Patients are a virtue: A look into hospital marketing

Hospital marketers are in a tough position when it comes to pleasing physicians.  Doctors, surgeons and specialists typically have years and years of expertise, and often believe that their ideas and personas warrant marketing and publicity recognition.  Many times, this is true – a long list of award-winning services may entice people to choose your hospital’s services over another’s.
However, at our Florida advertising agency, we’ve noticed that physicians and other hospital service staff are quick to jump on opportunities to recognize their own accomplishments, but sometimes neglect outreach efforts to potential and returning patients.  Hospital marketers may find it difficult to strike the balance between pleasing physicians and engaging in effective outreach.

The team members at our agency recently wrote a white paper titled Marketing to Meet Hospital Business Objectives While Keeping Physicians Happy, addressing how hospital marketers can effectively please hospital physicians while also meeting their own marketing objectives.  We suggested that there should be dual service lines; one of which addresses the needs of the physicians, and another other that involves creating marketing objectives at the executive level and analyzing the success of such initiatives.

There are entire industries dedicated to physician reputation management, which encourages physicians to find effective ways to tout their accomplishments, particularly against any potential negative publicity.  But hospital marketers must remember that, while marketing to maintain physicians’ reputations is important, it is but a single slice of the pie.

At our Florida marketing agency, we believe that hospital marketing will see greater success with marketing toward patients.  In this digital era, there are numerous ways to reach out to potential patients, and many of these methods may not involve touting the merits of your hospital’s physicians and staff.

In engaging in effective hospital marketing, you are trying to persuade potential patients to believe in your message, and to think of your organization first when they are sick or injured.  In order to do this, each piece of content you create should be in service of your audience.  What is your hospital staff doing to differentiate itself?  Why are your hospital’s services better than a competitor’s?

Notice how a strategy that emphasizes these efforts aims to reach the potential patients at an emotional level.  These efforts tend to work much better than efforts that simply offer a long list of physician credentials.  One way to frame the difference is, rather than asking whether the physicians are happy with marketing efforts or whether the efforts are serving the needs of the hospital as a brand, to ask whether the efforts are serving the needs of potential patients and of the community as a whole.

If your hospital marketing is struggling to reach patients in a meaningful way, perhaps it is time to revaluate your strategy to put more emphasis on patient needs.  Go to where they are, find out what they’re seeking and speak to them on their terms.  While meeting the needs of physicians is important, the team at our Orlando marketing agency believes it is even more important to meet the needs of the patients who will keep coming back, year after year. Contact us for more information, we’d love to help!

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