Sunday, May 18, 2014

Should healthcare providers change marketing in an era of reform?

Faced with a cacophony of payment models from fee-for-service to value ad risked based with everything else in between, the evolving healthcare consumer and the newly insured, healthcare marketing becomes an even greater challenge than before. One size does not fit all. And growth is good.

The hospital or health system has five markets: Medicare; Medicaid; Commercial; Exchanges; and Uninsured. And in those five markets it’s about:  Sustainability; Presence; Perception; and Experience.

These are the four dynamics that healthcare providers need to understand and incorporate for successful marketing and campaign efforts in a consumer-driven market. In short the answer is yes. No longer nice to have, these four basic concepts are now business requirements:

 ·         Sustainability- The resources to effectively and continuously communicate brand and differentiate the offering across multiple channels
 ·         Presence - By maintaining a continuous presence across multiple channels as in so many other consumer-directed industries is how one builds 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 mind.
 ·         Experience-  The actual customer experience at all touch-points matches the brand image, perceptions and opinions of customers that you created in the marketplace, that have been communicated in an integrated multi-channel sustained effort that includes social media engagement

What to do?

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 Vice President of Marketing senior management position that reports to the CEO and is involved in all decision making.
·         Marketing resources human, operational and capital budgets to support a multi-channel effort externally and internally.
·         Comprehensive strategic and measurably focused marketing plan that is integrated with the financial and operational plan of the organization.
·         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.

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

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