Long gone are the days of hospitals and health systems relying solely on mailers or running a small television campaign to claim market share. Now that healthcare has become one of the leading marketing categories across the U.S. ($29.9 billion in 2019 up from $17.7 billion in 2016), advertising has grown to new heights and the strategies are groundbreaking. This is fast becoming the norm and will continue as systems want to be a leader in their communities and keep the constant competition at bay.
Being groundbreaking while accomplishing your goals is never easy. And if achieved, maintaining that level of work is even more difficult. It should be no surprise that not only creating but sustaining such work is a sizable part of a media team’s effort. It is not something that is implemented after launch, but addressed and defined at the creation of a campaign and throughout its due process.
At Morgan & Co., that sizable task falls into three areas when conceptualizing and maintaining memorable healthcare campaigns. (That’s not to say all the other areas are unimportant – it’s just that they get attention behind the scenes and at varying degrees of detail.)
Audiences are more than what you’re accustomed to
You’ve heard us talk a lot about audiences over the years. And we can never say it enough – demographics only tell part of the story. A small part. People choose health systems and hospitals because of needs (having a baby, concerned about hereditary issues), not because they’re 39 years old. They want a relationship, a personal connection. And that only succeeds if the chemistry is right and the personality of the patient aligns perfectly with that of the hospitals’ brand. So stop the insanity of looking at demos and start thinking about the brand as a person, striving for a connection with patients who share similar traits.
Strategy should speak to business goals
Arguably the largest challenge with any campaign, not to mention a memorable one, is getting noticed while accomplishing established goals. The ad industry has too often seen one without the other (many dot.coms produced great marketing, but never survived long term after the initial funding dried up). It’s a balancing act of media and actions, with only the right strategy accomplishing both. For us, that strategy is built upon facts and insights. Facts being hard data and research, and insights being the interpretations and reading between the line. It is insights that explains why people act a particular way, uncovering game-changing information. When done right, we see insights lead to opportunities (or in some cases, challenges) that a brand must confront and the media strategy must proactively address.
Allow for shifts
In life, things change, sometimes often and fast – an opportunity arises, a competitor moves into the market, or something as simple as an ad or media tactic isn’t delivering the predicted results.
We know change is happening by observations. We gather, watch and study information. It’s data from a campaign, performance on the landing page, and results from our client’s system (new patient inquiries, phone calls, appointments set). It’s all driven by information. Data. And it’s as real-time as possible.
It’s best to compile information, call out observations and discuss with agency and client teams. Is a shift in strategy required? Specific to media, creative or both? You have to leave the door open to change or adjustments. Nothing stays the same. Especially if you’re running an annual campaign, as 12 months is a long time. The shorter campaigns are more challenging as the window closes quick, but nonetheless, observation and reaction to opportunities is critical, so that data must be free flowing in as real-time as possible.
Managing a hospital or healthcare system’s media efforts is a massive and important responsibility. In the hyper-competitive category there is a lot at stake and the game can be unforgiving. You must produce groundbreaking work. If you need help managing your hospital or healthcare system’s media efforts to reach that groundbreaking level, contact Morgan & Co. to learn about how we approach and manage media strategies in this growing field.