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

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

WIIFM political talkAs 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 at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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