5 Ways Healthcare Marketing is Like Parenting
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5 Ways Healthcare Marketing is Like Parenting
Just when I think I’ve got this whole parenting thing figured out, my toddler does something crazy. Like unraveling an entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom or upending a basket of folded laundry. The saying is true: A parent’s job is never done.
I’m also a healthcare marketer, which means I have two 24/7 jobs. This career path has a lot in common with raising a child: You always feel like you’re a few steps behind, and just when you think you’re caught up, a curveball comes hurtling your way.
Take a breath. You’ve got this.
Whether you’re a healthcare marketer (cheers, my friend) or a content strategist who works with healthcare marketers, these insights might ring a few bells.
A Healthcare Marketer Is Part of a Team
“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” – Beth Comstock
Beth may be the former vice chair of General Electric, but her famous quote on marketing is truer than ever with healthcare. Don’t get too comfortable.
As soon as you wrap up your website redesign, you must turn your attention toward a campaign to launch a new service line. At the same time, your physician group wants to implement online appointment scheduling (finally!) as soon as possible.
These are just a few examples of what I’ve experienced during my time as a healthcare marketer. What got me through it? My team. Lean on them. Sure, your job is never done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.
How can you lean on your team members?
- Ask them to email you story ideas whenever they think of something (you can always file it away for later).
- Provide high-level training on how to use your website CMS and let one of them help input basic website edits.
- Delegate during a busy period, and let a team member temporarily take over one of your low-priority tasks.
Doctors AND Medical Professionals Are Valuable Tools
As a parent, you probably turn to your significant other when you need something. But your parenting village is larger than that – you likely have friends (real and virtual) and family members that can help.
As a healthcare marketer, you have a robust “village” as well. You probably turn to doctors when you need a pro to explain complex health information, but there are many other experts at your disposal.
I worked at a hospital that employed 2,500 staff members and 300 physicians. I learned that those employees – regardless of their credentials – were brand advocates in the making. They were passionate about their hospital and dedicated to improving the patient experience – qualities you can channel to help market the brand.
- Members of administration
- Nurses and nursing directors
- Physical, occupational or speech therapists
And how can they help you with content?
- Ask nurses if there are certain frequently asked questions – and have them explain the answers so you can create valuable and informative content.
- Have a physical therapist demonstrate their role in stroke rehabilitation so you can educate potential patients.
- Interview a hospital administrator about the top reasons your hospital stands out from competitors and use their answers to craft compelling copy.
Personality Sets You Apart From Competitors
Having a personality in healthcare marketing can separate you from the pack. Even though healthcare topics are serious, your brand can still be warm and engaging.
- Write in an engaging yet informative tone, like how you would talk to a friend.
- Tie content into current events or trending topics.
For example, we helped our hospital’s security department choreograph, film and edit a #LipSyncChallenge video. It was a huge success! The video:
- Generated media coverage and backlinks
- Led to social media audience growth and engagement
- Improved employee morale across the organization
Did it blatantly promote the hospital, a doctor or an individual service line? No. Did it create positive results that improved the reputation and visibility of the hospital? You bet.
Flexibility Is Key
Don’t be married to your timeline. Many decisions aren’t up to you – you’re often waiting on the C-suite to call the shots. It’s not unusual to scramble with a short deadline only to wait around for approval or an unexpected deadline change.
It’s the doctors’, C-suite and patients’ schedules that matter, not yours.
Just like a parent revolves around their toddler’s needs, try to adjust to revolve around your clinical staff and patients. Your job is to market your hospital, but the hospital’s job is to treat patients. That will always come first, no matter how important your marketing task is.
A Healthcare Marketer Is the Patient’s Advocate
A parent is their child’s advocate, always pushing for what’s best for them – and a healthcare marketer always has the patient’s experience in mind. Think of your audience at all times. Remind those around you what your audience cares about and what will compel people to choose your hospital.
Focus on these questions to ensure you’re keeping the patient front and center:
- What topics does your audience care about?
- What is the goal of their interaction with your brand, and how can you help them accomplish it?
- What marketing message will captivate them the most?
This whole healthcare marketer thing is a tough job. It’s never-ending. Your parenting brain never turns off, and your marketing brain may never turn off, either.
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