HealthLeaders Media Marketing Weekly - November 5, 2008 | Why Quality Doesn't Matter View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Why Quality Doesn't Matter
Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders News

The amount of healthcare quality data out there might be growing, but consumers' interest in it seems to be waning. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that folks are looking at information about quality, but fewer of them are actually using the information to make healthcare choices. And when it comes to making choices based on word-of-mouth versus high quality rankings? Well, those results might surprise you, too. [Read More]
  November 5, 2008

Editor's Picks
Presidential Politics 2.0
Looking for ways to effectively use social media to promote your organization, communicate its values, and build customer loyalty? Look no further for inspiration than the campaign of President-elect Barack Obama. He's being touted as the first Presidential candidate to effectively use the Web, social media sites such as Facebook, and e-mail messages to build a coalition and get out the vote. But his success is about more than being first. It's about the authenticity of his marketing message. It's easy to throw up a Facebook page or hit the send button on an e-mail. What's not so easy is to speak to your customers in their own language and not come off as being another corporation just trying desperately and unsuccessfully to be "with it."

If you'll pardon the political theme in this week's editor's picks section, I'd like to share with you a few articles that don't just explain Obama's online marketing tactics, but explore what marketers in all industries can learn from them.

Lesson Number #1: Adapt or Die
Many healthcare organizations are struggling to figure out how best to use new media and social networks to engage their patients and physicians. For an example of how not to use digital media, look to runner-up John McCain, whose online presence seemed artificial and forced. "The younger and savvier Obama acclimated faster and more intuitively to the new digital environment. He quickly gathered nearly 1 million 'friends' on MySpace and went viral on Internet video with his message and persona," according to this Kansas City (MO) Star article. "He had an immediate presence on YouTube with his own channel—not to mention the young fanatics generating their own content." [Read More]
Lesson #2: Don't be Late to the Party
OK, so healthcare might not be completely ready for social media. But that doesn't mean you should just give up or drag your heels. Obama fully grasped the potential of today's new media to spread his word, writes this Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist. "The idea that social media are a fad is a mistake far too many marketers continue to make, second only to the notion that social media are "a techie or a youth thing." [Read More]
Lesson #3: Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Before Obama spoke to the crowds gathered in Chicago to hear his acceptance speech, Obama sent an e-mail to his online audience. He'd soon be speaking to the rest of the world, but he thanked them first. He also made it clear that election night didn't mark the dissolution of the social network he's built. It remains to be seen how he'll tap into that vast resource. But whatever happens, success will depend on his ability to keep up the momentum he built during his election campaign. [Read More]
Lesson #4: Know When to Attack
I'm not an advocate for tit-for-tat advertising in general and in political campaigns in particular. It has too much of an "I know you are, but what am I?" flavor to it. Not super-duper mature. But there has been a rash of these kinds of ads of late in and out of politics, including the fascinating war between Microsoft and Apple. This thoughtful and in-depth post on Laura Ries' branding blog describes exactly when you should and shouldn't get nasty. "In general, the leader should never attack or name the competition," she writes. "Instead the leader should promote the category. By attacking a competitor or responding to an attack ad, the leader only legitimizes the competition and the existence of a choice. Neither is good." On the other hand, she adds, "A well funded number-two brand positioned as the opposite of the leader can use a targeted attack to gain attention and create controversy." [Read More]
Lesson #5: It's the Segmentation, Stupid
If you were as popular and as well-funded as Obama, you might be able to get away with bombing your entire e-mail list with a promotion. But you aren't. "Segmentation can give your campaigns a lift at low or no cost. Now is the time, if any, to get a segmentation committee set up to take advantage of this," according to this Marketing Sherpa article. It explains how and why you should examine your technological capabilities, test them, and target your lists to succeed in the digital marketing age. [Read More]
Campaign Spotlight
Shopping for Doctor Right
Click to view PDF version.
"Healthcare marketing is a challenging sell for a few reasons," says Tracy Stanko, senior vice president and director of account services for Creighton University Medical Center's (CUMC) agency Swanson Russell. "Consumers really don't want to buy what hospitals and doctors are selling until they're sick and hospital marketers are being challenged to generate an actionable response from their campaigns." With that looming concern, and a growing need to get the word out about its physicians, CUMC, located in Omaha, NE, decided to create a campaign and online portal that would encourage consumers to think about finding a doctor before they get sick. [Read More]
Calendar of Events
Webcasts/Audio Conferences
11/13/08: Use Call Centers to Grow Market Share and Measure Marketing ROI

12/16/08: What Your Practice Is Worth: Calculating Fair Market Value

12/16/08: Prove The Financial ROI of Your Marketing Campaigns
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Model for Success

Running a medical group has never been more complex. But many practices have found ways to not only survive—but thrive. [Read More]
Marketing Forum

Off-Limits Advertising: Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services discourages hospitals from marketing HCAHPS results, a few have gone ahead with the tactic. Some use the data in an attempt to edge out the competition and revel in their achievement, whereas others remain unsure about the benefits of marketing positive scores. [Read More]
Audio Feature

New York Presbyterian Hospital's John Flanagan discusses how to engage patients and staff in the Planetree's model of patient-centered care through gift giving. [Listen Now]
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