Hospitals Increase Marketing, Use of Social Media

The upcoming health care reform legislation is prompting action in hospital marketing departments. Everyone expects health care services to become more competitive in the next few years. As a result, hospitals are applying new strategies to their marketing initiatives.
Writing for Advertising Age, Rich Tomaselli points out a couple of new trends. First, hospitals with national reputations are branding themselves as specialists to consumers who are willing to travel for the best available care. Some ad execs such as Ned Russell, managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, are labeling this demographic group the destination segment. Market leaders in this trend include Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. These larger hospitals have recently increased marketing expenditures by 10% or more.
Hospitals are also exploring new marketing partnerships to increase their visibility. For example, Cleveland Clinic, with its focus on heart care, is a preferred provider for Lowe’s employees. Similarly, Walmart employees will find a welcome reception at the Mayo Clinic’s transplant center.
And then there’s new media. Hospitals are becoming aware of the power of word of mouth. University of Maryland Medical Center's director of web strategy, Ed Bennett, recommends that hospitals use new media to show that these institutions can be a helpful partner in the face of a health care problem. Health care marketing executives have also turned Facebook pages into ‘information hubs.’ While there’s interest in and excitement about Twitter, Paul Matsen, CMO of the Cleveland Clinic, says the tool is not a replacement for but a complement to  other web or targeted advertising.
Most health care reform initiatives do not take place until 2014. However, hospitals see the writing on the wall. They’re already promoting themselves as excellent providers of quality, low-​cost care.
[Source: Thomaselli, Rich. Health-​Care Reform Stokes Spending by Top Hospitals, Clinics. Advertising Age. 28 Jun. 2010. Web. 9 Jul. 2010] 

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.