Over the last couple of years, my team and I have helped to create a few hospital mommy blogs. As someone who is tuned in to this trend, I’ve noticed that many marketing professionals look down their noses at mommy blogs. Some people even recoil at the mention of mommy blogs. The word “mommy” seems to be a challenge for many. My friend and healthcare marketer Chris Bevolo wrote a rant on his blog last year talking about his dislike for the term “mommy blogger.” To his credit, he did preface his comments by acknowledging the power of the mommy blog. Here’s an excerpt from his blog post (very funny and well worth a read):
I’m all for understanding this influential group and the power they may have for swaying consumers, so nothing against women with children who build communities on the Internet. I just hate the name – “mommy bloggers.” Go ahead, say it out loud – “mommy bloggers.” It’s so very cloying and irritating. I put in in the same category as “veggies” (“who wants veggies for lunch? me me me!”) or “tot” (“me and the tot had a great time at the museum of modern art today”).
Today, I am here to say that if you are a hospital marketer, you ought to be considering a woman’s blog or mommy blog to engage one of your most important constituencies. Moms out there are hungry for information and are looking to engage one another online. Want evidence? Here’s one quick example.
Two days ago a mommy blogger for one of the blogs my firm created and helps to manage wrote a post about melting down old bits of crayons that she had placed in Lego silicone ice cube trays. That’s right. These are trays designed to make Lego shaped ice cubes. But Robin, the blogger, used them to make Lego Crayons for her kids. Sounds cool but how much interest could a blog post like this generate? Well, I’ll tell you. On August 2 it generated 1,552 visits and on August 3 it brought in another 1,927 visits. Combined, that’s 3,479 visits in two days. What impressed me was that the post has generated 103 comments to date. That is engagement!
Is it important for your hospital to regularly engage moms (and other audiences)? Yes. Healthcare is undergoing a fundamental shift. We are moving from a transactional or episodic model of care to one where there will be much more continuity and more frequent communication with patients. If you are looking to have patients who are more compliant when it comes to wellness and prevention activities, whether it is related to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or whatever, it is going to take a different kind of relationship than the ones hospitals and physicians have fostered in recent times. Engaging patients and building community will be essential in making the new model of care a success.
So, via the mommy blog, and the daddy blog, and the 50+ blog! And start building relationships with your brand constituents. Marketing “at them” just won’t get it done in the future. You’ve got to start marketing “with them.” For those of you who look down your noses at mommy blogs, I would say that you are not in touch with your target audience. (Below is a chart showing two days of traffic to the Signature Moms blog where Robin’s post appeared.)
Check out Robin’s blog post at http://signaturemoms.com/2011/07/28/homemade-crayons/. While you’re there, look at all the comments. They will give you some sense for how eager moms are to share information with one another online. And remember that all of this was made possible by two hospitals that got together and decided to create a space online where this sharing could take place!
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer