Review | Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm
Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm
Author: Chris Bevolo with Adam Meyer
Format: Hardcover, Electronic
Publisher: Interval, 2014
Back in 2011, Chris Bevolo’s healthcare marketing manifesto Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital had hospital communications professionals (including fellow MCCSM External Advisory Board member Cynthia Floyd Manley) nodding with enthusiastic agreement. His book laid out what many of us knew, but struggled to convey to C-suite colleagues. Namely:
- The average person, except possibly during a healthcare crisis, doesn’t care about our hospital.
- To remain competitive, we must move beyond traditional marketing tactics.
- Moving on means breaking bad habits (e.g., marketing campaigns motivated by hospital politics).
- A hospital needs to define, develop and manage its brand – with internal support.
- Healthcare marketers must measure campaign results to prove any new approach is working.
Joe Public II is designed to help those who already know these truths convince those who do not. It’s okay, I’ll wait here while you go order your copy.
Bevolo begins with a call to break our addiction to traditional advertising tactics. Print ads and TV spots aren’t going away, but they’re not a good fit for most healthcare marketing efforts. Online tools allow us to zero in on specific audiences using (relatively low-cost) digital marketing techniques. When you’re trying to reach a small subset of the average TV audience (i.e., those acting on your message today), digital is the way to go.
And as you ramp up digital efforts, Bevolo stresses, you must include digital experts from the very beginning of any marketing effort. Instead of deciding your campaign needs a microsite and demanding the web team build it, include that team in strategic planning efforts. Trust their insight and expertise. (While I’m at it, the same goes for your social team. Don’t tell them to launch a photo contest to support your service line, talk with them about your ideas. Trust them to know if those tactics are a good strategic fit for topic and social audience.)
Similarly, Bevolo explains how content marketing can do a better job of demonstrating expertise rather images of confident doctors and “cutting edge” equipment. Yes, just about everyone is into content marketing, but no other healthcare provider has your doctors, your nurses, your support staff – and their stories.
Joe Public II includes two case studies. One details MCCSM Platinum Fellow Chris Boyer’s digital transformation of North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York; the other profiles a successful content marketing campaign from Advocate Health Care in Chicago. Both are solid, real-life proof that this shift is possible. You’ll find Bevolo’s guide to shifting your organization to this new marketing model in the final chapter. It’s a shift that will take time and not especially easy for hospital leaders who still believe visibility equals marketing. “If moving toward new, transformational marketing efforts were easy,” Bevolo writes, “the logical case would be enough.”
But since when has healthcare changed on logic alone? Bevolo knows we need to reach the powers-that-be on personal, emotional and, in some cases, irrational levels to bring them along. Joe Public II provides tools to make the case for using efficient and targeted marketing techniques.