Sunday, April 16, 2017

14 Steps for Crisis Communications in an Age of Social Media & Customers as the Paparazzi

I am not going to pile on United, though they have had a bad few weeks with two full-blown public relations crisis’s in social media in the last three weeks.  But it does make one wonder if United has any capacity to learn from their mistakes given the flow of events and missteps of the past few days.

Are you paying attention?

If companies are not paying attention, especially hospital and health systems, on how the public is the paparazzi, then they can expect sooner rather than later,  that they will experience a meltdown of the provider brand and reputation through their carelessness and folly.

What happens when the social media channel turns bad on the hospital or health system?

Conventional wisdom used to say that a public relations crisis were a three-day story. Ten years ago that was the case.  Today, however, it’s a different story with social media, Facebook live and any of the other distribution channels now available.  Before, a PR crisis could be contained locally or regionally. Now with live video and social media streaming, it can become a global crisis in a mere matter of minutes.



I am not minimizing in any fashion the seriousness of what is taking place. It’s to get one’s attention. Sometimes it becomes way too easy to panic. And that needs to be avoided at all costs. Just ask United.

Take these steps to mitigate the social media communications crisis to protect the brand and organizational reputation. Many of the steps are parallel and not sequential.

The 14 steps for a public relations crisis driven by the consumer paparazzi and social media:

1.)    Do treat this as a communications failure and have a social media crisis communications plan already in place. 
2.)    Care, concern, and compassion still rule the message and the days that follow. 
3.)    Don’t jump right to the “we followed policy and staff acted appropriately.”  That makes you tone deaf and unresponsive. Plus those kinds of remarks will just further add more combustible fuel to the raging fire. 
4.)    Don’t change your message or position every day. You will look foolish and unprepared. 
5.)    Understand what happened and why. 
6.)     Identify who the influencers will be to add voice and impact the conversation. 
7.)    Actively monitor your online reputation. 
8.)    Avoid the informational black hole.  Be ready with appropriate information and press statements.  You can’t hold a news conference every time you want to say something. 
9.)    Have social media appropriate messaging that is clear and concise.
10.) Integrate your response across all social media activities. Remember that some reporters use Twitter as a basis for information and facts without verifying the authenticity of the information. 
11.) If the organization blew it, take ownership.  No excuses, the appearances of excuses or rude behavior are allowed.  Social media users are a pretty savvy group and will see right through it. It will only make matters worse.  
12.) Integrate paid and earned media.  
13.) Have clear rules of social media engagement by employees.   
14.)  Don’t forget to use your staff and their access to social media and how they can influence the conversation.  Employees are your secret weapon in this battle.

And lastly, learn from United. Hundreds of millions of dollars in lost equity and capitalization with a negative brand reputation that will take years to recover. Here is hoping that a social media crisis never comes to your doorstep.

But you can always call me when it does. Have the checkbook ready too
.
Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Has Influencer Marketing’s Time Arrived for Providers?

Influencer marketing is generating a lot of attention.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of activity but the little strategy behind the marketing. Oh, and let me be clear before going much further,  that I do not mean hiring celebrities to be the spokesperson for the providers B2C marketing.

Hiring a celebrity to be the spokesperson the hospital or health system can be an expensive and risky proposition. Not everyone in the entertainment segment or sport they represent may have a large enough following in your market.

What is influencer marketing?

Simply put, a person of influence can effect action.  Fans, friends, and followers are meaningless; it’s not about going after the most famous person. It’s about finding the influencer who can best move your audience to take action that brings benefit to you and them.  An influencer may be an industry expert. It may be someone internally. 

Think of influencer marketing as a relationship that co-creates meaningful content within a strategic marketing plan with defined goals that is measurable. Influencer marketing is not creating isolated pieces of content or campaigns. You want to build respective value beyond compensation.

Influencer marketing missteps to avoid.

There has been a limited effort to date on providers part in using influencer marketing. But from what I have seen, here are five things to avoid.  

1.       One-off campaigns: Using influencers once then abandoning the effort only to start again does little to change or influence the potential healthcare consumer. You must aim for sustainability. 
2.       Don’t focus on celebrities. Stars granted have a broad audience, but they are hard to reach, expensive to activate and may not be the most relevant. 
3.       Using Influence marketing for ads only: Sure the endorsement looks great in the ad, and it makes the board and doctors happy. But, is that driving the healthcare consumer to you? Doubtful. You need to co-create content and let the influencer step out and work on your behalf. 
4.       Pay-to-Play: I am not saying that you should not pay influencers. But what I am saying is that if the only value exchange between you and the influencer is cash, and you are not co-creating great content; then there is no mutual benefit. The benefit is one-sided, theirs. 
5.       Not measuring the right metrics: You can measure the business value of influencer marketing, not just social media engagements and brand lift. Start with the right goals and metrics to measure these aims.

What you need to in influencer marketing. 

1.       Have an adequate budget. It’s important to understand the opportunity for return on investment. What does it cost to implement the program measured against the cost of losing access to the top influencers in your market when the competition gets there first.  Think about it as a program, not unique projects. Long-term relationships create the most value for your spend. 
2.       Follow the insight.  That means doing your market research to understand the hospitals market and identify those influencers who can affect change and move the market. Don’t guess, know. 
3.       Identify the top influencer marketing goals. The influencer marketing program is about ROI, not brand lift and awareness. Make sure your goals and the influencers goals are in alignment. 
4.       Identify what areas are most impacted by influencer marketing. Social media marketing and content marketing are your best areas. Remember that social media is a baseline. Look to your make your program highly integrated across the organization and commercialization channels. The healthcare consumer is omnichannel which means that your influencer marketing needs to be omnichannel as well.

It is easy to get started in influencer marketing. From those first steps, you can grow your efforts in creating a sustainable long-term program built on relationships and moving markets.

Remember influencer marketing is additive, not exclusive, and long-term not short-term.
Influencer marketing’s time has come for providers, but it’s not celebrity driven, and one-off campaigns.  It’s about long-term beneficial relationships that create value for sustained success.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Can Health Care in The U.S. Be Reformed?

No.

Not with the health care delivery system and financing model that exists.

Tinkering around the edges and playing the little Dutch boy putting his fingers in holes in the dike to stop the water accomplishes nothing and doesn’t work. We find time and time again; this is the direction elected officials at all levels and policy wonks take while listening to the lobbyists for the different provider and insurer groups, who are more concerned about increasing their share of the trillion dollar health care industry than they are about patients.

I have worked in healthcare with the introduction of DRGs in 1983.

I have worked in healthcare during the 1990s and HMOs, capitation payment systems, the employment of physicians, the formation of health systems, provider driven insurance plans, etc.

I have worked in healthcare during the 2000s when the cost of medical care skyrocketed; the ACA was passed because nothing from the tinkering and experience of the previous 20 years worked.

I work and watch in healthcare during the 2010s, as we revisit the failed models of the 1990s and 2000s.

And here we are nearly 40 years later, with the same problems only bigger and more expensive.

We continue to “reform” a health care delivery system and financing model that is unsustainable.

This is just craziness.

The following is not a political statement but an observation.

For seven years we have heard the loud carrion cry of Conservatives doing the repeal and replace ACA dance. Now given a chance after all that wailing and whining the Republicans were: 1) never ready with any replacement; 2) incapable of articulating a coherent health care policy, delivery and financing model; and 3) are incapable of governing given a chance. Some old song. Same old story. Same old Washington.

The question is and always been, for which there has never been the national dialogue, is health care a privilege or a right? Then comes the consideration that also requires a national debate, how do we pay for care?

It’s not a matter of reform of the reimbursement models. It’s a matter of needing to change the health care delivery and financing model entirely.

Both parties only tinker around the edges bringing about unintended consequences that only make matters worse and solve nothing.

Understand that people have always gotten care, of which the cost of care was off-loaded onto the backs of healthcare providers, meaning doctors and hospitals. It is the medicalization of a societal issue. People do get care; it may be in an inappropriate care setting (ER) and at the wrong time, but care nonetheless.

Until the healthcare delivery and finance model is addressed at its root failure cause, and an honest national discussion is held, nothing more will happen except for the wild back and forth political swings of both parties.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, and communications executive, strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Provider’s, calculating RMOI on your marketing efforts? No, well here’s how.

With so many changes in the healthcare market and resource constraints in hospitals, it’s a wonder they attempt any marketing at all. As much has healthcare has changed, provider marketing just hasn’t kept up. In hospitals saying your brand awareness is up is essentially a waste of marketing resources.

Big deal.

Your outcomes, patient satisfaction, price, experience and preventable death rate tell another story which negates the undifferentiated all about you feel good marketing. The healthcare consumer and patient isn’t dumb you know. They see the numbers and can figure it out.

What must I do?

To do Return on Marketing Investment analysis, you must market something that is measurable. Surprise!  Brand ads just won’t do it. It won’t tell you what to sell and how, as that is not the focus of the blog post. If you can’t figure it out then maybe it’s time for a different profession.

Moving forward.

Below is an example of an actual ROMI computation for a multi-hospital organization. I am assuming that you can identify and pull down the information that you need across many platforms of the organization to produce such a result.  If you can’t measure, then broaden your technological capability and move towards a higher level of computerization and system integration that you already experience.

The role finance plays.

Work with your finance department. They are a great source of information. With a high degree of collaboration and understanding their viewpoints and perspectives regarding marketing, you can lead and make a difference. By answering questions, concerns and opinions with solid data, you can move the discussion from marketing does “stuff’ to marketing is a financial contributor to the organization.

The formula and method.

The way forward below can be adapted to any campaign and provides you with the data fields, and logical analysis one needs.  This is an actual RMOI calculation on a physician referral campaign and call center.

PRCC ROI

An analysis was undertaken to look at the ROI of the Physician Referral Call Center. The study matched a database of call center name records for the period to financial records which had already been downloaded.  The data produced the following results:

*      9,102 call records were matched with utilization and financial data.
*      9,102 calls led to a total of 9,121 encounters in the ER, Inpatient and Outpatient categories of service.
*      751 contacts were ER
o   177 returning encounters
o   573 first time encounters
*      1,105 contacts were Inpatient
o    530 returning encounters
o    699 first time encounters
*      7,267 were Outpatient
o   2,014 returning encounters
o   5,253 first time encounters
*      Total charges for all encounters equaled $22,522,649
*      Charges for new encounters all services totaled $16,085,198 or 71 percent of the total charges
*      Average charge per ER Encounter  $1,304
*      Average charge per  Inpatient Encounter $13,581
*      Average charge per Outpatient Encounter  $903
*      Gallup measures loyalty at 68 percent (would return for service) which means that for every 100 patients 32 would not return for care- therefore:
o   ED- 57 returning encounters captured that would not have returned
o   Inpatient – 170 returning patients that would not have returned
o   Outpatient- 645 returning visits that would not have returned
*      Incremental charges counted returning consumers not loyal
o   ER - $74,337
o   Inpatient- $2,308,851
o   Outpatient-  $582,505
o   Subtotal charges counted:  $2,965,693
*      Overall market share in primary and secondary service area is 14.53 percent. The number of first-time encounters has utilized us above market presence is, therefore:
o   ER 573 first time visits,  83 not countered, 490 counted –
o   Inpatient – 699 first time admissions, 101 not used,  598 admissions used
o   Outpatient – 5,253 first time encounters, 763 encounters not counted, 4,490 counted
*      Based on an overall market share of  14.5  percent the  incremental charges counted for new  encounters, not because of market presence:
o   ER - $638,960
o   Inpatient – $8,121,438
o   Outpatient –  $4,054,470
*      Total Charges counted: $12,814,868
*      Discount from gross charges for Medicare, Medicaid, Managed Care, Bad Debt and Charity Care @ 65% is $8,326,644
*      Net Revenue:  $4,488,224
*      PRCC program costs:  $233,410
*      Net contribution:  $4,254,814
*      ROI 18.22:1

Much is written and made of the importance of calculating a Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) for healthcare organizations.  Most often regulated to producing brochures and other items, healthcare marketing departments need to exercise a leadership position and talk the financial language of senior management.

Otherwise, marketing is just a cost center and not an organizational asset.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.