For Smarter, More Effective Marketing, Think Inside the Box – Part I

04 Nov For Smarter, More Effective Marketing, Think Inside the Box – Part I

By Abe Kasbo

Yes, I am encouraging Hospital CEOs and CMOs to think inside the box to build successful marketing campaigns that positively contribute to their bottom line. It’s no secret that some of the largest medical centers around the country have been tapping and successfully recruiting some of corporate America’s best marketing minds.

Anyone whose been keeping a keen eye on recent advertising and marketing trends fully recognizes that the increasingly potent cocktail of media fragmentation. Increased advertising clutter, the rise of the Internet and the subsequent consumer control over media has made creativity in reaching patients and physicians a paramount tactic. I am not talking about creating cœbranded ads. I am talking about implementing what some may consider non-traditional marketing campaigns that will grow your business. And to do that, you have to fully understand what’s inside your box.

The CMOs of the world’s largest marketers such as Proctor and Gamble, American Express, and Verizon have recently demanded more accountability from their advertising agencies and Madison Avenue. Citing that in this age, traditional ad campaigns are simply not working to their satisfaction. The advent of the Internet, the mobile phone and the iPod has brought about fundamental changes in the way people consume and respond to media. Corporate marketers are no longer settling for great ads, logos and taglines. They are seeking a tangible return on investment through concerted campaigns that push the traditional bounds of advertising and marketing.

Marketing is a business of ideas. And in healthcare, these ideas must be sound because there’s very little margin for error.

Indeed, wha’s inside the box can drive volume and positively contribute to your bottom line. Here are some ideas

Who, where, and what are you? You must know the key elements of each and every service line in your hospital and their relationship to the overall market, and prioritize them. Around the country, marketing dollars are under pressure, so prioritizing your service lines in terms of which provide you with the largest margins while feeding other services is key.

A total view of your market is imperative. Today, a variety of providers may be competing for patients in your primary and secondary markets. These may be surgi-centers, outpatient radiology groups, etc. By recognizing these entities as competitors and understanding their services, you can more clearly define your offer to the market with what sets you apart.

Bottom Line? Give your brand away. This is what successful companies like Coca Cola, Harley Davidson, Yahoo and Myspace do everyday. They do this by creating communities of people who share a passion for their products based on their experiences with the product or service. The company here is almost irrelevant. In the case of MySpace.com, no one is talking about its parent company, News Corp. This is because community building, although non-traditional, is an activity allows for more business growth potential than any other communication form. It is simply about your services and your patients or physicians. You can build communities by looking inside, to the people whom you’ve successfully treated, loyal physicians and volunteers who continue to support your organization and bringing them together around specific events and functions.