Hockey & Health Care Marketing

If you’re anything like us, the NHL playoffs have had us rather preoccupied as of late. Keeping track of our beloved Lightning has become a part-time job it seems, but the road to the Stanley Cup has been an exciting one for the Tampa community.  Hockey is one of our favorite spectator sports because of its fast pace, unpredictable nature and of course, the impassioned fights… everyone knows that is the best part! You’re on the edge of your seat from the second the first period starts until the last buzzer goes off.

A “normal” person might not see the association between the high-intensity nature of hockey and the world of health care marketing. Being the health care nuts that we are though, we recognized a few lessons health care marketers can take away from watching all these exciting match ups.

Power Play: When one team’s player gets a penalty they have to play one person short, giving the opposing team the advantage.

-       When a team is on a power play, they have the opportunity score while the other team is at a disadvantage. In health care marketing, you could look at your competition to see where they are slacking in their marketing strategy and capitalize on that free space. For example, see if your competing practice has a YouTube channel. If they do not but you have 1 or 2 videos on yours, you have the advantage. By optimizing your channel and creating some short videos of interviews with your staff or virtual tours, you can take the lead in your community.


Icing: When a player shoots the puck across both the centerline and the other team’s goal line without getting touched.

-       When a player gets called for icing, the game stops and the crowd gets frustrated because it is usually an act of desperation. Too often marketers make the mistake of being reactive and throwing together campaigns in response to a challenge. Rather than letting yourself get to a point of desperation when your competition gets positive attention or when CMS makes changes, make sure to take the necessary time to be aware of potential hurdles and develop plans early.


Slashing: When a player swings their hockey stick at a player on the opposing team and it clearly is not going for the puck.

-       Slashing is a desperate attempt to hurt or distract another player and does nothing to advance positive play. Often times, we see health care marketers do the equivalent of slashing their competition, pointing out their negative qualities or reviews without pointing out how their own organization provides a solution to patient challenges. It’s okay to pick an opponent and it’s even okay to pick fair battles in your marketing plans, but remember that no one likes a bully.


(Read More: March Madness - Picking Your Health Care Plan)


Assists: When one player passes the puck to another player with a better opportunity to score.

-       Marketers often forget to consider the support they can gain from their network connections to improve their marketing campaigns. Look for opportunities where you can assist others in your community through donations of services, discounts or even just promoting them through your social media platforms or blogs. You can also find opportunities where others might be willing to assist in promoting your campaigns.


Hat trick: When a player scores three goals in one game.

-       You too can score a marketing hat trick. Remember when you’re creating content to repurpose it for multiple platforms. For instance, if you create a new video of a patient testimonial, don’t just post it on YouTube and call it a day. Be sure to embed it on your website or in a blog post, then post the video and the link to the blog/landing page on Facebook as well.


Be Like Wayne Gretzky: This hockey great is quoted saying, “Don’t go to where the puck is go to where the puck is going to be.”

-       This is great advice for finding scoring opportunities in hockey, but also in the world of health care marketing. We have the opportunity to think out of the box and be creative with our messaging when no on else in our industry has taken that step yet. By pulling creative marketing ideas from other industries you can get out ahead of the competition.


Hopefully these lessons can help refresh your marketing strategy and remind you to think a little out of the box. Remember, as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” so try something new and watch your patient volume grow.  In the meantime, don’t forget to cheer on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Go Bolts!