Invisible or Invaluable: Marketing Leadership in Healthcare

Posted on January 7, 2013

JohnCorpusHead6By: John Corpus, Vice President of Strategy

Having worked with many different health system marketing teams, I find one common denominator among the successful healthcare entities: healthcare marketing leadership.

Health systems large and small have marketing teams of some sort, but they do not always have the leadership they need: marketing leadership may be invisible or non-existent. Many have their share of "physician" and "CEO" marketers as well - not typically the experts in this area and usually the ones who market in circles or chase the competition.

Marketing directors who are real leaders however, don't placate the physicians and CEOs. Instead, they:

  • Are first and foremost part of the strategic leadership team
  • Demonstrate the value of the marketing department as strategic planners, not order takers
  • Provide direction, strategies and tactics, and outcomes that align with the objectives of the organization
  • Invite the leadership team to challenge them and adjust when appropriate
  • Have the confidence to stand their ground
  • Know when they can go it alone
  • Seek assistance from a healthcare marketing agency or other outside consultant when necessary
  • Own marketing at all times

Healthcare reform, curious and informed consumers, and the availability of information through social and formal networks are changing the way marketing leaders approach the basic components of healthcare marketing. They must now consider the following:

  • The correlation between brand promise and patient experience is changing: brand is still about the service promise and delivering on it continuously, but patient experience is moving from compartmentalized or independent experiences to the global experience within a health system
  • Modify and extend the service promise and global experience to the recruiting and talent acquisition process
  • When it comes to competition, it is no longer about amenities, but about meaningful attributes
  • Engaging patients through personal relationships and promoting your health system as a resource for health information and tools becomes a foundation from which to hold patients accountable for modifying their behaviors to live healthy
  • As components of healthcare reform become active, the demand for primary care services will become a larger part of the healthcare mix, which will require education through marketing to direct people to appropriate access points and providers

As a healthcare marketing director, you have to understand more than marketing going forward. You must understand the business and clinical side of healthcare, especially operations and finance. You must be wise enough to know what is within your skill set and humble enough to seek assistance from the outside.

Regardless, within your organization proper, you must manage your marketing discussions on your terms. Always bring it back to the objectives and strategies, and do not give in to executive or physician intimidation. Stand your ground. Be the marketing leader in your healthcare organization, and you will be invaluable.

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Brand Evolution: Don’t rest on your laurels.

Posted on January 16, 2013

Lisa_blog_photo4By Lisa Schneider, Director of Creative Services

Your brand always should be evolving so it continues to be relevant and resonates with your audience. This TV spot, part of a full campaign for the Bone & Joint Center, reflects how we evolved their brand message.

A year ago, we developed a brand campaign with the theme line, "Welcome to the pros." It was a success. During the period the campaign was in the media, new patient volume increased by 23%.

We could have said, "Great. It worked; let's keep doing that." But we didn't. Instead, we asked, "Okay. How can we make the message fresher, more meaningful, stronger?" The answer was obvious. Talk with the people listening. In other words, do some research.

We developed several positioning statements that reflected the strengths of the Bone & Joint Center. Then we conducted a series of focus groups to learn which of these resonated most with them.

The resulting positioning statement? A bigger pool of orthopedic specialties, providing precisely the expertise you need.

We're still using the theme line, "Welcome to the pros." But, with our new knowledge, we've added more depth and specificity to the Bone & Joint Center's brand message.

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Mini-Movies with Mega Impact

Posted on January 23, 2013

nicolehangartner_head2-e1335213473498By: Nicole Hangartner, Account Executive

When looking through Healthcare Communication News, I came across this headline: "Mother and son recreate medical center visit for video."

That got my gears spinning, so I watched it.

While watching it, I thought this would be a brilliant way to do patient testimonial videos. Recreating actual medical experiences and using the patient's voice as narration can do double duty when it comes to engagement: the action draws you in and the emotion from the person telling his or her story keeps you in.

I've written about other ways to spice up testimonials and those are still effective for everyday testimonials. But this "mini-movie" technique would create a powerful call-to-action video for a campaign or be a great way to highlight patient stories packed with a lot of action or emotion, such as cardiac emergencies or complicated births. But because of the additional time for planning and filming, it would not be practical to create a mini-movie for every testimonial you receive.

In addition to creating a more compelling video, recreating specific experiences can show your organization's strengths, such as:

  • Quick response time in emergency situations
  • Advanced diagnostic and surgical capabilities
  • Real doctors working together as a team

So not only are viewers seeing real patient benefits as told by patients themselves, they also are seeing hard evidence of what makes you a great healthcare organization.

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