In the United States, hospitals are feeling the impact of having a number of previously uninsured people having access to insurance because they are seeking care more frequently. Around the world, hospitals have similar challenges where the balance between care, cost, and relationships are the foundation of their marketing strategies. In order to maximize your impact, you’ve got to be able to maximize your value.
It all begins with the quality of an experience at your hospital. Being admitted to a hospital is never what people want, but it is sometimes what they need in order to recover from a difficult injury or illness. The empathy and quality of the relationships that you build with every patient will maximize the empathy and emphasis that your local community will place in you.
Great Hospital Marketing Strategies
1. Know the Dynamics
The marketing strategy for your hospital must work in conjunction with your business plan. That means you’ll need to know what the long-term goals for the hospital happen to be, not just the 1 year or the 5 year plan. There are other dynamics that influence your ability to market effectively as well, such a switchover to a unionized staff, political issues like seen with the US Affordable Care Act, or something as simple as a change from Winter to Spring.
2. Know What Works and What Doesn’t
Your competition is a valuable resource that must be studied so you can avoid their weaknesses and errors. It’s the old adage of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Although you all have a mutual mission to care for those who need help, you do need to develop a unique position that allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition. By knowing what works and what doesn’t, you won’t inadvertently advertise what your community sees as your weakness.
3. Know the Vision
Your vision goes beyond what kind of market share you expect to have or the size of your facilities. What is your vision of care going to be with new technology emerging in the health industry every year? What will you be able to do to capture the idea that you can provide cutting edge care that can save lives? That’s where your marketing strategies will need to go.
4. Know the Strategy
You have a lot of tools in your toolbox that are attractive to your community, but you must know what will make people become aware of these tools. From community presentations to advertising to free media content that gets distributed to newspapers or health bloggers, each demographic has a particular emphasis that must be effectively addressed in order for value to be seen.
5. Know How to Break It Down
If you try to please everyone in everything that you do, then you are on the fast track to failure. Marketing strategies need to be segmented based on the demands of each demographic that exists in the community you serve. Some demographics may want to see happy employees working for you. Others might want an easy referral process. Some might want better emergency care. Identify what each demographic wants, break it down for them, and then reach out to that demographic with the identified strategy that will work for each segment.
6. Know How To Create a Buzz
Every hospital has people within it that hate working where they do, but there are also people who love working at the hospital. Find those people who are already your ambassadors and let them get to work at doing what they do best. Let these champions that are under your roof give interviews, give presentations, or provide quotes for your marketing materials so that their skills can be used. They’ll see it as a reward and put even more effort into it and you’ll be able to focus on marketing strategically.
7. Know How To Budget
As with every other industry, the 80/20 principle applies to every hospital marketing strategy. Only 20% of the people you contact will become regular patients, but this will provide you with 80% of your yearly budget. Make your top priority be this 20% group and then distribute the remainder of your marketing throughout the other demographics.
8. Know Creativity
Creative marketing campaigns tend to be remembered more than stale facts and figures. Statistics can prove value and testimonials can provide evidence, but your creative endeavors will put you at the top of your patient’s mind. That’s where you’ve got to be to succeed, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
9. Know How To Start
You will be judged in the first 30 seconds of exposure to your marketing campaign. Although you won’t always win over a patient to your hospital in these first 30 seconds, you can certainly lose one in this short amount of time. The right way to start a campaign is to get everybody in the hospital on board with it first. This will limit negative reactions that your people send out to the community and it’ll be a good test to see how positive the strategy could be. If no one really likes your idea, scrap it and start over.
10. Know How To Measure
A marketing strategy that is implemented blindly is one that is set on a journey towards failure. Although someone who is blindfolded can sometimes throw a dart to hit a bullseye, marketing shouldn’t be left to that kind of random chance. Make sure that your strategy incorporates some form of tracking and metrics so you can measure how successful your ideas happen to be. Change ideas if necessary, press on strengths, and you’ll be able to market your hospital successfully.
11. Know Your Timing
There are times when marketing efforts will be overlooked because there is just too much information floating around. The average person may see or hear upwards of 100 marketing pitches every day! This can be tripled during peak seasons, like the holidays or a community festival. Time your campaign to hit during low periods instead of high periods of contact for a better level of recognition and exposure.