Previously, I authored a couple of blogs on the Re-emergence of Centers of Excellence (CoE) due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as well as starting a most interesting discussion on LinkedIn in the American College of Healthcare Executives Group. Those blogs and discussion really focused more on the operational and quality of care characteristics of a CoE than marketing. The point being that with the rise of healthcare consumerism driven by many factors outside the control of healthcare providers, that you could no longer look around and just say that you have a CoE in a particular service-line or disease -state.
So, if as a leader in your healthcare organization you have come to realize that the healthcare consumer deserves more than just the old ways of doing things, you have really looked at your self-described CoEs and beefed them up to true reflections of organizational and quality of care excellence, then just maybe you are ready to begin marketing a CoE. If not, it will come back to haunt you in the end, influenced by PPACA and demands of the healthcare consumer.
Marketing the CoE
This is really a reintroduction for most healthcare organizations. That being said, the opportunity immediately before you is to corrects some past mistakes. Mistakes I would like think were made with the best of intentions, but reflected a lack of understanding about the organizational brand, brand messages, and brand equity that was lost.
Probably the most important correction or for starting out with a new CoE is- scrap the new logo, color palette and messaging for the CoE. Too many organizations went down the path of we need a new logo, tagline, color palette, etc., from what is the already established brand of the organization. Shame on the marketing departments for not exercising the leadership to stop the madness.
I don't care that a CNO or director likes to "dabble in marketing". Except in some circumstances where the CNO or director has marketing training and education, CNOs, directors of Nursing etc., are clueless about brand, brand equity and marketing for that matter. How about I dabble in nursing?
In the Age of Healthcare Consumerism, your brand is everything.
The only logo that matters is your brand logo, color palette and messaging. Period. Change it at your own risk. Leverage what you have because it makes life a lot easier and more cost effective.
Do create a value proposition that shows the benefit to the healthcare consumer that your CoE brings to the market.
Do talk to the healthcare consumer not at them.
Do integrate the CoE campaign into the broader organizational marketing efforts.
Do use patient and physician testimonials if available.
If you have Joint Commission CoE certification or the Blue Cross Blue Shield CoE certifications or others, use them, but explain the value of what that means. Just don't throw it out there.
Talk about your outcomes and why they are important. Be transparent in your use of data.
Use all communication channels, print, direct mail, billboard, radio, email, social media, web site, call center, etc. Integrate those efforts.
Make your marketing efforts sustainable. Fund them accordingly to last a long period of time to be in front of the healthcare consumer for months at a time.
Be creative. Be interactive. Start and maintain a conversation with the healthcare consumer.
Evaluate constantly. Change on the fly. Show ROI.
Take a market position of superiority along either the product, price or service offering and dominate. Pick one, set meaningful benchmarks in the others.
Don't overpromise and under deliver.
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Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 1,000 monthly pages views reviewed in over 20 countries around the world, and is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-293-1471 for hiring as your senior marketing executive or for interim assignments in all aspects of healthcare marketing whether it be strategic or tactical market planning, rebuilding and revitalizing your existing marketing operation, integration of sales and marketing teams, media relations or service line revitalizations. Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni, both highly respected and successful international sales training organizations , I can lead your organization though the challenge of integrating sales and marketing.