offer a solution to a serious medical situation. Answering healthcare consumer questions that are life and death in nature to real questions from real consumers.

The use of a patient brand evangelist differentiated the systems oncology services and established a position in the market that no other provider could claim.  The campaign drove appropriate utilization, built the oncologist practices, and increased hospital revenue, market share, and brand awareness.

And all of that was before a change in the healthcare market in 2006. Oh my, did I say 2006?  Twelve years ago?  What is old is new. Today the stake is even higher, and the hospital or health system brand needs patent evangelists and influencers.

The hospital of 2018 operates in a far different healthcare market than in 2006. But the idea and principles are the same. In many ways, it's even more important today than yesterday. Brand value, outcome, experience, and engagement are everything today.

Sometimes it's not rocket science, but the ability to adapt and change from past practices.  If I were on the hospital side in marketing, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

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 Feedspot.com. 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 inquiries for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What is wrong with this health systems marketing?

And it’s not a quiz either.

I try extremely hard not to call out individual hospitals or health systems for their lack of understanding of the healthcare consumer, their expectations, needs, and for knowing who their patient is.

But sometimes the professional healthcare marketer in me gets the best of me when I receive some marketing material from a health system, through different incarnations, I have used for 22 plus years. That’s right 22 plus years.  Oh, and did I mention that my wife, children, and mother-in-law have used them too?

PH has no idea after 22 years of utilization from being a patient, using the ER, to outpatient testing, WHO. I. AM.

And here is what set me off. And I can guarantee you that many a healthcare consumer, aka former patient, feels the same way.

The other day, I received a direct mail piece. It was a very nicely done, four-color, a heavy stock paper mailer that looked expensive with an offer for a chance to win a Fitbit.  But the catch was if and only if, I will schedule an appointment with one of their most caring primary care physicians for a health checkup.

The marketing issues beyond PH for any number of hospitals and health systems is that if  PH had been paying attention, was being strategic in their marketing and messaging, and fully understood who their customer was, they would have never sent me the direct mail piece.

Why, because for 22 years I have had a continuous relationship with a primary care doctor who I see regularly and who has me utilize the health system hospital.  With all due respect to Peter Frampton and Humble Pie, “I don’t need no doctor.” And I don't need any employed physicians.

In one fell swoop, PH just told me they have no idea who I am. I know who they are from direct experience and utilization, but they are clueless about me, the healthcare consumer.

And in today’s marketing world of more data, than you can beat with a stick, the availability of marketing automation, CRMs, experience mapping, the buyer's journey, AI, and social media, that is just unacceptable.

It’s not that hard.

In today’s world of healthcare consumer choice where premiums, deductibles, and copays have the healthcare consumer paying for over one-third of the cost of care, hospitals, and health system marketing needs to be far more strategic, targeted, responsive, data-driven, and healthcare consumer-oriented. 

There is no reason, no reason at all, not to understand who your audience is and the relationship that they already have built up with you. Understand what the healthcare consumer needs are, how the experience has been, and how to communicate through the right channels with the right message, at the right time to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

For all hospitals and health systems out there in the medical-care land, just remember, that the healthcare consumer only needs you for three things- emergency care, intensive care, and care for complex acute medical conditions. We can get all the care we need from our doctors and other providers in a far more cost-effective, better experience, more convenient setting with higher quality outcomes than at a hospital or hospital-based outpatient service.

Can you hear the healthcare consumer now?

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ten Steps to Make Hospital Marketing Sticker.

With all the things that hospital leadership and healthcare marketing executives have on their plates and keeping them up at night, here’s a new one.  And unfortunately, it’s out of one's control, and no exceptions are allowed.

With the economic shift from a product and service economy to an experience economy, providers are at a clear disadvantage by continuing to market like it is the 1990s.  Now that being said, it’s not all providers, but the vast majority.  

Being paid for the production of care in the fee-for-service model is a product and service approach to healthcare.  Though the payment mechanism is changing, little has changed in provider marketing.  

A vast majority of healthcare providers still taking the product marketing features approach. Notice that I did not say features and benefits marketing. Providers only go halfway choosing features or warm fuzzy improbable benefits but not both in their marketing.  I have yet to see a provider or provider system provide me with compelling reasons for the advantages of using them. It’s no wonder then that little differentiation exists in the market resulting in provider marketing that is not sticky.

Nobody remembers the advertisements.  But the healthcare and patient remember what they saw on social media or the Internet. The healthcare consumer is talking and searching for healthcare information to learn and make choices. 

Welcome to the experience economy, where the experience of care trumps the products and services of care.

Now what?

Time for a change.

To grow and thrive in the experience economy while all else is in flames around the hospital or health system, it means moving from traditional marketing to experiential marketing that addresses the needs of and meets the experience expectations of the healthcare consumer and patient.

Making provider marketing sticky is all about the care experience and engagement of the person on a very personal level. And given the multitude of ways, one of the most efficient will be social media.

Here are ten new marketing rules in an experience economy for making provider marketing stickier: 
1.       Understand fully and comprehensively the healthcare consumer and person experience. With over 147 touch-points for the customer and patient experience with a hospital. It’s vital in the experience economy that marketing understands what information they are seeking, and deliver it to them at the right experience touch-point with the right call-to-action. 
2.       Content is king. Make it memorable. It’s how you drive engagement through effective and compelling storytelling around the experience of care, not the how of the care.  From the website to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, etc., focus on the experience. Be visual. Be compelling. 
3.       Identify and work with the leading influencers.  Providers need community influencers to amplify the message through social media. Encourage user-generated content. 
4.       Develop testimonials about the experience of care and engagement from patients and healthcare consumers. 
5.       Integrate and communicate the value of the brand, key brand messages and brand promise across all channels. 
6.       Use social media and SEO to amplify your message. Influencer’s and patients providing testimonials need to complete online reviews to raise your placement in Google and other search engine results. 
7.       Integrate the information and experience across all channels and platforms that consumers will use- desktop, smartphone, or tablet for a seamless experience. No disconnects. The healthcare consumer moves freely between all three devices expecting the same experience across all three. 
8.       Traditional marketing needs to focus more on the price, outcomes, experience, and drive engagement.  No more buildings, smiling doctors, shiny new equipment.  
9.       Teach employees how to use their social media channels to amplify the provider. 
10.   Show a healthcare organization that marketing today is no longer about transactions but value.  Transactions will come after the value is understood.

There is no escaping or slowing down the experience economy as it overtakes healthcare.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Are You Using a Hospital Clinical Service Line Brand Evangelist for Differentiation?

Do you know who your patient hospital brand, evangelists are? I ask this question for a critical reason.  In an age of little provider differentiation in the actual retail medical marketplace with me-too messaging, how is a healthcare consumer to make a choice?

Now that being said, I realize that many health care leaders will dispute the above statement.  But the fact is is that there is little if any messaging differentiation.  I knew as I was there too but made a conscious effort to move away from the “me too” messaging. And that was in the early 2000s.

So where am I going with this?

Consumers are demanding price and quality transparency. 

Maybe in reality what they want is more cost certainty and knowing what the value is they are receiving for the dollar paid?  But few in hospitals or health systems are listening to the needs and demands of the healthcare consumer. Then they howl loudly than a third party releases data that is publically available on the hospitals or health systems prices and quality.

Consumers of healthcare are shopping.

Consumers are now paying one-third of the cost of care out of pocket.

An individual uses the internet and social media 41 percent of the time in gathering information to make provider choice.

Consumers no longer rely on word of mouth to choose doctors and hospitals but on the Internet of things and social sharing sites.

And the answer by hospitals and health systems is to market the “trust our expertise” with messages that are full of vague claims and statements.

One way to answer those questions is through the use of patient testimonials, aka the clinical service line brand evangelist. 

Let me give you an example. When at the multihospital health system, I developed The Third Opinion Oncology campaign.  Upon an individual receiving a cancer diagnosis, the next step is the second medical opinion.  But we found that there was a third phase. The patient then talks to everyone and anyone that went through that cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Instead of going to the market with a look at our great oncologists, technology, expertise and it’s all about your messaging, we went in a very different direction. The campaign focused on three individuals along with common cancer diagnoses of breast, colon, and prostate. By the way, it was hard to find those three brand evangelists. That tells one a lot about the hospital brand and experience too.

The simple message-  “Ask me how I beat breast cancer,”  Jane@hosptial.org with a professional photo of the individual, email, print, billboard, and direct mail. Calls and emails went to my RN based call center. Before the campaign launch, a detailed Q&A was developed and conducted with the three individuals, clinicians and oncologists to identify the type of questions they had and the answers.  When a question came in that, we did not have any answer for we went back to the individuals and clinicians for a reply.

The entire campaign pulled the consumer to the hospital, pushed through to the oncologist, then pulled the oncologist to the hospital.

I did not message quality, technology, drugs, surgery; we care about you or anything else. I didn't say best and brightest; it’s all about you, or we are the only choices. Those are arrogant and pejorative vague claims that are indefensible. One message that was clear and unambiguous offer a solution to a serious medical situation bu providing alternatives and choices by clearly answering health-related consumer questions that are life and death in nature.

The use of a patient brand evangelist clearly differentiated the systems oncology services and established a position in the market that no other provider could claim.  The campaign drove appropriate utilization, built the oncologist practices, and increased hospital revenue, market share, and brand awareness.

And all of that was before a change in the market that is becoming retail medical in nature.  Today the stake is even higher, and the hospital or health system brand needs to mean more than ever.

The hospital of 2017  operates in a market that is more value and risk than fee-for-service. And where the consumer has a growing portion of the expense and choice of providers brand and value is everything.

Changing your marketing today from ambiguous we are all the same features and benefits marketing to patient brand evangelists and solutions marketing, will set one up for success whatever the payment system is.  A strong established brand will be in narrow networks, the provider of choice in consumer-driven exchange plans, and the dominant provider in the market.

What one does today in creating an indelible hospital or system brand will impact tomorrow's growth, revenue, and profitability.

Is it that hard to be responsive to a consumer's need for healthcare problem solutions? 

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dark Social, It's Far More Important for Success than Bright Social.

Bright social, where you can see your handiwork, and revel in the brilliance of your content driving the unsuspecting company or individual to your site,  where you immediately is to inundate them with AdRoll programs, emails and other forms of intrusive marketing may be on the way to the trash bin.

Oh, I bet that got your attention!

Not entirely mind you, but with the changes in Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and other social media platforms becoming content publishing houses without the links, and they don’t want your links. The social platforms crave and are demanding inspiring, relevant, game-changing content for their members. But you know, that is only 25 percent of your audience reach.

Where in the world is this going?

Two-thirds of internet social media activity occur in what has been termed dark social. I am not speaking of the nefarious activities of drug dealers, gun runner’s, blackmailers, etc. using TOR or another program that allows one to search the web anonymously. I am referring to all the social media activity that can’t be traced such as email link sharing, some applications and one-on-one messaging.

Don’t believe me? Then I suggest you read this article, “ The best free privacy software in 2017,”  on techradar.com

Now what?

For example, a healthcare provider is looking for a solution to a problem.  They do the research on the IoT, speak with colleagues and others, possibly read some thought leadership, and examine social media.  But in this process, friends and others may send an email or direct message with a link to a source of information or solution that would be of interest. It is the method of sharing information that makes it dark and at this time untraceable.

And what is of interest to me at least, is not the quantity of dark social traffic, but the quality of that sharing traffic that goes on unseen.

Think about this for a moment. How important is the recommendation from someone you know about a service or solution when you receive a link to a website or shares some meaningful information? It’s one-on-one messaging as compared to the mass messaging which has some traits of personalization, but still a mass-market message.

That’s what I thought too.

Therein lays the opportunity. Remember all the talk and activity about word-of-mouth marketing that was always the perceived key to success over the years? Well, word-of-mouth marketing hasn’t gone away, it’s just gone dark. 

Pun intended.

So how do you reach the two-thirds of the internet that are currently not visible to you? Most marketers use some form of marketing automation providing us at least the very basic information of  “shared.” Seeing the word “SHARED” can be the equivalent of shouting the word  “squirrel” and having the dog reaction of quickly turning around as in the Disney movie Up.  Does your neck hurt yet?

But by whom and where was it shared?

Was it shared externally or internally in the recipient’s organization?  Was it shared with a  supportive recommendation message,  or, reaching high in the chuckle factor? Important to know as dark sharing impacts and influences the buyer’s journey and sales process.

Changing how we track what’s going on.

We are early in the process of discovering the hidden a treasure trove of data in dark social, but there are ways to begin to understand how your information is being shared and used.

One way is to add trackable code to URLs someone may copy and paste in messages. Another way is to add trackable code to your website content for when it is copied and pasted.  When publishers participate with you, a short trackable code added to any text for when it is copied and pasted into a message.

It’s early, and more ways are being developed to track the activity on dark social. But all marketers need to begin to understand and respond to the influence of dark social on their marketing and find ways to leverage what is unseen.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Best of Healthcare Marketing Matters - 2016

With so much market and regulatory change driving uncertainty in 2016 for health care vendor and provider marketing, it’s still been a remarkable year.  Even in the midst of market transformation, some things remain valid. 

Focus on the customer. Be transparent and responsive. Develop new programs and service based on the needs of your audience, not what you desire.  And use the social media channels where the healthcare consumer is at to drive engagement and experience, not where you want them to be.

I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read, comment, and share what I have written across a broad range of healthcare marketing topics for 2016. Because of you the reader, by the end of 2016, HMM will go over 100,000 total page views for the year across 52 countries. 

I am taking a couple of weeks off from writing for the Holidays. I need to recharge, relax and enjoy the downtime.  I will be back right before the New Year begins ready to roll.

Have a great Holiday season and best wishes for prosperity and success in 2017.

Best regards,
Michael J Krivich, FACHE. PCM

Views   Title

2,710    Chief Communications Officers in health systems, advocates, and publishers? http://bit.ly/1MD4Rmt

2,618    Why should a provider switch to Inbound Marketing?

2,548    But nobody knows who the hospital is marketing!

2,525    Is the disintermediation of hospitals a market reality?

2.494    Communicating Value is The New Hospital Marketing Currency.   

2,451    Time for Hospital Physician Advertisements to Change?

2,430    Is Now The Time For Patient Experience Provider Advertising?

2,392    Improving the Physician Hospital Experience, Untapped Revenue &  Growth?     http://bit.ly/1X77jVI

2,010    Providers- Is it time to stop learning about social media and finally use it? http://bit.ly/2a5FVS5

1,731    Social selling for the healthcare vendor, if not now, when?

1,432   Social selling in healthcare takes work and commitment. Can you?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Is social media use by the individual, nothing more than an echo chamber?

Given all that has taken place in 2016 with social media, it occurred to me that maybe social media use by the consumer, not business mind you, is nothing more than an echo chamber.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that in the final analysis, people will tend to connect with those family members, friends, and strangers that share like convictions, beliefs, and political affiliations for example.  In that environment, political beliefs, news stories, etc. that reflect their view of the world become shared. 

Never mind that the source of the news or open is created by a fake news source. It got a life of its own and shared across the social media channels of the circle that shares that same perception or belief.  

There is little room for differing opinions or facts that are incongruent with the understanding or attitudes leading to a loss of critical thinking and examination. The potential exists for manipulation by various groups and organizations with little accountability that can slant the facts to fit the narrative.

Now that being said, that is what business use of social media entails. Find these groups to sell products or services.  A topic we are not considering today.

But the bigger question here is, does social media as an echo chamber benefit society and improve the culture and discourse? 

I would say that the answer to that question is no. If anything, an individual’s use of social media within that echo chamber will drive more division, disruption, and polarization. We all lose when the discussion becomes one-sided, and people only see their opinion as being the only truth.

In the end, it still comes down to the individual’s sense of responsibility and accountability. And the ability to think for themselves critically while understanding that someone disagreeing with you is healthy. It does open up one to new ideas and viewpoints not considered. 

Is that such a bad thing?

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Will others will begin to realize that social media across the world is becoming nothing more than an echo chamber, leading to the increased polarization of thought, ideas, and fostering a lack of critical thinking? 

For that, we are worse off as a society and civilization.  Lemmings running to fall off the cliff from which there may be no return.

Remember:


Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.
For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.


Tags: #hcmkt, #hcsm, #socialmedia #understanding #responsibility

Saturday, November 26, 2016

If social media is quasi-immortality, what will your legacy be?

It’s been said that once something is on the IoT, it’s there forever.  Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, LinkedIn and so many other social media channels and platform, means that there is a lot of stuff you have written, photographed and shared.  In the totality of it all, what does that say about you?

If you were to die tomorrow and someone who never knew you stumbled upon your musings, political views, photographs, etc. friends, group memberships, etc., what does that say about you?

Will you be seen as thoughtful and understanding, or kind and generous?  Someone who cares and listens to discusses thoughtfully. A loving and caring person who values life in all of its diversity and beauty? A friend who reaches out to make things better?

Do you see yourself as the defender of all that is good and judge everyone else’s politics and views as of little consequence?  Are you seen as intransigent and unforgiving?  Would you be by a future generation as a racist, or someone who is harsh and judgmental?  

Could you be seen under the bright lights of the future and their lens of historical hindsight as uncivilized and a barbarian?

We will never know the answer to any of those questions.  But we do know today is that what we share, post, photograph, etc. speaks to who we are as individuals for the historical record. Our history of the potential immortality for you and me  resides on the Internet of Things.

Words are important, and that is something that I can think we can all agree. How one uses words not only in the content but contextually, can significantly influence our record of immortality.

Words can drive an individual to take action, become motivated, inspire and in some cases by the contextual environment communicated with the phrase become life-changing. And we all know that words can unintentionally by use and connotation reach a pretty high giggle factor, raising more questions than answers. In some case, words conveying a position on a topic become oxymoronic resulting in a negative image. Words can drive hate.

With that in mind, how would you rate your use of words and your interactions on the IoT?
What is the legacy of who you are that you are leaving behind?

An important question that only you can answer. 

Life and what we leave behind for others about ourselves is important.

Words matter.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Is the lack of self-control in social media descending us into darkness?

That’s an important question for today’s world.  And let me be clear, I am not blaming the channels in social media but only posting a question. 

Is social media the new herd mentality?

Are we losing the ability to understand?

Have we lost the ability to be tolerant?

Can we regain the ability to find the good in others?

Is it possible to listen for understanding and not just hear to respond?

What happened to the two sides of the same coin understanding?

I am neither wise enough or have enough hubris even to try to answer these questions.

But that never stopped me before.

Words are important, and that is something that I can think we can all agree. How one uses words not only in the content but contextually, can significantly influence a positive or negative perception of the issue.

Words can drive an individual to take action, become motivated, inspire and in some cases by the contextual environment communicated with the phrase become life-changing. And we all know that words can unintentionally by use and connotation reach a pretty high giggle factor, raising more questions than answers. In some case, words conveying a position on a topic become oxymoronic resulting in a negative image. Words can drive hate.

With that in mind, how would you rate your use of words?

An important question as I see more each day of individuals using words that don’t say anything.  Lots of squiggles on a page intended to convey information but mostly say the same thing over and over again.  I increasingly see the use of opinion based jargon instead of facts to cover up any real meaning. 

Do we have the ability to understand, think twice and write once?

Words matter.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Grades Are In & Providers Receive an F in Consumer/Patient Engagement

And this from a well-respected healthcare executive in a comment to one of my blog posts, which I have permission to use.

“Michael - I think a lot of folks that are responsible for securing their health insurance would benefit from more emphasis on #7 on your list. My family has been with Cigna as our insurer and big Baylor in Dallas as our main provider for years. Now we are getting letters from Cigna telling us they will no longer be offering us the same plan in the coming year. We feel abandoned at this point. Both of these companies know us well. I would feel better if they would access some of their data and reach out to us proactively with options for us going forward that would allow us to maintain an ongoing relationship with both of them. Right now I feel like neither of them really want us as customers anymore.”

What doesn’t hospital and health system leadership get about engagement with healthcare consumers and patients?

I would like to think that this is an anomaly, but deep down inside this kind of story happens every day in the very corner of the nation.  All the while hospitals and health systems tell the consumer and patients how much they care about them. What significant awards for medical care from third parties bestowed upon them?  How great they are and you should come there for no valid reason other than we say so. 

You know the song sung every day in the meaningless provider marketing that takes place.

Healthcare leadership has failed to understand the changing healthcare marketplace, their role in that market, consumer needs and how to engage.  They believe their press clippings and advertisements. All the while cognitive dissonance is occurring with consumers and patient who know that the reality does meet the experience.

And you all know that I have been writing about our engagement and experience for years now. As a sample, the following posts on Healthcare Marketing Matters have received thousands of page views. You can always use the search function to find much, much more. But it’s clear; providers aren’t paying attention.

Is healthcare consumer/ patient engagement all of the time the new reality? http://bit.ly/1VoF01N

Is healthcare consumer or patient engagement the new sales? http://bit.ly/1LFgdkx

Can healthcare providers become customer focused enterprises? http://bit.ly/1COdz7c

What is the healthcare consumer to do? http://bit.ly/1wPeDKm

The healthcare consumer has a buyer’s market now, how will providers respond? http://bit.ly/1NGedZK

What does a customer focused hospital or healthcare enterprise look like? http://bit.ly/1Hy6O09

The healthcare consumer lives in a multichannel environment; the response is? http://bit.ly/1CwCLOe

Patient engagement or patient relationship, can you have one without the other? http://bit.ly/1RGR0em

Is social media the next level of patient engagement? http://bit.ly/1mPF1gs

I am not going to dwell on the what and how to do of engagement, as that topic has been covered time and again.

I do chuckle as a primary health system that I have been going to for over 20 years has been boasting of a great CRM system for several years now.  The system hospital has ever engaged neither I nor any family members in any meaningful way. I know you, but you have no clue about me.  And I can choose to go elsewhere because you know why- providers are all the same.

Providers are failing the engagement test of healthcare consumers and patients. At what point does this finally sink in? 

When this happens, the last person out of the hospital, please turn the lights off.

That's why you engage all of the time. 

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.