Medical Marketing Can Learn from DR: 2

Posted by in Direct Response, DRTV, Medical Marketing, PhiBlog, Read Phiblog

But wait, there’s more! Even more powerful techniques Medical Marketing can learn from DRTV.

Do your medical marketing materials feel a little sickly? Do they lack energy, urgency and most importantly: effectiveness? Maybe its time you considered a few more powerful tips from the rough-and-tumble world of Direct Response advertising.

That doesn’t mean you have to make obnoxious commercials for Ginsu Surgery (“But Wait! There’s More! Well also throw in a free rhinoplasty!”). What you need to do is try to forget about the response of the Head of Cardiology, the Head Nurse or any other Administrative Head in your hospital. Before you create a healthcare organization marketing plan, medical marketing kit or any medical marketing materials, you really need to focus on the only people who can make your marketing a success: your patients, and what they really want. Not what YOU want them to want, but what they really really want. Use any means to find it out, from in-room interviews to telephone surveys and mall intercepts, but find out. Knowing what your patients want is the critical first step to medical marketing that gets results.

OK, here’s another crucial technique – sometimes size really does matter. By that I mean that the wonders of medicine and the unique selling proposition of your hospital are too complicated for a 30 second spot. If you have important news that’s too complicated for a short commercial, consider a commercial that runs for a half hour! Nothing gets across the subtle advantages of a new procedure or product better than a long format commercial.

The biggest hurdle of a long format commercial is production. But non-prime DR media costs are so affordable that cost of production soon fades away. And there’s another hidden fact that can make your long format commercial the hero of your healthcare organization marketing plan: longer commercials always get better response – always. Response that supercharges your ROI.

Since there aren’t many people who respond to medical marketing materials by asking the ambulance driver to turn around and take them to that hospital they heard about on TV, most medical marketing is about relationship building. Nothing kick-starts a relationship like giving folks something for free. Free stuff (you can call it by its fancy marketing name: a Value Added Offer) gets people’s attention.

What should you offer? It can be anything from free screening for heart disease or high blood pressure, to a Free Guide on preventing or treating a common killer like diabetes. A large regional health system I work with offered women free tests for indicators of heart disease. The women who received them were almost twice as likely to come to this hospital for heart treatment. That program was so successful that they’re expanding it to include men.

Another killer idea Direct Response marketing can teach medical marketing: What gets measured gets improved. Here’s a hot news flash: Direct Response is set up to measure…response. You know in24 hours whether your commercial is working like it should be. There are affordable and easy ways to measure response. One of the easiest: put a different phone number in every commercial, of every length, on every station, and measure call volume. Then you’ll know that people are responding to your :120 second commercial on Fox News at twice the rate as the same commercial on MSNBC.

Most people who slave over healthcare organization marketing plans don’t ever really know if anyone is responding to their medical marketing materials. Most medical marketing gets thrown out onto the airwaves, and if forced to answer truthfully, most hospital marketing directors only have a vague idea whether their medical marketing is working. Don’t let that be you.