Experiential Marketing: The Untapped Advantage for Doctors and Hospitals

handsWhen big-budget advertisers are determined to make a brand-awareness splash with the public, they often need elaborate (and expensive) preparation.

The textbook label is Experiential Marketing, defined as “a form of advertising intended to customers experience the brand.”

Fortunately, doctors and hospitals have a largely untapped advantage over consumer and retail brands when it comes to getting customers (patients) to connect with feelings, emotions, thoughts and/or meaning in healthcare.

In contrast, traditional media tools such as print or broadcast present ideas and benefits using words and images. For healthcare providers, however, every visit is an immersive, one-on-one experiential marketing opportunity. And making an emotional—experiential—connection fosters a continuing relationship, loyalty and patient referrals.

The TNT Network “Push to Add Drama” experience…

One large-scale, and particularly dramatic, example of bringing the experience to the audience was staged a few years ago in an otherwise quite town square in Belgium. The video clip (below) amusingly illustrates how the “we know drama” television network played out their tagline in less than two minutes. [WATCH]

TNT drama

In spite of the elaborate staging, the TNT example involved only a few people in the town square. Generally experiential marketing doesn’t play directly to a large audience. But in this case, the TNT video version went viral with over 50-million views via YouTube.

Experiential Lessons for Healthcare

Every patient visit, provider-encounter and staff interaction is the stage for experiential marketing. The audience is typically small, and the opportunity to build relationships is strong. The transaction between consumer and provider is one of providing a memorable experience, and an opportunity to engage people, increase loyalty, and inspire ongoing brand awareness.

For doctors and hospitals, the pay-off of experiential marketing is often profound. Although it may or may not be seen as a dramatic skit in the town square, the long-term results of patient-centered care and experience can be dramatic.

The Cleveland Clinic was able to creatively capture the essence of feelings and empathy in a video series. We have no doubt that this compelling story would not be possible without a genuine, experiential culture and mindset among professionals and staff. [WATCH]

Cleveland Clinic empathy

The core concept that fuels successful patient experience is in recognizing that people—patients, consumers, customers—are not buying a product or service. What they really want—what healthcare delivery is about—is that they are buying happiness. They are buying an emotional experience that doctors and hospitals deliver moment by moment, one person at a time.

Lonnie Hirsch

About Lonnie Hirsch

Co-Founder of Healthcare Success Strategies, Lonnie has consulted for over 2,000 health care clients during his 20-year career. Lonnie writes for many healthcare publications, and also has spoken at hundreds of venues nationally. His topics include patient experience, customer service, marketing, branding and business development.


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