“Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead.” For me, that quote — from a recent blog by Bill Lee on Harvard Business Review, Marketing Is Dead – presents a challenge to the many executives of health and human service organizations that are just launching marketing programs. Mr. Lee’s point is that the old tactics don’t apply — and that new thinking (and a new tactical paradigm) are the keys to successful marketing.
Mr. Lee links the new paradigm to three developments; Buyers aren’t paying attention to traditional marketing efforts; CEOs no longer see the investment in traditional marketing as financially relevant; and traditional marketing, which no longer works well anywhere, doesn’t work at all in a social media setting. Of the critical areas to marketing’s future identified by Mr. Lee, I found these two approaches to be the most important for successful health care marketing executives:
Restore community marketing – “Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can increasingly approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities.” What this means for health and human service organizations is the online presence, The Virtual You all members, needs to be more than just a website. It needs to be an ongoing interaction with your consumers that replicates an interactive community. Organizations should assess their web presence, and take the necessary steps to expand that presence beyond just another listing on web search results (see Maximizing Your Web Site & Use of Social Media to Build Referrals all members, Using Social Media as a Consumer Outreach & Marketing Tool , and How To Calculate Your Organization’s Social Media IQ: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging & More ).
Find your customer influencers – “Find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about.” In short, referrals will increasingly come from either word of mouth, or online reviews that replicate word of mouth. Consumers aren’t forming opinions about your organization from your marketing efforts, they are forming opinions from other consumers’ experiences. How well known are you online, and are your stakeholders conversations about your brand where they need to be (see The New Health Care Market: Consumers Spend More & Consumers Want More , A New Way To Look At Online Marketing: The Strategic Importance Of ‘Open Source’ Relationship Management all members, and You’re Being Rated – Like It Or Not all members)?
If you have questions about incorporating social media and online marketing into your marketing efforts, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and facebook.com/openmindscircle. Traditional marketing may be obsolete, but your online conversation with consumers is just starting.