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I Suck, Therefore I Advertise.

Hospital marketers (and the CEOs who demand so little of them) try to advertise services they believe are distinctive.  They have no trouble finding an agency to spend their money, though they're frequently wrong about the 'distinctive' part.

Here's an article making the reverse case: bloated advertising budgets are a symptom of undistinguished, undifferentiated services.  Call it a tax on mediocrity. 

Says the article, "You will, in effect, be taxed in media dollars for what you failed to spend in research and development." 

And "Advertising is the tax you pay for a bad idea." (a quote attributed to Robert Stephens, founder, Geek Squad)
"Here's a startling fact: For what equals a rounding error in most big-brand ad budgets, companies could create meaningful new product(s) that would eliminate much of the required ad budget, thus saving themselves—while also earning—millions and millions of dollars."
Great products and services don't need much advertising.  Their fans do the work, raving, gushing, endorsing, spreading the word.
"...(g)reat ideas are increasingly turning viral. We say increasingly because with the advent of techno-charged social media, people can tell each other about their favorite innovation in the blink of an eye, with a click of a mouse. If something qualifies as truly great, you likely will hear about it from your network, not from advertisements."
So next time your agency tells you your media budget is too small, respond by saying you're thinking it may very well be too large.  Then go build something worth talking about.

And find a new agency while you're at it.

UPDATE:  A friend asked me if I was tacitly endorsing a return to "Build it and they will come" - a common hospital marketing approach from days of yore.  Or should I call it a "non-marketing" approach?  Regardless, the answer is NO!   Perhaps it's "Build it RIGHT and they'll be your evangelists!"  And that's better than any marketing budget.


Great post Steve and so true. Think the healthcare industry will ever learn? Oh wait, the Board see it, so therefore I am marketing!

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