Straight Talk About the State of Healthcare Marketing

April 7, 2013
61 Views

healthcare marketingEarlier this week, I sent an email to a group of long-time and much respected healthcare marketing colleagues with a rather innocent request:  one of our health system clients is recruiting a director of marketing and seeking candidates for the position.  What followed was a firestorm of comments –

healthcare marketingEarlier this week, I sent an email to a group of long-time and much respected healthcare marketing colleagues with a rather innocent request:  one of our health system clients is recruiting a director of marketing and seeking candidates for the position.  What followed was a firestorm of comments – about the lack of qualified candidates, murky state of healthcare marketing, unattractiveness of healthcare to people that want to practice “real” marketing – countered by a few expositions on the industry, educational and societal flaws that brought us to this state.

So here are my two cents.  By and large, healthcare executives do not really understand the marketing discipline. And I’m not just pointing fingers at the C-suite; as marketers, we’ve made our own beds, so to speak.  In nearly every other industry, marketing is considered a strategy-critical, revenue-generating core business capability.  But if we’re honest, in healthcare, marketing is still very much structured and primarily resourced around communications activities that are not designed nor hardwired to significantly impact customer acquisition and retention.

Holding on to a narrow view of healthcare marketing as simply promotions wastes marketing investments and sub-optimizes performance.

Changing these dynamics requires straight talk from the chief marketing executive, CEO and other C-suite leaders about what it really takes for marketing to drive revenue growth, build brand equity and improve financial performance.

Let’s get that conversation started:

  • How is competition changing and what will be required of the health system to compete effectively? Is a plan in place and are actions underway to effect those changes? If not, why not?
  • Is the marketing department structured, staffed and resourced to achieve revenue targets, build brand equity and improve the organization’s competitive leverage? If not, why not?
  • Are financial, business and market analytics driving marketing planning, and the decisions for where you focus marketing activities and investments?  If not, why not?
  • Do you have the right people with the right skills sets and the right tools in place to execute marketing strategies that drive patient acquisition?  If not, why not?
  • Are you investing full speed ahead in web, social, search, mobile, CRM/PRM and other marketing systems and capabilities required both now and in the future? If not, why not?
  • Do marketing and operations work collaboratively, and are they held mutually-accountable for customer acquisition, customer experience, and customer retention outcomes? If not, why not?
  • Are you measuring marketing performance?  If not, why not?

I’m sure there are other questions, but you’ll probably need to order in lunch just to get through these.  Tell me what you think.  And, if you know a good candidate for that director of marketing position, please give me a call.

 

You may be interested

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech
eHealth
3 views
eHealth
3 views

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech

Larry Alton - August 18, 2017

When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz glibly remarked that Americans struggling to afford insurance should choose between that and their smartphones,…

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software
eHealth
365 views
eHealth
365 views

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software

Robert Cordray - August 17, 2017

The medical sector is one area where technology has had a significant impact, largely by providing tools that simplify many…

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?
Wellness
2 views
Wellness
2 views

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?

Ryan Kh - August 16, 2017

According to research from the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the…