How do you engage?

 June 18, 2015

Back to the basics: Health Care Marketing Revisited


How do you engage?

Last time, we talked about getting attention. It’s the all-important first task of marketing communications. If you’ve accomplished that task in an effective, relevant way, you’re well on your way.

But it’s only a first step. Once you have your audience by the hand—and the eyes and ears and mind—you have to maintain that attention every step along the way as you present your sales pitch.

And that means appealing to their self-interest. You must, absolutely must, frame your message in terms that matter to them, not to you. Don’t just talk features, talk benefits. And don’t just talk benefits, talk about why they matter, how they will affect the lives of your audience. Beyond that, don’t talk to an audience—talk to a person. No matter how serious or professional or authoritative your message, a friendly, conversational, helpful tone will never, ever, be amiss.

While you’re at it, don’t forget principles like Maslow’s time-tested hierarchy of needs. In a nutshell, it lays out what motivates people, from the most basic need for physiological survival, to safety, to a desire for love and belonging, to esteem and respect, to self-actualization or realizing potential.

Every product or service will appeal to some level on that hierarchy. The job of marketing communications is to push it higher up the ladder. Persuading people that what you’re offering will make their family safer is good. Convincing them it will create a stronger, more loving family is better.

Appealing to your audience’s self-interest isn’t a trick. It isn’t manipulative. It is necessary to establish and maintain a relationship, if only for as long as it takes to convey your message and create a memory.
But it has to be real. Because, as the old saying goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time….


Next time: How do you persuade?

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