Sunday, February 4, 2018

Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl Teams. What Hospitals Need to Learn.

No eye rolls, please. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and the thought occurred what can I learn strategically for provider marketing from the teams preparing to play on the world’s biggest stage.

But I guess once all the hoopla is said and done, it all comes down to playing the game that the participants have played for a great majority of their life.  It’s the same for provider marketers in an upside-down market where the healthcare consumer gains power each day. Trust us just doesn’t work anymore.

As a marketing professional and mentor, one must learn how to handle success and failure. Endure leadership changes, people who don’t know what they are talking about but think they do, or the long-tenured leadership that looks at you and your recommendations with the “I have seen women and men like you to come and go, and I am still here,” attitude.

In the end, if there are any really important lessons it’s all about the strategy, teamwork and adapting whether you like or not.

The successful Super Bowl teams, besides a little luck along the way, know strategy and adaptation. From their use of data and analysis with the outcomes of actions leading to an understanding of the results and key inflection points, the strategy going forward determined, and a plan developed for execution.

But herein lies the major difference.

During the execution of the plan, rapid and nearly immediate response to changing conditions takes place. Strategy, adaptability and continuous learning measured against expectations. If it doesn’t work, make changes. Pretty simple really.

Here are my ten Super Bowl LII lessons for healthcare marketers:

1.       Keep calm. Healthcare is changing in ways that have turned the market upside down.  That doesn’t mean the game is over. It just means your strategy needs to change because the market is rushing ahead of you. 
2. Change it up! If you keep doing what one has always done, this market will just pound the daylights out of the organization. Stop doing the same things the same way as one has always done. 
3.       Fail Fast. Mistakes happen because of errors, and that is just a fact of life. Plans don’t always work as intended. So like winning sports teams when things go wrong, stop, and change to get a better result. 
4.       Change up your marketing channels. Delivering the same message, the same way every time is a prescription for disaster. People stop paying attention, so one must move the messages around and use all the channels available. Your audience regardless of age is omnichannel. 
5.       Build the marketing team capability and chemistry.  That may mean new players. Change is good, and everyone needs to learn new marketing skills and to play nice in the sandbox.  One cannot be successful if there is no team chemistry and the team members can’t fill in for another. New skills breed new ideas and capabilities. 
6.       Listen to your coaches, i.e., leadership. It may seem like an oxymoron sometimes especially with marketing because anyone can do it, but you need to be at the leadership table and understand the business strategy, operational plans, and financial challenges. Only then can one make a positive contribution.
7.       Do the unexpected.  That keeps your competition off balance. One can build the organizational marketing story and meet the healthcare consumer’s needs before anyone else has the chance. 
8.       Know the strengths and weaknesses of the team and competitors. Put team members in positions and situations to win. Go after competitors at their weakest point. If they can’t figure it out, keep doing it until they learn how then change. 
9.       You win some; you lose some. No organization is perfect,  put the loss behind you and learn.  Enjoy the wins for a moment but move on to the next game. Learn from the past and adapt strategically and in your execution. 
10.   Have fun and play with passion. I think that is the biggest lesson from all of this. Life is about passion, friendships, success and learning from failure.

No one remembers who lost. Work is the same. Have fun and play with passion. Life is too short.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.  Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group. 

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