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What 'Mad Men' Can Teach Hospital Marketers

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2012

It's okay to bend the rules, sometimes
If you watch Mad Men (and, if I haven't stressed this enough already, you should) you know the rules don't apply to Don. At least, that's what he would tell you.

The healthcare industry, on the other hand, is full of rules and regulation, and for good reason. Unfortunately, that tends to lead to a very standard, structured thought-process across hospital departments, which can stifle innovation.

As marketers, it's important to remember to step out of the box every once in a while. On Mad Men, the copywriters are always throwing a ball around, flipping through magazines, and drinking whiskey on the rocks in order to generate new ideas.

While those specific examples might not fly in today's workplace, especially that last one, there are some modern day equivalents. Attend as many healthcare marketing conferences as you can. If you can't afford to fly to any of the national conferences, check out local organizations' events and lectures.

Choose some hospital marketing role models and keep abreast of their initiatives. Mad Men's Peggy Olsen shoots from secretary to copywriter in just a few episodes, in part thanks to her mentor, Don. There's no reason you can't have a mentor, too.

A lot has changed since the 1960s, especially the patient experience. Mad Men's hospital scenes are cringe-worthy. But many of the old-school advertising idioms are true to this day. I'm sure Don would tell you the same thing, but he's too busy pouring himself another Old Fashioned.

 

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1 comments on "What 'Mad Men' Can Teach Hospital Marketers"


Rob Rosenberg (5/30/2012 at 1:21 PM)
Don Draper also suggests that "image is everything." That's a bit of the 1960's for sure. Today, brand marketers are seeing that transparency, genuineness, and corporate responsibility also pay big dividends. Wonder what Don would say to that?