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Quick and Dirty Healthcare Marketing Compliance and Strategy Guide

Healthcare marketing is complicated. Here, an attorney provides legal compliance advice and another author provides CMOs with healthcare marketing thought leadership.

First, for the legal checkup, is an article by Holland and Knight Partner Matthew Zimmerman. Published on Sunday in MedCity News, he provides 10 guidelines for healthcare marketers to consider:

  • Avoid Superlatives and Absolutes. “Instead, use facts to convey why you are “the best” without saying so,” he says.
  • Subjective, General or Opinionated Statements are Less Likely to Be Actionable than objective or specific statements. “Avoid language that is unclear, subject to multiple interpretations, or undefined,” he writes. “Consider the average person’s interpretation — not a healthcare professional’s.”
  • Context Matters. Zimmerman says: “Consider the audience, how the message is being delivered, what else is in the piece, where the marketing piece is placed, etc.”
  • Avoid Guarantees, implying a higher standard of care, and other words that suggest a special meaning (e.g., “partner,” “proven,” “promise,” “duty,” etc.).
  • If Testimonials Are Permitted in your state, don’t use them to say things that you cannot say directly or that go beyond the typical patient experience. Ensure writers and influencers disclose any payments from you.
  • Educate All Professionals on Messaging, not just marketers. “Statements in emails, articles, publications, interviews, handbooks, etc. may also be problematic,” he says.
  • What You Don’t Say Can Hurt You. “Omissions of fact may also be actionable,” he writes.
  • Only Make Claims If Supported by Competent and Reliable Scientific Evidence.
  • Avoid Suggesting Responsibility for Third-parties, independent contractors, or aspects of care beyond what you are providing (g., suggesting a whole team approach when some providers are not under your control).
  • Consider Disclaimers, disclosures or explanations where appropriate. But, he adds, disclaimers aren’t the cure for everything.

Healthcare Marketing Strategy, Going Forward

Develop a marketing strategy that slides into a dashboard, writes Daniel Lavelle on July 26 in Becker’s Hospital Review. In “What the C-Suite Should Be Demanding of Healthcare Marketing Teams,” he says:

  • Put Aside Negative Language and figure out how to find the right data to prove marketing’s impact.
  • CMOs Should Be Involved In Marketing Team Planning so that they can ensure there are useful metrics that prove marketing’s value, such as ROI instead of just vanity metrics like opens and clicks.
  • Report on Metrics That Matter. One healthcare organization decided on brand strength and demand generation metrics. “These metrics range from comparative brand strength by region, to rolling campaign performance, to payer mix by patient type, to leads and ultimately, ROI. These may seem like straightforward data points, but in healthcare, there is a significant amount of backend work necessary to calculate.”
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Fail. Marketing advice always says this, but organizations are rarely tolerant of failure. So CMOs need to support experimentation. “An executive marketing dashboard should be used over and over again. When thinking about the best ways to present data insights, make sure that there’s opportunity to clearly show progress toward business goals quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year.”
  • Develop Clear and Concise Data Visualizations. Don’t clutter.
  • CMOs Need Regular Updates on Key Metrics. Eventually, real-time updates will be ideal.

What do you think, marketers?

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