Saturday, September 27, 2014

How do you market healthcare in a dynamic market?

Faced with a cacophony of payment models from fee-for-service to value and risked based with a growing healthcare consumer looking for choice, healthcare marketing becomes an even greater challenge than before. One size does not fit all. And growth is good.

With the growing consumerism in healthcare, how can the hospital or health system make good in growing and generating revenue while the chance still presents itself?  After all, the tipping point of where a hospital is no longer a revenue center but a cost center has not taken place yet.  And it won’t for the foreseeable immediate future.  

There are three dynamic keys to concentrate on in the evolving consumeristic driven healthcare market:   Market Presence... Leveraging Opinion/Perception... Consumer/Patient Experience...

No longer nice to have, these three basic concepts are now business requirements.

  • Market Presence- The resources to effectively and continuously communicate brand and differentiate the offering across multiple channels. This includes having the right marketing organizational structure with the right people in the right jobs to manage the fully integrated marketing program.
  • Leveraging Opinion/Perception – Social media is critical in the area. Even with all the cost, price and quality data that is being released and consumers are learning how to use; it’s still recommendation of physicians, family members or friends that drives a big part of the selection process. That will change over time, but as of yet, it’s that old tried and true ubiquitous “word of mouth”  opinion/perception influencer channels that one needs to actively manage.
  • Consumer/Patient Experience- The actual customer experience matches the brand image, perceptions and opinions of customers that you created in the marketplace that had been communicated in an integrated multi-channel sustained effort that includes social media engagement.

 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:

  •       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 and choice than the old way of doing things.

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