"Consumer perception studies show that the larger the facility is, almost always is going to have a more positive perception than a smaller hospital," said Beth Wright, vice president of corporate communications & strategic marketing at Capella Healthcare. "It's the halo effect."
The challenge for JMC is to overcome this halo effect and market its high (99th percentile last quarter) satisfaction scores to draw a larger patient volume.
JMC produced billboards and ads with blue ribbons with the words "number one in patient satisfaction" but the message did not resonate with the local audience, explains Jim Edmonson, CEO of JMC.
For the second marketing attempt, JMC is showing (instead of telling) why it is ranked high for patient satisfaction. JMC will soon launch video testimonials of 15 unpaid patients/families who have had telling patient experiences at the hospital.
One features Bill Meehan, president of Jacksonville State University, who suffered a heart attack and credits JMC with saving his life. Another features a soldier who was able to watch the birth of his child from overseas.
The powerful real life messages are expected to reach more potential patients, Edmonson says.
"Word of mouth is our strongest marketing tool. Now [patients] can see for themselves, it wasn't good enough that we were just saying that we're number one in patient satisfaction," he says.