Posted on September 21, 2011
By: Mike Milligan, President, Legato Marketing
I give up.
My Dad still doesn't know how I earn a paycheck. But he is
getting a little
closer. I've recently heard him explain, "Michael does those
ads for hospitals."
Then last night, when editing my 15-year-old daughter's Language
Arts paper, I discovered that she, too, doesn't understand "what
Dad does." Within parenthesis she had written, "Dad, write here
what you do."
It made me start thinking about what many of our healthcare
marketing clients face. There seems to be a trend in which senior
management isn't necessarily knowledgeable about what marketing
pros do. In their minds (not all), the marketing department
develops clever advertising, period. It's not the fault of upper
management that they don't always understand marketing's role.
While It might be hard to swallow, quite frankly, it's the fault of
marketing to not make its role clear-its ability to increase
patient volumes and profit.
Your leadership team might know your job description: produce
the external and internal communications. But, don't let yourself
be limited by that vague description. Your role is much broader
than that. Marketing pros are the drivers behind understanding the
marketplace, the organization's culture, available opportunities,
and what targeted audiences expect with the goal of increasing
awareness, patient volumes, and profits.
That means looking at all of the elements of what brand is. It's
everything from how employees answer the phones, what the signage
looks like, how patients are treated at the front desk, how long it
takes to get an appointment-every action, every experience a
patient has is your brand.
And here's the kicker. Don't just talk about it, show the
connection between all of these factors and the results they can
have-or have had-on the organization. And don't just identify
problems, bring solutions. Show you are a problem solver-and a
strategist-by thinking about what questions your senior leaders
will have, and have answers ready. Show your leadership skills. By
doing so, you educate others on the value of marketing-not by
My years of healthcare management experience have shown that as
time goes on, your CEO and other leaders will have a completely new
perspective on marketing. Sure, advertising still will play a
clear role. But more important, marketing is so much
broader. It's strategic. It examines all the components
of the sales process. It identifies barriers and overcomes
them. It produces results. And that's something your leadership
team will understand clearly.
Posted on September 29, 2011
By: John A. Corpus, Vice
President Client Services, Legato Marketing &
New to the Legato team, I thought that I would write my first
blog about connectivity in a healthcare organization: leadership
being connected to the employees; employees connecting their
responsibilities back to the organization's overall
mission/objectives; messages/campaigns/marketing being connected
across departments and the system.
Having worked for a few Wisconsin healthcare entities over the
last thirty-two years, I feel safe in stating that the healthcare
environment is always evolving, each time in a more complicated
manner. Every few years, it seems that healthcare
organizations are updating their missions/visions to ensure that
they balance this change and properly reflect the nature of the
organizations' objectives and philosophy.
Unfortunately, there is a natural lag between "talking the talk"
and "walking the talk" in every organization I have served
in. Now, the organizations that I am talking about are 1,000+
employees each in size, to which one might deem a lag as
acceptable, but it is never a good thing to say one thing (as an
organization) and do another. And, those doing the
saying are "leadership", whereas the employees execute the
Healthcare is a service industry: customer service is our main
measure (patient satisfaction surveys). Sure, we look at outcomes
and measures around varying procedures and for quality purposes,
but success really comes down to how the patient FEELS about the
My wife and I recently took our daughter into a retail clinic
(nurse practitioner or physician's assistant providing
acute/episodic assessment and treatment in a retail setting) at
noon on a Sunday. The promise is "no wait, no appointment,"
but what I found was one location with a one-hour wait, and a
second location that refused to see my daughter, even though my
wife called the triage line to verify the appropriateness of the
visit. The provider went so far as to grab a menu of services
and point-out the line that indicates she would not see my
My wife called the triage line to voice our
dissatisfaction. The nurse on the triage line did not
apologize, but did say that we could schedule an appointment with
our doctor for the next day OR VISIT its competitor's retail
clinic. And, we had to call back to a different number to
In calling to schedule the appointment, we were transferred
twice to "scheduling for surgery." On the third transfer
back, my wife finally reached a nurse who informed us that the ER
has an urgent care service for kids each day starting in the late
afternoon into the late evening. The nurse listened to my
wife's reiteration of all that happened, apologized, and made an
appointment for my daughter later that afternoon. Everything
was smooth sailing and excellent service from this point on.
In telling you this story, what is my message regarding this
healthcare organization's customer service? Is the
organization connected in its customer service message?
Imagine that I am a close friend, neighbor, or relative telling you
this story: how will my telling of the story influence
your healthcare buying decisions?
The best ambassadors and representatives of your healthcare
organization are your employees, especially those with
patient/customer contact on a daily basis. These employees
will demonstrate the organization's message in their service, but
only to the extent and direct correlation of time and effort
- or lack thereof - spent on communicating, training, and
aligning/connecting responsibilities and tasks with the
Some final thoughts:
- As a C-level executive in your healthcare organization, are you
confident that your employees are demonstrating your philosophy in
their daily activities, especially when engaging
- Is middle-management aligning its areas of
responsibility with the organization's philosophy?
- Does middle-management translate the formal language of
leadership's philosophy into terms that the employees can
understand? The better the translation, the clearer the
message, the more likely that patients/customers will walk away
with a smile on their face.