Sunday, March 18, 2012

Has the role of healthcare marketing changed?

Back in December of 2010, I wrote about the changing role of healthcare marketing in the context of PPACA. Earlier this week a reader asked if it had changed nearly two years later. Sadly, not much has changed in the current state and role of healthcare marketing.

Oh, we have added an expanded social media and online practice, but much of the changing role and strategic marketing leadership that I envisioned with the passage of PPACA hasn't taken place. It's pretty much standard operations as in the past. And that is disappointing.

Understand that I am not talking about pharma, medical device manufacturers, insurance companies, suppliers and retailers moving into the healthcare space. They get it. They understand the power and importance of marketing. This is for all the other healthcare providers that are still trying to operate like its 1990.

What I wrote about two years ago, still stands. Healthcare organizations are falling behind daily in their marketing, with little room for error or recovery. To recap that post:

Marketing Leadership

Marketing is strategy first, tactics second. The voice of marketing should reflect the voice of your customers and not be a second thought. Your future programs and services will be determined by the needs of the market, not your gut feeling. You cannot become a customer-driven or market-driven organization if the skills and experiences of marketing is not at the leadership table. Needs to be a Senior VP or VP of Marketing reporting to the CEO.

Managing the Patient Experience

If anyone is prepared to understand and mange the patient experience across the organization it's marketing. Hospitals in particular are making the mistake of putting operations in charge of patient experience. This is an oxymoron really. For the most part Ops can't get a discharge process together in less than 3 or 4 hours. How can you expect them to manage the patient experience? Patient experience means just that- understanding what that patient experiences is at all touch points. And then changing or managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrating process across the entire organization internally and externally. One organization to the patient, one patient to the organization. It is not simply another quality program or flavor of the day.

Understanding and Executing Demand Management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is designed to keep people out of the hospital. You can actually see a hospital admission as a defect in the process of care. Marketing needs to understand what the demand for healthcare services will be, when they will be needed and manage that demand making sure that the hospital or health system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to meet demand. Gone are the days where marketing departments will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

Becoming a Revenue Marketer and Having Revenue Accountability

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is necessary for anything marketing accomplishes, traditionally, socially or online. Marketers in healthcare organizations need to become revenue producers, not resource consumers that show little value beyond, it looks nice. In fact, marketing should have P&L as well as an SG&A accountability for many of the products and services being offered by a healthcare organization.

Marketing the Manager of Change

Who better in an organization than for marketing to manage the healthcare organizations transformation from an inward-focused it's all about me, to an outward-focused market and consumer driven organization? Open to much debate, this is probably the most controversial look at the expanding role of marketing. Individual who have looked internally at their organizations all of their careers, do not necessarily have the skills, training or abilities to change an organization 180 degrees. And that is the type of change we are talking about here.

Clocks ticking and you're being left behind.

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