Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is your healthcare marketing department a sweatshop?

Though there are many great examples of healthcare marketing across the country, it seems that these are far and few between. This is a shame really because of all the talented marketers that are in the industry. More often than not, we let well meaning individuals who have no formal training or clear understanding of marketing hold sway over the direction.

I do understand the leverage that CEOs, docs, product managers and others hold over marketing. At the end of the day, he or she that signs the check or has the backing wins, right or wrong. And there is way too much of that in healthcare marketing.

With non-marketing trained people running the show causing chaos and confusing tactics with strategy, companies fall behind in markets and are either sold, became acquisition targets since they underperform, or die a slow and painful death.

So how do you exercise marketing leadership in that kind of environment? You need to understand the needs, politics and marketing understanding of the key decision makers.

Here are some questions for your consideration:

Have you let your marketing department become a sweatshop rued but others expecting you to do their bidding no matter how ridiculous the request?
Have you done everything possible to create an understanding of marketing?
Have you ensured that the marketing plan is in full alignment with the strategic and business plan of the organization?
When you suggest a strategy or tactic have I communicated what the return on investment is?
Do you in engage leadership in a discussion of the why of a strategy?
Have you been thinking strategically and not confusing tactics with strategy?
Have you reached out to key leaders and department heads when building the annual marketing plan for their input?
Have you been visible in the organization as the “go-to” marketing expert?
Have you allowed yourself to be an order taker producing lots of “stuff”?
Are you the organizational brand champion?
Are you willing to stop doing things the same old way with the same old result?
Does your organization respect what you do?
Are you willing to just say no, that's not marketing?

In a world of immediate gratification, lack of focus and favor of the day, a marketing executive’s tenure has dropped from 3 years to 12 to 18 months. With such a short time horizon, you might as well lead and know no matter what the outcome is, you gave it your best effort.

Time to stop working in a marketing sweatshop.

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