Marketing Your Hospital-Webinar Synopsis

Marketing Considerations

Solutions to marketing and communications are not one-size-fits-all. There will be some problems that marketing and communications cannot solve alone but must be used in conjunction with other measures. Your marketing strategies should focus primarily on the convergence of your community’s needs and the hospital’s goals.

  • There are several ideas that those who are developing solutions should consider
    • The hospital’s organizational strengths and resources
      • Examples- Social media presence and new events for hospital anniversaries or holidays
      • Workforce bandwidth for holding events or increasing staff on the marketing team
    • The community around the hospital
      • For example, if there is not a local radio station, your hospital does not need radio ads, or if there is no internet access in your community, you do not need to hold Facebook Lives every week.
    • Both the hospital’s and community’s capacities for change
      • Trying to change many aspects of your hospital’s marketing strategy at one time might not be the best way to reach your community.
      • Think about what makes sense for how your hospital should communicate with your community.

Building Trust

Many elements play into building trust within your hospital, including intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Whether it is the credibility of your hospital’s spokesperson, the importance of your message to the community, or how the community perceives the message, there are many ways that your hospital can influence the trust of the community. McCabe Message Partners believes that building trust is one of the most critical foundations for marketing your hospital. Once your hospital builds credibility in its services and its spokesmen and women, your community will be more adept at listening to your marketing messages. McCabe Message Partners have distinguished the following points as crucial building blocks of trust:

  • What people hear and think about your hospital
    • Perceptions of the hospital
    • Personal experiences with the hospital
    • Secondhand stories about the hospital
  • Environmental forces
    • Circumstances beyond the hospital’s control, such as challenges, COVID-19, and natural disasters
    • External validation
    • The hospital’s ability to respond well to these events is critical in how their community trusts the hospital.
  • What your hospital says and does
    • Communications-
      • Are messages coming directly from the hospital?
      • Are the hospital’s actions aligning with their messages?
    • Visibility
      • Is hospital leadership visible to the community?
    • Relationships with stakeholders (payers, public health department, community leaders)
      • How do we leverage the reputations and strengths of our board of directors and hospital leadership to build networks of trust throughout the community?
      • If this is a problem spot for your hospital, how will you and your team rethink making better relationships with your community partners?

Elements of a Plan for Change

  • Defining the Goals
    • Consider what your organization wants to do: think about the big picture goal and how to make it mission-driven
    • Consider how communications and marketing help you achieve that goal: be realistic and specific about your goals and define a timeframe for them
  • Consider Your Strengths
    • Consider what sets your organization apart
    • Consider what your organization does well- Where in your hospital does the community’s trust lie?
    • Consider who in your team is trusted by your community
  • Whom Do You Need to Influence?
    • Consider whom you need to talk to reach your goals- be very specific
    • Consider what their perception of you or their relationship to you is- the public’s perception of health care is personal
    • Consider what the best way to reach them is- digitally or by mail, note who the gatekeepers are
  • Tell Your Story
    • Consider what sets your organization apart and where you have trust
    • Use a storytelling framework- define the problem, identify the solution, tell the story of how our organization is uniquely equipped to provide the solution, and include what you want your audience to do
  • Measure Results
    • Identify when you will consider that your goal has been reached- identify ways to measure success ad build in checkpoints along the way
    • Qualitative metrics are also important