If you bottled the immediate anxiety from Healthcare marketing professionals over the mere thought of building a Patient Testimonial Program, you’d probably have enough collective angst to rival any American high school.
Yet, no amount of dread will circumvent the ever-present need for evangelization of positive patient outcomes. To meet the growing demands of patients as consumers, Healthcare organizations have had to find ways of sharing the great experiences of their customers as a means of promoting a Healthcare organization’s brand. Obviously, one way to do that is through a Patient Testimonial Program. However, is that the best or even most effective way to meet the needs of the consumer driven mindset potential patients use when considering their healthcare? In short – probably not (but it sounds great in a board meeting).
92% of consumers believe what other consumers tell them about a brand experience, it’s a fact*. To meet this basic axiom of consumer psychology, Healthcare organizations need to develop a pipeline of patient outcomes that support their brand in the market. Instead of the usual canned Patient Testimonial Program splashed across Healthcare homepages, consider using an authentic grass-roots approach that promotes dialogue and builds a bona fide ‘Fan Factory’ (i.e. NOT a cheesy filmed spot called, Messages of Hope). Here’s how:
Determine Your Sweet Spot
Whether it’s spectacular pediatric care or an amazing trauma center, most Healthcare organizations can point out where they broadly excel. These are the areas you should consider promoting when building a ‘Fan Factory’ for your organization. It’s important to select specialties that are understood by the wider public and then find patient evangelists who can meet your marketing needs. Which brings us to our next point…
Utilize your Clinician Network
Sadly, most Healthcare marketing professionals don’t hear the success stories of their organizations until long after the fact. In marketing, you must strike while the iron is hot, which means mobilizing your people on the ground (i.e. Clinicians) to help you identify patients and their families that had great outcomes. Publicly express the need to identify great success stories to your organization and then provide an easy way for clinicians to share them with you.
Vet. Vet. Vet.
Once you’ve identified some potential patient evangelists, ask LOTS of questions and make sure they are the right ones to represent your healthcare brand. When you are considering a grassroots approach to implementing a Patient Testimonial Program, you don’t have to ensure the person is camera ready, instead consider how you might be able to leverage their community to benefit your organization. For example, if your sweet spot is children’s health then find well-connected moms and help them host teas/dinners/luncheons on children’s healthcare and share their story of hope with other parents.
Regardless of the particular grassroots approach, finding a way foster direct conversation between patient evangelists and their targeted network can create a veritable ‘Fan Factory’ for your organization. This supports the consumer-driven mindset of patients and builds your brand image from the ground up. It’s a win-win.