What You’re Marketing May Be Hurting Your Marketing

What You’re Marketing May Be Hurting Your Marketing

By: Tina Bell You’ve paid a lot of money for your website, your beautiful brochures, and your advertising campaign.  You’ve told everyone you know about your Medical Practice or occupational medicine business.  You’ve listed off a slew of services you offer, that in your eyes make you better than anywhere else in town to seek medical treatment.  Yet the response you’d anticipated to all your efforts has been dismal. If you reexamine what you’re saying, you may realize you’re making a big mistake. In general, people select to purchase a service or product not based off its features but off of its benefits.  Yet, for some reason, most healthcare marketers focus on features. A feature is a fact about the service you provide. A benefit is the positive result your patient gets as a result of using your Medical Practice.  It sounds simple, but in practice, oftentimes features sound so much like benefits that we confuse them. Consider this example from an Medical Practice marketing campaign: “We offer on-site labs, digital x-ray, and extended hours.”  Feature or benefit?  While the campaign is naming things that appear to be beneficial, no clear benefit to the patient is stated.  Instead, what comes across are facts about the services offered at the Medical Practice. Consider this example from a campaign aimed at moms: "We offer a children’s play area, along with cartoons and bubble machines in our rooms.” Feature or benefit? In this case, the campaign is describing the process the Medical Practice uses to make kids feel more comfortable in their clinics, not the result itself. So, what is a benefit? A benefit answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”  The benefit of having on-site labs, x-ray and extended hours may be, “You no longer have to go to multiple places for your medical care” or “You get same day results, ensuring you can start the right treatment sooner” or “You no longer have to wait until tomorrow to get medical care for your child when that runny nose turns into a fever with chills at bed time.” There are three keys to communicating what the true benefits of your services are: 1. Determine the premise of what your patients want and need. 2. Connect those wants and needs to the services you offer at your Medical Practice. 3. Explain why that matters. While it may be true you offer on-line registration, a more attractive way of wording this might be, “Short on time.  We understand.  That’s why we don’t want to waste your time sitting in a waiting room.  Register for your next visit on-line, and skip the headache of filling out paperwork on a clipboard and wondering when you’ll be called back.” Highlight Features, But Close with Benefits Don’t get me wrong.  You still need to highlight the services you offer.  But don’t stop there.  Most Medical Practices never take their marketing to the next level.  Be different.  Tell your patients what they get by visiting your Medical Practice.