Ambush Marketing

Strategies In Healthcare
Ambush Marketing

The competitive world of healthcare is becoming harder for a brand to stand apart. Attracting new patients requires a very strategic marketing toolbox. Traditional methods are effective, but what about thinking outside the box? Ambush marketing sounds aggressive but it’s a subtle way of piggybacking on the work of others. When done ethically, can be a powerful tool for doctors, hospitals, and physician groups.


Traditional vs. Ambush Marketing


Traditionally, healthcare marketing involves promoting your brand directly through ads, social media campaigns, and sponsorships. Ambush marketing, however, takes a more subtle approach. It leverages existing high-profile events or competitors’ marketing efforts to indirectly promote your own brand. Let them do the heavy-lifting. Hop on and piggyback on their hard work.

In healthcare, this might involve sponsoring a local health fair, partnering with a community sports team for health education initiatives, or even placing strategically targeted ads near competitor locations (following ethical guidelines, of course).

The Nuances of Healthcare Ambush Marketing

Healthcare marketing is a unique beast. Unlike promoting sneakers or soda, you’re dealing with sensitive patient information and ethical considerations. Here’s how ambush marketing needs to be adapted for the healthcare field:

  • Focus on Patient Education: Don’t bombard audiences with self-serving messages. Instead, provide valuable information about a particular condition or treatment your practice specializes in.
  • Maintain Professionalism: Healthcare marketing requires a high degree of professionalism. Avoid outlandish tactics or anything that could be perceived as misleading.
  • Compliance is Key: Adhere to all HIPAA regulations and industry guidelines.

Here’s the key: etiquette is paramount. Avoid misleading tactics or negativity towards competitors.

Strategies for Ambush Marketing


Community Events: Partner with local health fairs or sponsor charity walks/runs related to your specialty. This positions you as a community leader.

Social Media Engagement: Join conversations around trending health topics. Offer insights and educational content without directly promoting your services.

Content Marketing: Craft blog posts or infographics addressing common concerns within your specialty. Share them strategically on social media platforms.

Public Service Announcements (PSAs): Develop PSAs that educate the public about a condition you treat. This subtly positions you as an expert.

Tips for Effective Ambush Marketing


Identify the Right Event: Align yourself with events that resonate with your target audience and complement your services.

Focus on Value: Provide helpful, informative content that positions you as a trusted resource, not just a service provider.

Maintain Brand Consistency: Ensure your messaging aligns with your overall brand identity, even in indirect marketing.

Track and Measure: Monitor the reach and engagement of your ambush marketing efforts. Refine your strategy based on the results.

Harnessing the Power of Ambush Marketing

When implemented thoughtfully, ambush marketing can be a powerful tool for healthcare providers. By focusing on patient education, maintaining professionalism, and adhering to ethical guidelines, you can leverage this strategy to increase brand awareness, build trust, and ultimately attract new patients to your practice.

For further guidance on crafting a winning ambush marketing strategy, feel free to contact Mentum, your trusted partner in healthcare marketing.

Pete Griffith

Pete Griffith

President / Founder

Pete started Mentum after two decades of working as a Creative Director at some of the world's largest advertising agencies. His need to create exceptional work is driven 60% by the college tuitions of his three kids, 9% so he can go scuba diving somewhere he hasn’t been before and 1% to be able to afford a good bowl of ramen. The rest equally divided by both the desire to make people laugh and the fear of being laughed at. If you’re interested, his official resume can be gawked at here.

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