Tag Archives: marketing performance

Five ways to rock healthcare marketing in 2015

Marketers rockMore than ever, healthcare marketing executives are being held to a higher standard of accountability for return on marketing investments. The basis for competition in healthcare is changing and health systems are racing to put in place the services, capabilities and structures to be successful in the new value-driven world.

This sweeping change requires a shift in thinking for marketers, a blueprint to transform healthcare marketing operations, strategies to forge critical allies across the health system, and capabilities to demonstrate ROI.  So, let’s make 2015 the year we disrupt our healthcare marketing past and fully embrace the new.

Where to start?

  1. Welcome the science of healthcare marketing. Make this the year to build a robust marketing information technology center. Optimize investments in CRM, call center, digital and search marketing by hiring the smartest marketing analytics minds you can afford and setting them loose to aggregate, integrate, interpret and share customer data.  Use that information to drive real-time decisions about customer, product, promotion, pricing and channel strategies.
  2. Add consumer pricing to the marketing mix. High deductibles, tiered networks, individual health-fund management of health savings accounts (HSAs), and a growing number of retail health options are giving consumers more incentives to shop price. And they want straight answers about the cost of services (when consumers say cost, they mean price).  Marketers must help bring about a shift in thinking from pricing merely as a means to recover costs to pricing as a strategy to establish value. Competitive pricing will require greater-than-ever alignment of customer, product, channel, marketing and service delivery decisions.
  3. Do a radical makeover of the marketing department. If the marketing team is still organized, staffed and resourced to primarily promote things, then run, not walk, to the nearest whiteboard and start mapping out a new future.  Business creativity – not advertising creativity – is the key to delivering profitable growth over the long haul.  Restructure the marketing department to drive the health system’s growth strategy, and build the capabilities and skills to develop markets, launch new products, create valued customers and drive innovations in service delivery.
  4. Build a mutually-accountable partnership with operations. Marketing expenditures that generate consumer demand are wasted when prospects are lost because there is no mechanism to convert them into actual customers – or retain them as loyal customers. When it comes to marketing ROI, it takes a village. Marketing, clinical operations, physicians, nursing, purchasing, IT, finance, human resources and others must work together and be mutually-accountable for results. Stop investing marketing dollars on programs that have service delivery problems, but do come to the table as a willing partner to help solve those problems.
  5. Make customer experience a strategic priority.  Leverage every available research finding, case study and soapbox opportunity to help executives, service line administrators, doctors and others gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be consumer-centered and what it will take to deliver a valued experience.  Customer experience is not about HCAHPS scores.  It’s about building brand loyalty through innovative products, services and personal experiences that make customers feel appreciated and willing to be your best brand advocates.

The healthcare world is changing whether we like it or not. How we embrace or resist the change will determine our fate. A bold vision, big ideas and a plan to transform the way we do marketing offer a far better chance for success.

Evidence-based Healthcare Marketing Webinar Rescheduled

One of our healthcare marketing panelists has been called for jury duty during the week this program was originally scheduled.  See the new date and time, session description and link for registration below.

Evidence-based Marketing:  Rethinking Measurement
New Date and Time:  August 21, 2014 – 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. EDT

Healthcare marketers face increasing pressure to make the most of their marketing investments.  The C-suite wants accountability for outcomes – volume, revenue, greater customer loyalty – and assurance that the health system is strengthening its competitive position.

The bottom line is that marketing is becoming more science than art.  Today, sophisticated tools and marketing analytics provide great insights into customer needs, values, drivers and behaviors.  They inform our decision-making, shape strategy, focus investments.  When actionable information is combined with rigorous planning, innovative ideas and disciplined tracking, marketing executives quickly close the accountability gap.

Welcome to evidence-based marketing.

On August 21, 2014, I’ll join Marian Dezelan, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chris Boyer, AVP Digital Marketing Strategy, for North Shore–LIJ Health System (Great Neck, NY) on a webinar to discuss how an evidence-based approach to healthcare marketing can better focus your strategy and produce measureable results.  Marian and Chris will share how North Shore-LIJ’s marketing department applies evidence-based marketing techniques for personalized targeted marketing, patient engagement and making the most of marketing data.

Sponsored by the Forum for Healthcare Strategists, the webinar is scheduled from 12:30 am to 2:00 pm EDT.  The session is complimentary for Forum members; non-members can participate for $125.

I hope you’ll join us.  In fact, gather your team, order in lunch and make time to learn together.

Click here to learn more about the webinar and register for the program.

The secret to healthcare marketing ROI? Focus. Focus. Focus.

focusPART ONE

Someone once asked me about the difference between ‘focusing’ and ‘prioritizing’ – focusing is knowing what to do; prioritizing is knowing what to do first.  These are the decision points faced by marketers every day. And especially when it comes to marketing planning and budgeting.

Most CMOs are trying to conjure up ways to achieve more with less.  Too many times, unfortunately, they end up spreading scarce dollars over too many projects which can significantly diminish the impact and desired outcomes.

When stuck between a rock (the health system’s need for profitable growth) and a hard place (the drive to cut costs), how do marketers prioritize marketing investments and gain organizational commitment to those investment decisions?

First, clean house.  Use this opportunity as a time to take a stand and stop funding activities that have no or minimal impact on strategic growth, customer acquisition, customer retention and financial performance.  Specifically look at non-marketing activities that sap resources and work with your colleagues across the health system to eliminate or move those deeds elsewhere.  Make sure your team is performing at its best; when you are being asked to do more with fewer FTEs, each has to be a stellar performer.

Second, use a marketing resource allocation methodology to prioritize limited marketing resources (dollars and FTEs) to those growth and marketing initiatives that have the best potential for improving business performance and positioning the organization for long-term success.

In prioritizing marketing resource investments, there are three basic decision points:

  1. What businesses, clinical programs or market expansion initiatives offer the best opportunity for growth and profitability?
  2. Within priority programs and service lines, what strategies and tactical initiatives will best achieve marketing goals?
  3. What infrastructure investments will be required to support effective growth and marketing management?

In other words, what will you choose to invest in to drive growth and improve profitability, and what activities and support systems will contribute most to those objectives? Both top-down and bottom-up approaches to resource allocation are necessary; top down for strategic planning across a health system’s portfolio of service lines and market initiatives; bottom up to develop individual marketing budgets within each priority program.

I know that some of the toughest issues marketers face are cutting others’ pet projects, sunsetting outdated communications tactics, navigating the politics of competing priorities, and so on and so on.  Just saying ‘no’ has not been an option for some;  a marketing resource allocation method can better arm the CMO with data-driven rationale for investment decisions.

In upcoming posts, I’ll explore the components and key questions to delve into for each of the three decision points listed above.  In the meantime, let me know some of your toughest budget challenges — together let’s find a way to stop doing more and focus on achieving more

Five big trends, five key roles, five bold moves for healthcare marketers

neshco logoNext week, long-time colleague Candace Quinn (Brand Equals Experience) and I will present a keynote address at the New England Society for Healthcare Communications Spring Conference in Newport, Rhode Island.

Our session – Preparing for a New Era of Healthcare Marketing – kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, May 20.  Here’s a sneak preview of the talk:

Five Forces Changing Healthcare Marketing

  1. The new economics of health care reform – the industry is transitioning from ‘pay for volume’ to ‘pay for value’ through accountable care systems and risk reimbursement models.
  2. Market restructuring and emerging delivery models – consolidation and alignment through mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships will change competitive dynamics in local markets.
  3. Evolution of brands in physical and virtual environments – healthcare is getting smart about brands as competitive assets that drive business performance, and the importance of brand experience.
  4. Technologies that disrupt and transform – digital technologies are revolutionizing business processes everywhere, and profoundly changing the way patients and providers interact.
  5. Growing, changing, graying, connected consumers – aging baby boomers will be a driving force for healthcare services in the coming decades – not just for ‘what’ is delivered, but ‘how’ it will be delivered.

Five Critical Roles for Healthcare Marketers

  1. Growth strategist – revenue generation is the priority; adopt a strong P&L mindset, drive clear alignment of brand, marketing and sales investments to the health system’s growth strategy.
  2. Brand advocate – invest in the brand; create a powerful, differentiated, competitive brand position, and lead organizational change to deliver brand value, not just promote it.
  3. Digital change agent – web, social networking, search marketing and mobile capabilities – integrated with clinical IT systems, are no longer optional for providers that want to remain relevant.
  4. Experience champion – advocate for customer-centered decision-making and design systems and services that transform customer experience.
  5. Innovation catalyst – bring creative thinking and fresh solutions to systems, programs, services and products that attract, serve and retain customers.

Five Bold Moves to Transform Healthcare Marketing

  1. Change the marketing culture – this requires an organizational shift in thinking about marketing as tactical communications to a discipline that is strategic, cross-functional and bottom line oriented.
  2. Reconfigure the marketing organization – establish a vision, role and scope for marketing as a revenue-generating capability, then restructure marketing operations to support growth goals.
  3. Acquire new competencies, capabilities and skills – acquire expertise in business analytics, R & D, brand building, customer acquisition/retention, CRM/PRM, digital, search and social marketing.
  4. Create a compelling case for change and bias for action – focus marketing investments on strategies that grow revenue and improve business performance.
  5. Communicate new roles, new rules, new expectations – create co-ownership and co-accountability for marketing outcomes across administrative, clinical and business operations.

We hope to see you there.  If you can’t make it and would like a copy of the slide deck, just let me know.

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.

 

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. 

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.