In today’s fast-paced world how do you make sure your brand messages resonate with your customers and, if they do, how can your brand become even more remarkable?
These questions have always been relevant for healthcare communications, but the new world in which we all find ourselves have made them particularly pertinent as our customers’ behaviour and needs changed.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic ensures an ongoing state of evolution. Many of the big changes created by the global pandemic have yet to be fully assessed, or even settled into their final shape, and those may still not happen soon.
As communicators, many areas of our business need to be rethought – starting with conferences, education and promotional activities.
In fact, branding itself will need to be revitalised, with new processes and techniques put in place to reframe our conversations and ensure that the messages we create are relevant and useful to our customers.
How healthy is your brand?
It all starts with a check-up. Brands too can get sick and lose their vitality, but there are various diseases to watch out for, and here are two of the most prominent.
“The best treatment for brand diseases is ‘action copywriting’. It’s a validated neuromarketing approach that helps you choose the right words to activate the emotional engines of human behaviours”
The first is brand confusion, a typical disease whereby brands no longer have a remarkable image or are able to be distinguished from their competitors. This was seen during the first COVID-19 lockdowns: when people started talking about ‘social distancing’, too many brands responded by removing graphical elements of their logos to symbolise that distancing.
But look at the three logos below. Which one catches your eye the most? Which is more remarkable?
None of them stand out, and what is true for logos is also true for claims.
During the first wave of COVID-19, many companies started exploiting the same hashtags and their communications seemed like a line-up of the most popular online keywords.
Brand confusion, whether related to the visuals or the copy used, always has the same result: a weakening of the specificity, recognisability and memorability of the brand.
A second disease to watch out for is logorrhoea, better known in English slang as ‘verbal diarrhoea’. As in the case of dysentery, brand logorrhoea causes dehydration, cramps and general weakening, with the brand ending up withered as it moves slowly and clumsily across the media landscape.
The prime symptom of brand logorrhoea is an inability to describe oneself in a sentence.
Try it: if you are unable to describe in one sentence what your brand wants to do both in the market and in the world, you may have contracted logorrhoea.
Nursing brands back to health
The best treatment for these, and other common brand diseases, is what we would term ‘action copywriting’. It’s a validated neuromarketing approach that helps you choose the right words to activate the emotional engines of human behaviours.
It starts with identifying the brand action that we want our audience to take. What do we want our audience to do with us? Neither giving their money nor giving their likes on Facebook are of any use, because those actions express a superficial usefulness and make no real difference, here and now, to the brand or its customers.
Let’s consider the example of the New York Public Library, whose director of digital media Richard Schnorr described in a single sentence his mission: to inspire people hooked on social media to read more.
In managing to describe his brand in a single sentence he avoided logorrhoea and laid the foundations for the InstaNovel, an innovative use of Instagram Stories of famous books. The action that the brand has extended to its public made a difference, here and now, for both the brand and its audience in a symmetrical way, expressing a profound usefulness that has activated an emotional and communicative pact between brands and people.
Confusion and logorrhoea are just two examples of brand sickness. There are many others and, like all pathologies, they are diagnosed and cured by starting with their symptoms.
This is how a brand’s health is maintained and enhanced and there are five fundamental reasons for taking its temperature:
To achieve the brand’s full emotional potential
To give value to the values of the brand
To be noticed and remembered (like Seth Godin’s Purple Cow)
To attract those customers that are closest to you
So customers understand and appreciate your value – instead of being afraid of your price.
Having a healthy brand means all of this. So, have you taken your brand’s temperature recently? Why not schedule a brand check-up now.
About the authors
Elena Pirofalo is head of experience at Healthware International, curating the creation of transformational experiences for the healthcare industry. Since the beginning of her career in 2001, Elena has partnered with various stakeholders, such as patients, healthcare professionals and life-science companies, to create impact for modern marketing activities. She can be contacted via [email protected]
Paolo Guglielmoni is action copywriter and nerdist philosopher at RADS (Responsive Ads), a responsive network of talents that focuses on maximising brands’ creative and business performance. He also serves as contract professor of circular advertising at IULM in Milan and professor of fashion advertising at Milan’s Ferrari Fashion School. He can be contacted via [email protected]
Dana Callow, Executive Creative Director, Healthcare Success
COVID-19 has been a life-changing event for us all. It’s the kind of event that has lasting effects on people that we can’t even truly see just yet. We’ve thrust an entire population into a cycle of grief that is ubiquitous but unique to every person. How will the healthcare consumer, patient, and caregivers‘ needs, wants, and actions change now and in the future?
Meanwhile, has your creativestrategy, creativecommunications, and creativemessaging kept up? Which changes should you make now?
In preparing for a recent webinar, I asked our Executive Creative Director, Dana Callow, to share some of her ideas about COVID-era creative messaging. Dana has created award-winning healthcare marketingcampaigns for over 20 years and brings valuable personal and professional insights to today’s marketing challenges. I liked Dana’s ideas so much I interviewed her for this follow-up Podcast.
In case you don’t have time to listen to the recording, here is a synopsis of the most critical points we discussed. There is also a complete transcript of our discussion just below this synopsis:
Coronavirus and the stages of grief
The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross grief model helps explain how people deal with death and grief. It provides a useful context to understand the many ways people cope with extraordinarily difficult circumstances, such as their own impending death, the demise of a loved one, a financial crisis, or, as Dana suggests, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shock and Denial: We still have many people in this grief-phase, and some may never leave it. In the early days, the spring breakers were a perfect example of this behavior. Now that the country is reopening, others are resuming their lives with little to no thought about protecting themselves or others from the coronavirus.
Anger: Yes, some people have moved on, but others are still right there. Many people vehemently protest masks, guidelines, and restrictions. Worse, misinformation and conspiracy theories are now polarizing the nation, thereby threatening public safety as well.
Depression and Detachment: Many are still here, and won’t be able to move on until some sense of normalcy is restored. These are the folks who’ve gotten more quiet and introspective over time. You’ve seen this in your family, your coworkers, even that used to be a super happy cashier at the grocery store.
Dialogue & Bargaining: The vast majority of people are here and will stay here for quite some time. The good thing is they’re talking, reaching out, learning, responding. We need to support them and help them make their way to acceptance.
Acceptance: People are tip-toeing into this phase. These will be the resilient leaders who pave the way for others. Eventually, they will move on to “return to a meaningful life.”
Rethink your archetypes
Rethinking your healthcare archetypes is critical right now. Before you do anything, think about how your patient population might have evolved for better or for worse in their thinking, or even jumped from one archetype to another. While everyone around you will feel the need to move fast, it’s worth your time to reevaluate your audience before you push out messaging that might not resonate anymore.
Enter the new “COVID Resolutionists“
Many people are looking to respond to COVID-19 by taking this opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. Dana predicts that healthcare will be the highest priority on most people’s lists.
What will the “COVID Resolutionists” need from the healthcare system and their healthcare providers that is new and different as the battle marches on? How do we promote, embrace, and facilitate all of those who are now more motivated to act on their health and wellness positively? How do we think about and protect those that might be internalizing toxic levels of stress?
The people who were already obsessed with health and wellness are going to be even more obsessed. Wanting to “get ahead of the health game, they will move forward with or without our help.
There is also going to be a large group of people who took their health for granted (did some things right, some things not so right) who will be seriously stepping up their game. They’ll want to make sure they know whether or not they have any underlying conditions. Expect to see a rise in everything from colonoscopies to mammograms, skin cancer checks, etc. Expect lots of new questions from avid Googlers about diets, exercise plans, vitamins and supplements, proactive screenings, etc.
The deniers with comorbidities will also have changed, at least a portion of them. Whether motivated by fear or the urging of their families, they’re going to try and step up to the plate. They’re going to be terrible at it, as they weren’t successful before. They’ll need encouragement as they begin to reach out. They’ll also need real strategies and tactics to help them get going, and even more strategies and tactics to promote adherence. The rest of this group will likely take the “head in the sand” approach and keep on as they have. However, many of them may be internalizing real fears that will only exacerbate their existing conditions.
The worriers – have never been more worried. Not only will they obsess about every symptom, but they will see the world more differently than others. It will be far more contextual for them. They’ll need your reassurance. They, too, will be prone to toxic levels of stress that could negatively impact their mental and physical health. You’ll need to listen to these folks very carefully and be ready to help them address mental health issues/needs.
Begin your new creative approach now
What does all of this mean? It means you can’t just look at anyone on the surface and take their actions or behavior at face value. There is a huge danger right now that we misjudge consumer behavior as having moved beyond grief, when in fact, they haven’t even started.
And what happens with any resurgence? It’s a measure twice, cut once across your segments. Constant monitoring to facilitate evolutions in your reopening messaging is going to be critical.
Finally, if you’d like to explore how Dana, I, and the rest of our team could help you with your COVID-19 related marketing challenges, please let us know.
Note: The following transcript is computer generated and may not be 100% accurate.
Hi again everybody. This is Stewart Gandolf. Welcome to another podcast. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing our Executive Creative Director, Dana Callow. Dana has extensive experience, many years of experience writing and creating campaigns for healthcare. As we’ve been working together with some of our client projects, a lot of concepts come out, a lot of cool creative ideas come out constantly. Both of us are pretty philosophical about the current COVID pandemic. Dana has lots of great insights about how the creative strategy should change given that we’re in this pandemic. First of all, welcome, Dana.
Thank you. Happy to be here.
Yes. Glad to have you. Dana, before we get started, I could brag about you all day, but I’d like to have you brag about yourself a little, just if you could give us, our listeners a sense of your background and how that relates to today’s topic at least. Not the whole thing, obviously, but just where these insights are coming from.
Sure. As you well know, I’m an agency veteran. I’ve been in the agency world marketing across a plethora of categories for 20 years. We’ll just leave it at 20, but I have spent a healthy portion of that time in the healthcare space in some way, shape, or form. Whether it was working for health plans like Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield/BCBS, or working for major hospital systems and little hospital systems. Everywhere from rural Missouri to cities like Chicago and Detroit. Then a considerable amount of time working on pharmaceutical products. For the most part, products — drugs that are treating very rare diseases. Folks that are suffering from things that are lifelong afflictions, debilitating, definitely the kind that you’re talking about mortality sooner versus later.
Very good. We were talking offline a little bit and I remembered as Kübler-Ross, you’ve heard of it more as the cycle of grief, but the concept is, and this was innovated by Kübler-Ross. There are various interpretations of that and controversy or whatever, but I still remember maybe it was in health class, but somewhere along the way in high school, this whole idea of people going through a cycle of grief that’s pretty predictable. Clearly, it’s a model, right? Not everybody goes through every stage. Some people go straight from the beginning to the end. It’s just a useful context as a place to start. As we’ve talked about the COVID pandemic, there certainly is a lot of grief and grief shows up in various fashion. Dana, since you’re such an expert and have used this model for your rare disease drugs so often, how about if you just give us a quick overview? Then we can drill down into each of these cycles and what you see is happening today.
Sure. I started using this model years ago. I think the other benefit I have that, I see it as a benefit, a lot of times people go, oh gosh, I’m so sorry. I also happen to be the caregiver of a child with special needs who is now 22. In that journey, I learned very clearly what the difference is between the common cycle of grief that we might go through for a broken dish or a fender bender versus a major health issue that impacts either you or a loved one or your entire family. I’ve always applied the model to these very serious circumstances and it is phased. It’s shock and denial followed by anger, depression and detachment, dialogue and bargaining, acceptance, and then returning to a meaningful life. When we talk about that in the rare disease space, the point that I’m typically making is the nuances as it applies to a very serious health condition.
Then the fact that it’s typically cyclical. When you’re dealing with something longterm, there are new developments in that disease, there are new developments that affect you physically, mentally, financially. There’s the impact on perhaps a family unit, et cetera. You’re constantly restarting the process or maybe overlapping processes on top of each other. I’ve talked in the past about for me and for lots of parents who are dealing with children that might have a serious condition, you go through it every so often. Usually attached to developmental milestones that you realize they may never make, or they might struggle quite a bit to make. What’s interesting about that as it relates to what we’re doing now, I thought about this the minute it started is that we literally thrust everyone on the planet into a massive cycle of grief, an intense one that wasn’t going to be easy for anyone to navigate. That was the first thought.
Then secondly, now we’re all navigating it differently based on who we are as people, our own internal resiliency, our ability to cope, our thoughts and beliefs, all of those things are coming into play. What we might see is behavior on the outside from people really might not reflect where they’re in that cycle. It’s just a really complex but fascinating and important issue as we move forward.
Totally makes sense. Now, in our recent webinar, I’ve talked about the research. I do that a lot in our webinars. If you’re one of our longtime blog readers you’ll know from the recent webinars we’ve talked about it, and the research is very interesting. When you see photos of people in the Ozarks shoulder to shoulder, having a great big old party, there’s a tendency to assume everybody is like that, right? It’s just the research shows that’s clearly not the case. Some people for sure believe that there’s, “What pandemic? There is no such thing. It’s all a mass media ploy.” To other people who are in very severe consequences, I’ve just read an article from a lady talking about how much it pains her when they talk about, “Oh, don’t worry. It’s just the people that have immunocompromised or old.” She said, “You know, I’m in that target audience. I’m a little offended and I’m very, very scared.”
People are all over the place in terms of how they’re responding to the various stages. I’d like you Dana to take a few minutes and maybe a couple of minutes per each to drill down on shock or denial, what that means and how you see that playing out. Anger and the various phases, just to put meat on the bones, because I think really what the key here is, is as you’re writing and creating and you can obviously expand on this more, you’re the creative director, but what do these things mean maybe? Then we’ll come back and talk about, okay, how do you adapt your creative strategy to that?
Sure. When you look at shock and denial, it’s so funny, I was right there when they were showing the spring breakers and everyone was so offended and just so upset with them. They were in shock and denial. We might see it as that’s bad behavior and that’s a lack of empathy or care or concern or maturity. But really for many of them, and I’m not saying all of them because there are always the I before E, except after C, but many of the people, even the folks out there protesting I will not wear a mask and attaching it to whatever reason that they are, many of those folks are still in shock and denial. Well, shock and denial and anger. They haven’t even truly begun to process what might be our new normal, the impact it might have on them.
They’d rather just be mad and live in that place of this isn’t happening. I think that that’s important as you start to talk to people or as a physician or any kind of provider is really looking beyond what might be that outward reaction to understand where they are because that’s going to affect the type of education and support that you provide to them. That might even affect how you’re looking at them from a treatment perspective. Thinking about what’s underneath that shock and denial and anger is going to be important. After that, we move into depression and attachment. Looking around the world, looking around my sphere of people, looking at the folks in my family, the people I spend most of my time with. I think a lot of us are still here and could be here for a considerable amount of time based on the fact that we really have no answers to where this is going.
Many of us are there and we won’t be able to move on until we figure out what normal is, whatever it might look like. You’ve probably seen it. You’ve seen people get quiet. You’ve noticed people, maybe they’re not talking about it as much or asking as many questions because they’re processing. They’re processing and they’re trying to figure out new routines. They’re trying to figure out how to adapt to this changing world. One thing you can bet is there is a level of stress there that whether you can see it or not is something I think we’ll have to consider as people start to go back to their regular healthcare routines and to their providers and start to address issues that they might be having.
You might even have noticed it in that super happy cashier at the grocery store is not the same person that they used to be. That someone who’s probably living in the depression and detachment piece of this. Then dialogue and bargaining. I mean, a lot of us are moving into this space. We’ve got one foot in depression and detachment and one foot in dialogue and bargaining because our will to live, our will to move on, our will to find a new normal will drive us there even though we’re still a little scared, a little stressed out, a little concerned. We don’t know what we don’t know yet. A lot of us are starting to move into that place where, okay, I want to talk about it. I’m going to start reaching back out to my healthcare providers, to my mentors, to my confidant, to people that maybe I’ve talked to a little bit but I have been detached from and I want to start to bounce ideas and things off of them.
I think to be ready for those folks who are going to come in. They’re going to have a lot of questions. As a healthcare provider, no one healthcare provider is going to be able to answer all of those questions. When we look at how most physicians out there, they have a set of resources that they offer to people beyond what they do in the day-to-day. Checking back into what those resources are, thinking about the places and spaces you can guide people, I think that’s going to be really important. Feeding their desire to move into that next phase, that’s going to be critical. The flip side of that, that’s going to reduce their stress and then reduce potential complications for any conditions that they have now or may develop in the future.
Then acceptance, I think maybe there’s a few, just highly evolved humans out there who are stepping into this. I think it’s fewer than we might expect. Even if you hear people who sound like they’ve accepted it, who are voicing a lot of like, this is what I’m going to do and this is how I’m going to handle it. This is where it’s going. I think there’s not a lot of those folks yet, but I am very encouraged to see them stepping into that phase because I think that’s where the leaders are going to come from. They’re going to pave the way for others. As much as this has all been this very overwhelming place that we’re living in, I think out of it is going to come so much innovation and so much progress because there’s nothing like putting a wall in front of a motivated person. They will figure out how to get around it, over it, or through it.
I think those folks are few and far between. I do think no matter who you are, if you come in contact with someone like that, we need to embrace that. They’re probably not going to be a huge problem for healthcare providers other than they will have read so many things and come to you with so many questions that are deep and have a lot of dimension to them. Being ready to have those conversations is what’s just going to keep them in that healthy place of moving forward. Then returning to a meaningful life. I mean, I couch this as stay tuned for the next available operator. I don’t know that I believe anyone is there yet, but I’d like to meet them. I think that’s what we’re all going to be trying to do for each other and all of the folks who play in any one person’s health and wellness ecosystem is going to be a very important part of that.
Very good. It’s interesting because the idea of dialogue and bargaining because I always heard the model as bargaining but dialogue and bargaining is intriguing because… I think this model is useful because we go through different phases. The same person can go through different phases, right? They may generally be in dialogue and bargaining, but once in awhile get into depression, anger, and back and forth. I think the idea of being able to talk it out with friends. We recently met a friend in Palm Springs. We have a vacation rental there. We did our first social distancing friend visit. It was amazing to have that chance to just talk things through. We haven’t done that really, and it’s not the same when you’re doing it on through Zoom.
I think that it’s really intriguing to know that these are out there. People are in general categories probably. At any given moment, they may be staying in one and probably we’ll go through this predictable sequence rather. Let me ask you. The key question here is here from a marketing standpoint because neither of us of course therapists, but how does this impact our creative strategy? That’s the meat of this. What can we do as marketing people and recognizing that we have a broad audience of people in our podcasts including super sophisticated marketers primarily at pharma or hospitals or wherever. We also have private practice doctors and everywhere all over the place. Just in general, if you were to give some advice on what your creative strategy should look like today. Well, today and then even as things start to continue to evolve, what would those kinds of things be?
The way that it’s strategy first, right? We have had for many, many years some pretty accepted patient archetypes. People behave in a particular way when it comes to their healthcare. While those may have become more robust over time, I think now is the time for everyone to stop. Whether it’s with your internal marketing team, in conjunction with your agency, just you yourself and your thoughts. It’s time to sit down and think about seriously, think about your patient population. The segments in it and how they might have changed because that’s what’s going to impact how you might change your overarching strategy or simply your messaging. Because we have people who have taken quarantine so seriously and then you have the people who I lovingly say hashtag what virus. Everything in between as far as how they’re thinking about it, but then you also have how they behave as patients.
That’s where I coined the little term COVID resolutionist because it’s like when you make a New Year’s resolution. So many of us do that, whether we’re super demonstrative about it or not is debatable. Some of us just have a list in our heads. Some of us just have one. Some of us have a dozen. There seems to be this thing every year where we see the New Year as a time to change or to attempt change. I think that COVID is going to do that for a lot of people when it comes to their healthcare. That’s where I think the idea of the cycle of grief next to how it will have actually changed people is how strategy must change. When you look at those, and I’ll keep it really simple, when you look at those patient populations, you’ve got your people who are on top of their health and wellness, your type-A personalities. Diet, exercise, staying on top of as they age, doing all the right things to make sure they know what their underlying conditions might be.
They are ahead of the cancer game. They are ahead of their eye health. They are on top of those things. They’re just going to get more on top of those things and that’s okay. That’s okay. Then there’s this giant group of people. I definitely fall into probably one end of this one, but there’s this giant group of people. We do a lot of things, right? We don’t do all the things right. We try things with our diet and our exercise. We fall off the wagon. We know we need to get that colonoscopy but we put it off until like, okay. My mother gave me a hard time about it. My spouse is staring at me like it’s time. You have a family history, whatever, go get it done. I think you’re going to see a lot of those people who are pretty good about their health, really stepping up to the plate and wanting to check the boxes and do all the things. Making that easy for them, making that comfortable for them, encouraging them to pursue those things.
I think that it’s a great time to message around that for that group. Like, let’s embrace the idea that I’m going to make a resolution to not let something like this scare me as much as it has ever again. Get ready for that flood of folks who want to, they want to figure it out. They want to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. Then you’re still going to have that giant group of folks, they are the deniers and we all suffer from it. That’s why I say I’m on the edge of the previous group because I’m the worst when it comes to… I take care of everybody else before I take care of myself, but that’s a different kind of denial. Then when you look at people who know, they know that they have diagnosed conditions, they know there are life changes they should make, they should have made a long time ago. They have been recently connected to their mortality on a whole new level.
The interesting thing about this group I think is that we’re going to have to approach them as if they fall into two categories. You’re going to have the deniers who, yes, I have severe diabetes but I have not addressed my diet and exercise and I never planned to. But this connection I now have to my mortality, the connection that my family has been literally in my face about every day before COVID and now even more since COVID happened, all right, I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to give it a shot. That’s good news, but they’re going to be terrible at it because they always have been. They’re going to need a lot of support. A, messaging that assumes that there are some people in that camp. Targeting those folks with, if you weren’t ready before, we hope you’re ready now. Let’s talk about whatever it is that we need to. Let’s do it. Getting them to go ahead and act on that notion, and then they’re going to need a ton of support.
They’re going to need a ton of atta-boys and atta-girls and all kinds of strategies and tactics to help them stay on the bus. Then you’re still going to have a group of those deniers who head in the sand. I won’t go. I’m not, I’m just going to know that it’s not going to come for me. That group is going to be really tough to reach as they always have been, but this might be the time for a proactive conversation. Healthcare providers could be a tipping point. They are feeling it, their family. You could be that exclamation point on the sentence to help them go ahead and give it a shot. Then the group, I think, well, and one more thing on those folks. If they do just put their head in the sand, that doesn’t mean that they’re not experiencing a lot of stress around it. That stress can be toxic and actually exacerbate their situation, whatever it might be. That might be something to message around as well.
Then the worriers, they’ve never been more worried than they are now, and that will continue. Again, I think very solid pragmatic information and facts that help them address their fears and concerns that make them feel comfortable and confident about seeing their healthcare provider, about pursuing whatever health issues they might have. They’re going to need confidence instilled in them. I think that’s an important messaging strategy with those folks. Again, these are also folks who are going to possibly suffer from just a great amount of stress. Recognizing that and being able to have the conversation around that to make sure that that doesn’t either aggravate an underlying condition they might not even know they have or exacerbate one that they do, that’s going to be important. I think the gist is sometimes we try to be very focused in our messaging, one size fits all. I don’t think that that’s where we’re going. I think targeted messaging that gets to these audiences where they are in this journey is going to be paramount.
Then the last question I have is pretty universal today. In fact, you and I have a conference call in what, 23 minutes, about this with a client. The point is that a lot of providers on the provider side are reopening in stages. Some are wide open for business, others are not. Then there’s a whole fear of what happens as the other shoe drops, are we in the beginning? Are we just in the continuation of the first phase, which a lot of people argue? Is there a second wave? All those kinds of things. That makes it very flux right now. The idea of reopening, in this very uncertain environment where just like I described everything is changing, looking at a different model with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is way down there at the bottom. Basically, self-survival and safety are at the core of this. Nobody’s going anywhere if they don’t feel safe. What are some of the communication strategies that providers might be thinking about now with all this that we just discussed in mind? But really, about safety and reopening, and do you have any tips on that for our audience?
I think clearly communicating all that you are doing to provide a safe environment is important, but I think combining that message with general health messages, you’re right. We don’t know if we’re still in phase one. We don’t know when phase two might happen. We don’t know any of those things. To some degree, all of this is quite a grand experiment and a tough one. I think just the utility of communicating, this is what we’re doing to keep you safe and healthy. I’ve seen a lot of good work done out there down to the…this is the brand of disinfectant that we’re using. This is what we’re doing. Coupling that with health and wellness messages that cater to your audience, whether you’re a specialist or a GP or a big hospital system with lots of offerings, or a pharmaceutical product, whoever you are. Combining that functional message with that comment, come and see us. We’re here for you, here to help you. Don’t wait to tackle whatever might be happening in your life with regard to your health and don’t let your primary care go. I think it’s a marriage of messages with where one doesn’t necessarily take precedence.
That is a really important thought because we’ve talked about this on a number of webinars recently with research and so forth, but this is an opportunity for thought leadership in your community. Some people are doing this better than others, and obviously some health systems are well-funded than other private practice. They may not be, or some pharmas have that as part of their mission. Again, we have a very broad audience listening to our podcast, but thought leadership is such an important part of this. Everywhere I look, I read today in Fierce Healthcare an article about how for a while there or actually it was a different publication where for a while their hospitals are just thought of as these entities, faceless entities. The public was losing touch with them and they didn’t really understand any kind of, despite the hospital’s point of view, that community commitment.
Nowadays, there’s a resurgence where certainly depending on where they’re located, hospital systems and healthcare providers are seeing a resurgence. I think this is a time to continue to consider thought leadership and figure out how you can be not the educator, both sides of the brain, right? Dana, the right and left brain side.
Certainly, the educator, the thought leader, but also the compassionate people, the people that are really invested in the community. As we wrap up here, I don’t know if you have any additional thoughts on any of this stuff, Dana, because I think all these communication strategies are important. Our audience may be looking for new insights on where do we even begin.
Yeah. I think you’re exactly right. I think one of my favorite phrases is, measure twice cut once. I think circling the wagons internally no matter who you are and having a very thoughtful and thorough conversation about your patient population, your geography, the mindsets of people and how your patient archetypes might have changed. Then a balanced message that plays off of both right and left brain is spot on, not easy but spot on.
Well, I think it’s a terrific opportunity, a COVID resolution. It’s a terrific opportunity. Then you alluded to this a little bit ago, rethinking your personas but also rethinking your marketing and creative strategy and your messaging. We’ve been, from the very beginning it is something I’ve been writing about is to look at your marketing from a new. I think that okay, for a lot of people on the hospital side at least, they’re just dealing with patients and reacting to a crisis. It’s hard to think very strategically, but this is a good time now where, okay, we’re past, in most cases obviously. It varies by where you are in the country, but most of us are past the sort of crisis phase. We have Telehealth and Telemedicine in place…we have providers in place largely.
Who are we? What do we stand for? I challenge our listeners to think about that because it’s a terrific opportunity. Some people in some organizations fall to the wayside. Others can really demonstrate and take a leadership position, not just from a business standpoint, but from doing good standpoint. Thank you, Dana. It’s been great having you for this healthcare podcast discussion. As I predicted, this would be a great podcast and you did great and thank you.
The Healthcare-Focused Marketing Firm Welcomes Executive Creative Director Dana Callow
IRVINE, Calif., April 24, 2020 – Adding to the recent expansion of its leadership team, full-service healthcare marketing and advertising agency Healthcare Success is proud to announce the hiring of Executive Creative Director Dana Callow.
Dana Callow, Healthcare Success: Executive Creative Director
A seasoned marketing professional, Dana oversees all aspects of creative development for client branding and messaging, from strategic planning to conception to execution. Equal parts art director and copywriter, over the past 20 years she has held a variety of creative leadership roles in advertising agencies large and small, including DraftFCB, Abelson Taylor, SCOUT (The Stagwell Group), and others.
Dana has worked on numerous campaigns across the healthcare marketing category, including for over-the-counter brands like Ensure and Similac, pharma brands such as Onfi and Xyrem, medical practices, hospital systems and healthcare plans. Throughout her career, she has earned numerous advertising and marketing awards for her work, including Effie, Reggie, Addy, MM&M, PM360 Trailblazer, Rx Club and other awards.
Stewart Gandolf, Healthcare Success: CEO
“Dana’s career achievements and reputation as a builder and leader of effective creative teams is matched by her love of the nuts-and-bolts creative work, making her a perfect fit for Healthcare Success’ ongoing growth and expansion,” says Healthcare Success CEO Stewart Gandolf. “We’re excited to have her expertise, creativity and leadership skills in our quest to be of optimal benefit to our clients,” he adds.
The name of the game for Dana is results. “The creative can be beautiful, clever, emotional—but it has to work,” she says. “My goal is always to inspire people to act. I’m not happy until I can see we are connecting patients and caregivers, and providers and brands in the most meaningful manner, driving the very best outcomes for all.”
About Healthcare Success
Healthcare Success is a full-service marketing and advertising agency dedicated to helping healthcare organizations attract new patients, enhance their brands, and maximize their business success. The agency’s clients include hospitals, multi-location practices, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, skilled nursing organizations, addiction treatment centers, and other healthcare businesses. Healthcare Success takes a scientific, ethical approach to branding, marketing, and achieving specific growth goals with measurable results.
While some substance abuse and behavioral health centers are withdrawing from marketing, others are increasing their budgets to take advantage of the void in the recovery marketplace. While some centers are struggling to keep up their census, others seem unaffected. While some marketing campaigns continue to draw inquiries, others border on “crickets.”
Meanwhile, many people are sadly and predictably resorting to drug and alcohol abuse to ease their pain and stress. How should you adapt your health marketing to this new reality?
To answer this question, I hosted an addiction rehabilitation webinar with our Senior Marketing Strategist, Kathy Gaughran, titled, How to Adjust Your Addiction Treatment Marketing, Now and After COVID-19.
In this timely healthcare marketing webinar for senior addiction treatment executives who represent addiction treatment facilities, join Kathy and me to discover:
Should your marketing stop, pivot, or push forward?
How to ethically and cost-effectively reach potential clients who are seeking help now?
What are some of today’s unexpected marketing opportunities?
How to leverage social media to build your brand and thought leadership over time.
Which strategy shifts make sense as the COVID-19 crisis evolves, and eventually fades?
If you would like to speak to us about your addiction treatment center marketing budgets through and after the COVID crisis, please give us a call at 800-656-0907.
COVID-19 has caused massive economic disruption to virtually every kind of business, including vein practices.
Which marketing strategies should you begin now, and which should you implement in the coming months as the crisis slowly subsides? To find out, join Stewart Gandolf for this practical, information-packed webinar. When you attend, you’ll discover:
Which marketing strategies should you invest in now, even if your practice is currently closed?
How to communicate with your current patients as things change.
How to capitalize on the marketing opportunities that telemedicine brings to your practice.
How to balance social media, digital marketing, and traditional advertising?
How to communicate with referring doctors?
What are some “silver lining” opportunities?
Where should you invest for the best possible ROI?
These challenging times require courage, optimism, and foresight.
About Your Webinar Leader
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, LLC, one of the nation’s leading healthcare marketing agencies. Stewart and his team of 30 marketing specialists have marketed over a thousand practices and hospitals over the past twenty years, including dozens of vein practices. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. Over 21,000 doctors and executives read Stewart’s healthcare marketing blog. Finally, Stewart and co-author Dr. Mark Tager recently wrote, “Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow and Perfect Your Cash-Pay Business.”
COVID-19 has changed the healthcare industry quicker in the last two weeks than in the last 50 years. With medical practices temporarily shutting down and elective procedures put on hold, what should healthcare networks and healthcare specialists do with their marketing campaigns‘ strategies?
Stewart Gandolf, CEO, Healthcare Success
Aaron Clifford, SVP Marketing, Binary Fountain
To answer this important question for healthcare marketers, I partnered with Aaron Clifford, Senior Vice President of Marketing, at Binary Fountain for a marketing webinar, COVID-19 and Healthcare Marketing: Should You Freeze, Pivot, or Push Forward? This event drew tremendous audience response and I want to share it with you on our HealthcareSuccess blog.
In this timely COVID healthcare marketing webinar for marketing practitioners & healthcare CMOs, you will learn:
If and how you should reallocate your marketing budget
Which marketing strategies and tactics make sense…and which don’t
How to tweak brand communications because of COVID-19
If you should change your digital marketing and directory listings as Coronavirus spreads
What key updates need to be made to social media profiles and healthcare organizations‘ local listings
I’ve included this presentation’s video above (and below), and a pdf of the deck, audio options, and the entire transcript further below, for your convenience. And, I trust this webinar helps your medical practice, health network or hospital survive and thrive through the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you would like to speak to us about your marketing budgets through the COVID crisis, please give us a call at 800-656-0907.
PDF: COVID-19 and HealthcareMarketing webinar slides
Podcast: COVID-19 and Healthcare Marketing webinar audio
COVID-19 and Healthcare Marketing Webinar Transcript
Welcome everyone to today’s webinar, “COVID-19 and Healthcare Marketing: Should You Freeze, Pivot or Push Forward?”
Welcome everyone and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join us. My name is Aaron Clifford. I’m the Senior Vice President of Marketing here at Binary Fountain. We know that it’s been a challenging time in everyone’s business and your personal lives, so we are extremely grateful that you’re here and we’re going to try to squeeze as much help, ample information and advice as we can. I will warn you, Stewart and I both are remote, so you may hear the a random dog bark or other noises that you typically wouldn’t in a normal webinar. And so I’m sure many of you are remote as well and probably could understand that. So for the next hour, we’re going to discuss specific ways healthcare marketers can shift their digital marketing efforts and engage customers online throughout the COVID crisis.
To help lead this discussion, I’m joined by Stewart Gandolf, CEO of integrated marketing firm Healthcare Success. Stewart, you care to introduce yourself?
Sure. I’m excited to be here. Everybody I know, again, as Aaron just said, we’re all busy trying to adapt to a new reality. I’m CEO of Healthcare Success and as Aaron mentioned, we are an integrated marketing firm. We work with really kind of all kinds of healthcare entities, hospitals, medical practices, pharmaceuticals, device, heath plans across the board. I think there’ll be fun to share some insights today.
For sure. Thanks, Stewart. So glad to have you here. Really appreciate it that you joined us. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look about what we’re going to be talking about today. So first we’re going to discuss strategizing your digital marketing in a way that matches the current shift in consumer behavior. What we’re seeing. Then we’ll cover recommended adjustments to marketing budgets and brand communications in light of the health crisis. And then we’ll dive into some key updates to the local listings and also social media platforms. We’ll cover things that you should be looking out for and some strategies from a social media standpoint. And finally we’ll have a Q&A session. So we’ll be collecting the Q&A and we’ll make sure that we get to your questions. So please feel free to ask questions as we go along and then we’ll address those towards the end. But for now I’m going to pass it over to Stewart to get started. Stewart.
All right. Hey everybody, as I said I’m really excited to be here. As some of you may have seen me speak at different venues, I tend to go really fast. I like to give as much information as I possibly can, so it’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose. Aaron, I both have a lot of subject matters today. So I think you’ll find this interesting. First step is to keep in mind that, we are living through historic pandemic. And so the I want to give a thank you and shout out to the caregivers on the front lines today. You know, one of the things we’re going to talk about today is to acknowledge the reality in your communications, where we are today.
And you know, we have caregivers in the front lines out there. We have people who are working hard, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. One of the common themes I’ll talk about today is to stay at home, right? Because that’s a more than a hashtag. We are literally trying to save some lives. One of the things that I’d like to talk about too is that how we act today will be remembered tomorrow. And so meaning that we’re working together to create marketing plans. We’re trying to communicate to the community out there. And one of the things that we’ll talk about a bit more later, is that even if you’re staying at home, you can help.
But the reality is that we’re trying to get the word out, and help for the common good marketing today in a real sense. There are still people who don’t know what’s going on. I just saw something in the news today about a governor who didn’t really realize that the Coronavirus is transmittable before symptoms happen.
So I would argue that this is our chance to not only do a good job for our various institutions, but to really help the public. Keep that in mind as we go forward from here.
So we know today that it’s amazing what’s going on here. We see that the headlines just seem to be more and more depressing. Some of the recent ones include
“Model’s predicting spread a virus is a grim picture,” according to New York times.
“More than 75% of all Americans have been ordered to stay home.”
“Social distancing appears to be slowing the spread,” which is good news. That’s great given that the crisis won’t be over soon.
“The Dow dropped 410 points down, 23%. The worst quarter ever.”
“Coronavirus job losses could total 47 million.”
It’s just amazing.
“Unemployment could be 32%.”
This is coming from a super-heated economy where a couple of months ago it was, what two or three percent unemployment.
One bit of note of good news for the small business owners out there. The feds are putting together the new CARES package. The $2 trillion stimulus has hundreds of millions of dollars set aside to help small business owners. They can request forgivable SBA loans to help cover salaries over a couple months. And you can certainly look that up. And I should mention after the webinar, we will be sending out the the video and there will be links.
There’s lots of information we can point you to. So anyway, I think it’s really important to recognize that this is our new environment. I mentioned a minute ago how things are changing so quickly. This is an amazing trying to prepare for each day. Think how much the news has changed. If you look back just a couple of weeks ago, people were still largely in denial. Then by latest data on our chart, March 20th to 22nd, large percentages of people began avoiding events, avoiding traveling, avoiding small groups and stocking up on food.
So it’s amazing how quickly and really historic how things are changing so quickly here.
I’m big on data. Hopefully you are as well. Up to 70% are now avoiding major purchases, up from a couple of days ago when just 40% said they were delaying major purchases.
However, great challenges can create great opportunities sometimes from a marketing point of view. So we’re seeing today, and this is something that we’re confirming a lot from our side, that 95% of global consumers say they’re spending more time in media consumption.
That’s of course not surprising. The fact that they’re watching more news coverage isn’t surprising. One of the benefits, again, as terrible as this crisis is there are some silver linings. Like I have proved myself, I’m spending more time with my family. I have two daughters, one of them is a teenager, and we’re just having some excellent family time because normally we’re always so busy. And I think it’s important to recognize present moment, not just with yourselves but in your communications.
And it is a different time. What’s amazing is the growth of streaming – not just Netflix which doesn’t have a lot of commercial opportunity there – but just streaming TV and streaming radio. I’ll talk about this more later.
From a marketing point of view, this creates some unprecedented opportunities. People are spending more time on social media. Again, not surprisingly, but these are all opportunities.
And we were talking before we got started here about how things are changing forever. So, with so many people using Zoom for video conferences, it is unlikely we’re ever going to go back to the way we were before.
Regarding telemedicine, it took some hospital systems years to begin to experiment but over the last couple of weeks they’ve embraced it and fully figured out how to do it. So the world has changed.
So it’s a lot of what I am sharing are things that I’ve observed, but I wanted to make sure I got my team’s input on this as well. People that are dealing with clients every day.
And so the first thing I mentioned to kind of at the opening is I think it’s really important to acknowledge the current situation. It’s almost hard to have almost any conversation without discussing this virus. And that’s okay. It’s really important to be transparent. You’re seeing this beginning to happen with broadcast TV. Any ad that has pictures of large crowds, handshakes, big parties, look just out of touch.
And I think the public understands that, commercials like that were creative before COVID, but the more you can be transparent, the more you can feel up to date, the better.
Also, I think while most marketers are aware of this, it’s really important to not look exploitative. Just be careful of that because the it is easy to do that.
Make sure that you don’t present any unintended messages. This is particularly true if you have lots of things going on. Be careful of words like, “I’m dying to see you,” or referencing viruses when you mean computer viruses. Obviously we’ll have a whole new meaning today if we are not careful.
And then remember how empathy is really, really important. I talked to our Creative Director, Dana, about this yesterday. Dana’s has worked on a lot of pharma campaigns, and she was actually in the process of writing a campaign that describes how people with rare diseases go through various stages of grief. And we were both remarking how many people we know are grieving. Employees of ours are grieving, clients are grieving.
And I really don’t see people talking about that very much. But we have to recognize that if there was ever a time for grief or empathy it is now. Our messaging and the way we communicate with people needs to recognize that everybody’s stressed out. As human beings, we want to have empathy.
By the way my Twitter handle is at @Stewart Gandolf. And right now is you’re live tweeting through this healthcare marketing webinar, we just chose the hashtag #healthcaremarketing. So if you have things to tweet hopefully Kaylie you can watch that while I’m presenting to see if there’s anything to respond to on Twitter.
But going back to what I was saying, there are already some examples of commercials that are out there. I’ll try to tweet and share things that I like and are certainly a lot of updates that we are all seeing today. So one of the big questions and by the title of our webinar is, should we pause, should we run straight forward? Should we stop?
We are having these conversations with every single one of our agency’s 80 or so clients.
And the first question that comes up from a lot of them is, “In light of what’s going on, should we just stop marketing?”
Should YOU stop marketing? And our answer to that is no, but it might sense to stop advertising. And let me explain what I mean. I definitely don’t think that stopping marketing is a good idea for virtually anybody, but for advertising, maybe. We’ll talk about what that looks like in a few minutes.
We have a reminder just for those of you who are marketing people here. We also have some executives that are not marketers, like CEOs and operating people, and we certainly have some doctors too. Just as a reminder to the marketers, and you may remember the four Ps of marketing, or maybe you are familiar with the seven P’s of marketing.
When we lead our seminars, we teach seven. And just as a reminder, marketing is not the same thing as advertising. Advertising is a small subset of one of the P’s of marketing, promotion.
So while advertising is certainly important – it’s the sexy stuff that everybody focuses in on – marketing is much broader than just advertising. So as I mentioned a moment ago, with every crisis sometimes there’s opportunities, right?
And I think it was Rahm Emanuel who said, “Never waste a crisis.”
And so certainly again, I don’t want to in any way underestimate the human toll of Coronavirus, and people are dying. It can’t be any more serious.
So with that in mind though, a lot of us still have to do our jobs to inform the community and help people in any way we can. So this is really, really important.
So what can we do? Well, one of the first things is keep in mind is many competitors are freezing or doing nothing.
So if you’re in a competitive specialty or competitive hospital or a competitive drug, a lot of people are just running for the hills and pausing or doing nothing. And I would argue strongly that that’s probably not the best strategy.
I would say that almost in any event, assuming you’re going to stay in business, which hopefully most of us are, your job is to prepare for the future because eventually COVID-19 will recede. There are drugs they’re testing now, and hopefully they find a breakthrough that can help us until a vaccine is available in a year, a year and half. Hopefully it won’t drag on for months and months. We’ll see. But in any event we want to prepare because once the smoke does clear there’ll be tremendous opportunity for new leaders to emerge, and also become visible.
So even if you’re not looking to attract patients in this environment, there are things you could do. Certainly you could continue your branding, right? So if you’re a hospital, for example, you don’t want to disappear in the community. You could do ongoing branding kinds of messaging.
If you aren’t going to advertise, you could be doing marketing planning. You could be doing brand strategy and development. You’ve always thought about your brand, and maybe you’ve always wondered where it’s off.
I would again argue strongly this is a time to look at your creative work. For example, a lot of people that I meet are really dissatisfied with where their website. Or maybe there’s other changes they’ve been trying to make, like video content or a new content strategy.
And just a little transparency here on our side. Our company has grown tremendously over the last three or four years. Regarding our own website, we’re usually focused on client stuff first. This is a pretty common issue with agencies. While we’ve been working on it, it hasn’t had that kind of energy that we would like. So it no longer represents who we are today as well as we’d like.
But today is a fantastic time, so over the next three months we’re aggressively working on our own website, as well as our clients’, to represent better who we are today.
So these are the kinds of things to start thinking about. Where can you make an effort?
Even simple administrative things. I was talking to our managing director of the day, and now is a great time to complete all that HR training that we’ve been trying to get around to. This is a good time continuing ed, and also for strengthening your employee communications.
A lot of you are in larger institutions and they have thousands of employees. These people are begging for leadership and guidance today.
My head of SEO urged me to tell you a 15 second tip here. Right now there is massive things you can do to build enterprise SEO, particularly with schema. If you don’t know what that means, it is a kind of the infrastructure that helps the machines learn the meaning and the context behind what’s on the page.
These are tremendous times. We’re working a lot with clients on that.
One of the things I’ve mentioned earlier is we can use social media and again. Aaron will talk about the organic social media in a few minutes, and how to really work on growing your own reputation.
So of our blog subscribers may recognize that our last post mentioned how the US Surgeon General appealed to Good Morning America viewers about social distancing.
And because of the way the CDC had communicated in the early days, a lot of Millennials and Gen Z famously thought they were immune, and it’s no big deal to go partying on spring break.
So the Surgeon General called upon influencers like Kylie Jenner to go out there and say, to Millennials and younger Americans that this is for real. And she did. And a couple hours later, Kylie posted a video to her 4 million followers on Instagram. So my argument here is that while I think it’s fantastic Kylie Jenner used her clout with Millennials and younger Americans to get the word out about social distancing, I would argue anybody in healthcare has a responsibility too. Not from a marketing and making more money point of view, but for the good.
But you know, on my own social media, I tweet educational info about this epidemic.Independent private practice doctors can simply put up a notice about COVID on their Facebook page, and email their patients. So I think it’s fantastic opportunity to, just for the common good, promote social distancing help people who think they may have the virus.
Again, the CDC is one voice in the wind. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Certainly we want you as providers to put out accurate information and to help people understand that, for example, people could be contagious before they show up with symptoms.
Wellness tips. A lot of doctors, a lot of hospitals are providing wellness tips. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
You can also make sure the public knows you’re taking proper safety precautions You can answer frequently asked questions. You can update notices on your websites.
All these things are things for the common good. Again, not just from a marketing point of view, or business development. So I would argue, we need to get the word out to everybody in our communities. You have people that you’re influencing personally. You know, we went virtual in our office way before the government told us to. A friend of mine is a neuroscientist who sent me out information on the importance of social distancing early. His email was so compelling that we took action immediately. And I just think that’s the spirit of what we all have to do today.
So let’s say that advertising doesn’t make sense for you now to attract patients. Yet, I would argue that if you are in the position to position yourself as a community thought leader to educate the public during the Coronavirus crisis.
So certainly pharmaceuticals, health plans and hospitals, may find themselves in that category. Maybe even forward-thinking private practices depending on the size, philosophy and specialty.
So beyond the organic social media, advertising can make sense there if you’re looking to build your brand for the long term and capitalize the competitor’s absence.
If you’re a small independent practice, just trying to keep the lights on and you’re shut down, then maybe it’s not possible to advertise, but that’s not everybody.
When should you not advertise? Well if you’re in the situation where all your budget has to be direct response advertising, and every dollar must bring an immediate trackable ROI. Or maybe you’re an elective business that’s closed, right? The Surgeon General asked you to close and if you can’t accept patients that would be a factor. And obviously if you’re struggling advertising may have to wait.
So I want to share some insights for the rest of my time with you today. Many of my ideas come from my team, because they’re on the front line every day. While I’m looking at the big picture, they’re watching new developments daily for our clients.
And here are some of the insights we’ve noticed.
Number one. Some specialties are actually seeing increased traction, including increased click through rates and increased inquiries or lead conversions. These include urgent care, not surprisingly, and primary care. Maybe not surprisingly, people are looking for alternatives. We have a integrative medicine, primary care doctor who’s seeing tremendous opportunity because people are looking for things like wellness and boosting your immune system.
Addiction treatment searches are up right now. I just tweeted something I saw yesterday, that alcohol sales are booming. They’re up 50%. Again, it’s not surprising.
Just watching people’s behavior, we need to have empathy. I’ve participated in a couple of these virtual cocktail hours. Some people are drinking too much, and you can just see it. So sad.
We have a number of addiction clients who recognize that there are people out there who are addicts and are at home. They are hurting. And so some of these specialties are seeing great big increases in interest.
Other essential categories are holding strong like cancer related searches.
Not surprisingly, inquiries for elective based surgeries like vein surgeries are falling. While inquiries are down, clicks are not dropping as much. A lot of people we are finding at home, and they’re clicking on those paid ads, but they may not be actually inquiring.
So whether you are with a practice or a hospital, you need to really actively manage your campaign.
I mentioned earlier preventative care kinds of terms are hot, like “boosting immune system.”
We are predicting we’ll see a little bit of cost decreases for the cost per click if you’re doing pay-per-click. And we expect to see that to continue as competitors flee the market.
So our recommendation going forward for your paid search campaigns, Google or Bing, is to make sure your ads read appropriate for a new reality. Also actively manage your campaigns. Just like we’ve talked about earlier, refine your general creative direction, and monitor keyword searches and campaign results as consumer behaviors continue to change.
Be ready to pivot and make adjustments to keywords and landing pages and websites as appropriate. Recognize we want to avoid trying to exploit COVID, yet capitalize on new opportunities like telemedicine. We’re doing a new blog post next week about the marketing opportunities with telemedicine.
Other ideas include Televisitation for addiction centers or SNFs, or free transportation. Think a little bigger. What can you do that you never did before?
Another thing to do is think through beyond paid search to display advertising, native advertising on Yahoo! And Youtube. Remember people are spending more time online, but not always actively searching.
By the way, Google is also going to be throwing out some credits to people that have been advertising since last year. They’ll be rolling those out in coming months. They’re not very specific on that, but that’s a little bit of relief to people that have been advertising with them for a while.
If you’re interested in current search terms, there’s a plethora of information out there. You can just search for “Google trends, Corona virus search terms,” and see what people are searching for on a minute by minute basis. This changes constantly. Just some sort of free value added. I think you’ll find that interesting.
Regarding Facebook, we work with lots of different clients with different specialties. We’re not seeing a big dropoff and click through rates or conversions at the stage across most of our campaigns.
Again, it varies a little bit with addiction. It’s just such a great example because it is so relevant right now. Keep in mind we want to be emotional appropriately for the particular world that we’re in. You can consider Facebook live or promote various events. We’re going to share some examples of that in just a moment.
One of our pharma specialists came up with such a great idea of promoting our community actions, or our everyday heroes, especially the providers.
Again, Facebook is also considering a grant, though there’s no details of yet. But, they’ll probably be providing some rebates to small businesses as well.
Since everything is shutting down, if you can hang in there, there will be some opportunities.
Something else I want to share, that our paid social media manager is so excited about. Facebook Messenger now has a program similar to chatbots. This happens to be from one of our recovery clients.
I blocked out the names and phone numbers. It asks prospects to start a confidential message and then the bot will come back and give a couple of different options. You can dictate the questions, and people feel like they’re talking to a real human. You can control the conversation.
And we’re finding that we’re getting tons of inquiries this way. Facebook always comes up with new formats. This just happens to be one of our favorites. I’m just sharing a little secret that we’re seeing tremendous success with this early on. This is brand new. Another thing that’s cool about this is we’re able to share a social endorsements. This is an example of a real life patient. Again, we blocked out the name of this real patient, interacting with the addiction treatment center.
So these things are very, very powerful. Another thing we’re doing with another client right now is we’re promoting webinars. They’re not seeing patients live. So, if you’re able to stay in the marketplace, instead of doing dinner seminars this is a fantastic time to try something new. If you have some marketing budget to test and track, now you can finally get around to it. And I would argue there are some terrific opportunities here today.
I recognize that some of our audience listeners are very sophisticated marketers, who understand things like OTT, CTV and programmatic buying. Others may be much further down the marketing continuum in terms of experience with it. Either way, this slide here from Comscore underscores the amount of time people are spending online that I described earlier. And if you’re interested, you can go to that URL yourself.
This was a screenshot from yesterday. So for example, Hulu streaming through Apple TV or Amazon fire or through smart TVs is just exploding. Viewership is up in record numbers. Both broadcast and streaming TV are showing record numbers, and behavior is changing daily.
You have to be paying attention here if you want to capitalize on this. And I know if you’re a provider and you’re just trying to take care of patients, you have challenges. And, we’re all scared. But, from marketing standpoint, this time has some tremendous opportunity. My team is working harder than ever currently on these types of opportunities. This graphic was shared with us, with our reps at iHeartRadio.
This Nielsen study from a couple of days ago shows that because people are no longer commuting, and they’re not listening to the radio in a car, streaming radio is taking off. Interestingly a couple of days later, this is an email I got that work for a work at home playlist from iHeart radio. It’s funny, I love their programmatic buying and use of artificial intelligence. They obviously know I like chill. And so they not only came up with a word from home playlist, they targeted me with the kind of stuff that I might be interested in, although that was a big mess with me on country. But it feels so personalized.
Our iHeart rep tells us that new subscribers are up by 20% plus us over recent days.
So I asked my media guru Charlie for some tips, and I thought this would be really intriguing to you.He and I always agree on this kind of stuff.
Streaming radio and television are our favorite opportunities, but for for billboards and print, “not so much.” Print is slowly dying and nobody’s driving to see billboards. So are if you’re going to do traditional advertising, these are some of our favorite things.
Interestingly, while viewership is up and listenership is up, advertisers are fleeing the marketplace. Due to COVID, the cancelled Olympics, reduced political ads, prices are dropping. So it’s a very strange time that you have more viewership and listenership than ever, coupled with declining rates. Now remember with broadcast in particular, that’s is dead space. It’s gone forever. It’s like a little revenue is better than no revenue because it’s dead space.
That’s why broadcast is often negotiable. Those of you that are more experienced marketers know, broadcast is very, very powerful. A less sophisticated advertisers often go with the newspaper, but broadcast tends to be super powerful. And it can be negotiable.
Regarding creative, we talked about creating positive messaging that informs the community I think it is a good thing just to acknowledge where we are. If you have an agency (hopefully), or media buyer, whoever it is this is a time to cash in those relationships with your media reps.
Our Charlie has worked in 200 of 210 DMAs [Designated Market Areas] in America. His knowledge level is insane – he can tell you which train stations in New Jersey have the best outdoor signage, for example. More importantly he has thirty years worth of relationships with hundreds of reps nationwide.
Charlie’s been going back to our clients’ media reps saying, “Hey, my client is thinking of pulling out of the market. Help me convince them to stay in.” And I would recommend you do the same. If you have relationships with your media reps, ask them for help. They’re a lot more willing to negotiate right now.
I’m not saying grind your media reps, but look for win-win. So just two anecdotes are inspiring.
First, for one our big clients in Chicago, Charlie was able to negotiate 80 free community oriented radios spots, while also changing our mix to streaming.
Second, for one of our multi-location practices in Texas, Charlie advised the client to move most of the April media budget to TV. Rather than complaining, our radio rep offered 180 radio spots free across three stations. He said he looks at it as an investment in the longterm, and a measure of goodwill.
The broadcast stations are hurting, everybody’s hurting right now. They used to say back in the depression, “Things are tough all over.”
If you have no relationships, it’s hard to do this. But if you’ve been in the market, I encourage you to negotiate with your reps.
I’m going to turn the ball over to Aaron here as this is my last slide again. If you’re interested, because I know some of you may have to run, you we’ll be sending the deck to you afterwards. If you want to follow me on Twitter, it’s just @Stewart Gandolf: is simple and we’ll provide you contact data later. Aaron?
Hey, thanks in just such great content and great information. There was a lot of engagement and questions. So do you mind just answering a couple of questions related to your content? Real quick.
(Sure, go ahead.)
All right, so one question was with more people watching news and TV, would you recommend television perhaps over social media or is it a both and, or what’s your recommendation there?
You know, it is, that’s a great question. Here’s the deal. In our experience, it is now both. One of the things we write about a lot,is that everybody’s multitasking. They’re watching TV and they’ve got their iPad or phone in front of them. So I don’t know if it’s necessarily either / or. It’s integrated. We see, for example, one of our clients is an addiction center hates to put phone numbers on their ads They just feel like they don’t want to look too salesy.
And so we see that as when we’re on radio or on TV, their website just explodes with activity. So that’s really why we are an integrated agency. I love digital (but advertising works well in conjunction with it). I would try to do both.
All right, thank you. Helpful. A couple of more while we got you. So in reference to the Facebook Messenger slide, are these Facebook they considered HIPAA compliant?
They are, if you set it up right. I’m not giving legal advice. Let’s start right there. But remember these are private messages that are coming from a prospect to the provider through a bot. So consult your own attorney, but our team feels comfortable using them. This is brand new technology. So I would do your own research, but so far we’re comfortable.
Good. All right, thank you. And then someone was asking about the webinars and what the success has been or attendance what are you seeing there?
Okay, great. So that’s a good, another great question. You know, it’s like the one I just showed as an example. He’s gotten, I don’t know, I think during the first day or two, five registrants. So, not hundreds, not thousands, but response depends on the topic too.
But one thing I didn’t share very well before is that’s important for the listeners who are not as familiar with paid social versus organic social. (While organic social is powerful), you’re only reaching your followers. These are people that are already following you. And even then, oftentimes you’re getting just a small percentage of the followers. Meanwhile, with ads on paid social, you can reach tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of prospective patients, and it’s a really good value cost-wise. It allows you to reach a far broader audience.
So I think the capability and, and success of that will be based upon how good your offer is and especially how compelling your topic is. Like right now, we have hundreds of people viewing it on this webinar, which is exciting. We had even hundreds more register who probably want to get the recording.
And while I would like to think the reason is because you and I, Aaron, are so good looking and smart, it’s really because the topic is so timely. So I feel like the right timely content is everything, the right offer. So we are seeing that this is brand new. I’ll just say for our listeners, whether you’re with agencies or whether you’re with hospitals or whatever, this is a great chance to try things that you wouldn’t have gotten around to before. And this is how breakthroughs happen.
Great. Great point. Thank you Stewart. And please keep asking questions and we’ll have a time at the end of the webinar to go through a number more.
Thank you for asking those. I’m happy to help. I’m having a blast with this. This is great. So, yeah.
All right. So a lot of my contents going to dovetail into what Stewart described. And for those of you who don’t know, Binary Fountain is a customer experience platform and we help healthcare systems, a number of different industries.
We have a large contingent in the healthcare with large enterprises down to large medical groups and mid-size and even down to small, smaller clinics. So we analyze a lot of online data, we analyze a lot of first party surveys patient satisfaction surveys and we get a lot of detail. And so we’re helping businesses not only manage all of their listings on the third party platforms like Google my business and Facebook and Vitals and health, Verizon getting all of their information accurate, but then also monitoring their reputation online. So what we did is a little study and we’re doing this study weekly just in looking at all of the mentions per platform where COVID-19 and related terms are being mentioned and the frequency and quantity.
So what we’re seeing is right now Twitter’s exploding and this is related to our brands and the mentioned the, with these terms in relation to our brands. And we cover about over 250 clients. And again, often they are, have hundreds of locations and cover hundreds of providers. And so we’re seeing a lot of activity there. Of course we’re seeing a lot of information and surveys, but then Facebook is number two to Twitter.
But in terms of mentions, Twitter is, is just dominating. And there with regards to the brands, there’s a lot of questions there. People are getting answers and some cases not getting answers and others. But we are encouraging clients to manage and you know, make sure that you are having a pretty good strategy for each one of these platforms as it’s mentioned, but also spending time where the most questions and activity is happening. So there goes Twitter, Facebook, Google, you’d expect to be a lot higher. But since Google had suspended their reviews their numbers aren’t as high. And so we were seeing quite a bit of lift.
Technology we are seeing Google started to increase and then there is that freeze and not as many reviews there. So it’s kind of interesting and you guys may be thinking that as well. So some of the best practices that we’re seeing on social media you’re, we’re seeing a lot of activity and good brand promotion on various social media platforms. Folks in giving information, helping their patients and the consumers and also employees and get most up-to-date information. Many of them answering questions and linking over to their own website where there’s valuable information. And I’m sure many of you on this call have been doing that as well. You’ll see the engagement there. There’s when there’s questions being timely to making sure that your dispelling disinformation in health systems, communities and providers, physicians are so important in this particular space right now where there’s so many different rumors and just so much coming at patients and they’re looking for trusted resources and are seeing that the providers are filling an incredible void right now when they are able to answer those questions.
Twitter, there’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of times I’ve seen some angry posts and some definitely the misinformation and rumors. And just some the wild, wild West that sometimes. Twitter is, and our recommendation is not necessarily to answer every single one of those. You can’t, you don’t have enough resources. There’s not enough time, but there’s definitely when there is an opportunity to answer a question directly or direct and that comment or reviewer poster to correct information on your own website or social channel. We’re seeing a lot of customers having success in there and a, a large click through rate as well going to their own content with the correct information. So, you know, make sure that you’re responding to those questions calmly in a transparent manner. But also you’re not having to answer every single person that’s out there either with relation to your brand.
It’s just too much where you can take those comments, whether it’s on a review platform, on a Facebook post or in Twitter, taking those offline. Right now the challenges, we know there are not a lot of resources offline to handle the calls that are coming in. So I say only take it offline right now. If you have somebody who’s going to pick up the phone and an actual human being to answer those questions, if not, it may be a bad patient experience or a bad brand experience. So be careful, you know, prior to COVID-19, I’m, I’m saying for the most part when you can’t resolve something online then almost always take it offline. But right now things are different and resources are scarce that many of these provider locations and systems. So you guys make that call when you can and when it makes sense to take it offline, but only if there’s a human being to answer.
Next seeing content recommendations, you know, making sure that you’re creating content that answers all the questions on potential questions that you know about is extremely helpful. So I referenced this earlier just in terms of all of the different misinformation. But you know, we’re seeing our customers pages and locations on their own website and social channels that are answering frequently asked questions. And I recommend that this too, for those that even though Google your patients and their family members and consumers aren’t able to post questions right now to your Google my business page, you can anticipate what some of those questions are and do a Google post related to COVID and Google is prioritizing those on the Google my business page. So there’s a real opportunity there to provide information in Google my business and Google my business posts to create content for that particular channel and then link it back to your own website with them, the information and frequently asked questions.
You know, Revive Health, they did a survey last week and I encourage everybody to look at Revive Health survey and study, but they showed that local health care experts are trusted 86%, 86% of the respondents said they trusted local health experts. And with regards to Coronavirus information, massive opportunity. If you’re a marketer and you’re a content producer for your facility, for your system, now is the time to engage your physicians. And I know the front lines are so inundated and they are swamped. And like Stewart said, just so appreciate everything that they’re doing in the communities, but with, there’s an opportunity if you have some physicians that may not be on the front lines and they may not have the patient volume that they normally have right now, might be a good time to engage with them to see if you can get some video content and ask them, maybe do an interview and produce some blogs that are helpful, that are providing relevant and good information.
You know, posting information if there’s a need for supplies and we know across the country there’s different hotspots and there are different needs and definitely from health system to health system, the needs vary a little bit, but if there are needs, it might be appropriate to be posting some of those that information on your social channels and on your own website. And then you know, what’s interesting is I’m sure many of you follow what Cleveland Clinic does is such an amazing job with health content and with just all the way around in marketing. But you know, Amanda toward [inaudible] on Twitter the other day mentioned that the health essentials portion or sites or health essential site, they had over 11 million sessions in March. And according her, that’s 3 million higher than the previous month traffic. So, you know, we’re, we are all not going to be Cleveland Clinic and it was something when I was at HCA, we aspired to Oh man, were it to be, have all the content that they had, but in your corner of the world and where you’re at, it might be a good opportunity to start creating some content relevant to COVID and on a consistent basis and where it is helpful and providing value.
You can start small. It doesn’t have to be health essentials. That’s pretty aspirational. But you can start where you’re at. Your community wants to hear from you for sure. And then we’re recommending from a consistency and communication on all of the various channels. You know, you know, sometimes and some companies, social is not managed by the same people who manage the digital content and these contents. There’s two silos. Seeing that a number of times, but there is an opportunity to make sure that you are lockstep, your content team is feeling the same information to both social and to the digital teams that are postings and making updates on the websites are really important. It sounds common sense, but you’d be surprised that some of the things that we’ve seen who were not necessarily congruent there are customers here that are doing a great job of this and making sure everything is just lock step with their digital channels with their social and with their own website.
And then obviously in phone, their call centers, everyone’s operating from some the same playbook and we’re really important there. So demand generation versus providing information. I mean, this is shows just week to week the amount, so it’s not apparent here, but it completely, but this was a nine days we saw it and go up just double from the week of March 22nd to March 31st we saw a massive increase and what people are talking about online. And with regards to COVID. So really important to, you know, all of the effort right now in responding and putting out good information related to COVID. Don’t lose sight that there will be a day and we don’t know when obviously, but there will be a time where demand generation comes in really strong and there are some demand generation obviously right now for telemedicine.
We’re seeing that. And so there is opportunity if you have those services and capabilities to be making sure that you’re not ignoring that piece of demand generation for your clinics and for your providers. But you know, there will be a day where this will be over. And so there is an opportunity right now to look at what does a 60 or 90 days from now look like and what are those activities and what are the demand generation activities going to happen that are outside of cope. And finally on listings management. So this has been a really incredible time in the listings management space. So as far as the volume and the changes, the temporary closures and the updates to ours and the changes that the platforms have made. So you know, it’s really important just when we’re seeing a 60% increase and just the Google my business call volume right now.
Google released a new, or not in Google, but schema.org released and Stewart mentioned that they’re released a new schema type for the COVID-19 specific items. So if you have not checked that out, look at schema.org and the new COVID-19 specifications and if possible, implement those on your site to make sure that your content has structured appropriately so people can find and get the answers, their questions answered, really important there. But you know, if there’s been a change in hours or service suspensions or revised contact information Google is providing more priority for health systems. So it’s still, you know, at times tough. But please update all of your Google my business pages. Of course, all your other third party directories as well. If you’ve not done that, very important. And we’ve been posting articles on how to do this, what to update kind of Binary Fountain.com at the top there’s a carpet area you can click on and we’ve published a number of blogs and then we’ve had webinars in the past and cover some of these items as well.
So Google temporarily suspending reviews as I mentioned along with the Google Q&A. there’s there they will be. Now if you post before it was the posters who are leaving reviews didn’t know that their reviews were not being posted. But now Google is saying that, Hey, this is temporarily disabled indicating that there will be a time in the future where these posts will be posted. I doubt all posts will be there. Hopefully they will take some of the ones that are damaging or not accurate with regards to the health system. Hopefully they won’t let those posts. But those are coming soon to the business Google descriptions, Google recommend adding information about any extra precautions, putting those into Google with descriptions. And then they’re temporarily allowing for small edits to your business name when it’s applicable. So testing centers, virtual visits, appointments, only a drive through curbside pickup, you know, those things.
They’re allowing businesses to upstate there. Those particular business names where you can make a change. So it’s apparent to those that are looking on their phone or on a desktop. And then the Google post, I mentioned those earlier, but they are being, those are going to be live for 14 days after you publish them. So that’s an extension Google has made. And within response to the COVID-19 crisis and regarding Yelp, just touching on them, for those of you who get a number of Yelp reviews they announced a zero-tolerance policy for any reviews of a person contacting COVID from a business or its employees. So they’re not allowing any of those reviews to go out. You can customize the COVID-19 alert message at the top of your Yelp business page now. So that’s something else that they’ve added.
And there’s going to be more virtual services that they are going to be offering virtual classes, virtual consultation. So if your particular community is a heavy Yelp user with regards to healthcare, some aren’t, some are make sure that you’re aware of those updates. All right. That was a lot of information squeezed in there. We have a couple of more questions, so let me get to those real quick.
Stewart standby. My Q&A is not showing up exactly, but I have them right here. Here’s the question. I’m in this medical spa business. What is your feeling about doing virtual consultations and selling gift cards online? I want to be sensitive not to be asking for money at this time. Stewart, do you want to take that one?
Yeah. I think that’s makes sense. You know, it’s funny my wife and I are joking, like, I’m going to look like seventies guy. By the time this is over, right. New haircut. I think that’s going to come back. And my wife is complaining her gray hairs starting to show up underneath the dye. It’s like I haven’t seen her real hair color for a long time, so I think, there are people that are still interested in these things. I think the idea of doing it like that, if you’re not taking money now or you’re doing those kinds of consultations, people are bored. I would just experiment with it. You can stop if you try it and it doesn’t work.
I would agree. Somebody asked about having a Zoom panel discussion for the public with our providers. I’ll take that one and Stewart you can jump into, but I think that that’s a great opportunity where you have influence in your community. I think it’s great for the providers. You know, I’ve talked to a number of provider friends and they’re, they’re uncertain right now. They know it’s going to come back, but some of them are not working in the ER or in the ICU or you know, for the health system as far as in they’re waiting for their patients to come back. And so there is some capacity and some areas and I think would be beneficial if you have those providers who are willing and can provide value to your community. It’s not only good for the community, but it’s good for those providers, their own personal brand and then the brand of the health system. Stewart, any thoughts on that one?
Yeah, sure. I love it and I just think, you know, I’m a creative guy, right? So this is fun to me. Like what I would do is take that idea and maybe here’s a good supplement. What if you created like a regular weekly show? You know, that would be cool. You could have your feature, your providers, you can have themes that are topical. And especially if you’re like in a hospital or hospital system, it’s a great opportunity to highlight various topics. You know, it’s funny you mentioned that earlier that some specialists are probably helping out in the ER and helping out with, you know, telemedicine patients depending on where the hospital is located. Obviously it varies a lot, right? New York is overwhelmed. Other states hardly feel anything right now. This is an opportunity to truly take thought leadership.
And remember, we’re trying to help people. So there’s a double whammy there. And I would just say if you do this for sure of your organic channels, but man, that paid social is so great. Instagram or Facebook paid in particular, we get such fantastic results with those for our clients. Beause you can reach people that you otherwise wouldn’t. So it’s a combination of paid and organic social to promote that. You know, this opportunity won’t happen again. Everybody’s home. So, yeah, I love that idea.
Yeah, great idea. Somebody asked about texting versus emailing patients, you know, it’s a lot of that is dictated by your organization or the contact information that you have taken on intake as far as in your registration papers on what can or cannot and contacting the patients. So every organization is going to be different. Every business is going to be a little bit different. But a lot of that I would just refer you to your own. What has the patient provided permission or consent to how to be contacted? Texting rates. Obviously if you do have permission to contact them through texting, depending on the message and what you’re communicating. Texting has obviously a higher open rate and a higher click through rate than email. But you know, it the depends on the message is what I would say. Stewart. Anything extra to add on that?
Absolutely. And the texting is so intrusive. It’s very powerful. You just have to use it correctly.
Good. good question here. How does downstream provider services such as radiology engage with physicians who are moving to telemedicine instead of traditional B2B methods? That’s a great question. Stewart, do you want to take that one?
There’s opportunities that are surprising. You know, with radiology and radiation oncology, they’re not usually the stars of the show. They’re usually behind the scenes, but it does vary. We have a highly prestigious and well respected radiation oncology group in New Jersey. In normal times we do paid social for things like prostate cancer and radiation for an alternative to Mohs surgery – and it works. So even something like radiation oncology that you wouldn’t think would be very consumer direct has opportunity, does have some.
So if you’re looking at radiology or imaging, just making this up, we might not be doing routine mammograms in this environment. But if you feel a lump, then what, how do you really know what that is? So there’s an example of some thought leadership. You could take almost any specialty and find a compelling angle, that’s what’s fun about this business is just trying to think a little harder and you might find an idea that can be, wow, that’s cool. And then you’re also engaging your doctors that way. So, they can feel heard and be part of the program.
Okay, great. Great. great. We’re going to end on that question. I know we are about to go. We’re a little over now, but thank you Stewart and thank you all for joining. We will be sure to follow up with those questions we weren’t able to answer during the session. So we’ll send a response there and if you have any additional questions, I know Stewart and I am available as well. Please feel free to reach out. Thank you for joining us. We will be sending the recording soon to all the participants along with additional resources that might come up for further guidance from all of us at Binary Fountain. We hope you stay well and you stay healthy. We’re here to help. So please let us know and I’m sure Stewart, you all at Healthcare Success feel the same way. So I’ll speak on behalf of both of us. We’re here to help here to provide any assistance that we can stay safe. Thank you for joining.