Marketing guru, Seth Godin, recently wrote a post titled, “ On Becoming a Household Name.” He comments on the amount of advertising out there that doesn’t even offer basic features and benefits, but rather just puts the brand name out there. He says “ it’s completely irrational ” but brand recognition alone works wonders. He writes:
Being a familiar name takes you miles closer to closing a sale. People like to buy from companies they’ve heard of.
“Awareness” has long been recognized as the first step in a long prodding sales cycle. What Seth doesn’t write, but I strongly believe is that while advertising without benefits to me is irrational, it works over time because it builds trust.
Awareness helps to build trust, and trust is the single most important attribute related to sales success.
Now there are many different ways to increase trust, but familiarity is a basic one. Someone approaches you the first time you won’t trust them (kids, don’t talk to strangers!); if you see them around the neighborhood all the time you’re more likely to trust them. If you drive by a company down the street repeatedly for ten years, it’s likely you can trust that they’ll still be there next year. If you see a company’s ad on TV over and over again, at least you can trust they are big enough to afford TV ads!
So what does this mean for healthcare marketers? Consider these scenarios:
You take your 12-year old daughter to the doctor to talk about getting an HPV vaccine; would you ask about the vaccine you never heard of, or the one you know because you are one of 100,000 fans on their Facebook page?
You are pregnant and there are three hospitals within a short drive away; would you choose one you have little familiarity with, or the one whose tweets you’ve been following have addressed prenatal care, new parent workshops, and baby name contests?
Seth’s simple statement has big implications for the use of social media for healthcare marketers. Awareness is the first step to building trust and brings “ you miles closer to closing a sale. ”
Research clearly shows that healthcare consumerism is a reality. Physicians’ choice of medications can be influenced by the patients’ brand request. Women choose which hospital to deliver their babies in. Many choose where to go for their orthopedic surgery, colonoscopy, and cancer therapy.