My cousin is a prominent orthopedic surgeon. I played golf with him not so long ago, and took the opportunity to ask him about healthcare marketing materials; specifically, what he likes and doesn’t like.
The first thing he said is he hates when claims aren’t substantiated by clinical studies. He needs proof in the pudding. No surprise there. But in the same breath, he said he likes information that is easy to get through and digest. He doesn’t want to feel like he’s reading a text book. He doesn’t have the time or patience. If he wants more detail, he can find it in the journals or white papers. Just keep the marketing clear, simple, and irrefutable. Ok, got it.
I then asked him about marketing materials that try to appeal to his emotions, whether through visualizing and talking about the patient benefit or even applying a little wit or cleverness. He said he gets irritated by too much “fluff” and doesn’t like anything that sets off his “BS detector”, but he likes materials that connect with him on a human level and portray the benefit to the patient. After all, he cares about his patients and it shows in the work he does.
He drew an analogy to a good sales rep who visits him. “A good sales rep,” he said, “is respectful of my time and intelligence, and makes the presentation worth my time by showing me something useful and believable. But he’s still friendly and enjoyable to be with. That’s how marketing materials should be.” I told him I couldn’t have said it better. He, in turn, made fun of my putting.
All too often, healthcare marketing is either too clinical and technical or too promotional and “fluffy”. The key is finding balance. Be factual and concise. But don’t forget that under the doctor’s mask is a real human being who responds to emotional cues and appreciates a little personality (just like the rest of us) – whether in a sales meeting, a golf game, or your marketing materials.