You’re a healthcare marketing director. You’re standing over a table of proposed ads, looking for a few to run in the upcoming months. Most of them are exactly what you would expect: the same message you usually run, the same language and the same visuals. Then there’s that one ad that curiously attracts you with its completely different look and feel ... but alas, you know you could never run it. It’s just too ... different. Each of your stakeholders would have questions and concerns. Too big a risk. So you eliminate it.
You made the safe choice. Or maybe not.
In this age of over-communication, how many marketing messages pelt your target every day? A Yankelovich study found that from 1976 to 2006 an average consumer’s exposure to marketing messages went from around 2,000 messages a day to over 5,000. And that was before email campaigns, social media and online ads grew to the importance they have today. Now the patients you most want to target are swimming in a sea of up to 20,000 marketing messages a day.
Aside from the overwhelming volume of messages flooding your potential patients, there is the overwhelming sameness of many of them. This is particularly true in healthcare marketing where marketers too often succumb to the instinct (or pressure from stakeholders) to copy their competitors.
Research tells us that most consumers won’t consciously notice more than 15 of those 20,000 messages each day, and the average number they will actually act on will be far lower.
So as you look over that table, surveying your safest prospective ads, ask yourself: Will any of these marketing messages rise to the level of being one of the 15 your prospective patients will consciously remember? Or will it be one of the 19,895 they never even notice?
When you look at it that way, putting your marketing dollars on what you think is a safe bet might give you the worst odds of all.