Hillary Clinton’s Classic Mistake: A Marketing Lesson for Doctors and Hospitals

February 16, 2016
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WIIFM political talkAs the nation’s political season heats up every four years or so, we’re all bombarded with news coverage that’s all about candidates and their campaigns.

Right up front, I want you to know that this article isn’t for or against a particular political perspective. But as an independent observer I want to spotlight an important marketing lesson for doctors that we see among candidates.

WIIFM political talkAs the nation’s political season heats up every four years or so, we’re all bombarded with news coverage that’s all about candidates and their campaigns.

Right up front, I want you to know that this article isn’t for or against a particular political perspective. But as an independent observer I want to spotlight an important marketing lesson for doctors that we see among candidates.

Here it is: When politicians talk mainly about themselves and their credentials—and they don’t talk about the voter/public—there’s an immediate disconnect from the people they want to win over.

It’s a timeless marketing mistake that’s true on the campaign trail, and it’s true for hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers.

Among the prominent candidates, some news people observe that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is struggling. An independent assessment suggests that Hillary’s problem is caused (at least in part) because she talks mainly about herself and her credentials, and is not talking about them (the public and the voters).

Not to ignite a political discussion here—running for any political office is immensely challenging for anyone–there are all kinds of comments. But consider the marketing and communications dynamics at work in this example. First and foremost, people always want to know “what’s in it for me?”

Why doctors make this same mistake…

The mistake isn’t exclusive to Hillary or any candidate for that matter. But more importantly for us, it represents an important marketing lesson for everyone in healthcare. Unfortunately, we see this classic mistake all the time; it’s easy for doctors to make.

Physicians—sometimes hospitals and other providers—will naturally gravitate to talking about their own credentials and experience. Their CV and professional experience is something they know best, and they’re justifiably proud of it all.

But predictably the audience, public or prospective patients need and want to know “WIIFM?” Talking about credentials alone is a tragic disconnect. People want to hear how this extensive training, skill and experience benefits them–the patient/customer.

So, regardless of your political views, notice what Hillary and every other candidate is saying. Remember that professional credentials alone are not compelling—it’s simply boring without benefits. If you forget about “WIIFM,” the audience is no longer your audience.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

 

Author information

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies

Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a “rock-n-roll daddy” to two wonderful girls.

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