The Evolution of Hospital Marketing

In the past, most hospital marketing involved touting technology (we have the newest machines) and compassion (we have the nicest staff). But just telling consumers this isn’t enough – they can easily find out everything they need to know through Google.

The Internet has empowered consumers and changed how they obtain information and make decisions. Because of this, hospitals need to reevaluate how they market themselves. Adopting new consumer-driven initiatives can help hospitals build recognition and trust before a consumer ever becomes a patient. Three potential initiatives include: social media engagement, patient education, and highlighting positive experiences.

Use social media to interact with consumers.

With 74% of online adults using social media, services like Facebook and Twitter have become powerful forums for interacting directly (and meaningfully) with consumers. For example, UH Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital built a strong social media presence on Facebook. Their strategy of posting information related to children’s health and wellness issues has resulted in 9052 likes and over 20,000 visits.

Make educational information easily accessible and engaging.

Most hospitals have a list of health topics listed somewhere on their website. Looking at the Mayo Clinic vs. The National Institutes of Health, two different approaches to education are presented (you can click the image to enlarge it).

07.14 Screen Shot Mayo vs NIH

The Mayo Clinic’s page for Atherosclerosis (pictured on the left) is dominated by text and lacks any visual content. There’s also a confusing menu for the reader to navigate for additional information. By comparison, the NIH has a far more engaging page on the same condition (on the right). The layout places all the relevant information at the point of need and visuals are found inline with the article’s text. The addition of visual content is vital for any website because it is more engaging than text alone, but it’s especially important for learning comprehension. Information that is obtained visually is more memorable and is more easily understood and retained. To be effective educators, healthcare providers need to ensure that they not only have a wealth of educational information available, but that the information is easy to locate, understand, and absorb.

Promote positive experiences and feedback.

Word-of-mouth advertising is free and impactful, but quality services don’t always speak for themselves – it’s been shown that consumers are more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital has brought positive patient experience to their marketing initiatives through a series of short videos. The videos highlight the stories of kids who have received care at Lurie Children’s. Their positive attitudes, and their parent’s praise of the care they are receiving, speak volumes.

Put it all together with Nucleus Medical Media’s services.

Nucleus Medical Media facilitates consumer-driven marketing initiatives by developing quality medical illustrations and animations that can help hospitals educate and connect to their patients. For example, the Normal Anatomy and Function of the Heart video could be used in social media to facilitate engagement and conversation (especially for a hospital that specializes in cardiology). The Pneumonia Discharge video, on the other hand, is ideal for helping newly discharged patients to recall after-care instructions given to them when they left the hospital.

Northwestern Medical recently incorporated Nucleus’s content into their new website. In doing so they have taken a step towards differentiating themselves from their regional competition. They’re not just using Nucleus animations; they’re using them effectively. Instead of stashing their videos away on a “video library” page where patients would have to hunt to find them, they’ve included the videos on the related page right next to the relevant text.

07.14 Screen Shot NM

By engaging consumers through social media (before they need care) and then educating them when they become patients, a hospital is on its way to building a strong, positive experience for its patients by being personable and informative. Nucleus can help make that happen.

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