Sunday, August 25, 2013

How do you market healthcare in an era of reform?

Faced with a cacophony of payment models from fee-for-service to value and risked based, with everything else in between, the evolving healthcare consumer, millions of people in the coming months gaining access to healthcare via the HIX insurance purchase, healthcare marketing becomes an even greater challenge than before. One size does not fit all. And growth is good.

Sustainability...Presence...Perception...Experience...

These are the four dynamics that direct-care healthcare providers need to understand and incorporate for success in their marketing operations and campaign efforts in a consumer-driven market. No longer nice to have, these four basic marketing concepts are now business requirements.

Sustainability- The resources to effectively and continuously communicate brand and differentiate you’re offering across multiple channels.

Presence - By maintaining a continuous presence across multiple channels as in so many other consumer-directed industries you build brand preference.

Perception- With a sustainable, continuous presence in the marketplace, sooner rather than latter, your key messages become the opinion of you by consumers and they become fact in their minds.

Experience-  Defining, measuring and changing the healthcare consumers experience including price and outcomes to match the brand image, perceptions and opinions of the market place. And is communicated in an integrated multi-channel sustained effort that includes social media engagement.

 Change and Survive

A consumer-directed market is much different environment than a provider-directed market which requires skills and abilities that may or may not exist in an organization.   Key success factors for creating a high performance marketing operation that delivers revenue and market share in an era of reform in the new healthcare environment include:

·       A Chief Marketing Officer that reports to the CEO and is involved in all decision making.

·       Marketing resources- human and capital to support a sustainable and continuous strategically based, fully  integrated multi-channel effort externally and internally.

·       Basing marketing plans and strategies on data rather than thought or here say. Marketing via data analysis from  consumer market research to detailed service area analysis. Not just demographic or lifestyle, but utilization patterns, prevalence and incidence of disease, insurance status, healthcare brand preference, location preference,  message testing etc.

·       Price, outcomes and experience transparency

·       Internal communication and training to educate the organization around marketing efforts, expectations and their role in the execution of the plan.

·      Creation of a comprehensive marketing dashboard which communicates activities and results on a monthly basis to all levels of the organization.

The above organizational marketing success factors are at a minimum what is needed to move healthcare providers from a cottage-industry approach to marketing, to a comprehensive multimillion or billion dollar corporation approach to marketing.

As the healthcare providers continue to consolidate across all segments, marketing will assume an increasingly important role in the survival and revenue generating activities for the organization in a consumer dominated and directed healthcare marketplace.

And that requires a far different innovative sustainable marketing presence that changes perceptions than the old way of doing things.

 Michael J. Krivich, MHA, FACHE, PCM, is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views read in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. These views are my own. He is founder of the michael J group, a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.  Like us on facebook at the michael J group, and connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pheed

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