Similarities Between Coffee and Marketing: Understanding Taste, Preferences, and Your Target Audience’s Needs Ultimately Improves Your Marketing

April 2, 2018

// By Lisa D. Ellis //

For one health system, extensive research served as a catalyst to bring staff members together to create a dynamic campaign that truly resonates with its target audience.

Linda MacCracken

Linda MacCracken, senior principal at Accenture

How often do you go to Starbucks and what do you order?

Your answer likely will be different from that of your co-worker or neighbor, since everyone has his or her own unique lifestyle and taste. The same premise also holds true when it comes to selecting health care services. Different people have different needs and preferences, so how do you market to them really depends on whom you target and what they care about, explains Linda MacCracken, senior principal at Accenture and adjunct lecturer on health policy and management at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health (and member of the Strategic Health Care Marketing Editorial Advisory Board).

It sounds like a simple concept, but when you apply this to your health care marketing, the results can be powerful.

Testing a Campaign to See If It Resonates

MacCracken recently shared this Starbucks example with a multidisciplinary group of employees from Renown Health in Reno, Nevada, to illustrate the importance of understanding and relating to your target audience.

More specifically, the group was brainstorming how best to market Senior Care Plus, a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by Hometown Health, Renown Health’s provider-owned health plan.

Suzanne B. Hendery, M.A., vice president & chief marketing officer for Renown Health

Suzanne B. Hendery, M.A., vice president & chief marketing officer for Renown Health

This was actually not the original campaign for Senior Care Plus. An advertising agency had created an earlier version to promote Hometown’s Medicare Advantage program, and the health system had planned to run them during the designated fall 2017 marketing period. The original campaign consisted of a combination of print ads, television spots, and enrollment event.

But before going to market with the new ads, Suzanne B. Hendery, M.A., vice president & chief marketing officer for Renown Health, decided to test some of the campaign elements to see how effective they would be. She had recently joined Renown and wanted to get a better feel for the market and make sure the messaging was truly on target.

“No one at Renown had ever done any ad testing before,” she points out. Therefore, she called on two experts she had worked with before to help her with growing the Medicare enrollment and senior loyalty. One expert was MacCracken and the other was Rob Klein, founder & CEO of Klein & Partners.


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