How Checklists Can Help Hospital Marketers Reach Women

Checklists can break down complexity, reduce risk and improve connections with female consumers.

I recently listened to a “Hidden Brain” episode about the power checklists have to save lives in hospital settings. By implementing a surgical checklist process, mortality rates can be reduced by as much as 47 percent. They’ve also been shown to reduce gender bias in hospitals, leading to better outcomes for women.

These staggering and fascinating statistics got me thinking about the value of transforming complexity into simplicity to eliminate failure points. There’s a plethora of evidence about how checklists can help reduce human errors in complex fields like medicine and aviation. Could they help hospital marketers do a better job at the complex task of connecting with women? Just as healthcare has become more complex over time and medical professionals have experienced increasing pressure to have ever-greater levels of expertise, a similar shift has happened in marketing healthcare — especially to women.

The problem for both, in a nutshell: When we’re drawing from such a massive, complex data pool, how can we remember to implement all the components that will lead to a successful outcome?

The answer is beautifully simple: Use checklists.

Below are four tenets of a successful checklist, along with tips for how hospital marketers can use them to create targeted, effective work that reaches women.

  1. A good checklist doesn’t spell everything out down to the last detail; instead, it provides reminders of the most important steps in your work process.
    • For hospital marketers, this might include steps like ensuring each campaign has SEO and social media support, reviewing the work for unnecessary gendering and including time for consumer testing with a group of women who are in the market for your services.
  2. Checklists are great for repetitive tasks and challenges.
    • Marketers love creative freedom, but we have to balance that against effectiveness. A checklist for a creative team working on a hospital marketing campaign aimed at women might include ticking off boxes like:
      • Ensure all CTAs are appealing to a female demographic.
      • Ensure the work addresses women’s specific concerns as they shop for healthcare.
      • Ensure the work is approachable, honest and informative — qualities women value when shopping for healthcare.
  1. Checklists help you verify that the essential tasks get done in the right order.
    • Marketing campaigns only come to life when specific steps are followed, from concepting to creation, from client approvals to media purchasing, performance reporting and more. Instead of crafting a new project plan for each campaign, develop a template with the steps you know are important to include every time. This way, nothing gets missed.
  2. They free up our brains to deal with the more esoteric aspects of our work.
  • When hospital marketers know we’ve nailed the basics, it gives us more freedom to imagine ourselves in our consumers’ shoes. This always improves the quality and efficacy of our work.
Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as managing director of Stratos and previously as CEO of Northlich, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.
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