B2B Healthcare Brands Need a Heartbeat

B2B Healthcare Brands Need a Heartbeat

Many years ago, when I was on the client side of B2B healthcare marketing fence, our messaging beat its chest.  Mostly about how our product was bigger, better, faster, stronger and could make our customers more money. Years later, after time on the agency side of both B2B and B2C marketing, we’re seeing a massive shift in how B2B buyers at various levels need to be engaged. Sure, there’s a procurement officer that’s all about specs and cost.  But we’re also assuming you’d like to move up the chain a bit. Consider this B2B value pyramid from a Bain & Company study earlier this year. This illustrates from the bottom of the pyramid to the tip top:   The bottom of the pyramid – where many B2B marketers stop. This is where no one wants to be – it’s commodity-land. Living on specs and price will not keep you in business. Neither will simply addressing your buyer’s economic or performance needs with features and functions. As someone recently told us, don’t talk to me about the horsepower and the convertible top – tell me how cool I look driving that car…   The middle of the pyramid – where sustainable and valuable relationships begin. Here, your messaging is centered around benefits that are important to the buyer.  These benefits also enhance their subjective judgments about your product or service. Therefore, attributes like decreasing hassles and your expertise help you form this relationship.   The top of the pyramid – deepen your relationship by engaging with a heartbeat message that speaks to personal and career related priorities. Your work here requires empathy and establishes trust.  Will buying this product or service get me a promotion or better job? Or, will it get me fired – reducing anxiety can be a major point of emphasis here. This is where adopting a key best practice from the B2C world can help differentiate and elevate your product or service above the rest of your B2B healthcare competition. Paying special attention to your buyer’s hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations will allow you to customize solutions/messaging to meet them.  And this will also give your brand a heartbeat. A heartbeat will leave all the other brands, who lead with chest beat messages, in the dust.   The tip top – addresses the elements that are critical to the future of an organization, enhancing the organization’s perception in the marketplace. You may have the opportunity to meet with the CEO of the company you’re selling to. Understand that everything beneath the tip of the pyramid is beneath them as well. The CEO is focused on the future of their organization and the attributes that will enhance its perception in the marketplace. Again, a heartbeat message resonates here; one that speaks to how your product or service aligns with their vision for the future or boosts their social responsibility, will put you in the driver’s seat. For more information about how Springboard has helped B2B healthcare brands develop a heartbeat, please click here: ...
5 Great Marketing Strategies for Medical Practice Growth

5 Great Marketing Strategies for Medical Practice Growth

The best healthcare marketing strategies, offline, online, traditional and new media all have to work together.  They must reach, motivate, and engage healthcare consumers. In order reach and motivate your target audiences to choose you over another practice, your brand needs a “heartbeat.” A heartbeat creates an emotional statement about your organization. A promise to the marketplace that focuses on the benefits consumers will gain by becoming a patient of your practice. Whether yours is a large medical practice or small physician office, it’s important to ask yourself the following on a regular basis: Do your marketing strategies deliver on your customers’ expectations? Is your brand’s messaging delivering on that strategy? Is your creative really breaking through? What’s the competition up to? Working to develop your brand’s heartbeat, and marketing strategies to address all of these things is crucial to creating a creative and compelling message that will engage your specific target audiences. The next goal of your brand should be to meet your key audiences’ interests, needs and passions, and creating and executing a tactical plan to reach those audiences. Below are some marketing strategies for taking this next step – 1. Offline/Traditional Offline marketing, also known as traditional marketing, includes radio, television, billboards, print collateral and direct mail, among others. These can be considered antiquated and ineffective but should still be considered as part of an overall, integrated marketing plan. There’s a reason you see so many healthcare/pharmaceutical ads on TV and receive so many special offers via the mail. For the right demographics and with the right strategy behind them, they still work. Especially when combined with the right online tactics. 2. Website/SEO Increasing numbers of consumers begin their search for healthcare online. Having a website is one of the most important things you can do for your practice. If you don’t have one, get one! Having a website means more than just having a single page with your name, phone number and location. It’s important to be the “go to” source of information for your patients, and more importantly, your potential patients. You need to provide the most relevant and engaging content possible (and have a plan to continue to do so) to rank high in Google search results, attract patients, and to compel them to act (call, click or come in). 3. Social Media Social Media is a great, inexpensive, and fun way to promote your practice, special events, and your activities in the community, as well as for recruiting. Advertising here can be hyper-targeted to your desired potential patient pool. Of course, you must be careful to protect patient privacy and remain HIPAA compliant.  Establishing ground rules and a plan to implement your social media strategy is imperative. 4. Mobile According to Google, “People are making decisions faster than ever before, and they expect to be able to act on those decisions instantly.” People are using their mobile phones to search at the exact moment of need and looking for places that can meet their immediate need. In order to capitalize on this “micro moment” trend, you first need to ensure your website is optimized for mobile experiences (visit Test My Site to see how yours measures up), you can then develop a strategy, such as a click-to-call mobile campaign to drive traffic. 5. Email While many will say they get too many emails, email marketing can still be one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your patients engaged with your practice. Some important things to consider when embarking on an email marketing campaign include mobile optimization, creative subject lines, personalization, relevant content and clear and concise instructions. Your emails should be engaging, interesting and concise.  They should make the reader feel inspired to take the action you are requesting of them (click, call, share, etc.). Are you marketing your medical practice? Share your experiences, challenges or success stories with us. We’d love to hear from...
Healthcare Brands Require Strong Internal Engagement

Healthcare Brands Require Strong Internal Engagement

Whether a hospital system, specialty practice, medical association, or device company, healthcare brands will only thrive with strong internal engagement. This is especially important with the rapid consolidation in the healthcare industry today. For providers, where referrals among medical staff members and sub-specialties make or break the system, engagement is paramount. When we conduct focus groups with internal teams at leading health systems, most employees do not know the “5 W’s and H” within their own organization: “who it consists of” “what’s expected of them” “why should they care” “where they should refer” “when” “how” As a result, organizations experience great leakage of patients, and revenue. Communications strategies help address many of the unknowns. Internal campaigns including brand overviews, videos, books, and other tactics can explain the size and scope of the organization. Of course, graphic standards manuals are essential. Especially in terms of presenting healthcare brands in a consistent and unified manner, no matter which architecture strategy is being developed. Online tools and staff profiles will also help facilitate referrals from one practice to another or among sub-specialties. Most healthcare professionals understand “when” referrals should be made.  However, soft reminders are sometimes needed for family physicians who would rather treat their patient than “lose” them to a referral. Key here is to develop protocols.  These ensure the primary care provider gets their patient back after specialty procedures or consultations are performed. That takes care of most of the W’s and H. Let’s focus on the “why”. Really(!?), employees have to be told why they need to care about keeping patients within the health system? Unfortunately, they do. It’s always eye-opening and mind-boggling when you meet with internal stakeholders and suggest they be accountable to their organization for patient referrals. And being accountable means knowing the who’s who and what’s what within the enterprise. The “why” should be answered with “because it’s your job, and you lose risking it because there won’t be enough money for your paycheck!” In all my years working with healthcare companies, I’ve only heard a couple CEO’s be this overt and direct with employees about keeping referrals in-house. There’s not an “I” in accountability, but there certainly is a “Y”. By the way, both of these CEO’s and their organizations are extremely successful. Most employees want to support their employer and do what’s necessary to see it be successful and remain gainfully employed. The issue is, most aren’t told the “why” in the most direct fashion.  As a result, they don’t pay enough attention to the other “W’s.” Internal engagement strategies are hugely important for brands to be successful, regardless of the industry. They just need to be bolder, more emphatic, and include language that hit both the heart and wallet of their employees. If this strikes a chord and stirs your senses, give me a call to discuss healthcare brands at 847.398.4920 or email Rob@springboardbrand.com. You can also contact us...
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