A 'warm hug': Why Virtua Health favors 'caring' over 'combative' language in marketing

When Marlton, N.J.-based Virtua Health needs advice for a new marketing campaign, it asks its patients what they think.

The five-hospital system often turns to its consumer panel of 36,000 people for advice.

"If we're going to create a new service, if we're going to name something, if we're going to pull levers around what would be more valuable to the consumers in terms of convenience, we're asking the panel for that feedback first," Chrisie Scott, Virtua Health's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told Becker's. "That is what helps the brand get that traction because we're not just creating it in a vacuum. We are doing it together and co-creating it with our community."

Those consumers appreciate having a voice, as the $2 billion nonprofit health system was voted the 42nd most trusted brand in healthcare, according to a May study from marketing agency Monigle.

Ms. Scott often hears from those people directly. After the health system ran an oncology campaign emphasizing the "language of caring" over the "combative, war-like" terminology so often used in healthcare, one patient texted Ms. Scott to tell her it felt like a "warm hug," Ms. Scott said.

"If there's one thing that Virtua and our team are poised to do better than most others, it's the intentional use of language in a way that really touches people's hearts and minds toward improving their health and their lives," she said.

Virtua Health's marketing is also data-driven, propelled by consumer behavior analytics to be more precise. That also helps show its worth.

"A lot of times marketing is considered a cost center in a budget," said Ryan Younger, vice president of marketing for Virtua Health. "What we've been working on is really turning that into being perceived more as a revenue generator. The ways that we're pulling all of our storytelling together and analytics is about growing profitable volume. We have to be able to demonstrate that."

Virtua Health marketing staffers also assist such departments as IT with digital transformation, human resources with retention and recruitment, and philanthropy with fundraising efforts. Marketing has even been tapped to help with managed care negotiations.

"The breadth of marketing and communications is now very much a connective force within the organization, and that was not always the case," Ms. Scott said. "This is a real opportunity to pull an organization together beyond just marketing and communications in a traditional way."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars