At our HITMC marketing events, there are a number of themes or ideas that keep popping up over and over. We should probably put some of these major themes into a document that will likely stand the test of time since these principles are universal and apply to marketing regardless of format.
One of these themes is that you need to market the problems you solve instead of what you do. While we’d like to think that people are good at taking what you do and applying it to their problems, it’s just not the case. Those who you’re marketing to are often busy, distracted, or just plain miss the connection between what you do and how that can help them solve the problem.
That’s why it’s so important that you learn to speak the language of your customer. I know very few buyers who need another platform. Their problem isn’t a platform and when you’re marketing speaks in that language, it’s no surprise they don’t buy your product. Here’s a funny example from Rush Hour 2 that illustrates this point really well:
Are you speaking the language of your customer or the language of your company?
Unfortunately, we’ve seen over and over again that many healthcare marketers are speaking the language of their company (ie. a products features and functions) as opposed to the language of their customers. For example, no one has a problem with secure texting. However, many have a problem coordinating care for complex patients between the nursing staff, doctors, front desk, HIM, and billers. On the patient side of things, the same principles apply. Learning to understand what patients are really looking for instead of how a healthcare professional talks about what the patient needs is very important to effectively market to patients.
Turns out this is easier said than done. It’s much easier to market what you do. Understanding the problem people will pay you to solve takes a lot more work. However, that work is worth every effort.