Saturday, May 30, 2015

Has the time come for AGREE marketing in healthcare?

Marketing is full of acronyms on how healthcare providers and vendors should be marketing aimed at various industries and audiences based on their peculiarities. This is not to slam any of them for they are more or less successful depending on how the enterprise in question implements the concept and processes organizationally. And commits the necessary human and capital as needed to fully implement.

Having worked in many of those environments, it’s amazing how some healthcare providers and vendors claim a methodology only to short cut the implementation, not train new staff, or not allocate the resources and then wonder why it doesn’t work.  Hmm….

So this time I am throwing my hat into the marketing system name game for healthcare providers and vendors, offering up a new methodology.

And here is why. 

Healthcare is changing so rapidly and moving in direction never before experienced that the old ways of marketing just don’t work like they used too. There are a lot reasons for that but the biggest one is lack of senior management focus. For example, one year its “patient focused” or “sales focused”. The next year we are “product or care focused”.   Then it becomes “customer and sales focused”.  And the best of all “we will be feared” in the market focus. 

And marketing is left holding the bag each time the focus or direction changes.

What is needed is a marketing framework that marketers can use to withstand rapid disruptive market changes and innovation, as well as senior management unpredictability. The shiny new program that works today may not work tomorrow. But some basic principles apply in any market.  And by focusing on those basics in an integrated fashion no matter what senior management does (short of liquidation or acquisition), marketing can be successful when all around is seemingly in chaos.

That’s the basis for AGREE marketing.

Acquire,  Grow,  Retain,  Engage,  Experience

The organizational marketing plan should have a detailed and highly integrated section of the marketing plan for each of the above areas.  Don’t make assumptions that one is doing this already. One may have bits and pieces scattered throughout the plans, or they may be assumed. But I am willing to bet that it is not detailed in a coherent strategy and tactical execution plan along these five dimensions.

This is not easy, but no matter what the organizational focus, direction or pronouncements of senior leadership with the flavor of the day,  AGREE marketing will keep focus on what is really important, and that is creating and keeping a customer for growing the healthcare enterprise.

Growth is good. Change is always. And marketing goes on. Agreed?

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