Effective Messaging in Healthcare Marketing Part 2

Reed Immer and Carolyn Walker, managing partner at Response Marketing, are here today to talk about effective messaging and communication in healthcare marketing.

To illustrate this point, we have four advertisements.  Two of these advertisements do a poor job of connecting with patients, and the other two do a very good job.

First advertisement: [Talks about hospitals ability to work on joints and bones, and shows an actual bone scan.]  As a marketer/consumer all this means to us is they have bone scanning ability.  Yet, a consumer is less concerned about their ‘bad’ bone scan, but more concerned about the activities they can no longer do.  The way you can connect to consumers is by focusing on the solution and getting a person back to their well being.

[Note] There are different benefits that each brand has: functional, emotional and self expressive.

  • Functional: Provide functional utility of a brand, like a brain scan, CAT scan, or ‘X’ amount of doctors.  These are things that each hospital may have in order to provide service to patients.
  • Emotional: Ones where a patient/customer has a positive experience with a brand.  For example, if a hospital repairs your knee allowing you to jog again, you are very happy with them.  You are emotionally connected.
  • Self-Expressive: Image-oriented.  For example, does Yale New Haven Hospital have a different image than Griffin Hospital? Yes. If you would like the best medical care in the area you would go to Yale over other hospitals.

A brand that communicates these three benefits has a stronger connection with brand image and the customer.

Second Advertisement: [Encourages people to donate to a hospital.  It displays a thermometer as the main symbol to have people donate.]  It does not connect emotionally, by showing benefits of what your dollar may do.  If they wanted to re-vamp this ad, they should focus on the end benefit of how donating to the hospital can help.

Third Advertisement: [Highlights organ donors.]  This ad communicates the benefits of donating an organ, by showing who is receiving the organ and how happy they are.  It also shows what will happen to the donor.  It gives both the receiver and the donor some hope; this ad is both warm and heartfelt.

Forth Advertisement: Public service campaign encouraging people to run more and engage in more physical activity.  It has a pair of sneakers wrapped in cellophane [like meat in grocery store] and its tag line is ‘Best if used by today’.  This line is fun and urges people to get up off the couch and get motivated.  This is part of the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Campaign.  They do a great job of talking about all the things you can do to keep your self well, rather than battling a medical issue.