How Content Marketing Can Change the Healthcare Marketing Ethics Dilemma

Last year at MASHSMD in Annapolis, attendees engaged in an incredibly interactive presentation from Bioethical Services of Virginia’s Michael Gillette, Ph.D., on the ethics of healthcare marketing. He challenged attendees to think through potential ethical dilemmas associated with advertising outcome data. Is it ethical, for example, to claim the lowest infection rates — when your rates are just a fraction of a point lower than your competitors’?

Healthcare marketers no doubt grapple with these types of questions regularly. But when done well, content marketing can help marketers avoid certain ethical dilemmas.

It’s non-interruptive marketing. Instead of pitching your products and services — and shouting from the rooftops about how great you are — you’re delivering information that helps buyers become more knowledgeable. It’s the expectation that by consistently delivering valuable information, buyers will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.

What does content marketing look like in practice? Rather than promotional marketing about you, you engage in customer-centric storytelling about them. For example:

  • Rather than promote why your heart surgeons are better than your competitors’, tell the story of a heart surgery patient. Show how he’s been able to enjoy playing with his grandkids and traveling with his wife again thanks to a successful surgery and rehab.
  • Instead of promises of your smoking cessation program’s success rate, create content around tips for quitting for good, the top five reasons to quit and a timeline of how quitting will impact your life.
  • Rather than advertising the credentials of your top doctors, feature them as experts who address common patient questions.

It’s all about elevating your customers over your brand. How are you moving away from promotional marketing and towards content marketing?