Tuesday, September 29, 2020

LinkedIn Stories – Hospital Branding and Recruitment Opportunity?

In LinkedIn's drive to be the Facebook of business, LinkedIn Stories was launched on Sunday, September 27. week. In essence, it is the same digital story opportunity that one finds on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. With a few notable exceptions, the stories from the first 24-48 hours left a lot be desired, even the LinkedIn Story demo, which has been revised. Content has improved as major corporations figure out its place in the marketing mix.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I did create some content and found it easy to use and create content. It's very similar to other social media platforms' story options for content creation, sharing, tagging, etc. My one disappointing note, besides the lack of content, is that stories only appear on the LinkedIn app side. If you're creating on a desktop or laptop, stories are not available. For me, that is a significant shortcoming. Maybe someday, LinkedIn will figure out that the user experience needs to be the same across all devices.

The branding and recruitment opportunity for hospitals.

As I have written in the past, digital stories are an area where hospitals and doctors, for that matter, can improve their marketing and digital presence. In case you missed the post from August 25, it was "Digital Stories- the Missing Hospital Marketing Opportunity?" https://bit.ly/3aSTuoW. In the blog post, there are ten steps for creating compelling stories so that I won't revisit them here. All ten steps apply to create a dynamic LinkedIn Story.

In an interesting twist to our topic, I wrote about hospital stories in 2014 with the post "Is storytelling the new healthcare marketing?" http://bit.ly/108kfjF. What is old is new from six years ago. Go figure.

Image by Yogesh Moore from Pixabay

From a marketing viewpoint, I believe that the new LinkedIn story capability provides a visual and dynamic platform for hospitals and health systems to marketing their hospital, company page, and recruit staff and physicians.

Differentiating from your competition.

With thousands of position postings and the difficulty sourcing staff, stories show the human side of the brand and the daily impact on lives. You can answer the question, why us, visually. Who is the best brand ambassador? An influencer that you pay or your employees representing you?

As an industry, we need to move more fully into developing compelling content to engage and frame the experience of the hospital and health system brand for the audience. And that means storytelling assumes greater importance.

Stories can provide rich content, engage, frame the experience, and impart critical information influencing choice.

Stories are here to stay. Make the best use of them you can.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Time Has Come to Make Hospital Marketing Sticky, Here’s How

With all the things that hospital leadership have on their plates and keeping them up at night, there is one area that could improve their marketing. That is making the hospital marketing stickier by being more creative.

Image by ptra from Pixabay

Creativity in hospital marketing is not a sin. 

Now that being said, the creative and production values of cable and broadcast television advertisements are particularly good and of excellent quality for the most part. Where the hospital marketing fails is on the creative side is with email, digital, paid social, print advertisements, and direct mail. 

Nobody remembers the advertisements.  But the healthcare and patient remembers what they saw on social media or the Internet. The healthcare consumer is talking and searching for healthcare information to learn and make choices.  But is the hospital or health system listening? 

Welcome to the experience economy, where the experience of care trumps the products and services of care. 

“In an experience economy, it’s not about what you do, but more about how you do it.”, Grant Leboff, Sticker Marketing- How To Win Customers In A Digital Age.

Now what? 

Time for a change. 

To grow and thrive in the experience economy, it means moving from traditional marketing to experiential marketing that addresses the needs of and meets the experience expectations of the patient. Stickier marketing is even more important during a pandemic when trust is low, and people are not returning to healthcare providers. The hospital experience has changed, and hospitals need to be creative on how to address and communicate that change. 


Image by Gerd Atlmann from Pixabay

Making provider marketing sticky is all about communicating care experience and engagement on a personal level. And given the multitude of ways, one of the most effective will be social media. 

Social media is about amplification and your ability to amplify the experience and brand messaging.  

Here are ten new marketing rules in an experience economy for making provider marketing stickier: 

1.       Understand fully and completely, the healthcare consumer and person experience. There are over 147 touchpoints for patient experience within a hospital. It’s vital in the experience economy that marketing understands what information they are seeking and deliver it to them at the right occasion touchpoint with the right call-to-action. 

2.       Content is king. Make it memorable. It’s how you drive engagement through effective and compelling storytelling around the experience of care, not the how of the care, from the web site to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc., by focusing on the experience, not features, and benefits. Be visual. Be compelling. 

3.       Identify and work with key influencers.  Local influencers can provide amplification of your message through social media. Encourage user-generated content. 

4.       Testimonials about the experience of care and engagement from patients and families are needed for the digital stories as proof points. 

5.       Integrate and communicate the value of the brand, key brand messages, and brand promise across all channels. 

6.       Use social media and SEO to amplify your message. Influencer’s and patient’s providing testimonials need to complete online reviews to raise your placement in Google and other search engine results. 

7.       Integrate the information and experience across all channels and platforms the connected patient uses- desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc. for a seamless experience. No disconnects. The patient moves freely between all devices, now expecting the same experience on all of them. 

8.       Traditional marketing now needs to focus more on price, outcomes, experience, and engagement.  No more pretty building, smiling doctors, shiny new equipment. 

9.       Teach employees how to use their social media channels to amplify the provider. 

10.   Teach the healthcare organization that marketing today is no longer about transactions but value.  Transactions will come after the value is understood.

Some will say that marketing has no place in the experience or engagement management process.  When you look at that advice, what success have you had in managing the experience and engaging the patient on their terms, not the hospitals? Or, are you just treading water until the next healthcare market catches you unawares. 

There is no escaping or slowing down the experience economy as it overtakes providers—time to make the hospital marketing stickier. 

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Improving the Physician Hospital Experience, for Revenue & Growth

Healthcare can be a harsh mistress, especially on the revenue side for hospitals and health systems exacerbated by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. With revenues falling and many on the brink of closure, new ways must be found to boost revenues.

The task will not get any easier as the pandemic rages, and in January, the new consumer price transparency regulations begin. The consumer will have the ability to search for prices on several hundred standard procedures among multiple providers.  

Price competition comes to hospitals.

As difficult as this all is, patients still, for the most part, listen to and act on the recommendation of their physician when seeking hospital care.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
And therein lies the physician experience improvement opportunity.

After all the years on both sides of the healthcare marketing ledger and having worked closely with physicians, I fail to understand is why time and effort are not spent by hospitals improving the physician practice experience? I am not talking here about the token efforts, but a full scale all out a facility-wide step in eliminating or reducing the internal hospital barriers that physicians encounter when they have patients in your facility.

Is it award marketing and meaningless branding efforts?

When we all pat ourselves on the back for the excellent marketing campaigns and look at our branding if one looks and the data, you will find that changes in hospital market share and revenue are more determined by physician admitting practices. The one or two-point swings in share between the hospital, and competitors are the result of doctors moving their patients to hospitals where it's easier to practice medicine.

Image by ganderboy from Pixabay

If you want to grow and grow is profitable, physician experience improvement is at the top of the too do list. It's also one way to stop the out-of-network referrals, retain patients, and generate additional ancillary income.

Even today, nothing happens unless you have a physician's order.  It makes no difference what the payment model or insurance plan is that the patient possesses. No doctor's order means no revenue and no growth. 

What will bring the greatest Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) or sales effort, running ads that tell consumers are how great you are because you just got an award, or effectively and efficiently managing the physician experience?

Time to focus seriously on the physician experience.

It's about the physician's experience in admitting, treating, and referring patients, regardless of the point of service, be it the emergency room, hospital, surgical center, or home care agency. 

Ask yourself how easy is it for them to practice medicine in your facility?  How many complaints do they get from their patients about the hospital? How do you lessen the hassle factor for physicians to allow them to be effective, efficient practitioners of the medical arts?

Map out the physician experience touchpoints across the dimensions of their experience. Where are the gaps? Is the experience delivered with consistency day in and day out? Where does the experience consistently fail?

Be ready to make changes in how you do things.  When your medical staff liaison, account rep, or insert title here person comes back stating the physicians encounter difficulties in practicing medicine in the hospital, be ready to make meaningful changes. 

To restate a common theme, it is not about the hospital or health system any longer. It is all about value for physicians and patients. The physician experience is a significant part of that value.


Image by Lisa Caroselli from Pixabay

With the hospital and health system need to reestablish the trust of the patient because of the fallout and changes in care due to pandemic, the physician can play an important role. A role that is greatly determined by their hospital experience.

Manage the physicians experience successfully, revenue and growth will follow.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hope is Not a Strategy; Leading Patients, Community Through the Flu Season, COVID-19 Reemergence is.

I was reading an interesting and well-written article on the front page of the Chicago Tribune this morning, "We are preparing for the worst:’ Chicago-area Hospitals brace for flu and COVID-19 to collide,” by Lisa Schenker. One comment, in particular, struck a chord, “They’re also hoping that large numbers of people in their communities get their flu shot, despite their lingering fear many people have about visiting the doctor.”

Hoping?

Image by Jills from Pixabay

Hope is not a strategy but using your marketing and public relations resources to lead the community is a strategy of leadership that hospitals and health systems should be undertaking. Not a new topic; I have already written much about hospital and health system community leadership during the pandemic. You may want to read or re-read my blog post from July 21st, “What Is the Ongoing Role of the Hospital in a Public Health Crisis?" https://bit.ly/2E5BHP0

While steps are being taken internally by hospitals in marshaling resources and planning what to do in the event of a surge of flu and COVID-19 patients, only a couple of hospitals were actively planning how to lead their community in flu prevention.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

There are several questions each hospital and health system need to ask. 

·         First, how is the hospital and health systems engaging their patients and the community in flu prevention? 

·         Secondly, how is the hospital and health system making flu vaccinations easily accessible, convenient, and affordable? 

·         Third, how are marketing and public relations resources being deployed in the effort?

Fear dominates on the part of patients about going to the doctor and being exposed to COVID-19. It may not be accurate, but it is a perception and a perception that hospitals and health systems can exercise leadership in to dispel.

Hospitals and health systems during the height of the pandemic in their regions demonstrated an incredible ability to engage patients and communities to slow and decrease community spread. The work of doctors and nurses was heroic in many ways.  The same engagement, educational, and prevention strategies, need to be a continuing effort combined with flu prevention and vaccination, lest the hospitals become overwhelmed again.

Hospital and health system leadership responsibility exercised in patient and community engagement during the pandemic didn’t magically end when it was no longer a SARS-CoV-2 hot spot. If anything, the hospital and health system needed to keep up the same level of leadership and engagement. Unfortunately, many did not and went back to business as usual.

Image by Startup Stock Photos from Pixabay

Maybe this time, instead of hoping for the best, by using marketing and public relations resources in leading the community for flu prevention and vaccination, the worst-case scenario is avoided.

Hope is not a strategy, but leadership and active patient and community engagement for preventing the flu, and a COVID-19 reemergence is.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Are You Preparing for Walgreens Entry into Primary Care?

Funny how it all comes around.

Let’s power up the “way back machine” and travel back in time to Sunday, January 13, 2013, for a post titled Will the Walgreens ACOs bring real competition to healthcare?” http://bit.ly/ZLLWY6

In this post, I speculated what, from a brand and care delivery perspective, it meant for hospitals and health systems with Walgreens entry into the ACO market. I also touched briefly on their considerable home health care and infusion presence with the purchase of Option Care Home Care and Infusion, the Take Care Clinics in stores, Workplace Health, and plans to enter the durable medical equipment channel. 

Fast forward to 2020.

During the intervening seven years, Walgreens merged with Boots Alliance in Europe to become the Walgreens Boots Alliance, with management changed becoming predominantly European. With the new regime, a new market strategy and focus of Walgreens took shape by dismantling the retail medicine strategy and selling off the pieces it all off, leaving just the drug stores.

Now, it’s back to the future with Walgreens the announcement that they are going into primary care. 

Image by Alterio Felines from Pixabay

Can you imagine the powerhouse Walgreens would be today had the new management understood the U.S. healthcare market and executed on a comprehensive strategic roadmap for retail healthcare? Hindsight is always 2020, they say. I guess that is why Walgreens just announced a new president to lead Walgreens that is American.

Which, brings us full circle to the title of today’s blog post, Are You Preparing for Walgreens Entry into Primary Care?” 

·         Are you ready to compete against the Walgreens brand awareness and name? 

·         Are you ready to compete based on the number of locations?  

·         Are to ready to compete based on convenience and accessibility? 

·         Are you ready to compete based on price? 

·         Whose brand do you think will make more of an impact when the time comes for people to find primary care physicians, your physician referral service, or Walgreens?

Much of what I wrote seven years ago still stands as valid for today. There is a lot more, and I, for one, do not doubt the ability of the brain trust over on Wilmot Ave in Deerfield, Illinois to pull this off and be successful along with any number of quality, outcome, or financial measures. 

After all, when the original strategy was put in place, I was the marketing executive for Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy at Walgreens Health Initiatives.  Maybe they will bring the band back together in some form and reprise the retail medicine strategy, which is more needed during the pandemic.

If I were in a hospital or health system today, I’d be worried. Things are about to get a lot harder than they already are.




Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. The opinions expressed are my own.

Signup for the e-newsletter, Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox on a daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

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