Introducing: Healthcare Idea Email from Hammock | Like Hammock Inc.’s popular Idea Email, the new Healthcare Idea Email briefly explores one topic, every other week. Learn more about the new Healthcare Idea Email at the bottom of the page.

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Idea: Talking in the Metric System, While Your Customer Listens in English

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

In 1999, a space probe launched to study the climate on Mars flew too close to the Red Planet and disintegrated. The mission—which cost more than $125 million—failed for one simple reason: The navigation commands were set up in English units (pound-seconds) by the contractor that built the craft, when they should have been set up for compliance with NASA’s use of modern metric units (newton-seconds).

This example provides plenty of lessons for the healthcare industry. The obvious ones relate to compliance with standards. Failure to adopt ICD-10 codes will cause healthcare systems to crash and burn. But the failed Mars mission is an object lesson for healthcare marketers, too.

Are you assuming your language or the experience you are creating is engaging your intended audience—patient or provider? It may be worth reviewing that assumption. You may be talking in the metric system while they are listening in English.

And speaking of standards, it’s interesting how some of the new approaches for marketing to patients and consumers are using “standards” for marketing that look nothing like what has been standard for the healthcare industry. I was recently in Portland and ran across a ZOOM+ clinic. It looked like a Starbucks (or maybe a marijuana dispensary)—nothing like an urgent care clinic.

The same need for new marketing standards is also true for marketing to providers. Marketing to a provider should demonstrate your understanding of their challenges and show how your solutions will bring about healthy outcomes. The old standards for healthcare marketing—bombing them with your features and points of differentiation—no longer apply. Here are three actions to consider:

  • STOP—Don’t proceed blindly, assuming your standards and the customer’s standards are the same.
  • ASK—Look at the research you have gathered to inform your marketing approach.
  • LEARN—Commit to changing your marketing approach to the one the customer demands

Bottom Line for healthcare marketers: The marketing standards for healthcare are changing rapidly. It’s as true for marketers as it is for clinicians. But fortunately, it’s not rocket science.







About the new Healthcare Idea Email |
As our popular Idea Email has a large number of healthcare marketers who subscribe, it did not surprise us that the No. 1 request we’ve received is to “offer more ideas about healthcare.” So we have. In addition to Idea Email, on other weeks you can receive the Healthcare Idea Email that is focused exclusively on healthcare-related marketing, media and content trends and topics. You can visit the Healthcare Idea Email archive and subscribe for your own copy here.