Why traditional health care marketing no longer works

by KGBTexas Admin on July 26, 2012

Hospitals are working hard to be better marketers these days. They historically have their own structured and complicated means of communicating with patients. Each clinical department requires forms, information, then, more forms. The reward for all this is waiting before the doctor can see you. Sometimes you wait for hours. Yet, their messaging is focused around trying to get you to believe they care more, their doctors really care more, and all their equipment is state-of-the-art.

Since the ‘70s, or what is being called the First Wave of health care, successful hospitals attempted to build their brand around traditional marketing tactics. Marketing was an expensive investment, but, as it turns out, worth it. Take any element of the hospital’s continuum of clinical services and spend enough money promoting it, and you were likely to see a spike in admissions, or utilization of services. TV was a miracle worker, and the secrets to leveraging the miracle were an efficient factory with consistent messaging, and the willingness to spend money to tell people about those services.

The Second Wave of health care in America is taking hold in communities across the country. It is spawned by health care reform, a Supreme Court decision, and a recognition of the potential efficacy for instilling a quality-based delivery system, rather than volume-based. Along with this is a demand for new health care marketing.

The new marketing has really shaken up traditional marketers. First, excessive clutter and dozens of new media alternatives have ended the guaranteed effectiveness of television. Just as the old rules were changing, new techniques – ranging from websites to Google ads to digital word-of-mouth – came along and picked up the slack. To a traditional health care marketer, an effective new marketing technique is an even better miracle than TV: fast results at almost no cost.

But, the new health care marketing doesn’t work for everyone. So we’re at a crossroads. Down one path are health care marketing moguls challenged to use “Internet stuff” to prop up failing traditional strategies that no longer carry the magic once recognized. The other path gaining momentum is one with nimble IT savvy and digital-friendly hospitals, with intelligent online pioneers poised and prepared, ready to be propelled by the fresh tactics of the New Health Care Marketing paradigm.

New Health Care Marketing isn’t a single website or technology. It’s based on a combination of more than a dozen trends, each of which is changing the way ideas are perceived and spread. KGBTexas Healthcare Solutions group can explain what all of these new trends are, and what they are not. We should talk.

– Pat Riley –

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