5 Things Political Campaigns Can Learn from Healthcare Marketers

October 11, 2016  |  BVK


Dear Political Campaign Advertisers,

We healthcare marketers have been watching what you’re doing. We’re not here to tell you how to do your job, but it occurs to us that you might be able to learn a few things from us.  After all, we have a lot in common–we’re both trying to spur actions that will have long term effects; we’re working on tight deadlines and with tight budgets; and in order to be successful, we need to create compelling, clutter-cutting messages. Oh, AND our results, just like yours, need to be trackable. Basically, we’re both trying to convince a whole bunch of people to do stuff we want them to do.

Watching you make all manner of advertising mistakes in these last few weeks until the election is frankly making us crazy so if you could do a few of these things, that’d be great.

Healthcare Advertising Pro-Tips:

  1. Have a strong brand strategy. You’ve certainly developed your “brand house”, right? You’ve defined your brand’s essence, its personality and how you need to position it to be the answer to identified gaps in the market so that you can keep all your efforts on point. Or on fleek. Or both.

We know you’re constantly reacting to whatever is trending (the latest polls, Miss Piggy, tax returns, Basement Dwellers, so many shiny objects), but you’ve gotta do this so your messaging holds together. Right now it’s kind of a mess.

  1. Stop talking to ALL OF THE PEOPLE. Identify your high-priority targets. As we like to say when we have a really big overall audience, like every adult in America, you “can’t boil the ocean”, so figure out who, specifically, is your highest priority and Dive. In. Deep. Hyper-target your messaging and media plans. You have data about your likely voter–Big Brother the heck out of it.
  1. Message around benefits and not features. You’re telling us a lot about what your candidate-brand is going to do (features), but not how that’s going to help us (benefits). Just like in healthcare, we have to talk less about what we do and more about how it affects the end user. We’ve learned that people really want us to connect all of those dots and tell them why they should care. Here’s a quick example: healthcare feature–rated a top 10 hospital in the country; healthcare benefit–you have access to excellent care when you need it. Less YOU and more US.
  1. Show some heart. In healthcare advertising, we’ve figured out consumers tend to make high consideration decisions based first on emotion and then they look for the facts to support that emotional decision. Find your core human truth and “werk” it. Said another way: What is the single aspirational promise that will motivate desired behaviors? Here’s an example: maybe a healthcare brand has better cancer outcomes than its competitors so it positions around how a patient will feel (i.e. courageous) when they are treated there. Maybe your candidate represents a feeling that people want to identify with, like intelligence or love or compassion. Tie all your candidate’s beliefs back to that emotion. Will voting for your candidate make me feel like I’m smart? That’d be cool.
  1. Put the facts right there. After people make a high consideration decision based on emotion, they need to back-fill with the facts or they’ll change their minds. Drop breadcrumbs to the stack of facts that make your brand promise believable. The easiest way to do that is to use vanity URLs that point to the perfect (specific) landing page. If you are talking about a world without school shootings, create a URL like “NoMoreGuns”. You can have scads of these. One for every FEATURE of your candidate’s brand. They’re practically free. Go nuts.

We’re sure that the economy is better off because of all the money you’re pumping into ads right now, but, honestly, it hurts to see you do it badly. It’s not too late to implement some of our ideas. Let us know if you have questions or concerns.


Your Friends in the Healthcare Advertising Industry

P.S. Have you had a physical lately? All that stress, late nights and fast food is bad for you. Google it.


is a full-service, Top 25 independent advertising agency.

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