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What's Your Marketing Message?

How you market yourself truly matters.

draft: by Shanise Keith • last updated: December 27, 2021


Whether you're employed by the lab, the nursing department, the ED, staff education, or any other department at your facility, you're also in marketing.

Believe it or not, you were hired to help your employer market their services to those who need healthcare. How well do you represent your employer, department, and manager to those who you encounter every day? What do your actions, speech, appearance, and personality say about your employer? Whatever it is, that's your marketing message and patients use it to choose where to obtain their healthcare services.

Customers have choices from where to obtain healthcare services, and when enough of them choose your employer, you get to keep your job. When enough of them go elsewhere because they don't like your marketing message, you get to lose your job. That's how a free-market economy works. Your marketing message is delivered at least four ways.

Sloppy lab and unprofessional phlebotomist

Skill --- nobody buys a car that konks out on the test drive. In fact, not only will a customer not buy that particular car, he's not likely to buy any car from that dealer. After all, why buy a car from someone who thought the one you just drove was worthy of his lot? Surely the others passed no greater scrutiny. Likewise, few patients will come back and let the same phlebotomist stick them who disappointed them the last time. They're not even likely to come back to the same lab, thinking all the cars on the lot must be the same.

Appearance --- When a mechanic crawls out from under a vehicle covered in grease, dirt and sweat, his marketing message is "I'm not afraid to get a little dirty if that's what it takes to fix your car."  But when patients see you, they must see clean.
    When a patient sees your scrubs clean and tidy, your nails trimmed, your appearance well groomed and a smile on your face, your marketing message is "When I'm not cleaning my hands and nails, I'm thinking about how to make you glad you came here for your lab work."  You can't trust a dirty healthcare professional anymore that you can trust a clean mechanic.

Speech --- Even the tidiest phlebotomist can scare off customers if they don't speak plainly, knowledgeably, sincerely and with polish. Do you answer patient questions with genuine authority or do you use speculation presented as fact? Do you answer in terms that are either beyond the patient's understanding or insulting their intelligence? All of these are delicate differentiations that are best when simplified. All patients want to know is 1) you're glad to see them, 2) you know your subject, 3) you're honest, and 4) you care.

Personality --- No marketing message is complete, or genuine, until it's wrapped in personality. This is where you separate yourself from a robot. Robots can be technically flawless, impeccably clean and tidy, and be programmed to articulate clearly and intelligently. Your personality is what makes you human, unique, endearing, and alive. It's also what makes your marketing message effective. Patients won't return for more attitude, indifference, complaints about your employer, or negativism. They will return for your enthusiasm, confidence, and the way you exude how much you enjoy your work.

Smiling professional phlebotomist

Take a personal inventory of the degree to which your marketing message is delivered in each of these four ways. Ask yourself if you are effectively selling your employer's services, or discouraging repeat visits.

Deep down, you probably don't feel like a sales person; you may not even want to be one. You're a healthcare professional, and you delivery a high-quality product: your expertise. Your expertise is why you were hired; your marketing message is what keeps you there.

What's your marketing message?

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