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Merchandising Your Marketing Effort

As healthcare marketing professionals, it is important that we continually demonstrate our value to the organization. In a world where much of what we do is not understood, showing impact to the bottom line is the ultimate justification for our existence.

Beyond ROI, it is a good idea to continually communicate with stakeholders within our organizations about what actions we’re taking to market the institution. Whether we’re talking about PR, advertising, or direct marketing, there are a number of ways to make our work higher profile with key internal audiences. These efforts have the potential of actually improving the impact of the marketing by creating well-informed brand ambassadors. The key to each of these tactics is to leverage the marketing by sharing them with your internal constituents. These avenues include entering work in industry awards competitions (and then promoting the success internally); submitting campaigns to industry publications for review; writing articles for healthcare marketing publications (then post on your Intranet); presenting at regional and national conferences; and above all, merchandising the marketing efforts through internal communications.

The most basic and direct of these tactics involves internal communication, making sure internal audiences are aware of your department’s marketing efforts. Before launching any campaign externally, it is helpful to take the following steps within your institution:

  • Present the creative to department heads and leaders within the institution.
  • If a specific department is being marketed, make sure everyone within that department is familiar with the creative, and give them copies of the media plan.
  • Preview the new campaign in your internal newsletter(s).
  • Post electronic copies of campaign elements (TV commercials, print ads, etc.) on your Intranet.
  • Promote the campaign by way of a poster program throughout your institution. You can also preview TV commercials on television monitors throughout the hospital.
  • Consider hosting a campaign preview party.

Not only does this communication put your work in the spotlight, but it also helps to create informed brand ambassadors within your organization.

On a smaller scale, if you are launching a new print ad for a specific department, it is good practice to have the ad enlarged and framed for presentation to the department. Similarly, when you send out a press release and receive media hits, take the time to create PDFs of the articles and share them with your internal clients and leadership. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve emailed a PDF of an article to a department only to find that they were completely unaware that they had received this publicity.

The message here is simple: You can’t maximize the power of your marketing if internal audiences aren’t in the loop, and you can’t get credit for your good work if people don’t know about it. So do yourself a favor and take the time to merchandise your marketing effort. You’ll find that it creates more energy and excitement around your institution’s marketing.

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