In the marketing industry, “content is king” is a popular cliché.
The phrase is widely associated with Bill Gates in a blog he wrote nearly 20 years ago. Today, his messages seem prophetic, among them: “Content is where I expect most of the real money will be made on the Internet…” (see Netflix) and “No company is too small to participate” (see the millions of small businesses with a WordPress blog).
“Content” is shorthand for the engaging parts of your web presence—the blogs, photos, and videos, for example—that intend to connect with audiences rather than convert, or sell. And while some think of content purely through the prism of search engine optimization, a proper content strategy holistically considers the entirety of the user experience (another cliché) from the search query through the on-site conversion. In other words, getting people to your site is the first step, but they also need to find what they’re looking for, have a fulfilling visit, and eventually buy something from you.
This brings me to Lenz. When I joined the company way back in 2002, I was fresh out of UGA’s journalism school with visions of Woodward and Bernstein dancing in my head. Lenz hired me to write news and feature articles that would appear strictly on our clients’ web sites. When my friends would ask about my new job, I would say, “I write web releases, they’re kind of like press releases, but not important enough to send to the press.” Today I and the rest of the marketing world understand the value of blogging, while Lenz understood it from the beginning.
Ask a Lenzer how we market healthcare and she’ll tell you, “just like we market everything else.” Patients are people, we like to say. Lenz recognizes that healthcare is a unique industry and healthcare marketing, a specialized field. However, this does not mean you push the best marketing practices aside every time you work in a new industry. For patients, choosing a doctor—like choosing a soda, brand of sneakers, or presidential candidate—is a buying decision, and many commonalities apply.
According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Internet users looked online for health information within the past year. And 77 percent of online health seekers start with a search engine—as opposed to going directly to a healthcare provider’s web site or an online review site.
Translation: Healthcare is a consumer industry and the web largely determines the winners and losers. And what comprises a winning website? Informative, entertaining, and insightful content that people want to read, view, share, and comment on.
When it comes to healthcare, the website’s job is to introduce the hospital or practice and its providers, demonstrate their qualifications and compassion, and establish trust—the holy grail in healthcare marketing—all before the doctor actually meets the prospective patient.
Research shows, time and again, that patients want to build relationships with their doctors. Lenz’s independent research has shown that patients care very little about their physicians’ training, board certifications, or leadership positions at the hospital. So, a great CV won’t cut it.
If you’re a physician eager to grow your practice, consider instead a blog retelling the moment you knew you wanted to enter medicine, share your favorite letter from a patient or a photo from your last mission trip, or produce a video that helps family members understand their role in your patients’ care journey. These are great ways to build the trust that your success depends on.
Remember: Content is king in healthcare, too.
The right logo can give even the smallest of businesses the biggest brand identities. Here are some of the Lenz team’s favorite small business logo designs.
Vladimir Putin. Tony Blair. Silvio Berlusconi. George W. Bush.
Eric Betts got to see them all up close. As a regional representative based in Savannah for former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, Betts helped to serve as part of the 2004 G-8 Summit welcoming committee at Hunter Army Airfield when world leaders arrived for the event at Sea Island.
Betts called that the highlight of his 10-year tenure working for Chambliss, which began almost by accident when Chambliss was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Betts, who has served as SouthCoast Health’s Marketing Director for nearly nine years, might have seemed like an unlikely candidate to go into the political world. He majored in computer information systems at Valdosta State and worked in that industry after graduating.
However, it wasn’t long before Betts received a call from a family friend, inquiring as to whether he would be interested in a job with Chambliss. He accepted and moved to Waycross. When Chambliss won his Senate seat in 2002, Betts relocated to Savannah, which is how Betts ultimately wound up with SouthCoast Health.
After 10 years with Chambliss, Betts elected to move on and pursued a career in healthcare, an industry in which he had previously considered working. As a teenager, he had worked as a tech in a pharmacy and once considered becoming a pharmacist.
At SouthCoast Health, Betts became the practice’s first employee in marketing, a distinction that he retains – although the practice began partnering with Lenz three years ago. Upon arrival, he received two tasks: create a more functional website and consistency among the various offices’ marketing materials, which had been left up to each individual office manager.
When he joined, SouthCoast Health had 45 physicians. Now, it has 80. Betts said he likes to think that he has contributed in some way to that success. Betts said he realizes that people have a choice about where to go for their healthcare and that if SouthCoast Health is not providing the best in customer service, patients will go elsewhere.
“I’m really passionate – not just about the brand and the marketing – but about our reputation to our customers,” he said. “I follow all the surveys, all the online reviews that get written about us. What people are saying about us, what our patients think about us as a healthcare provider, I’m very much involved in trying to make SouthCoast Health better in that aspect.”
In his spare time, Betts volunteers with the choral group at his church, Savannah Christian, which has 12,500 members. He is in his third year leading and directing the choir, an activity to which he devotes 10 hours a week.
It’s a labor of love. A tenor himself, Betts said his interests range from pop music to contemporary Christian to Southern Gospel to country.
“I get a lot of pleasure out of it,” he said. “Singing is probably one of my biggest passions in life.”
Betts is married to Mary Anne, a project manager at SouthCoast Health. The couple has a four-year-old daughter, Demori.
We’ve all experienced the moment when a song on the radio instantly transports you back to the exact place and time you first heard it. Or when the aroma of a food or perfume immediately brings to mind a particular memory from your past.
That feeling is nostalgia, and it’s an undeniably powerful psychological trigger. And if you’re paying attention, you can find it in marketing messages all around you.
BMW chose the nostalgia route for its ad in the 2015 Super Bowl, one of the single most visible marketing platforms in the world. National brands from The Chicago Cubs to Pepsi celebrated October 21, 2015 as Back to the Future day to mark the date when Marty McFly arrives to the “future” in the 1989 blockbuster. Buzzfeed has become one of the web’s most visited content sites due in part to its seemingly never-ending “Remember When” listicles. Throwback Thursday’s photos are a top trending social topic on a weekly basis. The list of nostalgia marketing in action could go on and on.
But why is nostalgia an effective marketing tool? According to this New York Times article, it’s actually a bittersweet feeling associated with longing for meaningful events in the past that involved people we’re close to like friends, family, and significant others. Its effects are inherently positive and emotional, ranging from enhanced moods and reduced stress to positive feelings about the future.
In short, reliving happy memories of the past can help you feel good about the future. If your company’s marketing can make people feel good, they will be more inclined to become brand loyalists and sing your praises to their own friends and families.
But how can you capitalize on the power of nostalgia without your marketing feeling outdated? Here are a few tips:
1. Make what’s old new again using current platforms.
Even if your content celebrates the past, your delivery mechanisms shouldn’t. Customize your content for each platform, but feel free to forego that MySpace post.
2. Don’t force it.
Does your company have an important anniversary coming up? A re-release of a popular product or service? Look for natural opportunities to be nostalgic, but don’t push it if it’s not really there.
3. Keep current.
This may seem illogical, but one of the best ways to create nostalgia-centric marketing is to monitor what cultural conversations are grabbing headlines, and then use your content to draw comparisons or contradictions to similar events of the past. If, of course, it aligns with your greater brand messaging.
Could your marketing use a dose of nostalgia to help you achieve your goals? Contact us and let’s take a look together.
Meet Ben Barnes, Lenz Art Director and the architect behind our new website.
We sat down with one of our favorite design gurus for a closer look into his creative process and what inspired him to create the new LenzMarketing.com.