David vs Goliath: 5 ways hospitals can thrive in competitive markets

tyler tullis
Christine Varela

Apr 19, 2019

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Being the biggest doesn’t make you the best. While larger health systems have many advantages, including war chest-sized marketing budgets, there are proven strategies for smaller hospitals and health care systems to succeed in competitive markets. Below are five ways to produce more results out of your health care marketing program.

1. Use research to inform and target your efforts.
In order to develop an effective marketing strategy, you need to know where you are and where you want to go. And without research, you’re just guessing. Hospitals are increasingly recognizing the importance of research and data to help drive their marketing efforts. It’s not enough for your leadership to dictate the growth they want to see — you need to hear from your patients (and potential patients) about how they see you and what barriers might exist in their decision to choose you. Research also helps identify opportunities you might not have known existed. Your community may view your strengths differently than you do. Can you leverage something about your system that you didn’t know previously existed?

2. Define (and live) your unique brand.
Consumers have more choices today than ever before. There is a growing recognition from the C-suite that your hospital’s brand matters. A strong brand is a business strategy because your brand influences how patients view you as a potential option for their health care needs. In defining your brand, think about what makes you different from your competitors. And why does that matter? What do you do better than anyone else? What facets of health care delivery are uniquely yours to own? And how do those things intersect with what consumers want and need?
3. Clearly define your call to action.
What is it that you want your audience to do? You’ve grabbed their attention, you’ve connected them to your brand, so now what? Do you want to drive traffic to a specific web page? Are you asking people to schedule an appointment? Do you want them to attend an informational session? Getting very clear about your marketing objectives will allow you to determine the right call to action for your campaign.
4. Use digital media to target and reach your audiences, and at a fraction of the price of traditional media.
Network TV is expensive. Your audiences are online. About 90% of older adults reported using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to find and share health information. Many hospitals can’t afford to launch their campaigns through traditional media, but don’t let that deter you from developing multimedia marketing campaigns.
5. Video needs to be a part of your storytelling.
There is no better medium to help audiences make an emotional connection to your brand. Trends in online videos are clear: consumption continues to rise, it has greater reach and engagement on social platforms and is shared exponentially more frequently versus static content.

Reach out if you want to chat more about trends and best practices in health care marketing!

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