Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Public Realtions and Media - Leveraging the Obvious

This is a test.

Quick, what is the fastest way for you to build your brand in the community? Well, besides providing outstanding patient service and support, high quality care and so forth.

Try proactive media relations!

Each morning, someone in the marketing department should be scanning the newspapers, news wires such as the PR Newswire and the Business News Wire and other media outlets to see the hot healthcare topic of the day. Once identified, look to your medical staff or your internal employees to see if you have any content experts. Find the angle about why this is important. Develop some materials such as a news release or statement, get some times the physician or hospital spokesperson is available and pitch them to the media. Put the materials on your web site. Use the news wires for a regional release.

It's all about speed, reaction and first to the media.

It's summer and that means a slow news period!

Two articles in the WSJ today worth commenting on. Outpatient surgery in the docs office and bad outcomes including death, and ten things you need to know about healthcare reform. Have any good quality examples of your docs performing outpatient surgery in their offices? What is your position on healthcare reform?

Sweeps month is coming up, never to earlier to establish your organization as the go-to content experts. Especially when it is a slow news day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Battle Lines Are drawn

With the Senate yesterday introducing a HC reform bill, its clear that the battle lines are being drawn between a government insurance option vs big insurers. Expect the Obama PR team to hammer big insurers and enhance the public already aving a strong dislike of healthcare payors.

What does that mean healthcare providers?

Watch the battle closely, you will have to choose.

What to do.


Marketing departments should be working with senior leadership and in their communities to get a pulse from all constituent groups, not just favorites on the topic of healthcare reform.

As issues develop create media statements for local press on why you do or do not support.

Consider offering your facility as a town hall meeting place.

Find out where your docs are at. Help them understand the issues and develop PR/Media kits for them to use.

Consider web site updates and links to various organizations.

Become the local expert source for commentary and opinion.

Get leadership up to speed and in an Executive Speaker's bureau on the topic.

Move fast. Be proactive . Define your usefulness in this process.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

News Flash, Healthcare Reform

House Democrats have just introduced a 1,000+ page healthcare reform bill. Buckle up, Life is going to change as we know it. Healthcare marketing departments now is the time to start proving your worth and doing some serious marketing. Otherwise, don't need you in the new environment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pharma, hospital, healthcare reform and marketing

Saving money?

Okay, who is kidding whom? Pharma gives up $80 billion for healthcare reform for Medicare Part D. Hospitals get on the bandwagon and give up $155 billion in Medicare funding. Total savings $235 billion. Is it real savings or just slowing the growth? Medicare and Medicaid programs are never really cut, just the rate of spending growth slows.

Its just the gov doing their own cost shift dance. You, me, we all pay for these "savings".

Biologic drugs for diseases under reform?

Pharma now wants legislation passed giving them a 13 year exclusivity on biologically derived drugs before biosimilar generics can be introduced. Granted they are complicated and expensive to produce, but really, 13 years to recover costs? Nonsense! I say 6-7 years max and then bring on the generics. Its not reform, just the same old game with different clothes.

Hospital marketing departments, time to tack action!

So hospital marketing and pr departments, what are you doing to drive change in your strategy and tactics to be ready for the new healthcare environment? If you haven't started already, you are behind the eight-ball.

Hint......Focus on PR and media relations. Money well spent and you can produce an ROI. Stop the silly ads.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Question of the day- Mayo Clinic and marketing

Mayo Clinic has no marketing budget, only PR.

They have never done a direct mail campaign, print or electronic media advertisements or any other traditional types of marketing.

Yet everyone knows who they are and what to expect in the way of customer service and quality.

So Quality + Reputation + PR = Success. So on a local level, why do hospitals spend endless dollars on misleading ads and claims when the answer to market success lies before their very feet?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to basics and de-marketing services

With major cuts in funding coming for hospitals, the only way to survive is to get back to the core. Meaning, what are those core services and programs that regardless of what happens in the world of healthcare, will pay the bills and create market strength and position for you.

Its hard to exit programs and services. I have been saying for years that hospitals can not be all things to all people anymore. That means hard choices. It also means a de-marketing program for all those classes of trade that you exit from.

It will require organizational strategic planning, a willingness to tackle the scared cows, close collaboration with your physicians, intense internal communications and a solid de-marketing and communication plan to sell it to the community.

You will be required to collaborate with your competition. Hard to admit you can't do all things well. If you want to survive, you have too.

Find the expertise to assist you along. De-marketing is an area where hospitals have little experience.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thoughts for the future

Video releases

Next year how about your healthcare organization producing some video release of with docs explaining what happens when a firecracker goes off in your hand. Use a crash test dummy. Great visual for media. Put it on your favorite public access channel too. At the very least place it on your web site.

Hospital pay raises

I know lots of people who are not getting raises in hospitals this year. But somehow there is always money for the CEO and senior team for a job poorly done. Can you say like, do the right thing and not accept a raise?

Time for a new marketing book

Your marketing is making you look stupid. How is that for a title? Starting on the next great healthcare marketing book and consulting tour. Its time for the industry to wake up and do it right before healthcare reform comes along and the playing field is leveled. How do you spell differentiation?

Healthcare Reform

Speaking of healthcare reform... any clue on how you attract those individuals who can afford to pay privately and not wait in line for service? The next real battleground for revenue.

If you don't think there will be long lines and wait lists, just think about all those hospitals beds taken out of service when 47 million suddenly get access. Can you say, beds in the hallway?

Big insurance is in trouble and facing national healthcare on some level. Why should an employer pay outrageous premiums when they may have the possibility to opt into a government program. The financial analysts, Wall Street and investors will hate that. Too bad you already made your money.

Be a tax-exempt organization, you can behave just like a for-profit and not have to pay taxes. Pretty good deal

LinkedIn, facebook , twitter

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Happy 4th of July everyone.