Cringeworthy conversations: 4 healthcare marketers sound off on language they find most annoying

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The marketing groups within medical facilities and health systems are faced with the tough task of making their organization look like the top choice from which patients can receive care– a task with intricacies those who work beyond health care marketing might not completely understand.

When I am able to advise them of the particular audiences we are targeting for our messaging (those who have the need or potential to use that service), where they are and how we are reaching them (generally not through the daily newspaper), along with show them the customer awareness, market-share and confidence information of how well the program is carrying out and data on how that healthcare marketing has performed in regards to success metrics, we can normally turn the conversation around. The worst cringeworthy thing you can say to a healthcare marketer after all that is, “Well, that might hold true, however I believe we need a billboard/print advertisement with a nice picture of those physicians.” Cringe!

Editors note: Responses have actually been gently modified for clarity and length.

These messages ought to be a conversation why we are here– because of our patients– not a style about the healthcare system, as is so often the case. Why do all health care online marketers feel the requirement to include themselves and talk about themselves, to highlight how wonderful they are? Lets focus on who we are here to serve and their stories– not us.

As consumer needs continue to evolve, so too does the method we engage with clients and customers to provide healthcare. Our reaction to a worldwide pandemic taught healthcare systems valuable lessons about reacting to consumer needs and running with speed and agility to pivot and fulfill customers where they are and in a way that makes sense to them.

Here, four healthcare facility and health system marketing executives discuss the conversations they have actually discovered the most cringeworthy in 2020.

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Suzanne Hendery, chief marketing and customer officer at Renown Health (Reno, Nev.): The most cringe-worthy health care marketing conversations begin this method: “Suzanne, nobody knows we have a (fill in the blank with a health center service line or program).” To which I always respond, “Why do you believe thats the case?” I hear that anecdotally the leader was in the company of someone who wasnt mindful we had it.

These messages ought to be a discussion why we are here– because of our patients– not a theme about the healthcare system, as is so typically the case. Why do all healthcare marketers feel the requirement to include themselves and talk about themselves, to highlight how wonderful they are? When I am able to advise them of the particular audiences we are targeting for our messaging (those who have the requirement or capacity to use that service), where they are and how we are reaching them (generally not through the daily paper), as well as reveal them the customer confidence, awareness and market-share data of how well the program is performing and information on how that health care marketing has actually performed in terms of success metrics, we can usually turn the conversation around. As consumer needs continue to evolve, so too does the method we engage with customers and clients to provide healthcare. Our response to a global pandemic taught healthcare systems valuable lessons about responding to customer needs and running with speed and dexterity to pivot and fulfill customers where they are and in a way that makes sense to them.

I think those of us who work in health care have a propensity to be hyper-focused on these topics, either from our own company or rivals. I cant take “we need to inform our story better” personally. Today our communication duty is to be pertinent, engaging and properly present as we fulfill each person where he or she is on a personal health journey.

Katie Adams –
Friday, September 25th, 2020
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Catherine Harrell, primary marketing officer at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (Baton Rouge, La.): The most cringeworthy phrase is, “We simply require to inform our story much better.” With time, Ive learned to rein in my blood pressure with this one, as its typically well-intended and usually rather implies,” I have not seen [myself, my specialized or insert subject] in news coverage or my good friends arent talking with me about [me or place subject]”. Healthcare online marketers are informing outstanding stories about their companies and doing so through various channels for many different audiences, many of whom are now highly targeted. When I get this remark, penetrating to read more or understand the requirement and point of pride is helpful and might reveal a brand-new opportunity. Routinely handling up the made media coverage summaries along with the owned media efficiency are also excellent techniques to assist inoculate versus the storytelling doubters..