Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Your Healthcare Marketing Model Evolving?

Healthcare is changing as never before. There is a marketplace momentum developing that will never allow healthcare organizations to go back to the way they were. Accountability, transparency, price and value are the new expectations. Business models need to change to meet the needs and expectation of the evolving healthcare consumer. Which begs the question, is your healthcare marketing model evolving as well?

My guess is probably not.

Doctors, hospitals and insurers are going to have to change their marketing models. The old model of advertise it and they will come is slowly, but inexorably going by the wayside. Ads that are all about the provider, offering limited time discounts on certain test or exams due to the time of the year or date on the wellness calendar, are pretty standard. They offer little if any differentiation. Even the insurer plan ads are starting to look the same. Great offers about benefits, little transparent discussion of price and outcomes for choosing them. Ads across hospitals offer little in the way of building brand equity in the minds of consumers.

Where is the brand equity?

And you really have to figure out how to build brand equity for the consumer in the future healthcare world. Brand equity is not built overnight, it takes years. For insurers they are ahead of the game and probably most doctors, even though their brand equity is more by chance than actual effort and planning. But hospitals, they are way behind the brand equity curve unless you are a Mayo Clinic, M D Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins and a few select others.

Consumers are taking more control.

As employers figure out that not much has changed in the way of healthcare cost reduction, their strongest response will be to provide a fixed dollar contribution to employees, who will shop for their own healthcare plans from insurers and exchanges. They will build their own healthcare networks of who they want in and out. Consumers want choice. Their choice. Just as they have choice in any marketplace. And they are not going to pay for poor quality care or mistakes.

Consumers aren't off the hook in all of this change. They will have to become more knowledgeable, accountable and involved. They will have to learn how to select a health plan, doctor or hospital. And that's your opportunity to begin to change your marketing model and branding efforts.

How can you build brand equity?

There is no simple answer, it is a combination of changing internal processes and systems (customer experience management) to become more consumer-friendly and efficient. It's about adapting technology that will reduce errors and improve decision-making. It's about changing marketing and communication activities from what you do, to the value of what you do. You will need to engage in meaningful ways the healthcare consumer. You will need become price and quality transparent. You will need to respond to each individual consumers healthcare needs.

You will need to build or rebuild your brand, around value-based performance that delivers better care at reasonable prices.

So, is your healthcare model evolving with the new healthcare consumer in mind, or are you still doing things the same way, looking for volume that may not exist?

You can continue the conversation with me on:

For more information, or to discuss your strategic healthcare marketing, customer experience management, marketing/sales integration or start-up needs, you can learn more at my web site the michael J group; email-; or phone by calling me at 815-293-1471.

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