Posted on October 1, 2010
How many times have you believed that your tactics were working but couldn't prove it? At a time when healthcare marketing dollars are at a premium, we need to demonstrate results albeit not always financial ones. Obviously we'd all love to be able to show a 5:1 ROI ratio on our advertising buys - but sometimes our tactics are targeted toward brand development or lead generation more than direct sales.
To be successful health care marketers, we need to develop tactics that accomplish both.
For example, let's say you currently publish a health newsletter and mail it out to every household in your service area. In addition to measuring its impact as part of your brand awareness and preference scores, it's important to consider other ways to show direct ROI. You can include a drop-in card with a special offer that's easily trackable, or use phone numbers that are only promoted in the publication and log calls that come in.
The key is to establish how a given plan or individual tactic is going to be measured and then report back on the results. While your leadership team - especially your finance director I'm guessing - would like to see a direct ROI for every marketing dollar, even the tightest bean counter understands that not every dollar spent in the organization can be proven effective. Look at the HR function - what is the ROI on competitive salaries and benefits? And when's the last time you saw a direct ROI analysis on your IS budget?
When it comes to marketing effectiveness, ROI isn't as cut and dry as merely calculating X% of return on your investment. In fact, it shouldn't solely focus on percentages. The strongest ROIs are the result of people working together in productive partnerships, focusing on a defined common goal, and using appropriate technology and processes to measure success. To do that, we not only have to change the way we think about ROI, but also about the way we approach it.
Remember the saying: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got." Times have changed and so have the methods for measuring marketing effectiveness.
The reality is marketing dollars will always be scrutinized more closely - and I'm fine with that. We owe it to our discipline to show what's working and what isn't and develop better tracking for internet and social media tactics.
Perhaps we simply need to change the ROI acronym and track results on investment instead of return on investment.