Healthcare organizations and healthcare marketers know how important it is to communicate with their audience, and they’ve found effective ways to do it. Patient testimonials are compelling. Testimonials by video are even more so – hearing stories from current patients makes it easier to put yourself in their place. Landing pages with information tailored to the concerns of your audience tells them you know and care about what they need.
Those approaches to healthcare marketing are hardly outdated. They’re certainly still effective. But some healthcare marketing teams have found ways to take it further, standing out with marketing ideas that go beyond standard approaches. Here are two examples of hospital marketing teams doing just that.
Medical education can be grueling – classes, lectures, shadowing, late-night study sessions, practicals surrounded by classmates waiting to see if you screw up. The graduation ceremony at the end is the formal acknowledgment that you’ve been through it, survived it and are now qualified to have a patient’s life in your hands.
And then a viral pandemic comes along, and that well-deserved celebration is off the table.
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine wasn’t going to let COVID-19 get in the way of their graduation. ACOM was determined to give their graduates a ceremony that was meaningful and memorable, as well as appropriately socially distanced.
The key moments of the evening were no less emotional for being virtual. In fact, they were frequently more so. When ACOM’s dean presented, virtually, an honorary doctorate to the associate dean of clinical resources, the audience could see his face and his emotional reaction in a way they wouldn’t have been able to from a distance. And as the graduates, in cap and gown, took the osteopathic oath via Zoom, we could see them individually – these proud, newly minted physicians not in a group onstage but close up on the screen, with the gravity of their pledge visible on every face.
Those emotional moments were compiled into a well-produced video that graduates can watch and share with loved ones – even ones who wouldn’t have been able to attend an in-person ceremony. In a time when important gatherings are impossible, Southeast Health and ACOM were able to provide a virtual graduation honoring the students’ accomplishments and promising future in osteopathic medicine.
In a time when every safety precaution is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s unfortunate that mask-wearing has become such a politicized issue. Bellin Health knew overcoming people’s resistance was crucial for public health. But who could compel the public to wear masks, when local officials and healthcare experts couldn’t convince them? Bellin’s marketing team needed someone familiar, someone trusted, someone people would listen to. Someone used to giving instructions and leading a team to success.
Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur was enthusiastic to get on board. His personal feelings about the importance of masking fit perfectly with the goals of Bellin’s campaign. LaFleur’s concern for members of his team who are vulnerable, and for the families of people in his organization, made his message even more compelling. He appeared in commercials, online videos, social media, print ads, outdoor boards and even life-sized cardboard stand-ups providing instructions for staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach was everywhere, inviting the community to become part of the team.
Bellin didn’t stop with traditional and digital media. They carried the campaign out into the world with Packers-themed floor decals in Bellin healthcare facilities with instructions for appropriate social distancing. Masks with fun, Packers-themed slogans and the Packers logo gave people a way to mask up and show their team spirit. People who might not have understood the importance of masks before were now hearing it from the mouth of their beloved coach. And a crowd willing to don cheesehead hats for a Packers game was now willing to wear cloth masks for the health and safety of their community.
Bellin knew that once they had all the important information online, they had to find a way to get eyes on it. And they knew they had to break through the COVID-19 messaging clutter to get their audience’s attention. And they knew that if anyone’s voice could make Wisconsinites sit up and listen, it would be Packers coach Matt LaFleur.
Click here for a look at Coach Matt LaFleur’s video commercial and behind the scenes footage.
Do what you’re doing – and more
Don’t stop doing what you’re doing – communicating clearly with your audience is important. Reaching them where they are is important. But also think about whether you could be doing something more to reach them in an unexpected way. Maybe your audience needs an experience that you’re able to provide. Maybe they need to hear an unexpected but trusted voice to convey a compelling message. Look around to see what needs are there and what resources you have that can fill those needs. Even little ideas can turn into big benefits for your audience if you use them right.