The Challenge of Testimonials and Case Studies

Two of the toughest marketing assets to obtain are testimonials and case studies. This is especially true in healthcare. Patients don’t want to reveal the provider organizations they go to. Hospitals and physician practices don’t want to be seen as endorsing one product over another – plus they have been warned repeatedly by their legal departments about being too cozy with vendors.

So as Marketers, what are we to do?

For healthcare providers, there have always been the positive comments received from patients via letters or cards. Although these do not typically become part of a marketing campaign, they can still be circulated internally to boost morale and reinforce specific behaviors (minus the name, of course). There are also the comments from patients on HCAHPS and other patient experience surveys.

I’d be interested in hearing how organizations have obtained permission to use a patient comment publicly. I’m assuming it could be in the fine print of the comment card, but for letters direct consent would be needed.

For Marketers at Health IT companies, the biggest hurdle to getting testimonials and case studies is the client’s legal department. It’s not uncommon to put in hours of work crafting the perfect document, only to have it languish for months with legal and then ultimately rejected. It’s totally understandable when you consider that there are significant consequences if it appears they are too close to a particular vendor. There would be whispers of special treatment, possible kickbacks, etc. Why invite that headache?

One effective way around this is to help your client present their story at a healthcare conference. Help them submit abstracts and when they are selected, whatever is said publicly can be used (just be mindful and respectful). You can also help to get their story published as an article, which has the same benefit of having their statements part of the public record.

I have found in these cases, because the information is being presented as a factual story, legal departments usually don’t have an issue. Just remember that audiences react best to presentations and stories that offer something valuable vs being a sales pitch.

I would love to know what tips and tactics the HITMC community has for obtaining testimonials and case studies. And I would love to hear how you think it’s best to use these assets in your marketing programs.

Join me on Tuesday March 12th for the monthly #HITMC tweetchat at noon ET (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1 What effective tips/tricks have you used to get testimonials or case studies?
  • T2 What are the elements that make up a compelling case study? And how should it be presented – article style or something else?
  • T3 Where are testimonials and case studies most effectively used in a marketing program/promotion?
  • T4 When is the right time to retire a testimonial or case study?
  • T5 Does the title of the person or the size of the organization have any correlation to the value of the testimonial or case study?
  • Bonus What would be the sarcastic testimonial would you love to write to a restaurant that provided bad food/service?

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!