In Health Care Marketing We Trust?

By nature, basic marketing processes run contrary to creating the empathy and trust so essential for effective health care communications.

In marketing discussions, we talk about patients and families in terms of targets, volumes and responses. Health care relationships become service lines, outcomes, appointments and margins. This desensitizes us to the deep emotions around health and healing.
In marketing research, we seek insight by studying patients and community members in aggregate and labeling them based on demographics, psychographics and ZIP+4. This devalues individuality.
In marketing communications, we speak to people indirectly via brochures, newsletters, advertising and emails that direct them to call centers, websites and sometimes telephone message trees. This removes immediacy.
In marketing programs, we apply CRM software to remember personal data, track contacts, send email blasts and gauge the value of potential customers. This replaces intimacy. 
Often we stay "in touch" without really being in touch with people's perceptions and feelings. No doubt marketing communications are an imperfect substitute for the face-to-face interaction so critical to building trust. 
How can we compensate? With periodic reality checks.
Let's take more breaks from our computers, data, projects and meetings to visit briefly with patients, families, visitors, nurses, physicians and patient-care staff.
Let's keep in mind how healthcare experience have shaped our lives and those of loves ones and friends.
Finally, let's remember that healthcare marketing is an experience and calling unlike any other.
In marketing we trust, but building trust goes far beyond marketing.
— Tom DeSanto 

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