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December 19, 2019
When a patient stays at a hospital, marketing is most likely not the first thing on their mind. The focus is on health, the doctors, the quality of their stay, the state of the facility, and the aspects directly impacting their visit. What they might not realize, though, from the moment they walked through the door to the aftercare received, a marketing decision factored into their experience.
Almost three quarters of Americans say that they believe the healthcare system to be in a state of crisis, while the same number is still satisfied with the quality of care they receive. The reason for such disparate numbers? It could be lack of effective marketing. Many providers have the opportunity to strengthen their marketing efforts and pioneer consumer satisfaction in healthcare systems.
Marketing should function as an essential tool a hospital employs to demonstrate their expertise to the community. Jim Nuckols, Chief Marketing Officer at Sharp Healthcare, summarizes it well: “We focus on what we call the Experience Economy, which is sort of the next level of differentiation and everything from lobbies that don’t feel like hospitals…[to] volunteers baking chocolate chip cookies.”
So, how do you make marketing go hand in hand with an Experience Economy? Hone in on the pillars of what makes healthcare unique: the heartbeat of the system, and how your hospital goes above and beyond.
The entire framework for healthcare evaluations is undergoing a major shift. In 2010, the decade-old process for ranking medical schools changed from zeroing in on school selectivity and funding, and instead highlights the social mission of the schools, a policy which has transferred over to healthcare as well. With the spotlight on how healthcare systems are giving back, marketing attention can shift toward telling that story within each unique hospital.
From storytelling to brand aesthetic, is your culture shining through to consumers? If your core values are compassion, excellence, and integrity, your overall image needs to push that vision forward through deliberate messaging. Ask yourself: what makes our organization’s culture different? Whether it’s emphasis on care, excellent medical professionals, maintaining patient relationships, or others, create materials that express that culture.
With over 6,000 hospitals in the U.S. It’s a fact that healthcare providers all face a high level of competition. When people enter a facility’s doors, they immediately gather what kind of atmosphere they’re entering based on the details of the room. Is it clean, well-lit, and inviting? Right down to the furniture displayed and the decorations on the walls, the way each lobby and each room is put together is a crucial part of creating a unique, positive experience for each and every patient.
Physical presentation can also be made to rise above the rest with a personal touch. At Sharp HealthCare facilities, when a patient doesn’t have any flowers in their room, they’re given flowers by the hospital. “Those kinds of things happening all around the system, create an expectation and a level of care that’s different, and it gets expressed how we treat each other as employees, as well,” says Nuckols.
At Sharp, healthcare providers ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you? I have the time.” A facility’s quality of care is the most important aspect: without it, the entire mission misses its mark. And with dedicated, qualified physicians, the system thrives and creates unique, positive experiences that result in brand loyalty.
The ease of access, the patient-doctor relationship, and a continuum of care all work together to develop the stories you can directly share with potential patients. Being able to display testimonials from genuinely satisfied patients is a powerful marketing tool.
With available technology, any consumer now has the ability to go online and research the doctors at a medical facility, the ratings they’ve received, and the level of technology they employ. Presenting a user-friendly online network is important, but those that stand out and show off their unique qualities will be able to tout positive reviews coupled with cutting edge technology.
Having cutting edge technology is key, and marketing it so consumers are aware is necessary. If you have an app that helps people access your healthcare network, send out emails to let people know. Post it on your social networks, and show people the ways that ease of technology can create a positive, unique experience for them.
If someone says, “Coca-Cola,” you think of red and white, with exciting energy. If you think “Starbucks,” you think green, friendly, and connected. As a marketer, people should be able to think of your healthcare system and immediately have your core values come to mind. Those special attributes that the healthcare system is founded on, conveyed simply and effectively, create a lasting impression.
As healthcare becomes more consumer focused and hospitals vie for patient satisfaction, marketers need to adapt their message to showcase the special assets they have to offer. Do you know how to market what makes a healthcare system special? With decades of experience in this ever-changing industry, Orange Label has watched the healthcare market fluctuate over time, and has been there for every twist and turn. If you’re ready to take the next step in your healthcare marketing, contact us today.
As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.