Your marketing message isn’t just going up against your competitors’ when it comes to standing out to your target audience. Noise from friends, colleagues, strangers and other brands are all on the same digital channels and getting in the way. So how do you stand out? How do you succeed in this type of environment?
The secret isn’t to go viral – it’s about connecting.
Let me introduce you to a concept Jay Baer (@jaybaer) brought to my attention at Social Brand Forum called “Youtility.” Youtility is marketing people would pay for because it’s so useful to them. But it’s free! No, it’s not a promotional campaign.
Jay Baer’s Three Types of Youtility:
- Self-Serve Information: As Jay said, “People are secret shopping you like ninjas now.” When people come to your healthcare organization’s website are they finding answers to all the questions they have? Answers to their questions should be available at their fingertips so they can focus on what they really need to know. Questions create friction which prevents people from converting through to whatever action you want them to take. These consumers are going to do their research. Make sure one of the resources they find about you is created and messaged by you.
- Radical Transparency: “A list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef.” In every industry there will be one organization that is the best teacher. When they share useful knowledge consumers begin to trust that organization. Healthcare marketers already have access to a wide range of resources that can be leveraged for this purpose. Why not utilize them?
- Real-Time Relevancy: “You are better off being very useful in one circumstance than kinda useful in many.” Jay used a few examples here, but the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and their Car Seat Helper mobile application really stood out. Phoenix Children’s Hospital obviously doesn’t sell car seats. But they listened to their consumers and knew that they were constantly finding themselves looking at a wall of car seats while being uncertain about which one exactly to buy. Instead of making an app that would only be used once, they developed one so relevant that it would be useful over and over again. Phoenix Children’s Hospital transcended their brand and found a way to provide value to their consumers at the exact moment it was needed.
The big take away here is to do the right kind of research. The most obvious way to find out what questions your current and potential consumers have is to ask them. In a world where advertising and promotional campaigns are getting more and more aggressive, Youtility stresses the importance of “being a farmer, not a hunter.” Take the time to discover how you can be the most useful to your audience.
Youtility is a Process, Not a Project
Once you’ve created something cool and useful, now what? At this point Jay says it’s time to “market your marketing.” Develop a launch plan to promote your marketing material. Don’t forget this critical step. Phoenix Children’s Hospital had a very small team and a 60-day roll out plan for the app. Yet in the end they had over 300,000 downloads. People crave Youtility. Useful information spreads like wildfire across social media.
Being helpful is the new viral.