All brand choice—including hospital choice—takes place in both the head and the heart. Selection is driven by rational and, importantly, non-rational reasons.

Unfortunately, most hospital advertising emphasizes rational reasons why consumers should choose a hospital and overlooks the important emotional reasons—people’s values, beliefs and personalities—that influence choice.

The need to complement the rational reasons for hospital selection with a more complete understanding of the role non-rational factors play propelled SPM Marketing & Communications to create the The SPMAmerican Health & Life Study. This nationally representative study of 4,000 consumers combines a custom health survey with an extensive survey of people’s values, beliefs and personalities.*

The SPM American Health & Life Study enables SPM to uncover rich consumer insights into target segments that directly impact the communications programs we develop for our clients. For example:

  • Finding out that fans of Academic Medical Centers consider themselves intellectually sharp, confident, assertive and inquisitive helped shape messaging that appealed to their “brainier than thou” personality.
  • Moving beyond the idea that people who are averse to using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are just less enamored of technology, we also discovered they tend to be more disengaged from making decisions in general and about healthcare specifically. This finding guided us to develop a campaign that demystified the process of using an EHR while demonstrating its benefits in simple, engaging and non-threatening ways.
  • Learning that people who have been treated for cancer often emerge from therapy empowered and inclined to live life to the fullest led to service line advertising that showed cancer patients as vibrant people with a rich future to look forward to.

Insights - Chart

These three snapshots from The SPM American Health & Life Study demonstrate why you need to know what consumers want out of life to better understand what they want out of your hospital.

As the healthcare industry undergoes seismic change, and with marketing budgets required to do more with less, it’s imperative to know much more about consumers than you have in the past. You need to go beyond the rational reasons and uncover the non-rational motivations that underlie hospital selection.

*The psychographic questions are from the DDB Life Style Study, to which SPM has exclusive access.

Get the Full Story

To receive a copy of SPM’s most recent Red Paper “Getting Below the Surface: The Importance of Deeper Consumer Insights” that talks in depth about The SPM American Health & Life Study, please visit our website at

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