Marketing is all about developing relationships with audiences. Take it from Manny Rodriguez, the CMO of UCHealth and a true renegade thinker. Rodriguez changed the university clinical network’s image by marketing for people, not to them. Through storytelling, he provides a personal touch to advertising that other hospital networks can’t match.
On the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, Manny Rodriguez chats with Drew Neisser about how he revamped UCHealth’s marketing strategy.
Here are the episode’s highlights:
The Right Man for the Job
Business is personal for Rodriguez. Prior to joining the UCHealth team, he was being treated there for leukemia. After receiving care from multiple medical institutions, he’s now leukemia-free. Rodriguez has a new lease on life and dedicates his career to helping patients with terminal illnesses. “Being a survivor of ultimately a disease that takes many lives is a motivator for everything I do,” Rodriguez says. His experience as a former patient makes him the perfect fit to advertise healthcare to people needing assistance.
Passionate team members drive businesses. Since Rodriguez had been in the prospect’s shoes, he is determined to assist those who require medical care. His heartfelt leadership allowed the marketing team at UCHealth to deliver a personal message that garnered genuine engagement with patients.
The Marketing Strategy Gets a Checkup
According to Rodriguez, the bar for marketing is set low in the healthcare industry. “All health marketing is really inward focused,” he says. “It’s about, ‘Hey, look how great we are’…But we’ve gotten away from the fact that what we do is about the patient.” To remedy this, UCHealth developed a patient-centric campaign. Rodriguez’s team wanted to let the audience know that patients are the heroes at UCHealth—not the institutions.
Rodriguez’s team toiled over 18 months of initial research and conducted countless interviews to get the project off the ground. The end result was a series of short videos like this:
You can’t help but shed a few tears after listening to Peyton’s story. UCHealth doesn’t tout itself as Peyton’s saving grace. She is the protagonist. Rodriguez acknowledges the power these videos have. “You really feel, hear, and sense the heartache and the emotion and the feeling in the story,” he says. Appropriately, UCHealth’s tagline is “Your life. Your story.”
Advertising Is Only Half the Battle
For UCHealth’s strategy to work, it needed to practice what it preached. Rodriquez wanted to tune up the peripherals of hospital visits. “I walk into the hospital feeling sick. My expectation is I will walk out feeling better,” he says. “But then there’s everything else: How easy was it to make an appointment? How easy was it to park my car? What was the food in the cafeteria?” Right down to the music playing in the hallway, Rodriguez’s team revamped the patient experience inside and out.
Lesson Learned: It’s Not All About You
As UCHealth demonstrates, brands shouldn’t toot their own horn. Marketers should show concern for the prospects, and make the advertisements about them. In your own marketing ambitions, try to strike a chord with your audience. Even if you struggle to make your idea heard, keep pressing. Rodriguez says it best: “You gotta believe in yourself, and you have to believe in the idea. You have to fight for the idea, and don’t give up…Persevere. Keep fighting. Keep pushing forward.”