Humanizing Healthcare Marketing
It is now time for the marketing community to rethink measurement models, as the evidence continues to pour in that emotion plays a role both in how we receive and perceive information and in purchase decisions.
– Robert S. Duboff
For decades, marketers have been combining consumer research and insights to create more effective, creative advertising. Coined in 1968 as “account planning,” this discipline of marketing holds that the voice of the consumer is paramount. The crux of planning is the need to understand the consumer and the brand in order to discover a key insight that will create relevance in the minds of your consumers. And it is more important than ever today. As our channels for communicating have exploded, it’s become essential that our healthcare communication cuts through the clutter and noise to connect with our audience.
Establishing an emotional connection with our healthcare audience is the only way to build affinity and loyalty. But in order to make it authentic, we have to carry that connection throughout all of our brand’s touchpoints. For example, if you tout “compassionate, personalized care” but don’t deliver on it and patients don’t personally experience it when they interact with your brand, then you are not being truthful in what you promote.
In a fascinating article by Robert S. Duboff, Making Better Marketing Decisions: A Left-Brain Argument for the Right Brain, Robert looks into the correlation between emotional drivers and increased profitability. He cites an example from the banking industry where the data showed that, compared to highly satisfied customers, “emotionally connected customers own more banking products, carry higher credit card balances and advocate for their bank’s brand more often.” The data further suggest an estimated $14.2 million boost in net present value profit is on the table when the number of emotionally connected customers grows from one to five percent.
Features vs. Benefits
When it comes to our healthcare marketing and communication with patients, we want to focus on the benefits, not the features, of what we are offering. Our goal with every message should be to make an emotional connection that will entice action. Including a list of features doesn’t usually accomplish this feat.
Think about selling a computer – a product that inherently comes with a long list of features:
- Intel Core i5 2500 Processor
- 4GB DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM, 1333MHz, 2x2GB
- 250GB 3.5 6.0 Gb/s SATA w/ 8MB DataBurst Cache
- 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 20” monitor
- Integrated Video, Intel HD Graphics 2000
- 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet
Is this the messaging we want to lead with? Even though many of us do lead with this type of rational information, it’s probably not an effective way of establishing relevance with our healthcare audience. So, what are the benefits of owning a computer?
- Makes kids homework easier
- Stores family photos and videos
- Writing letters, articles, stories, reports and other things is easier and faster
- Provides the ability to telecommute
- Allows for easy and inexpensive communication with friends, family, work, etc.
- Is a source of entertainment – games, movies, social networking
By taking the benefits a step further and connecting the emotional dots for your audience – peace of mind that your child can do their homework and get good grades, looking at baby pictures of your teenager – you can tap into your audience’s emotions and establish compelling, relevant messaging.
Now let’s look at the da Vinci® robot. Hospital CEOs and physicians love to talk about the features of this pricey investment. And I don’t blame them. But are we communicating the true value of this piece of equipment when we use this type of language in our da Vinci ads:
- precise surgery
- 3D HD vision
- small incisions
- high-tech, innovative equipment
- minimally invasive
The benefits of this feature set include a quicker recovery, less pain and a shorter hospital stay. But we need to go even further to make the connection:
- A quicker recovery means that the patient misses less work or will be back to playing with their kids faster than traditional surgery
- A more precise, less invasive surgery means less pain and scarring
- A shorter hospital stay means less cost for the patient
As you develop your messaging, think about the emotional benefit to the consumer. An emotional reaction will be more likely to cause the consumer to take action.
You can find Robert’s article in its entirety here: Making Better Marketing Decisions: A Left-Brain Argument for the Right Brain.
AcrobatAnt Healthcare Marketing & Advertising
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Categorized in: Healthcare