Scan any health system strategic plan these days and you’ll see the word “transformation.” It’s a top of mind issue for healthcare executives trying to restructure, position and prepare their organizations for success in the new world. Changing economics are front and center, and require new ways of thinking about care delivery, market growth, risk management and customer engagement.
But transformation does not happen without innovation. Customer orientation, creativity, and culture are key leverage points for chief marketing officers (CMOs) to drive innovations in brand activities, service offerings, packaging, customer experience, customer engagement, channel management, pricing, and strategic partnerships that strengthen competitive performance.
This new era will create unprecedented opportunities for marketing leaders to step up and be integral catalysts for innovations that bring about growth, increased customer loyalty and better business performance. Creating new markets, moving market share, developing new sources of revenue, building brand loyalty, improving profitability, and sustaining competitiveness are all goals of innovation.
Success stems from creative thinking, fresh solutions, and relevance to customers. And that puts marketing front and center as the curator of customer intelligence.
We know that consumers are frustrated by the complexities of access, fragmentation of care, lack of communications, and other aspects of care delivery (oh, I can tell you some stories!). Yet, most of the industry is woefully behind in providing on-line conveniences such as scheduling and customer communications. Opportunities for innovations that take the hassle out of healthcare are sizable.
So why aren’t more marketers driving changes in the customer experience realm?
Well, I put forth a theory (or more) in an article “The CMO as Chief Innovation Catalyst” published last month in Healthcare Strategy Alert. Perhaps it’s the historical view of marketing as promotions and sales. Or the lack of shared accountability between marketing and operations for achieving growth objectives. Or the fact that innovation runs counter to normal operating procedures (and most healthcare organizations are operations vs. market driven). Or all of the above.
Whatever the cause, transformation does not happen without innovation. Where will the leadership for innovation come from?