Category Archives: Marketing Strategy

Rise of the Millennials

 

Corrigan Partners Webinar-Rise of the Millenials April 12 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Us for an April 12 Webinar on Millennials and Healthcare

Some 80 million strong, Millennials are now the largest generation in U.S. history. Like the Baby Boomers in the 60s and 70s, they are taking the world by storm and will change it in radical and fundamental ways. Born between the mid-70s and early 2000s, they are digital natives, social communicators, ethnically diverse. And they are healthcare consumers (the leading edge of the Millennial generation is entering their late 30s) seeking maternity, pediatric, wellness, prevention and access for urgent care needs.

Are you ready for them?

Corrigan Partners is hosting a webinar on April 12, 2016 from 12 noon to 1:30 pm EDT to explore Millennial values, expectations and behaviors when it comes to healthcare. Presented by BVK senior vice president Tamalyn Powell, who led the firm’s research project on this topic, the session will offer an overview of what makes this generation tick, how they make buying decisions in general, as well as unique insights on their expectations of healthcare providers.

Please join us. The webinar is free of charge but requires advance registration to receive the login information for the program. Registration is easy. Simply send an email to Lisa Burris (lisa@corriganpartners.com).

 

Are you using CRM to boost returns on healthcare marketing investments?

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Corrigan Partners has teamed up with our colleagues from Greystone.Net to host a Healthcare MarTech workshop on CRM as an essential tool for healthcare marketing. The one and a half day program – Customer Relationship Management: Making the Most of Your CRM Investment – will be held September 29 & 30, 2015 at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago, Illinois.

The Bottom Line is . . . CRM is Good for the Bottom Line

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a game-changing technology with the potential to transform healthcare marketing. With CRM you can more effectively focus marketing investments on the right customers, lower the expense of patient acquisition and retention, create loyal brand advocates and track return on investment. Yet, many healthcare organizations have struggled to make it work. This workshop is designed to address the decisions, capabilities and resources required to make CRM successful.

A Deep-Dive, Open Dialogue on CRM Successes and Lessons Learned

Whether you are thinking about purchasing a CRM system for the first time, want to select a new vendor, are muddled in the throes of implementation or aren’t getting the results you hoped for, this workshop is for you. Participants will engage in educational sessions, facilitated discussions and open dialogue on:

How do I craft a vision and strategy for CRM in my health system?
How do I pick the right CRM solution and vendor?
What changes will I have to make in the marketing department?
How can I ensure we’re getting the most out of our CRM system?
How do I get my CRM strategy back on track?
What can I learn about CRM from other industries?
And much more . . .

Workshop Faculty and Participants

Healthcare marketing executives from around the country will join the Corrigan Partners and Greystone.Net faculty to share their CRM journeys, providing insights into the trials and successes of their CRM programs.

Faculty

Participants will leave with information and tools to support CRM selection, build effective vendor relationships and optimize performance of their CRM systems.

Only a few seats left. Register Soon

In order to provide an intimate venue for open discussion and sharing of CRM expectations and experiences, space is limited to 30 health system (non-vendor) participants. Click here to learn more about the workshop, download the brochure and register to attend.

Are you seeing greater consumer scrutiny of healthcare prices? You will.

eye drops 3More and more, I hear from healthcare colleagues that the number of consumers inquiring about healthcare prices is increasing. Some just want to know what a specific procedure or drug will cost. Others want to understand their out-of-pocket contributions. And many, many more complain about prices and pricing structures that, quite frankly, just don’t make sense.

It’s ironic that I ran across this Huffington Post article – More Proof that American Health Care Prices are Sky High – just when my husband called to let me know that the price of the eye drops prescription I had asked him to pick up was $208.00. Our health insurance company wanted to consult with the provider about alternatives before approving and paying for the script. It was 7:30 in the evening and the doctor’s office was closed – meanwhile my eyes are nearly swollen shut from the overabundance of pollen we’re experiencing this year. So we shelled out the $208 and will spend the next few days making multiple phone calls to try and align this patient’s needs with the doctor’s recommendations and the insurance company’s procedures.

I was curious about the cost of the drug when I read this blog post regarding the latest data from the International Federation of Health Plans, an industry group representing health insurers from 28 countries including the United States. The author’s point is that American patients pay the highest prices in the world for a variety of prescription drugs and common medical procedures.

So I looked up pricing for the eye drops on drug retailer websites from several countries, including the UK and Canada, and found that prices for the very same prescription (brand name, strength, dosage, etc.) were significantly less – around $40 (with free shipping). That’s about $8 per ml, whereas we paid $41.60 per ml. I’m talking about a bottle of eye drops that barely stands 1½ inches high. The pharmaceutical people have some explaining to do.

In fact, all of us who work in this industry do – about how prices are established, why there is so much variation across providers, products and services, why it cost so darn much. As healthcare marketers, we’re removed from pricing decisions, which are core to branding, positioning and marketing strategies for both wholesale (contracting) and retail (out of pocket) relationships.

Personally, I hope we see consumers ask more questions – and demand more answers – about the price of healthcare services and goods. And I hope we as an industry will have good answers.

It’s time to bring pricing into public view.

When it Comes to Service Line Marketing, it Takes a Village.

Healthcare marketers know all too well that when someone from operations shows up to talk about marketing clinical service lines, they are usually asking for service line advertising.  The narrow view of service line marketing as simply promotions sub-optimizes marketing performance and wastes money.  Every marketer knows the agony of launching a promotions campaign only to learn that some aspect of access, capacity, physician loyalty, etc. is out of whack.

A few years ago, I met with a hospital that had launched an aggressive advertising campaign for their orthopedic service line.  As campaigns go, it was pretty effective in making the phone ring.  The problem was the hospital’s physicians had excessive wait time for appointments.  The one physician with capacity was taking procedures to another hospital.  And no one thought to ask the OR about capacity.  The surgical services director insisted that no additional time slots existed or could be made available for new volumes.

Both service line administrators and marketing executives should expect more of their marketing investments.

The bottom line is this:  the purpose of marketing is profitable revenue generation.  And this doesn’t happen through promotions alone.  Especially when other parts of the marketing mix (e.g., access, capacity, customer experience, product design, clinical quality, pricing, physician relationships) operate outside the realm of the marketing department’s influence.  Achieving service line growth targets, improving financial performance and increasing customer loyalty requires a purposeful, comprehensive and cross-functional approach to service line marketing.

Where to start?  Pull together a cross-functional strategy team that includes service line operations and marketing staff, along with representatives of other core clinical or business functions relevant to that service line, such as the emergency department, nursing, OR, diagnostic imaging, physician services, managed care contracting, IT, or supply chain.  Develop a strategic marketing plan that addresses all aspects of the marketing mix.  With a comprehensive and focused strategy in place, marketing tactics and investments – including promotions – will be much better aligned to achieve its objectives.

Here are 12 critical questions to guide the service line marketing discussion:

  1. Do we understand the unique, competitive position we currently hold or desire to hold for this service line and how to strengthen points of differentiation?
  2. Have we quantified the opportunity for volume and revenue growth, and do we have the appropriate mix, number of and relationships with physician specialists to achieve our volume goals?
  3. Have we identified other key referral and access points for this service line and do we have the means and capacity to generate volume through those channels (e.g., emergency department, urgent care, employer sites, on-line appointment scheduling, etc.)?
  4. Do we know which population/disease/needs-based segments offer the highest potential for profitable growth for this service line, and does our plan address both the clinical programming and promotions strategies needed to attract and serve those segments?
  5. Do we have strategies and tactics in place to optimize our position with employers and improve contracting leverage with commercial payors?
  6. Are screening, education and outreach events targeting at risk populations, and do we have mechanisms in place to connect high risk participants with providers and services?
  7. Are promotional strategies and tactics (e.g., sales, events, advertising, digital and social media, etc.) designed to strengthen the service line brand, stimulate demand and influence consumers to take action?  Are we optimized for search?
  8. Are marketing resources and investments prioritized to strategies that have the greatest potential to impact volume and financial goals, and what non-revenue generating activities need to be discontinued, minimized or re-assigned?
  9. Do we have the marketing management capabilities and systems (e.g., structure, skills and tools such as call centers, CRM/PRM, appointment scheduling, etc.) to drive customer acquisition and retention by generating demand, capturing and converting referrals into appointments and procedures?
  10. Is operations a willing partner in the growth agenda, and do our operating processes, procedures, and systems support patient acquisition and retention; e.g., customer service orientation, timely and convenient appointments, care coordination, quality and safety outcomes, patient satisfaction, etc.?
  11. Have we identified core marketing performance metrics, and put in place methods to monitor, track and report outcomes?
  12. How will we communicate the plan to key internal constituents, gain agreement for the focus and investments, and create co-accountability (marketing, clinical, administrative) for results?

When operations and marketing plan together and share accountability for delivering on revenue and profit targets, marketing magic can happen.  It takes a marketing village, not just the marketing department, to generate success.

 

Brand Your Art and Copy, Too

Note to readers:  I read this post recently on the blog Hospital Branding and thought it offered excellent insights into the importance of key words, phrases and images that reinforce brand positions.  Thanks Rob!

by Rob Rosenberg, Hospital Branding

At a recent breakfast branding club, featuring those in the business and not famous cereals and toaster items, the discussion popped up about the strategy of owning key phrases and images. In addition to graphic standards, which organizations develop to illustrate proper spacing and color palettes, the conversation centered on the need for companies to create key words, phrases, and images that support their brand propositions.

Having once worked on Sealy Posturepedic mattresses, I recalled the “ownership” (and subsequent trademark) of the phrase, “designed in cooperation with leading orthopedic surgeons.” Key words that created a franchise and contributed to a 90% awareness of the Posturepedic brand. In addition to this copy, all sales materials and advertising were required to feature the now famous mattress “cut-away,” the scientific illustration that shows various layers of ticking, coils, and foam. This combination of art and copy became a hallmark of Sealy Posturepedic and helped to create an iconic brand.

Other examples of brands that “own” certain words, phrases, and images include Lexus, State Farm, and Southwest Airlines. Just the mention of these brands conjure up a unique “look and feel” that are associated with their traditional, social, and digital media communications.

Hospitals are getting better at differentiating their organizations. Strategic ideas are shining through in taglines and unique positioning buckets focused on a single-minded platform. But they are also falling short when it comes to standards reflecting branded words and images. No matter the market position – such as patient-centered care, breakthrough technology, or physician expertise – the executions always seem to fall flat and into the undifferentiated abyss of hospital advertising.

The words “excellence,” “comprehensive,” and “multi-disciplinary” are totally “me too.” Forget “advanced,” “quality,” and “leading.” In terms of images, try something other than a surgical scene, patient/physician consultation, or a slow-motion shot of a former patient engaged in their favorite activity, UNLESS they support your brand position.

Here in Chicago, there are some excellent strategies in play. However, when strategies turn to execution, the work often turns to mush. And is virtually impossible to distinguish one hospital or system from another for lack of branded words and images.

Here’s what you can do to help translate your strategy into execution: 

  • Create a list of “branded” words. Those that support your brand essence and tell your story. Use these copy points in all communications; from advertising to social posts to news releases.
  • Develop a library of “branded” photos and images. Again, those that support your position and visually reinforce your organization’s specific personality.
  • Include these copy points and art images in your graphics standards manual, or create a separate “Art & Copy” book.
  • Educate service line marketers, and associated entities within your organization, on the words and images that should be used for their promotions if the marketing function is decentralized.
  • Be consistent in all forms of communications; traditional, social, and digital media.
  • And – a separate note for social channels – develop “post” phrases and key words that should be used as the “voice” of your organization and not that of the poster.
Developing a powerful brand is a tough, but rewarding challenge. Once you’re there, don’t water it down in the execution. Be as creative, disciplined, and rigid with the art and copy as you are with the overarching strategy. Your brand will be differentiated and the recall of your messages will be greatly enhanced.
 
Rob Rosenberg is President of Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, a brand development and communications firm with offices in the Chicago and D.C. areas.  He can be reached at rob@springboardbrand.com. Rob will also be speaking and exhibiting at the 17th National Summit for Healthcare Marketing Strategies, April 28 – May 1, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.

Want to Improve Your Marketing Department? Seven Questions to Get Started.

Across the US, healthcare marketing executives are looking hard at their marketing department structures, capabilities and practices, and asking if they have what it takes to transcend the ‘pay for volume’ to ‘pay for value’ economic model.  It’s my belief that we’ll be living in both worlds for some time to come. 

Nonetheless, it’s important for marketers to re-evaluate their marketing operations in this new environment, do a thorough assessment of capabilities and skills gaps, and move purposefully and quickly to reinvent the role of the marketing department.  Building a high performing and accountable marketing team is job one. 

Here are seven questions to help CMOs get started:

  1. What is the current state of marketing in terms of priorities, effectiveness, capabilities, skills, systems, structure and performance?
  2. Are our marketing strategies, activities and investments tightly aligned to the health system’s strategic vision and growth objectives?
  3. What are the marketing opportunities and challenges in regards to changes in the market (e.g., reform economics, market consolidation, competitor activities, etc.), and in the delivery system (e.g., care transformation, multiple geographies, expanding services portfolios, employed physician SBUs, etc.)? 
  4. How are advances in technology (digital, social media marketing, CRM, etc.) changing marketing practice, and what new infrastructure, skills and competencies will this require?
  5. Do we have the infrastructure, decision-support systems and analytic skills to assess and quantify opportunities, drive strategic decisions, monitor and track return on marketing investments? 
  6. How do I strengthen relationships between planning, business develeopment, marketing, PR and sales, as well as with finance, IT and operations, to better inform and support brand building, business development and growth priorities?
  7. What marketing capabilities and controls should be held by the corporate operation; what is optimally administered by major business units?

Now is the time for chief marketing officers to move boldly and transform healthcare marketing from promotions-oriented tactics to growth-oriented strategic leadership.   Embracing change is the first step.

What is Your Health System’s Marketing Philosophy?

Marketing departments differ from health system to health system. Some are expansive, core business functions with strong growth accountabili­ties aligned to strategic planning, business development, clinical operations and financial management initiatives.

In others, marketing is configured more functionally to support the development and deployment of marketing tactics aimed at research, promotions and sales.

And some have not evolved far from those early days when marketing relied on a narrow set of tools (e.g. press releases, health fairs, advertising, newsletters) to promote programs and services,  making it difficult to link marketing expenditures and activities to business outcomes.

Why such a difference? An organization’s approach to marketing is shaped by a variety of factors including strategic focus, growth objectives, culture or even leadership’s understanding of the marketing discipline.

Which of the following describes your health system’s approach to marketing?

  • Product-driven.  A product-driven marketing orientation assumes that as long as a health system has excellent outcomes and a top notch safety record, business will find its way to the front door. Performance improvement, leading edge clinical technologies, physician talent and development of clinical centers of excellence are core areas of focus. Awards and recognitions (such as “Top 100” designations) reinforce the organization’s quality achievements. Physician influ­ence trumps consumer choice. The clichéd expression “build it and they will come” is an entrenched belief, as it the assumption that clinical quality alone will create com­petitive advantage.
  • Sales-driven.  Sales-driven health systems primarily view marketing as a tactical tools to drive volume to clinical programs. Filling beds, getting appointments, and securing contracts are primary goals. Consumer pro­motions, physician referral development and managed care contracting are core capabilities. The focus is on more volume for existing services. These are all good things, but a purely sales-driven organization may miss opportuni­ties to discover new niches, create new products and lines of business, or enhance points of differentiation that grow overall revenue potential.
  • Market-driven.  Market-driven organizations place greater emphasis on market research to better understand customer needs and discover market opportunities that can be addressed in unique ways. Designing and developing services, programs and access points to attract key customer segments are priorities for the marketing operation, making R&D a core competency requirement. Marketing planning is more strategic than in sales-driven organiza­tions, encompassing segmentation and targeting, product positioning and design, pricing, promotion and channel strategies – and is a more integrated process through which value is created. Because growing overall market potential and profitability is as important as growing market share, marketers must have a strong P&L mindset.
  • Relationship-driven. Customer-driven organizations place significant emphasis on mass customization as a competen­cy to create one-to-one relationships, enabled by sophisti­cated, enabling CRM technology that recognizes, supports and delivers customized messages, offerings and solutions for valued customers. Today, some of these capabilities are embedded in call center and CRM systems, but new advancements, such as the widespread implementation of electronic health records and growth in social media communities offer health systems unprecedented opportunity to better understand and predict the needs of patients and customers – and proactively design the marketing strategies, tactics and programs that stimulate and drive demand.
  • Market-DRIVING.  Market-driving companies are those that re-set the rules of competition through value innovation – radical, disruptive moves that create new markets, transform customers into fans, and build such distinct points of competitive advantage that they are dif­ficult to duplicate. Think Apple, which continually breaks its own sales records, most recently having sold over 1 million units in the first 24 hours of the iPhone 4S launch. Innovation is the core competency – and success comes from developing deep insights into core human desires, discovering unmet needs, and bringing creative, profitable ideas to market.  Who are the market-DRIVING health systems?

One approach is not necessarily “right” where another is “wrong” – what is important to understand is that each path requires a specific configuration of core competen­cies, staff capabilities, processes and investments.  Misalignment occurs when management wants to achieve significant improvements in strategic growth, for example, but has a production-orient­ed marketing operation.

With all of the change going on in the industry, this is an ideal time for marketers to assess their marketing department structures, capabilities and investment priorities. 

So where do we start?