Hillary Clinton’s Classic Mistake: A Marketing Lesson for Doctors and Hospitals

WIIFM political talk As the nation’s political season heats up every four years or so, we’re all bombarded with news coverage that’s all about candidates and their campaigns.

Right up front, I want you to know that this article isn’t for or against a particular political perspective. But as an independent observer I want to spotlight an important marketing lesson for doctors that we see among candidates.

Here it is: When politicians talk mainly about themselves and their credentials—and they don’t talk about the voter/public—there’s an immediate disconnect from the people they want to win over.

It’s a timeless marketing mistake that’s true on the campaign trail, and it’s true for hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers.

Among the prominent candidates, some news people observe that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is struggling. An independent assessment suggests that Hillary’s problem is caused (at least in part) because she talks mainly about herself and her credentials, and is not talking about them (the public and the voters).

Not to ignite a political discussion here—running for any political office is immensely challenging for anyone–there are all kinds of comments. But consider the marketing and communications dynamics at work in this example. First and foremost, people always want to know “what’s in it for me?”

Why doctors make this same mistake…

The mistake isn’t exclusive to Hillary or any candidate for that matter. But more importantly for us, it represents an important marketing lesson for everyone in healthcare. Unfortunately, we see this classic mistake all the time; it’s easy for doctors to make.

Physicians—sometimes hospitals and other providers—will naturally gravitate to talking about their own credentials and experience. Their CV and professional experience is something they know best, and they’re justifiably proud of it all.

But predictably the audience, public or prospective patients need and want to know “WIIFM?” Talking about credentials alone is a tragic disconnect. People want to hear how this extensive training, skill and experience benefits them–the patient/customer.

So, regardless of your political views, notice what Hillary and every other candidate is saying. Remember that professional credentials alone are not compelling—it’s simply boring without benefits. If you forget about “WIIFM,” the audience is no longer your audience.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA


Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



Your proposal will include:

Competitor Intel Icon
Competitor Intel
Recommendations Icon
Our Pricing Icon
Our Pricing

...and much more!

“Despite practicing in a hyper-competitive market, our new-patient counts are double what they were for the same time period last year. Hiring Healthcare Success was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”

Headshot of Jonathan Calure
– Jonathan Calure, MD

List of recent conversions