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The New Joe Public Book Is Here!

“The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!”

Anyone of a certain age or a truly sophisticated cinematic taste will recognize that line, and I think it’s an appropriate callout to introduce the launch of the third and final Joe Public book, Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing, which hits bookshelves today. Not just because hospitals across the country are finally eliminating yellow pages advertising from their marketing mix. More, because it reflects how change happens over time. We can forgive movie character Navin R. Johnson for his excitement in seeing his name in the new phone book (if you haven’t seen The Jerk, I recommend it, though bring your 1980’s cultural sensitivity with you). But the very idea that the arrival of phone books was a thing to note at all seems almost impossible these days. Once upon a time, though, it was kind of a big deal when the new phone book arrived. But things change—sometimes the change seems slow and ponderous—and then one day you look up, and no one uses the phone book anymore.

In a way, that’s what the new Joe Public book is all about. For the past 15 years, I’ve been loudly proclaiming the need for deep, meaningful change in the way hospitals and health systems market themselves to their audiences. I haven’t been the only one, of course, but the first Joe Public book, Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital, was a call to arms for change, a loud, humorous, no-holds-barred rant against the often backward and ineffective approaches to marketing in this industry. The second book, Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm, was more of a field guide for change, focused specifically on how to adopt digital and content marketing, in lieu of mass promotional advertising, as the primary focus of marketing efforts. Those books, released in 2011 and 2014 respectively, feel almost quaint now in terms of the changes they focus on. Because things have changed, in some cases dramatically. That’s what Joe Public III celebrates.

In the new book, we combined our understanding of the changing healthcare landscape with the input of 12 of the top health system marketers in the country to identify what we call the “New Imperatives.” If you want to join the top marketers in the industry at the leading edge of effectiveness and innovation, you will want to maximize your efforts in these six areas:

  • leading with digital marketing
  • leveraging marketing as a true business driver
  • owning the consumer experience
  • embracing data-driven marketing
  • moving to a “health”-oriented brand
  • adopting new or contrarian approaches

Some of these will seem obvious—the chapter for the first imperative is actually titled “Digital Dominates (Duh)”— and some are still emerging. But collectively, they represent the “new” best practices for health system marketers, and they are outlined extensively in the book. We’ve also provided insights into what makes those 12 marketing leaders tick.

In the end, this book is a celebration of the idea that we, as an industry, can shake off the negative connotations associated with “hospital marketing,” now that we’ve caught up to, and in some cases surpassed, other industries when it comes to marketing savvy. It’s more than just putting yellow pages advertising in the dustbin of marketing history. It’s that great “hospital marketing” is really now just “great marketing,” which is ushering in the “end of hospital marketing” as we used to know it.

You can buy the book now on Amazon, but stay tuned here for more on these topics. We’ll use the book as a platform for engaging you and others on how the New Imperatives are shaping our industry.

April 19, 2018
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