The Worst Practices in Medical Tourism Marketing III―Purple Prose
The great thing about the web is that even small companies can look big. The bad thing about the web is that small companies are tempted to manipulate search results by appearing to be different than they actually are.
Today’s example of the worst practices in medical tourism marketing is using purple prose in a press release that is actually a rather bold advertisement. Real press releases don't use promotional language, except in the "about us" section and even there, taste should rule. Releases should never, ever use purple prose that makes me blush with embarassment for the word choices made, full stop.
"The Goodness Company’s clients…small practices and large dental clinics alike are routinely earning $2 Million to $6 Million every year in dental tourism revenues. Succeeding in dental tourism is more than low rates and cheap vacations. Successful medical marketing communicates quality, confidence and security in the framework of a personal relationship. The Goodness Company understands the dynamics of successful dental tourism marketing. Discover how The Goodness Company transforms dental practices into global leaders in dental tourism."
Releases like this make me want to ask some questions, like:
Do your clients really earn $2 Million to $6 Million in extra revenue from MT every year? Really? Because, to my knowledge that would be some kind of a world record.
And, how exactly does advertising turn dental practices into global leaders in dental tourism?
Here's the Temptation
Search engines assume that your information hierarchy goes from most important to least important….because that is the way good writing should work. Accepted practice for press releases is to put “about” at the bottom of the page, underneath the newsworthy event, because it is a press release intended for news organizations, after all.
This means it is easy to try and fool search engines (and gullible readers) by weaving the “about” into the top of the release where the news lead is supposed to be. This choice means that company search pulls up the glowing things we say about ourselves where the newsworthy event should go. Diabolically clever…but total badness. Too clever by half, because it makes people like me want to point out that shady SEO work reveals how little purple prosers actually know about marketing. It also displays that they think potential clients are dumb.
As a colleague put it recently, how can a real customer tease out anything that is reliable among claims like?:
* Best doctors
* Best prices
* Cheapest prices
* Latest technology
* International certification
* Millions of Americans...
* Best service
* 75/80% of US/UK/Western Europe prices
The fact is that real customers cannot identify quality amidst hype. This is where the suppression effect occurs.
Here is a link to a particularly purple example of this practice.
Another Kind of Temptation
This release gets everything about marketing wrong. Trying to market your way to medical tourism business does not work in isolation from other efforts to actually build a strategy and a comparative advantage that gets you there.
There is one piece of news in the whole release that is actually noteworthy. It turns out that The Goodness Company is formally associated with the Medical Tourism Assoc., which markets with identical practices.
"The Goodness Company, in partnership with the Medical Tourism Association offers an extensive network of leading healthcare and medical tourism consultants to guide your cluster and cluster members to success."
Now, that's news. If this is really a partnership, is there risk of private benefit? Did the MTA put this contract out for competitive bid? Does the mention of $2 Million to $6 Million a year sound like an implied promise? Should companies that sell intangible services do this?