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The 3 most effective words in healthcare ads

Written by Brooke Murphy | May 17, 2017 
 Marketing plays an important role in influencing consumer healthcare decisions. Predictably, some healthcare messaging, media forms and strategies resonate more with consumers than others — but the ones that resonate most may surprise you.

The “2017 Southwest Healthcare Marketing Report: Consumer Perceptions & Attitudes” surveyed roughly 500 consumers in the Southwest about their sentiments regarding healthcare advertising and marketing. Respondents lived across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The survey was commissioned by Lavidge, a Phoenix-based advertising, public relations and interactive marketing agency, in conjunction with WestGroup Research, a large market research firm in the Southwest.

Here are four key takeaways about consumer perceptions of healthcare marketing.

1. Get picky over word choice. Respondents were asked to rank a series of words by their effectiveness in healthcare messaging. The top three words were “knowledgeable,” “trustworthy” and “cost-effective.” While that may not seem like groundbreaking news, consider this: Similar words like “expert,” “helpful” and “innovative” ranked significantly lower. “[Patients] see a clear difference between ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘smart,'” researchers wrote. “Clearly, nuance [in messaging] matters.”

2. Holistic messaging was preferred to expertise. Respondents also ranked phrases by preference. The outright winner was, “We will treat the problem, not just the symptoms.” Consumers preferred this more holistic messaging to phrases such as, “We have the best treatment” and “We understand what you are going through.”

Interesting, although predictable, was consumers’ second-ranked phrase: “We will handle all insurance matters for you.” This is interesting because it clearly points to an opportunity for health systems to differentiate themselves from competitors in the market by promoting themselves as “experts” in handling insurance matters. “An entity promising to handle all insurance matters for you will be welcomed in the market if the company delivers on that promise,” researchers wrote.

3. Patient testimonials were least effective at attracting interest. The least preferred statement was, “Your friends recommend us.” This runs counter to many health organizations’ current messaging, which emphasizes patient testimonials and consumer experience.

4. Preferences differ between light and heavy healthcare users. Consumers who do not regularly use healthcare services ranked the message, “We will be there for you,” much higher than other marketing phrases. “The healthier the consumer, the less receptive they’ll be to messages that emphasize current needs, such as, “We are an expert in your particular health condition or disease,” researchers wrote.

CLICK HERE to read the original article at Becker’s Hospital Review

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