7 Tips (and 15 Tactics) to Grow your Healthcare Brand by Connecting Your Brand Promise to the Patient Experience

7 Tips (and 15 Tactics) to Grow your Healthcare Brand by Connecting Your Brand Promise to the Patient Experience

Growth isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a “must have” for almost all healthcare brands. And as a healthcare marketer, you are uniquely positioned to lead a growth strategy that connects your brand promise to the patient experience. Many healthcare organizations have identified that elevating the patient experience will fuel growth in terms of repeat usage, positive word of mouth (reviews) and brand loyalty. The following explores some of the ways healthcare marketers can lead this important growth initiative: 1. Create an elevating and differentiating brand promise One that emerges as the benefit of your brand’s unique position in the marketplace. Importantly, it has to align with the internal culture to impact patient experience. Tactic:  Discuss and test this promise internally to ensure it resonates, is culturally authentic and instills a sense of pride. 2. Understand that internal buy-in and advocacy are critical to the success of this engagement strategy. Identify and involve internal influencers and stakeholders from all levels of the organization, as brand ambassadors, early to gain support for your patient experience approach. Tactic:  Translate your promise to an inspirational internal theme.  It should provide a rallying cry for your employees and stakeholders to grab onto. 3. Empower your brand ambassadors with the tools they need to gain adoption from their teams. Connect your internal theme with “the why” behind this patient experience initiative – for the employees. It’s important for each to understand “what’s in it for them” in order to gain engagement, adoption and compliance. Tactic:  Develop interactive tools that enable your ambassadors to present, discuss and roleplay with their team members. These tools may include an internal engagement workbook that allows each employee to develop their own unique story and approach to improving the patient experience. 4. Expressing and “living” the brand promise starts at the top. The executive suite must lead by example, as well as, communicate and demonstrate to those around them how they are living the brand’s promise in their roles. Tactics:  Conduct a series of leadership town hall meetings accompanied by an internal engagement video that speaks to the impact your brand promise has on the patient experience. This same video can be featured in an email from the CEO to the employees and should live on appropriately themed intranet landing and support pages. 5. Engage around accountability. A patient has one experience, but that often includes 10+ interactions. So, it’s critical that all employees, at all levels, live the brand – expressed in their role and interpersonal (employee, patient and visitor) interactions. Tactics:  Showcasing peers has proven to be an effective way to inspire, engage and motivate employees. These “testimonials” may be executed through videos, social media posts, digital signage, posters, table tents, etc. 6. Create a patient-centric culture early on in the hiring process. Patients want to connect with their caregivers on a personal and emotional level.  So make sure the employees you bring into the organization complement the culture you’re building. Tactic:  Work with HR to extend the importance of your brand promise and the patient experience to your hiring process. Providing engagement worksheets for use in the interview process will seed the organization with people who want to live your brand promise. Bonus tip:  Be sure to include your call center employees – as their interactions have a surprising impact on patient acquisition and retention. 7. Know that living the brand is never a set it and forget it All brands must be nurtured and living the brand requires constant measurement and refinement. Tactics:  Meet regularly with your brand ambassadors to gauge their feedback and input on the patient experience performance of their teams. Follow this up by measuring longer-term progress through employee and patient satisfaction surveys. To learn more about how to enhance the patient experience through your brand promise, email me at mike@springboardbrand.com or call Springboard at...
6 Tips for Marketing Your Products and Services to the Hospital C-Suite

6 Tips for Marketing Your Products and Services to the Hospital C-Suite

One of the benefits of working closely with hospital C-suites on branding initiatives is developing a deep understanding of their goals, motivators and pain points. Here are some of the techniques (strategic and tactical) that we’ve employed on behalf of healthcare B2B clients to reach this audience: 1. Focus on their business goals Understand that the end goal for hospital C-suite leaders is improving revenue, quality and safety.  And these all impact patient satisfaction and reimbursement. This audience is also focused on competitive advantages, growth through strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, sustainable cost control and reducing risk. Your messaging must speak to their goals, not your features and functions, to get their attention. 2. Develop hospital C-suite personas Understand who these decision makers are, and develop personas that outline their individual goals, motivators and pain points, relative to your product or service. Having this deep understanding will help craft the right messages. 3. Your value proposition must resonate Use the information gathered in the personas to create a unique promise or value proposition for each member of your target audience. Understand what will resonate with them, based on their motivators and pain points, and put that to work in your communication and messaging strategies. 4. Tell them something they don’t know How can your thought leadership enlighten and help the C-suite make smarter decisions and achieve their business goals? Do you have proprietary research, a relevant blog, white papers or webinar series they can follow? Develop a goal-based content strategy to get their attention and demonstrate value for your insights. 5. Meet them where they are going, literally While we’ve found traditional marketing tactics, like email and direct mail can still be effective, this audience values personal interactions. Develop opportunities to engage with them face-to-face. Event marketing can be a great opportunity to present, exhibit and even take small groups to dinner. Get creative to get in front of the hospital C-suite at conferences and other events they attend. 6. Make an influencer the hero Sometimes the hospital C-suite decision maker is simply unreachable. Engage the beneficiary of your product/service; this could be a service line director, head of population health or another administrator and get them excited about the opportunity. Arm them with the ammunition they need and enlist this influencer to gain approval for your solution. This kind of “pull-through” can be an effective “sell-in” strategy.   Getting the attention and having meaningful conversations with C-suite leaders is difficult. and you may only have one shot – so know your audience, understand how your product or service will help them achieve a business goal, do your strategic homework, put on your consultant and C-suite hats, and get creative when it comes to personal engagement. For more information on how Springboard is helping B2B companies succeed, please visit https://www.springboardbrand.com/clients/b2b-healthcare-marketing/ or contact me at mike@springboardbrand.com to discuss your opportunity.  ...
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: ...

Putting Strategy in Your Content | Marketing & Advertising

How savvy healthcare marketers are using content to more effectively tell their brand’s stories to engage, attract and retain customers. We all understand that the benefits of content marketing help build awareness, authority and trust for your brand in a way that helps your audiences make decisions and take action. And we also get that Google values fresh and original writing, leading to better SEO and more visitors to your website. But how do you put an actionable strategy behind everything you create? The roadmap goes like this:  Plan, Create, Distribute, Measure, Optimize, and Repeat. Plan First, understand the marketing purpose of everything you produce is to support your organizations strategic objectives – make sure your content strategy is on sync with them and generate content that’s aligned. Planning also includes the following: Your target audiences – their needs, wants and desires Your organization’s point-of-view – to uniquely carve out your niche The specific themes, causes or initiatives that support the goals of your organization This is also the time to identify your sources – service line directors, physicians and other influencers in your organization that will help generate ideas, vet and approve any clinical language. Create Use the insights from your sources to create content that’s original, specific to your organization, and unique for Google. Even more, ensure it aligns with your strategic objectives. This can take many forms, but as with most of the marketing communications produced now – think mobile first. Other creative considerations should include: Selecting the most appropriate platforms, including the following: Web, blogs, online videos, Facebook Live events, social media posts and ads, case studies, podcasts, eNewsletters are all forms of content and are all measurable Speaking the language and designing specifically for the demographic of each social media platform Directing your audience to a specific page on your website or to take a specific action Use this to help your audiences better understand how you can help, the options you provide, and ultimately the benefits of choosing you. Distribute As Jay Baer, digital expert and New York Times best-selling author once said, “Content is fire and social media is gasoline.” It’s like social media was made for distributing content, and fortunately, most platforms can help us target our desired audiences very effectively – with minimal investment. Distribution best practices include the following: Put all pieces you produce into as many channels as possible, but remember to customize for each to ensure it resonates with its intended audiences Use content to expand your “owned” audience by soliciting engagement and content sign-ups on your website Create a repository for everything you create. It can be a page on your website that visitors (and Google) can find organically to access advice and the latest news from your organization – many purposely make this page look like a newsfeed Measure Measure, test and test again. Create a scorecard for each campaign that includes analytics and the desired “conversion events”; this will help you prove success and guide content going forward – never be content with your content.  Test the following: Emotional stories vs. facts and figures Various creative approaches, images and channels Target audience, time of day and geographic reach of your social media posts And don’t be afraid to fail – not everything that’s created will be a home-run, learn from every piece of content that’s distributed, and move on. Optimize The data will tell you what works and what doesn’t from a content, audience and media channel standpoint. Use that data for optimization, including: If your audiences engage with testimonials and real-life stories more than facts and awards, give them more.  As a result, start using that lens to produce future writing If video is the preferred vehicle, find more ways to incorporate it The thing we’ve always liked about digital media is the ability to use analytics to shift your media spend to where it will above all, work hardest for your brand. Repeat We all know building a brand is never a one and done. Keep engaging your target audiences with content that, from the data you collect, is valuable to them. Learn more about how Springboard can develop and support your content strategy by clicking...
THE YEAR OF THE CUSTOMER

THE YEAR OF THE CUSTOMER

Forbes magazine declared 2016 The Year of the Customer, noting that consumers are smarter than ever, have information at their fingertips, expect to be appreciated and share their experiences (good or bad) with the world. Many sources have additionally proclaimed that customer service will separate the winners from the losers – that experience is overtaking product and price as the key differentiator and motivator for brand loyalty. To healthcare marketers, the customer experience is familiar ground. This is a trend that health systems have been paying attention to for years – and are now being financially motivated and rewarded to ensure satisfaction scores remain high. What can healthcare marketers do to impact customer experience? In conferences and strategic planning sessions, this question routinely rises. The first thing that you can impact is expectations. Customers draw their expectations of a health system based on what we tell them with marketing, advertising and word-of-mouth. We can impact what customers expect from our brand by: Developing a brand position that truly differentiates in your market and accurately reflects the culture of the organization. Formulating a brand promise that is meaningful, resonates and is deliverable. Inspiring our internal audiences (who interact with our customers every day) to deliver on and live this promise. Establishing a social media strategy and filter for “on-brand” shared content. 7 additional ideas that you can implement now to impact the customer experience 1.)  Dig deeper on differentiators and develop those into what Jay Baer (customer service expert and author) calls “Talk Triggers.” These are messages that you use consistently and faithfully to differentiate your organization to elicit and reinforce positive experiences. Fill in the blanks for your organization: When a customer thinks of ______, they immediately think _________. 2.)  Stop beating our chest about that new piece of technology or award – the region’s only blah, blah, blah – and start talking about what’s in it for the customer. All communications, content and advertising around that new toy should be put through a customer benefit filter – because branding is about heartbeat, not chest beat. 3.)  Bring value to your communications. Customers know when they’re being sold to, so focus on being the provider of information that helps them make important decisions about their health and well being. 4.)  Make information easy to understand and deliver it in ways that customers want to consume it. We can increase “dwell time” on our web site by providing videos, visuals, interactive assessments and calculators – all of this helps build trust. 5.)  Build loyalty by embracing “haters” online. Over 1/3 of online customer complaints on social media are never answered. Posters don’t expect a response (some really just want an audience), so exceed their expectations by engaging them. Most of you are acknowledging the online complainer with a standard public reply, but a tip from the retail world is to follow up with a private message, through Facebook Messenger for example, that compliments their insight and seeks further feedback. 6.)  Close the gap between marketing and customer service. Marketers are pretty smart sometimes, but we can’t impact what we don’t hear. Establish a direct link so you hear what customers are saying ASAP. 7.)  Step back. Sometimes we’re just too close to a problem and we can benefit from a fresh set of eyes – ideally a set that’s seen these things before. Maybe it’s time to audit your messaging, advertising and time to listen to the market’s desires and perceptions of your brand? Customer service is on health system’s radar. From concierge type welcome desks to forming partnerships with a ride-share companies to get patients to their appointments, new ideas are being implemented every day. What initiatives have you implemented that are showing dividends and improving customer experience?...
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