Sunday, November 24, 2013

Is your healthcare marketing driven by HIPPO?

I saw something the other day that really commanded my attention.  It raised that old question related to marketing effectiveness and efficiency.  Is your marketing regardless of the type of industry, driven by HIPPO?

Sounds interesting you say? What is this marketing by HIPPO?  Get ready because you may not like the answer.

HIPPO = Highest Internally Paid Person’s Opinion

And the marketing that I witnessed drove this point home. And the not so funny thing about it is that the marketing department will be blamed for the nonsense when really, the question should be was it a bad decision and performance by marketing, or was this driven in a large extent by a highest paid person’s opinion. 

That happens a lot in healthcare.  No marketing science, no qualitative understanding of markets, just opinion, hearsay and flavor of the day from reading an article or seeing a competitor’s advertisement. No primary or secondary market research or understanding customer needs except in the most superficial level. One maybe two people say something and then it’s the whole universe acts that way.  I am the highest internally paid person here, so go do this. A competitor does this, so you do this. I have made up my mind because I believe this to be true and I am the insert title here- CEO - EVP – VP, etc.
Do you work in a HIPPO marketing organization? Be honest now.

The characteristics of such an organization are as follows:  larger than life executive egos (big fish in a little pond); lack of sustained adherence to mission, vision and values beyond executive decree; short attention span due to constantly shifting plans and priorities; the inability to execute operationally; constant crisis and chaos; and adherence to that “this is the way we have always done it so way we are doing it that way”.  Or what I call slavery to the past because I say so.

As we continue on with HIPPO characteristics: communication is poor interdepartmentally;  marketing is seen as doing “stuff”;  and the best one of all - proposed marketing solutions are seen an “elegant” and not as the right way to build revenue and brand because they aren’t expedient.  It’s all about the HIPPO and what they believe regardless of any lack of foundation in reality.

In today’s world of lightning fast change, social media and the growing power of the healthcare consumer with more of an economic stake, you can’t afford ineffective and inefficient healthcare marketing.  That doesn’t build a strong brand. That doesn’t provide you with a competitive advantage. And most importantly, it doesn’t engage the healthcare consumer in any meaningful way.

HIPPO healthcare marketing is a prescription for failure.

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 and Twitter.

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