Tag Archives: Karen Corrigan

5 Roles for Healthcare Marketers to Adopt Now

things to doAcross the US, healthcare marketers are moving quickly to transform the role, capabilities and functions of their marketing departments. Powerful forces are converging to change the underlying basis for competition in the healthcare industry, and health systems are experiencing more intense competitive activity in anticipation of reform and other industry pressures. For the foreseeable future, providers will be operating with competing and somewhat conflicting objectives as they attempt to optimize volumes for core clinical programs, while simultaneously building accountable care delivery models.

Marketing executives can help health systems successfully navigate the new competitive landscape by adopting five key roles:

  1. Growth strategist – Revenue generation is the priority. In nearly every other industry, marketing is valued as a revenue-generating business competency critical to driving growth, brand loyalty and better financial performance. Health systems that hold on to a narrow view of healthcare marketing as simply promotions sub-optimize marketing performance and waste marketing investments. It is essential for chief marketing executives to adopt a strong P&L mindset, drive clear alignment of brand, marketing and sales investments to the health system’s growth strategy, and create co-accountability for outcomes across the entire executive team. Success demands a marketing culture, not just a marketing department.
  2. Brand advocate Marketers must lead the change to create organizations that deliver brand value, not just promote it. Powerful brands drive growth, profitability, market leverage, staff commitment and customer loyalty. To date, however, brand investments have been largely focused on brand communications, including brand identity systems, advertising and promotions. Today’s approach to brand building must be focused on delivering brand-differentiated value, and address the complexities of newly developing accountable care models, mergers, acquisitions, employed medical practices, ambulatory, post acute and retail health services.
  3. Digital change agent – Digital technologies are revolutionizing business processes everywhere. More than ever, consumers are seeking healthcare information, sharing experiences, selecting treatments and interacting with providers online. Leading health systems are accelerating efforts to move from static websites to integrated, multi-platforms that reach and engage consumers, support patients and families with care management, facilitate workplace communications and promote clinical decision-making. Web, social networking, search marketing and mobile capabilities – integrated with clinical IT systems such as EMR and patient portals – are no longer optional for providers that want to remain relevant.
  4. Experience champion – Customer experience is more than HCAHPS scores. It’s about meeting customer expectations every day in every interaction by hard-wiring administrative systems, appointment scheduling, meeting and greeting, clinical processes, customer engagement, billing, follow-up and other critical touch points to deliver on your brand’s value proposition. Rich, meaningful, loyalty-building experiences don’t happen by accident, they happen through experience design, training and establishing direct accountability for customer experience. Marketers can champion customer-centered decision-making and innovations that transform customer experience.
  5. Innovation catalyst – Transformation of care delivery systems, business processes, and market-driving strategies are top priorities for health systems. Marketers can help by creating a focused customer-centered approach to innovation. Opportunities to take the hassle out of healthcare are vast. Consumers are frustrated and most of the industry is woefully behind in providing on-line conveniences such as scheduling and customer communications. Success stems from creative thinking, fresh solutions, and relevance to customers – and that puts marketing front and center as the curator of customer intelligence.

Where to start? Establish a transformative agenda for change.

The CMO mandate is transformation of marketing practice. It’s a challenge that will require a purposeful, comprehensive and integrated approach to evolve healthcare marketing. But it will deliver substantial and long-lasting benefits – profitable growth, brand loyalty and better business performance.

This post is number two in a 3-part series. Click here to read the first – Five Forces that will Change Healthcare Marketing. In an upcoming post, I’ll address Five Bold Moves to Transform Healthcare Marketing.


Hello 2013!



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.


Want to Experience Best Practices in Service Excellence? Come to Scottsdale.

I’m looking forward to the PRC Excellence in Healthcare Conference June 3 – 6, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Hosted by Professional Research Consultants, Inc., the conference provides healthcare professionals with information, case studies, best practices and tools to develop, implement and improve service excellence.  The conference agenda offers dozens of important and timely topics – like “The C-suite’s Role in Building a High Performing Culture” to “Achieving Physician Loyalty through Service Excellence” to “A Roadmap for Improving Healthcare Service Quality:  Lessons and Tools from the Mayo Clinic.”

Candace Quinn of Brand = Experience, Carla Bryant with Corrigan Partners and I will present “The Future of Healthcare Marketing” on June 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm.  Our two-part session will focus on trends shaping the future of marketing practice in healthcare, five critical roles for chief marketing executives and steps for transforming marketing performance.  We’re excited about this topic and look forward to engaging conference attendees in dialog and ideas to effect change.

The conference will be held at one of my favorite Scottsdale resorts – the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch .  Will we see you there? 


Healthcare Marketers – Are You Future Ready?

This past week, I attended both the Healthcare Executive Forum gathering and the 17th National Summit for Healthcare Marketing Strategies in Orlando, Florida.  Both meetings were rich with important, timely content presented by many of the best in the industry.

One theme carried through all the sessions – the times, they are a changin’ – and the clarion call for marketers was to move purposefully and rapidly to help organizations embrace change and drive transformation.

 The underlying basis for competition is shifting in the health industry and will continue to do so as market and government reform-driven movements take hold.  Changing economics are front and center, creating unprecedented opportunities for marketing leaders to step up and be integral catalysts for innovative practices that drive growth, customer loyalty, and better business performance.

I had the honor of speaking with three marketing professional who are doing just that.  In our session – Are You Future Ready? – Ellen Barron (AVP Marketing and Communications for University of Iowa Healthcare), Phyllis Marino (VP Marketing and Communications at MetroHealth), and Suzanne Sawyer (Chief Marketing Officer and AVP for Penn Medicine) each spoke about overhauling their respective marketing operations to create the competencies and systems required in today’s and tomorrow’s competitive environment.  In upcoming posts, I’ll share highlights from their case studies.

So here’s my takeaway.  Now is the time for chief marketing officers to:

  • Assess the role, functions and performance of marketing departments and move aggressively to transform marketing practice from promotions-oriented tactics to growth-oriented strategic leadership. 
  • Build powerful, differentiated brands that drive growth, innovation and better business performance.  
  • Lead organizations in mainstreaming web, social and mobile technologies that engage customers, build commerce and improve business functions. 
  • Be a champion for customer-centered decision-making and innovations that transform customer experience. 

Following is a snapshot of a slide from our presentation – these are urgent and essential actions for all healthcare marketing leaders. 

Greetings from the 17th National Summit – Healthcare Marketing Strategies

The 17th National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit kicked off yesterday at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes here in Orlando, Florida.  I need a clone to take advantage of the many great sessions, speakers and networking opportunities. 

What’s up today?  Here are just a few of the sessions and speakers worth checking out:

  • Aligning brands across digital channels – Jessica Carlson (Sentara) and Carla Bryant (Corrigan Partners)
  • Integrating new media into physician marketing – Lyle Green (MD Anderson Cancer Center), Jill Lawlor (Cooper University Hospital) and Dan Dunlop (Jennings Health)
  • Improving patient experience: a marketing and clinical partnership – Suzanne Hendrey (Baystate)
  • Driving results with marketing analytics – Marc Beaumont (UAB Health System), Danny Fell (Neathawk Dubuque & Packett), and Linda MacCracken (Thomson Reuters)
  • Breaking the rules of website design – Chris Boyer (Inova) and Chris Bevolo (Interval)
  • Digital marketing – focus on conversations – Suzanne Sawyer (Penn Medicine) and Rob Grant (eVariant)
  • Physician trends: the impact on marketers – Peter Brumleve, C. Josef Ghosn (Florida Hospital) and Steve Sloate (Cirra)

Hope to run into you – if you’re here, stop by the Brains on Demand booth in the exhibition hall and say hello.

Wondering about the Pinterest buzz??

Pinterest is now the 3rd largest social networking site in the U.S. and healthcare marketers are asking how Pinterest fits – or should fit – in the digital toolbox. Corrigan Partners’ Carla Bryant will join Danny Fell of Neathawk Dubuque & Packett on a webinar to talk about the “Impact of Pinterest on Marketing and Digital Strategies.”  Here’s a brief summary of the session topics:

  • Pinterest: the basics
  • Brand and business value of Pinterest
  • How Pinterest can align with your hospital’s brand, marketing and digital/social strategy
  • Building a Pinterest strategy – vision, content, resources
  • Tips for optimizing Pinterest

The webinar is sponsored by the Forum for Healthcare Marketing Strategists and will be held on Tuesday, May 15 from 11:30 am to 1 pm central. To register, visit http://www.healthcarestrategy.com.