As Healthcare Marketers, you are tasked with streamlining marketing, branding and advertising efforts to ensure maximum exposure and ROI while keeping key stakeholders happy. You’re asked to do more with less, to make sure that you are promoting the necessary service lines, locations/facilities and specialty programs.
So, what is the common denominator for virtually everything a health system offers? The answer is physicians and providers. They are at the heart of every hospital or health system and they can bring considerable marketing horsepower when leveraged correctly.
Experience has taught us there is a right way and a wrong way to feature physicians or providers. The wrong way is to plop a doc or two or four on a billboard. It doesn’t really matter what the headline says because the take-away is “we have doctors and here are four of them”. A wasted opportunity–unless you’re one of the four docs or their family (who, by the way, are not your target audience).
Research confirms that physicians are some of the most trusted people on the planet. This level of trust is deeply personal. And no matter how cynical we may be, we’re all human and we respond to acts of caring. So, the correct way to leverage physicians and providers is with honesty on a human level, making who they are, and what they do, powerfully relevant. True…easier said than done, but when done correctly, you’re capitalizing on your brand’s most powerful capital: People helping people. And the truly wonderful thing about this kind of campaign is the halo effect over the whole system.
Marketing 101 moment… the halo effect is a cognitive bias where one trait of someone or something influences how you feel about other.
It (almost) doesn’t matter what the campaign focus is because the public associates positive feelings about the hospital or health system with all other service lines, medial groups, divisions, specialties, and services within the organization, creating a halo that benefits all. The value of developing this type of emotional campaign is that it helps to convey the passion behind the physicians and the system for helping, healing, caring and making a difference on a human level. Using physicians helps to humanize the names and faces behind the hospital or system, creating approachability and engagement for consumers.
Sure, there is a downside to using physicians. They’re busy. Scheduling is difficult. Doctors aren’t actors (and shouldn’t be put in that position) Last minute cancelations are common. And, yes some can be a pain in the ass, but, without physician specific advertising as a part of your message mix, you’re missing a huge opportunity to elevate your brand.
The value of developing an emotional and powerful campaign around a physician or medical group helps to convey the passion behind the physicians and the system for helping, healing, caring and making a difference on a human level. And using physicians as the spokespeople helps to humanize the names and faces behind the medical group, creating approachability and engagement for consumers.
But a well-developed physician group campaign can also help address other important aspects that often go unanswered from a consumer standpoint.
Guide and Inform the Conversation
We all know that the conversation is happening, whether you’re engaging with it or not. Your brand, physicians, services or products are coming up in conversation, especially given the digital nature of communication, so it is important to make sure that you’re not only aware but that you’re engaged in the conversation. While the days of completely controlling the conversation are long gone, by engaging with consumers, providing information and access, and humanizing your products/services, you are helping to guide consumers to a more beneficial and informative conversation.
Recent consumer surveys indicate that while patients value the correct diagnosis, a proper treatment plan and the doctor’s medical knowledge, it is becoming increasingly important to the patient experience that the doctor treats them with respect and dignity, listens and cares, takes times and takes them seriously. Setting your brand and your physician group apart by highlighting the compassionate care offered by your physicians can help to address patient concerns beyond knowledge, diagnosis and treatment.
Expansion and growth within a delivery system offers improved efficiency, access to care, and quality of care. Growth and expansion within a medical or physician group often means more access to specialists, shorter wait times to schedule appointments, and more opportunity to find a physician that a patient feels comfortable with. A physician or medical group campaign can be an excellent way showcase the growth and expansion that has taken place. From new facilities to new specialties, you’re not just promoting the physicians, but the technology, services and locations they integrate with.
Patients can get lost in the system when hospitals and providers are all working independently. Although each team is trying to put the patient in the center, having different goals and processes can result in a lot of inconsistency and frustration for the patient. By showing patients that your physician group works in a collaborative manner and putting the patient experience and well-being at the forefront, it can help to paint your medical group as an integrated care system designed with a patient-first model. A campaign that shows physicians working together, across specialties, to share information, identify best practices, find and fix gaps and develop customized treatment options helps to address patient concerns and position your medical group as an integrated care leader in the market.
The ability to humanize your medical or physician group, promote the physicians, show growth and expansion, and create collaboration, makes the long-term benefits of developing a compelling and engaging physician group campaign something to seriously consider.