Posted on January 7, 2013
By: John Corpus, Vice President of Strategy
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.