Ready to Launch? Check Again.

As marketers, we get excited about launching new campaigns to reach new consumers and attract new patients. The creative is fresh and compelling; the media buy is brilliant. But are you really ready?  Will your brand deliver the experience it promises to create through communication? If not, maybe you’re not ready to launch.

A client recently requested a campaign strategy to promote their primary care practices. With more primary care physicians and more locations in the county than any competitor, they should be the most accessible primary care group.  And they were ready to promote this key differentiator.

I did what we always do with our clients, I mystery shopped online and by phone. I quickly realized they weren’t ready to claim to be the most accessible primary care brand. And they certainly weren’t ready to launch a campaign with that claim.

In reality it was far easier for a first-time patient to see one of their competitors than to see one of their employed physicians. The brand was actually more difficult to access online and by phone.

Here’s what my secret shopping revealed:

  • Their information on Google for each location was incomplete and in some cases inaccurate.
  • Hours of operation were incorrect, inconsistent or not listed at all.
  • Their hours of operation were not as long as their competitors.
  • I couldn’t reach someone to make an appointment until after 8:30 a.m. I could reach their competitors at 7:00 a.m., or I could schedule with them online anytime.
  • I couldn’t make an appointment without knowing which physician I wanted to see. BUT, I couldn’t find bios of their physicians online.
  • The wait times to get an appointment varied by location and physician.
  • Their urgent care hours of operation were shorter than their competitors every day of the week.

If they had begun to promote their services as the most accessible, they would have created frustration with each new patient who attempted to make an appointment. It is also likely that consumers influenced by their campaign to search for their primary care physicians might actually find their competitors more easily.

Before deciding to promote any service line, it is always best to conduct a readiness assessment to ensure your organization can truly welcome new patients with a positive experience. Look at your organization through a consumer’s eyes so you can meet or exceed expectations at key touchpoints. Or ask an objective third party to take the journey as if they were a new patient. We all have blind spots when it comes to our own brand or organization.

So take the extra step to understand the real journey a new patient may experience. Check the ease with which a new customer can become a patient. Look for opportunities to improve the experience of becoming a patient. Not only will you be ready to launch, you will have the best chance for a successful launch.