How Can an 80s Shampoo Commercial Grow Hospital Business Today?

By Sharon Bittner

“If you tell two friends, then they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on.”

You may not know the product, but I’ll bet that you’ve heard the reference. Well, at least if you’re over 35.

If you aren’t familiar, go ahead. Take a minute and click here

Now that you know what I’m talking about, how does it possibly apply to growing your hospital’s business?

Today, we call it “viral”. Back then, we called it “word-of-mouth”, or “WOM”. What starts with WOM? Women, of course. And that is what Fabergé realized – the exponential word-of-mouth power of women’s influence.

I’ve been working with hospitals to market healthcare to, and through women, for the majority of my career. I’ve seen trends and tactics come and go. Healthcare has been turned upside-down, right-sided, only to be turned inside-out then outside-in. But there has been one constant – women make a difference.

In our current outside-in world of healthcare, consumer engagement and patient experience are not only phrases that are tossed around in meetings, they are integral priorities in most strategic plans and are critical to living out the promise of your brand. Engaging and activating women as the primary health influencer has become an even greater priority. It is how you make a difference. It is how you inspire a healthier community. It is how you impact your margin so that you can fulfill your mission.

After 20 years, I am still energized in that “can’t wait to start my day, can’t turn it off at the end of the day” kind of way to help hospitals strengthen their business and their brand by the way they activate women. It’s interesting to take a look back. When I started in this industry, we were called Spirit of Women. We were the first to do the work to understand how to reach, engage and activate women and translate that into measurable healthcare marketing solutions. Hospitals would partner with us for access to resources they could implement locally. We provided an awards program to honor unsung women heroes, event models and content through partnerships such as Prevention magazine and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, an exclusive photo library, and an annual conference to network with non-competing hospitals. We were the counterpoint to operational and clinical groups and conferences like National Association of Women’s Health and the Snowmass Institute.

However, there was, and still is, something more to what we provide. It’s not measurable in the typical sense, or even tangible – and that is inspiration.

Our capabilities and solutions have expanded over the years, and exponentially as we merged into Relevate Heath Group Inc. However, the reason I can’t wait to start my day and the reasons we are valued so much by our clients (some of which have been with us for 20 years) is that together we are inspiring healthier communities every day.

Our Essentials for WomenSM platform holds true to our roots. It includes everything that is “essential” for a hospital to build loyal relationships by connecting women and resulting in business growth. We have remained a “network” and only work with one hospital per market. We continue to bring all of our hospital leaders together for an annual conference to share success stories and learn about industry insights. What has changed is our depth and flexibility. Our solutions are tailored and packaged to meet individual client needs. Our clients are guided by a consultative team and subject matter experts, focused on strategy and activation, and our clients are provided with a 24/7 access portal to download materials and get ideas. And our market intelligence group has not only amassed a great deal of actionable information about the importance of women’s impact on healthcare, but they use the information to provide comprehensive ROI measurement and analysis.

Here are some key statistics from a recent Relevate Omnibus survey.

Women’s influence on healthcare decision-making:

  • 68% of their households
  • 41% outside of their households

Women’s impact on health action:

  • 41% decide when to see a doctor
  • 41% take action to make appointments
  • 25% make physician selections
  • 17% determine hospital choices

My favorite part of the year is our development cycle. In July of each year, we release new materials that have been hospital-vetted for strategy and utilization, and consumer-tested for motivational impact. These materials include a Madison Ave. quality creative and evidence-based content, with a distinctive voice that speaks to women, through digital and social campaigns. This year we have even created custom, healthy recipe videos.

When we rollout new materials to our hospitals, we discuss how to strategically align with their priorities, ways to customize for local activation, and how to measure success. Our clients are consistently demonstrating up to 7:1 ROI by marketing health to, and through, women. But, all that inspiration, consultation and success comes down to one thing – “She tells two friends, then they tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on.”

If you would like to hear more about how we have helped over 300 hospitals over the past 20 years, let’s talk. I would love to share the many success stories we have curated and discuss the strategy behind them.

Sharon Bittner

Chief Communications Officer

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