The “So What?” and “Who Cares?” Challenge: A Universal Test for Healthcare Advertising

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

so what? who cares? challenge questionsThese two little questions, which seem perilously close to being disrespectful, can save you from wasting precious healthcare advertising dollars. In fact, they can help lead you to a higher Return-on-Investment (ROI).

Let’s say you or your staff is planning a new advertisement. Use these questions as the first challenge to the prospective advertising message. The test works across the board—for hospitals, group practices, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and/or medical practices.

Here’s how to take the “So What?” and “Who Cares?” challenge.

ASK: “So What?” What you’re really asking: “What’s the compelling benefit?”

Is there an important benefit or value proposition clearly stated in this message? Let’s say this is an ad about a high tech piece of equipment. Nobody cares that you have the most advanced (and expensive) wonder-widget, but they do care that it can help solve their problem or answer their need better than anyone else. The answer to “So What?” is something important to the target audience.

ASK: “Who Cares?” What you’re really asking: “Who’s the target audience?”

Does this message communicate to people who need to know, and is the media going to reach them? It’s about finding exactly the right mix of message, media and audience in need. The answer to “Who Cares?” is making a precision connection with the reader with the need or problem.

Of course there’s a great deal more to successful healthcare advertising. But the “So What?” and “Who Cares?” challenge questions are easy to remember and provide a quick assessment tool. If the planned (or previous) advertising message doesn’t deliver a sharp answer to these initial tests, you know there’s something wrong or more work is needed.

Until then, hold on to your marketing budget and refine your advertising message. And if you need help with that, reach out to us. We can help you with an unbiased and objective answer to these questions.

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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