4 Ways Health Care and Marketing Are Exactly the Same

4 Ways Health Care and Marketing Are Exactly the Same

2019-08-27 20:42:05 | Karen Cummings | healthcare marketing

My husband and I both own our own businesses – my digital marketing agency and his gym – and are often discussing the reasons we love what we do, and the challenges we regularly face.

We’re incredibly motivated, passionate people – driven by the commitment to help individuals and businesses bring possibilities to life. In his case, achieve their fitness and health goals, in my case, achieve their business growth goals (and often as a result, achieve their life and lifestyle goals).

We both face the challenge of identifying how we can make these dreams and goals a reality for our clients. And we’re continuously surprised (you’d think we’d learn) how many similarities we encounter when discussing this topic.

These repeated conversations, in addition to over eight years serving health & wellness brands, I had an incredible realization.

There is a deep, underlying connection in the way successful health providers approach care and how successful companies approach marketing.

Here are four critical similarities between delivering health care and executing on marketing that will help you take your business to new levels of success.

4 Hard-to-Spot Ways Marketing Mirrors Health Care

1. Seek a professional.

There are some things we can manage on our own – a scraped knee, a minor headache – but then there are a number of conditions and situations we need to consult with a health professional to determine next best steps.

Just as you would expect an individual to come to you for a treatment plan for a complex condition, illness or health goal, we would expect business owners to come to a marketing professional to identify and create a ‘treatment plan’ for their business’ marketing and growth. 

There are certainly things you can figure out on your own – your brand voice, benefits to highlight, even posting to Facebook – but there are many strategic and tactical elements of a successful plan that require a combined set of professional skills, experience and focus.

2. Complete your initial assessment.

To establish the most effective treatment plan for patients and clients, you must first do one super critical thing. Listen to them.

In the health world, this is often during the initial evaluation, consultation or assessment. You’re asking questions, you’re running tests, you’re evaluating their medical history. And while there may be scenarios that, due to experience, you’re able to identify the root cause right out the gate, in most instances you wouldn’t have a prescription written or a plan established before you dive deeper into the condition(s) and goals of your patient.

Identifying the best plan for marketing your business isn’t much different – actually, it isn’t different at all.

There are some situations where we’re able to immediately identify some opportunities for quick wins, but in most cases we’re going to first do our research, gather historical data, collect competitive intelligence, survey your brand soulmates and gain a deep understanding of your vision, story and goals. 

If you encounter agencies that are ready to spit out a plan for you before they do this, let me just say, be wary. Without completing appropriate “discovery” research, they’re basing their plan on assumptions and/or other clients – which may not be as effective for your brand or audience.

3. Developing a “treatment plan”.

When dealing with complex health conditions, challenges or goals, do you send your patient or client out the door with a mish mash of random advice and possible ideas and a list of hundreds of things they could try? Or do you develop a plan for them to follow?

Most likely you’re narrowing your recommendations down based on your experience and expertise and their current situation and goals. You may have them try out some new things to see how their body responds and from there make adjustments, but in the end they’re still following a specific plan. This is the plan that sets benchmarks and allows you to track and monitor their changes and progress.

The same goes for marketing. Granted, when you’re first getting started, you are going to need to test some things out to see what works for your specific brand and audience, but we would never be doing this willy-nilly. We would test in a controlled environment, optimize and enhance what’s working – leaving behind what isn’t. We would create a strategic plan to follow, establishing baselines and monitoring campaign performance.

4. Commitment to seeing results.

Once that treatment plan is in action, you and your patient should understand that you may not see immediate results. A lot of health conditions take time to reverse. If you don’t stay strategic in your decisions – that’s not to say you can’t optimize or enhance the plan – you can derail any traction you’re gaining and prevent yourself from realizing the incredible results that may be waiting for you on the other side.

With marketing, overnight success is rare. Most business growth and success takes time, commitment and focus. Staying the course can prove incredibly fruitful for businesses, so committing to your plan is critical.

PRO TIP: Using an elimination diet to ‘diagnose’ your health (and marketing).

If your client has specific complaints, say digestive issues, one of the first recommendations you may make after evaluating their situation is an ‘elimination diet’. Literally eliminating nearly everything, and then slowly adding things back in to see how they respond and identify what may be causing their issue(s). 

Businesses encounter these same issues. Clients come to us with every social channel setup, posting blogs, sending emails, delivering direct mail but with the complaint that nothing is working. Often it’s because you’re doing too much with too little resources! And as a result, you may not be doing your best work with each channel.

Our goal is to put in place an elimination diet, or a marketing diet, if you will. Identify any glaring issues or clear opportunities and work from there – leaving in what is proving even slightly effective and only adding in new initiatives once we’ve nailed the first ones down. Slowly and strategically expanding your online activity only with things that are driving results for your business.

Set yourself up for success

Treating a patient that isn’t honest in their assessment, doesn’t follow the treatment plan you create and won’t allow time to let the results of their efforts take hold is a recipe for disaster. And a sure way for them to not reach their goals.

Marketing your business is the same. Be honest with yourself about your audience, your business strengths and capabilities and your growth potential. Create and follow a plan and give yourself time to see the results to optimize rather than pivoting halfway through to simply try the next thing that doesn’t work in the end either.

Marketing might not involve blood and guts, but it can still involve sweat and tears.

Let’s limit the sweat and tears and improve the chances of a successful outcome. Heed this advice, and keep these ideas in mind as you move forward with your business’ marketing plan. Need help? We’re here for you! Schedule a discovery call to see if we’d be a good match for one another.