GreyMatters 2017


Choosing Consultants to Guide Overall Brand and Marketing Strategy: A Case Study Summary

case-studyAt the recent Healthcare Marketing & Physicians Strategies Summit (HMPS17) in Austin, Kathy Divis, President & Co-Founder of Greystone.Net, along with Chaka Jordan, Vice President Marketing & Strategic Planning at Blessing Health System; Rob Klein, Founder & CEO at Klein & Partners; and Brian Whitman, President at Corrigan Consulting, collaborated to present “Integrating Business, Brand and Marketing Strategies to Drive Growth.” This presentation was a case study of three groups of consultants coming together to work with Blessing Health System to help the organization achieve its marketing and strategic goals.

In 2016, Blessing was about to sign on with a single vendor for “one-stop shopping” services to be provided for development of a brand strategy, website development and service line marketing plans. After the arrival of a new vice president for marketing and strategic planning, the decision was made to look at different vendors with established expertise in the separate areas needing work.

Briefly, the process went like this:

  • Brand
    • Instead of focusing on its brand identity, which would have been more tactically focused, Blessing wanted to establish a solid brand strategy.
    • Wanted a solid research foundation upon which to build its entire brand strategy.
    • This led to Blessing’s relationship with Klein & Partners.
  • Digital
    • Instead of focusing on building a new website and focusing on the appearance, Blessing wanted to take a broader analysis of its digital assets and marketing needs and develop a solid digital strategy before focusing on the tactic of a website rebuild.
    • This led to Blessing’s relationship with Greystone.Net.
  • Service Line Marketing Plans
    • Instead of obtaining tactical recommendations, Blessing wanted to develop strategic marketing plans for key service lines that included a situational, SWOT and competitive analysis that could all be used to drive plan development.
    • This led to Blessing’s relationship with Corrigan Consulting.

The work plan consisted of:

  • Creating the brand: brand promise and brand architecture was developed by Klein & Partners, based on brand research, which is a specialty of this firm.
  • Activating the brand: Blessing developed brand engagement guidelines and a strategy for staff engagement, while Klein & Partners worked on brand experience.
  • Communicating the brand: this piece involved close collaboration among Blessing and all three consulting partners. Building on the brand work done by Klein & Partners, Corrigan Consulting and Greystone.Net developed and implemented the service line strategic plans and digital plans, respectively.

A big advantage of this collaboration among consultants was being able to get the best thinking from three different firms in addition to what Blessing brought to the table. The consultants – all on top of their game and specialists in healthcare – were ideal for brainstorming ideas together to arrive at an optimal solution for Blessing.

Has your organization gone through a large project similar to this? What was your experience with consultants?

Five Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Content

social-mediaYou’ve worked hard on your content strategy. You have created some great content and you are proud of what you’ve done. But if nobody is reading your content, what exactly have you accomplished? If promoting your content is not part of your content strategy, you’re not doing it right.

One of the most effective means of content promotion is social media. Here are some tips for using social media to help get your content noticed:

  • It’s all about the headline. No matter how wonderfully written your content is, if the headline doesn’t capture attention, neither will your article. It has been said that five times more people read the headline than the body of the content. If the headline doesn’t grab a reader’s attention, he or she probably won’t read any further. Research from BuzzSumo shows that headlines that start with a number, have how-to titles or guides generally get more readers and shares. So instead of a headline like “How to Get In Shape for Summer,” use “10 Ways to Quickly Get in Shape for Summer Fun.”
  • Use images. We’ve known for some time that posts on Facebook and Twitter that include an image perform much better than posts without images. The image you use should pertain to your article’s content, of course, but it should also immediately grab the reader’s attention.
  • Who is your target audience? There is all kinds of research available about the demographics of the various social media platforms. If your article is about senior health, then you want to post on Facebook, where the audience tends to be older. If you’re posting about sports medicine, Snapchat or Instagram would be a better choice because of the younger audience. Use your social media analytics to determine the best time to catch your target audience.
  • Tailor posts to the platform. Each social media platform is different, and knowing how to use each one is key. The one thing you don’t want to do is craft one post for all social media. You need to adapt each post for each channel you plan to use.
  • You’ll need a budget. With today’s social media, you pretty much have to pay to play in order to generate any meaningful reach. Use your social media analytics to determine the best time to reach your target audience for each platform and pay for a featured post during that time.

Is your organization using social media to promote content? If so, how well is your strategy working?

Healthcare Advertising: Use Real Patients or Paid Actors?

actorYour organization has decided on a full-blown ad campaign—including video ads—for its new initiative. You know that you want to use patient testimonials for the campaign. But should you use real patients or professional actors on camera? The answer: It depends.

Here are some factors to keep in mind as you decide which option to use for your video campaigns:

  • What is your message? Before you begin planning your video campaign, you must first determine the message to be communicated by the campaign, why the target audience should care about the message and calls to action to be evoked by the campaign.
  • What is your budget? Knowing the budget from the beginning is key, as it will help to determine your limits for acquiring onscreen talent. This is where knowing your campaign’s message comes in: who can best portray a true, authentic message for your organization? A real patient can’t be expected to act, but a professional actor may not be right for the message, either.
  • What is the story you’re telling? In healthcare, the best stories appeal to the emotions and convey something that your audience can relate to. You want a story that connects with the audience on a personal level.
  • How do you portray real people and their real stories? You involve the doctors. Who else knows a patient’s story as well as the patient? Get your doctors involved from the beginning. If you can use one of your doctors and a real patient together in a meaningful way, do it. One of the best uses of real patients in video ads comes from Shriners Hospitals for Children, where young patients of various ages appear in their ads. One of these patients, Alec Cabacungan, has become the face of Shriners, having captured hearts across America with his big smile and infectious manner of speaking.
  • When do you decide to use pros? If you’re not trying to tell just one patient’s story, it’s probably best to use professional talent. Actors are trained to portray authentic emotions. Sometimes it’s difficult for someone who has never been on camera or had to follow acting directions to be natural when portraying emotional content.

And finally, ask for help if you need it. Budget constraints, in particular, can make you want to do everything in-house. But you don’t need to jeopardize the success of your campaign by just cheaply throwing something together.

Has your organization had success with video campaigns? If so, what advice would you give your peers?

Healthcare Content Marketing in 2017: Status Report

content-marketingA new survey gives insight into the success—or lack thereof—that healthcare organizations are having with content marketing.

The survey from True North Custom found that while most healthcare organizations are utilizing content marketing (69% of respondents), just over one-quarter (27.8%) of survey respondents feel their efforts are “very effective.” About one-third (66.7%) of respondents rated their content marketing efforts as “somewhat effective” and 5.6% gave their efforts a “not effective” rating.

The survey included 101 healthcare marketing executives from hospitals and health systems across the US. They came from organizations of various sizes.

Content types being produced the most include social posts, articles, videos, newsletters and blog posts. The survey ranked their top 5 content marketing tactics in this order (listing all tactics mentioned):

  • Social media content (except for blog posts)
  • Articles in their organization’s website
  • Videos
  • eNewsletters
  • Blogs
  • In-person events
  • Print newsletters
  • Digital magazines
  • Print magazines
  • Microsites
  • Infographics
  • Mobile apps
  • Webinars/webcasts
  • Illustrations/photos
  • Online presentations

The social media channels used most by the survey respondents for content distribution are Facebook (93.9%), Twitter (71.4%) and YouTube (65.3%). Frequency of publishing new content across various channels was:

  • Daily: social media (53.1%), website (12.2%) and blog (6.1%)
  • Weekly: social media (36.7%), website (34.7%) and blog (26.5%)
  • Monthly: social media (2%), website (38.8%) and blog (28.6%)
  • Less than monthly: social media (8.2%), website (14.3%) and blog (38.8%)

How does your organization’s content marketing efforts compare to these survey results?

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Content

hashtagsYou have worked hard to establish your organization’s blog. You are publishing informative articles that complement your marketing strategy. So why aren’t your great articles being read and shared?

Perhaps you’re not using the most effective hashtags. Here are some tips to improve your blog promotion on social media:

  • As part of your overall strategy for promoting your blog and other content, identify the thought leaders and major players in healthcare and healthcare marketing. Look at what they’re doing on social media, especially with hashtags, and use those hashtags in your posts.
  • There may be trending hashtags on particular topics, so check for trending healthcare hashtags.  Use tools such as or to search.
  • Be aware of what works on different social media platforms. Twtter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram allow for hashtags. Be consistent with hashtags across platforms.
  • Assess your audience’s current topic interests with Twitter tailored trends. See what others in your industry and locations are discussing.
  • Brainstorming works. Just start writing all the pertinent words and phrases that come to you for your new blog post. Not only can you come up with hashtags related to healthcare topics, but you may also come up with something that’s fun and different. However, don’t go too far overboard with new hashtags, and be sure to pair the new hashtag with a standard hashtag or keyword to make sure you’re reaching your target audience. If you write a series of blog posts on a certain topic, create a hashtag unique to that topic and use it each time you post.

What methods does your organization use to promote blog posts and other content?

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