Treating a Hospital System Like a Consumer Product…Because It Is

The healthcare industry has changed dramatically over the last few years. The emergence of urgent care centers has reduced strain on hospital ERs and also increased the number of people seeking treatment for things that previously they would have waited to see their primary care physician for. Marketing for hospitals and care centers has become competitive as they battle for patients to come through their front doors, seeking on-going care for conditions, special planned procedures or elective ones.

Smart hospitals and medical practices today are building “end-to-end” practices with primary care, urgent care, and even rehab centers. Getting selected to provide elective or special care means a higher patient value if you can maintain the rehabilitation. Getting patients earlier in their lives could lead to preferred status throughout that person’s life.

We understand today’s healthcare industry and have helped two hospitals re-establish themselves to succeed in this marketplace. Hospitals have historically been “product led”, meaning they focus on what services they offer. Today, hospitals need to be “consumer led”, focusing on quality-of-life improvements and outcomes.

For Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, we developed a media strategy around three core pillars understanding that consumers want their healthcare to come as easy as Netflix: on-demand, affordable and convenient:

Treating Piedmont like a business with different verticals, we developed a multi-target, multi-media approach building awareness of the three pillars, sustaining patient volume to meet their location goals and a “winback” program to recover lost volume from lapsed patients or no-shows.

This meant developing new targets that were younger than their existing segments. These segments were defined as consumer markets beyond their healthcare needs by looking at their attitudes, lifestyles and media behaviors.

It also meant building a transactionally focused media plan around business goals to achieve patient counts at each location, a strategy more like a retailer than the TV driven approach that hospitals usually execute. Our media tactics included were built around specific consumer facing needs.

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