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7 Deadly Words of Healthcare Marketing

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2013

Being descriptive in healthcare marketing can be a challenge when you stop using the seven words that no longer have the power to distinguish your organization or its services from those of your competitors.

In the early 1970s, stand-up comedian George Carlin delivered what would become the bit he was best known for, "The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television." Google it and you'll be treated to a filthy and hilarious not-safe-for-work rant.

Hoping that a portion of that phrase stands the test of time, Paul Szablowski, vice president of public relations, marketing, and communications for Dignity Health, and Rob Rosenberg, president and brand strategy director for Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, have developed their own list of words to avoid in healthcare marketing.

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This "seven deadlies" list was part of their presentation on brand building with internal communications at the 18th National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit in Arizona held in early May by the Forum for Healthcare Strategists.

According Szablowski and Rosenberg, healthcare marketers should avoid using the following words in marketing messages, both internally and externally:

1. Comprehensive

2. Integrated

3. Continuum

4. Advanced

5. Care

6. Close

7. Multi-disciplinary

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

3 comments on "7 Deadly Words of Healthcare Marketing"


Nirav Desai (5/30/2013 at 3:15 PM)
This is a great list. I agree that these are generally meaningless to patients, but they might have been useful for providers at a time when they were underused. Now they are so overused that they are undifferentiating. They also try to be so "comprehensive" that they don't convey real benefits. I think the challenge that many healthcare marketers have is that they want to say so much that they have to try to come up with all-encompassing words. Instead, if they could spend more time understanding their target audience's hot buttons, they could focus their message around just those and be much more specific and benefit-oriented.

eric brody (5/30/2013 at 9:54 AM)
Everyone involved in healthcare marketing – whether they're on client or agency side of the desk – should certainly appreciate and be able to relate to your ideas. Rather than comment on each of the "7 deadly words" and whether they should NEVER be used internally or externally [INVALID] I think the more important idea is that healthcare marketing can much more effectively connect with and engage audiences in more meaningful ways. Eric Brody President, Trajectory

Patrick T. Buckley (5/29/2013 at 5:30 PM)
Seven more deadly words of healthcare marketing: Seamless System Personalized Experienced State of the art World Class Compassionate