By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Three reasons why digital signage should be part of your healthcare marketing and PR planning
Printed posters and static signs have evolved to a digital format that’s attention getting and versatile. And digital signage is an affordable and cost effective marketing tool that should not be overlooked.
It’s a significant lost opportunity for many medical and healthcare offices, hospitals and clinics. Interior signage in particular is one of the most versatile and cost effective tools in your healthcare marketing toolbox.
In a typical marketing assessment with healthcare, dental and medical clients, we find the category of signs and signage is ignored or underutilized in many marketing plans. Too often the planning begins and ends with an exterior sign on the building, and perhaps an in-office poster or two.
Technology has morphed the paper posters of the past into eye-catching digital displays (think flat screen) ranging in size from desktop and personal kiosks to large format screens and message walls. For this article we’ll use “digital display” or “digital signs” to also include LCD, LED, plasma displays, projected images and the like.
There are three dynamics at work that make digital signage more attractive than ever.
First, the technology, hardware and software have become extremely affordable. Economies of scale and increased competition have moved large format LCD screens from pricey novelties to a consumer standard. Ordinary personal computers (with proprietary software) act as a controller. For healthcare businesses, hospitals and physician practices digital message systems are more within budget than ever before.
Second, digital signs are highly versatile. Unlike static signs or paper posters (which still have a role), the on-screen marketing, advertising or informational message can be changed in a nanosecond. The content and purpose of the sign can change in real time with the audience demographics or even the time of day. One screen can contain multiple messages, use color, motion and graphics. And wireless signals allow signs to be easily relocated.
And third, the Return-on-Investment (ROI) is sensational. Traditionally, good signage has always produced a good ROI because the one-time investment has a long useful lifetime, and it’s on the job 24/7. And it’s true for individual healthcare providers, clinics, group practices, hospitals and medical organizations of all types and sizes.
The What and Why of Digital Signs in Hospital and Healthcare Marketing
We discover unique uses for digital signs all the time, but here are some of the most common—and often overlapping—application categories:
Brand & Brand Building – Every sign communicates a message of importance to the viewer (patient, visitor, guest, public and/or employees) and is part of the brand for the facility, practice or business…and it can play a role in growing the professional reputation of individuals. Beyond graphics and content, the presence of the technology itself is a brand message.
User Experience – Providing directions (way finding), instructions, wait times, entertainment and/or timely updates can enhance the visitor’s experience in positive, productive and timesaving ways.
Public Safety & Education – Information and instructions about health care and healthy living are natural content materials. News, weather and community news can be informative. Plus public safety information such as emergency instructions, fire exit directions or construction advisories can be vitally important.
Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations – Timely messages can be general in nature, or focused to a specific audience group or demographic. These could include, for example, promotional messages, public recognitions and charitable, community, fund raising or health events.
Physicians, Staff, Management – Systems directed to your internal public groups or departments can communicate operational, administrative and policy updates quickly throughout the organization.
The obvious starting point is where public and patients are most likely to see digital signs, such as lobbies, reception areas and main entrances. The content must be interesting and compelling. And as idea starters, here are some additional application examples we spotted in our research:
- Educational events, medical news, and administrative information in doctor lounge areas;
- Individual recognitions, safety data, HR and employee benefits in break or lunch rooms;
- Cardiac care and weight management services presented in radiology department waiting room (and other cross-department promotional messages);
- Greetings and welcome messages from medical center board chairman;
- Emergency notification and communications for the facility and among departments;
- Provider biography pictures and profiles, including specialties and programs;
- Smaller screens in or at elevators, parking areas and conference centers;
- Personal health station kiosks for patient interactivity and EHR;
- Lecture halls, training classrooms, community events;
- Multi-lingual, hearing impaired and interactive/touch screen applications.
We’d love to hear from you about original and unique healthcare marketing and advertising uses of digital signs in your hospital or medical provider office.