Why “Common Wisdom” is Commonly Wrong in Healthcare Marketing and What to Do Instead

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

unlock common wisdom

Healthcare Marketing Wisdom Should Not Be Common

The problem with “common wisdom” is that it is often a myth cleverly disguised as the truth. And it’s easy to buy into these notions, especially when you hear something frequently or from a well-meaning source.

For example, consider the common wisdom (and debunkments, if that’s a word) from WebMD:

Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

Reality: There’s no evidence that you have to drink that much water to assure adequate fluid intake—and drinking too much water can be unhealthy.

We use only 10% of our brains.

Reality: Most of the brain isn’t loafing. Detailed brain studies haven’t found the “non-functioning” 90% of the brain.

In our conversations with clients, medical providers, healthcare organizations and hospitals, we hear a lot of “common wisdom” about marketing and advertising. There’s not enough space for them all, but they often sound like this:

“Yellow Pages ads are (in or out), so here’s what I need to do…”

“If I’m good clinically, word-of-mouth will carry the day…”

“I don’t need a marketing plan, I only need a (brochure, logo, refrigerator magnets)…”

“I hear that video is expensive; probably out of my reach…”

“My competitor’s doing (advertising, skywriting, Twitter); it must be working for him…”

And just as commonly, this highly believable “stuff” isn’t based on proven best practices, practical experience or reality. Nevertheless it sounds great because the source is:

  • Your “inner voice” (what appeals to you will appeal to your target audience);
  • Your spouse (who took a marketing course as an undergrad);
  • Your colleague or buddy from med school (because he “tried that one time”);
  • Your likable patient (who sells pens with your name on them);
  • Your office “tradition” (because it’s how we’ve always done it);
  • The Internet (if it’s online it must be timely and correct);
  • Your sister-in-law graphic designer (looks pretty and won an award);
  • Everybody (all my friends are doing/not doing it.)

You get the idea: Consider the source of common wisdom. Always find a reliable, experienced authority in healthcare marketing and advertising. Of course you’re welcome to talk with us. (The consultation is free.) We’ve been around a while and can help you distinguish between myths and reality. But whether you work with us or not, don’t simply trust “common wisdom.”

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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