A Clinical Marketing Lesson From a Smoking Doctor and Maya Angelou

Take a look at this great old vintage ad I found on the internet. My how times have changed — and advertising along with it!

But some things haven’t changed, in advertising, namely, the same basic human desires need to be fulfilled today just as much as they did 50 or even 150 years ago: better health, improved appearance, praise from others, social advancement…

The great late writer Maya Angelou, who passed away this week, had this great quote to say which applies to your clinical marketing as much as it does to our lives:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Really effective marketing evokes feeling. It’s not just about getting your name out there, but getting your prospective patients to feel something that then propels them to take action — a desire to look better for their daughter’s wedding, a desire NOT to look like their mother did when she was their age.

Would this cigarette ad have evoked feeling back in the 50s when it ran? Absolutely. Actually it was one of Camel’s most successful ad campaigns. It’s a statement about class, about sophistication. It speaks to that inner most desire we all have to win other people’s approval. It evokes feeling.

The worst way to market your practice is to use clinical marketing that doesn’t evoke feeling. That’s simply fact-based. People don’t buy based on facts. We buy based on feelings and then justify with facts (if you don’t believe me then just look at all the luxury cars on the road — cars get us from A to B — if we all bought based on facts we’d likely all be driving inexpensive Hondas). People won’t choose your practice necessarily because your qualifications are superior to your colleagues. They’ll certainly use your qualifications as a justification once they’ve made a decision, but they’re far more likely to decide based on the softer stuff — how you come across on your website and whether you seem like a nice person who genuinely cares.

The worst kind of marketing you can use in your practice is the kind that makes a person feel nothing. It’s boring. It’s dry. It’s…well, easy to ignore.

On your drive home tonight and over the weekend, start paying attention to the ads you see, and think about what kind of emotion they evoke. But most especially, pay attention to the things that you buy and ask yourself, “What really made me buy it?” You might be surprised at the answer.