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Physician Advertising Mistake #11: Not Knowing How to Evaluate Creative Materials

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Car going into water caution road hazard signOne of the great rewards of working with doctors and healthcare executives for over two decades is that we have a treasure chest of experience that we share with clients. We’ve seen first hand those things that are most effective in marketing a practice, hospital and organization.

We love success stories in medical marketing and advertising. But we also appreciate that the mistakes of others can hold valuable lessons. In knowing about and avoiding a marketing mistake, you save resources (otherwise wasted), and your physician advertising efforts are more likely to be successful.

Here’s one of the critical medical advertising mistakes that doctors and hospitals make every day. We see this so often, we call it Number 11: Not knowing how to (objectively) evaluate creative materials in marketing and advertising. Have you ever found yourself in the following picture?

You’re planning a new advertising effort—let’s say a series of three newspaper ads—and everyone in the office has an opinion. From physician partners to the front desk to the back office, a collective chorus feels they know what’s best. In fact, some members of the defacto “committee” are rewriting the ads. You can imagine how this tragedy ends.

The core problem here is that most individuals are not skilled and experienced in writing, designing, creating or evaluating advertising materials. Everyone has an opinion, of course. And good questions and input have value.

Creating and evaluating marketing materials is not a matter of a subjective vote by committee. Ultimately, it is not a matter of what an individual or a group in the office thinks they like or don’t like.

Highly-effective materials are created by professional talent. These are people who understand the audience and have a clear rationale for the words, design, media and a dozen other variables. If you have a health care advertising agency, ask them to explain the rationale. If they understand healthcare marketing and attracting new patients, listen to well-supported recommendations.

Whether you (or the committee) personally like the materials or not is not the measure. A message that speaks clearly to the patient and gives them reasons to take action, is likely to perform well for you.

“There’s only one thing more painful than learning from experience,” according to Dr. Laurence Peter, “and that is not learning from experience.”

You’ll find a related article here (Medical Advertising Critical Mistake #9).

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Marketing a healthcare organization can be challenging - even painful if you don't approach it with the right knowledge, tools, and guidance. By reading about mistakes and lessons others have learned the hard way, you can boost your marketing effectiveness and take a shortcut to success. Discover how to avoid these "Seven Deadly Sins". Plus, join over 30,000 of your fellow healthcare providers with a free subscription to our Insight Newsletter.

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