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: Is Your ‘Stock’ Messaging Killing Attempts to Engage Your Audience?

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

One of my pet peeves is stock photography. It’s a necessary evil for many marketers, but when you see the same image advertising completely different brands—I’ve seen the same image in a brochure and on a billboard in one month—it makes you question the quality of the service being promoted.

Our eyes immediately register stock images as inauthentic. It’s not just stock imagery that causes us to have this reaction. In his 2005 book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell gives a number of examples of how we are endowed with “mental processes that work rapidly and automatically from relatively little information” in creating judgments.

In healthcare marketing, some well-intended messaging is taking on the same inauthentic quality as stock photography. Sadly, the messaging is failing where marketers intend to create a true connection: right at the point where they demonstrate that they understand their audience’s challenges.

Here’s where we are seeing the failure, again and again, when it comes to marketing to hospitals and IDNs. A standard marketing pitch reads something like this: “Your hospital is facing declining reimbursements and a shifting business model! The uncertainty of the new environment means you need to buy what I’m selling!”

The men and women in the hospital’s C-suite hear this pitch day after day. Wouldn’t it make you want to tune out everything that came after that lame attempt at engagement? I think so.

Engaging your audience means coming up with a real understanding of their needs. But how can you best gain that understanding?

  1. Have a conversation ahead of time where you ask them what keeps them awake at night. Be focused on listening to them, not on your next sentence.
  2. If a preliminary conversation is a luxury, make it your business to discover more about the specific challenges these men and women face. Be specific in explaining how other customers are dealing with painful issues. Don’t raise the same macro issues that everyone knows.
  3. Ask questions to assess if this resonates with their experience, like it does with your other customers.






Photo: Thinkstock

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.