By John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

What is failed marketing? It can be the inability to share a story that matters to the intended audience.

On Tuesday, voters in Nashville overwhelmingly rejected a proposed transit plan to address congestion in the fast-growing city (Hammock’s hometown, and home to many of you). There are many reasons why the referendum, despite its support from some of the city’s corporate forces, failed. But the lesson marketers should learn from the referendum is this: Don’t tell the wrong story.

To most people, the campaign grew tiresome, what with its non-stop debates over light rail trains, tunnels and taxes. In other words, we heard a story about the product and how much it costs.

What we didn’t hear was a story about residents’ problems, what it would be like in the future with the congestion problem alleviated and new development that sprouted up around the routes. We also didn’t get a powerful picture of what Nashville would be like without traffic … or supporting data to help us see that we needed this specific proposal.

What we did get were vague threats that we would end up like Atlanta.

And, by the way, I’m the nerd that read the entire transportation plan over Spring Break (party on!). I knew solving this problem would be expensive and cause inconvenience, but I was for the plan. Yet I realized the plan was missing a compelling story of how this was truly going to benefit Nashville. I didn’t have a story to tell other people when the subject came up.

This episode reminds me of so many ways healthcare marketers fail to tell the right story. Sometimes we are so focused on sharing what we know about our shiny stuff that we don’t paint the picture of what the future looks like with our solution—and what it looks like without it.

Takeaway: Tell a story that paints a picture in your customer’s mind of how it fixes problems or benefits their customers. Don’t focus on hype—focus on how your solution helps. Have data to support your claims, but the more you talk about data, the more you’ve turned your campaign into a PowerPoint presentation rather than a picture of a new and compelling destination.


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.