marketing during coronavirus

Real Talk About Healthcare Marketing During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Patrick Dodge


We are a couple weeks into the quarantine life now, and many newly minted remote marketers and salespeople are trying to respectfully sell their products and services.

There are no clear answers on how to do this, but I'm certain of one thing. Doing the same thing you were doing before and just adding “We hope you are well during this uncertain time” to your messaging will NOT get you anywhere.

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from salespeople over the last two weeks that are completely tone deaf to the context of my life right now. I can’t blame them for trying, but I can be disappointed by their lack of thoughtfulness. 

This is a time to have a real discussion about how marketers can be productive at a time like this.

The way I see it, the difference between adding value and creating noise comes down to one thing: Utility (or as Jay Baer might say, Youtility).

What can we all offer the health and wellness community that addresses the priorities of right now? This requires some thinking about where the real needs are.

At Creative Side, we help businesses grow using inbound marketing, sales enablement, and customer experience strategies. A big part of that is creating helpful content that educates the healthcare community.

When the crisis accelerated, we didn't abandon our work exactly, but we did shift the focus to helping clients strengthen relationships with people. The game had changed overnight, and we needed to serve the community in a better, more memorable way.

Today, I'm going to share what we learned, and give you a few real examples of what is working for us.

The Response Must Agree With Your WHY.

Does your company have a clear sense of purpose? Do your employees  show up to work every day motivated to push that social mission forward?

As Simon Sinek explained in his best-selling book, Start With WHY, organizations that are good at communicating and living by a clear sense purpose not only withstand the test of time, they never have to resort to discounts, promotions, and other manipulations to grow. They thrive because people believe in them.

Before deciding on a marketing and sales strategy for the “new normal” we are facing now, it’s critical to make sure it supports and enhances WHY your company does what it does.

This is rule number one.

"What can you offer the health and wellness community that addresses the priorities of right now?"

Find Communication Gaps in Your Supply Chain. 

No matter what your company specializes in – supplements, lab testing, software, medical devices, or something else – there are critical informational gaps that exist in the supply chain.

One of the most effective steps you can take now is to use your expertise and skills to fill those gaps for your customers.

When things got really serious in March, I was glued to social media along with everyone else. What information were people sharing? Memes and articles about hoarding toilet paper, social distancing, and tutorials on washing your hands.

I didn’t see a single word about how to support your immune system and stay healthy.

One of our clients produces high quality dietary supplements for medical professionals and consumers, and some of those products are designed specifically for immune support.

We also know the practitioners they serve often struggle with getting people to understand the real foundation strong immunity -- eating the right foods, getting better rest and exercise, and controlling the stress in our lives.

People need to know about this, and no one is talking about it.

We had found our gap. Then, we needed a plan to get actionable information out there.

Creating “Private Label Emails” for Practitioners

Our concept was simple. We were going to make it easy for practitioners to share the steps to immune health with their patients.

First, we sent them “private label emails” they could share with their patients, explaining how to support their immune system while in quarantine. All doctors had to do was download the text and paste it into an email to their patients.

This response was awesome. You can see the open and click rates below:


Simplify the Message. Make it Visual.

Emails were a nice start, but we needed other formats for sharing the message.

It needed to be simple and memorable, so we created an acronym that covers the basic steps of protecting your body’s immune response. We called it S.E.T.U.P a Healthy Immune System. 

Like the emails that came before, we encouraged practices to put their own logos on these assets and share with their patients. We wanted medical professionals to own this campaign and empower people to take charge of their health instead of sitting on the sofa and eating potato chips. 

We recreated the artwork in PowerPoint to make it easy for them.


Even though we created these assets for our client, they agreed we should share non-branded versions with the entire community.

We encourage you to join the conversation and spread the word as well. You can download the artwork here (no personal info required):

Download S.E.T.U.P. 

This initiative is not just about selling products (although supplements are an important piece of foundational health). It’s about helping people maintain their wellness during the greatest health crisis the world has seen in a hundred years.

Will all this effort have any positive impact at all? Who knows.

Regardless of what happens, I will know we stayed true to our WHY of using passion, creativity, and honesty to inspire business who believe in what's possible, and help them disrupt for the better.  

That's all I can control. And right now, it's enough.  

Apr 6, 2020 12:28:27 PM