Showing posts with label #marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #marketing. Show all posts

Monday, October 26, 2020

17 Past Posts from Healthcare Marketing Matters for Application to the SARS-CoV-2 Resurgence

 

Image by Sebastian Thone from Pixabay

Over the past several months, I have written in Healthcare Marketing Matters about the hospital response to the pandemic requiring the patient, community, and marketing engagement. Critical themes in these troubled times focused on leadership, accountability, engagement, and becoming credible sources of information via marketing and public relations.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Some blog posts addressed that since your community was no longer a hot spot and hospital admissions declined, the hospital could not fully return to business as usual with the pre-pandemic marketing messaging. It was incumbent on the hospital to maintain the momentum and reinforce its leadership and credible source of information standing by leading the community to bolster efforts to slow down community spread. Especially important considering the coming flu season.

Some hospitals continued their SARS-CoV-2 leadership of the community once the first wave passed. Still, interest was increasingly lost with hospitals and health systems returning for the most part to pre-pandemic marketing and communication activities with various reactions in visitors and other prevention measures.  Messaging returned to pre-pandemic efforts despite knowing there would be a second wave combined with the flu season.  

Here we are today, back at ground zero, with the pandemic is racing out of control and more acute than the first wave. On Sunday, October 25, the Trump team announced its surrender to the pandemic on CNN's Jake Tapper "State of the Union" broadcast for focus on vaccines, therapeutics, and other measures to treat the virus, not slow community spread. It has been reported in The Hill with the headline that "Utah hospitals are discussing plans to ration ICU care with the governor as coronavirus cases surge in the state," and "Nursing homes prepare for third COVID-19 surge."

Forty-three states are listed today with surging coronavirus cases and hospital ICUs filling fast. Restrictions, curfews, social distancing, and mask mandates are becoming the norm once again.  The US recently set a new daily high of over 75,000 cases eclipsing the first wave daily highs, and the death toll continues to climb, with over 230,000 dead during the pandemic to date. 

Hospitals are now back to square one.

Image by Wokandpix from Pixabay

Hospitals and health systems need to immediately revert to the leadership, pandemic marketing, and communications from the first wave to lead their community through the next wave, which some predict will be the darkest winter in US history.

Much of what I wrote then in Healthcare Marketing Matters, about messaging, engagement, public relations, marketing, and community leadership, is still very much in play today. What I have done is to place all of the SARS-CoV-2 topics in this blog post with backlinks to the post. No need to reinvent the wheel.

But the need is acute for hospitals to reclaim and reengage patients and community, leading them as the credible source of information in slowing down the community spread through this next wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

  

Image by Piro4d from Pixabay

 Healthcare Marketing Matters, 2020 COVID-19 topics:

March 8 – "Coronavirus, Your Hospital, and Crisis Communications- Key Principles to Use" http://bit.ly/3aBZXTO

March 29 – "Healthcare Marketing in a Public Health Crisis, Be the Leader" https://bit.ly/3avPCt4

April 5 - "Leveraging Free Social Media Platforms During the COVID-19 Crisis for Communication" https://bit.ly/2wUMQ1Z

April 19 – "What is Your COVID-19 Pandemic Marketing Plan?" https://bit.ly/2XNOwoI

May 19 – "News Flash: SARS-CoV-2 has Changed Everything. Hospital Marketing Needs to Change Too" https://bit.ly/2WKBI1r

May 25 – "With the "New Normal" Courtesy of SARS-CoV2, What is Your Continuous Engagement Strategy?" https://bit.ly/3cWZw89

June 8 – "Where Are All The Patients? And How Do You Get Them Back?" https://bit.ly/3feV2L1

June 15 – "Lessons From The SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic, Are You Ready For A Chief Engagement Officer?" https://bit.ly/2AvJLqW

June 22 – "How Are You Reengaging Patients Post COVID-19?" https://bit.ly/2NiVUlx

June 29 - "Hey Siri, Alexa, I Think I May Be Coronavirus Sick. Who Should I Call?" https://bit.ly/3g7JDwF

July 6 – "Because Of COVID-19, Continuous Ongoing Patient Engagement Is The New Reality" https://bit.ly/2AwRLaW

July 13 – "Hospital Community Leadership For Ongoing SARS-CoV-2 Information. The Time Is Now" https://bit.ly/302LhJG

July 21 – "What Is the Ongoing Role of the Hospital in a Public Health Crisis?" https://bit.ly/2E5BHP0

July 28 – "Hospital Grassroots Marketing - Seven Ideas to Lead the Community Out Of The Pandemic" https://bit.ly/2P63kK1

September 8 – "Hope is Not a Strategy; Leading Patients, Community Through the Flu Season, COVID-19 Reemergence is" https://bit.ly/35uI4an

October 13 - "The Importance of Communicating the Value of the Hospital During a Pandemic- Not Features" https://bit.ly/3732FTM

October 21 – "Building the Hospital 2021 Marketing Budget & Plan – Ten Key Strategies" https://bit.ly/34fAejR

Many of these posts were written during the "first wave" of the pandemic. Recently, I have seen reports calling the "third wave" of the pandemic. What happened to the "second wave" was my question.

In a disturbing development, President Trump signed an Executive Order giving him the ability to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leaders of the CDC at a critical time when their experience, expertise, and calmness are sorely needed.

You're on your own now. Take charge and lead.

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, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller -app needed no web access. 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 daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Building the Hospital 2021 Marketing Budget & Plan – Ten Key Strategies

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has played havoc with hospital budgets overall. Rapidly declining revenues saw marketing budgets and operations, the first department to be cut. That is understandable as every dollar saved in marketing flows directly to the bottom line. The unfortunate reality is that when the hospital begins to emerge from the pandemic's first wave, any market momentum has been lost, and marketing is in a restart position.

Image by StartupStockPhotos on Pixabay

Looking into the crystal ball, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that hospital marketing budgets, for the most part, will continue to decline as a percent of revenues and operating costs for 2021. With 2021 planning already started in some organizations or nearly ready to start, the time is now for change.

The market has shifted dramatically.

Consider the seismic shifts that took place due to the pandemic for the plan and budget development  – acceptance of telemedicine, the patient using social media and local Google searches to find alternative sources of care, and finding information other than the hospital need answers.

Marketing the hospital is no longer about us, but about the hospital rebuilding trust and what the hospital can do for the patient by providing the patient's relevant content and experience in the channel and format they want.

What that means for the hospital is now changing the marketing plan's dynamics based on past action and experience with a diminishing budget to shifting resources to be creative in reaching the patient.

By any means is not an easy task when you consider internally how hospital views marketing and what marketing accomplishes. The staff, Board, and senior leadership feel good when they see the advertisement or receive the random direct mail piece. These are old and tired mass marketing channels and techniques that do not bring the return on marketing investment that the hospital now needs.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The following ten strategies are how you need to shift the budget and marketing plan for 2021 to reach patients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. It is not an impossible task but requires maximum use of the resources on hand and staff creativity.

Building the Hospital 2021 Marketing Budget & Plan – Ten Key Strategies 

1.       Video- It is the preferred way the patient consumes content. Video marketing arrived several years ago, but hospitals and other providers have been slow to adapt. The patient or consumer has adapted and finds video easier to consume content than reading a blog post or informational sheet. With the programs that are available for editing and your iPhone, you can create all the high-quality video you'll ever need for your website and social media use, 

2.       Content– Content marketing drives organic web traffic and growth. After SEO, a web-generated content strategy requires a content marketing plan. Too many people think that content is a long-form blog post, which has its place in any content strategy, but over 40 different content types can be developed, and having a good mixture is essential. Each form has its benefits and level of engagement. You may settle on just a couple. Please make sure you change it up to keep people engaged. 

3.       Social Media– It's where your patients are. If the pandemic has taught us anything is the patients are using social media to a greater extent. While many hospitals have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page, that doesn't mean it has been better utilized or received substantial focus. The patient now uses social media to search out provider recommendations. It never too late to improve your focus on social media and content. The hospital can no longer afford not to be where the patient is. 

4.       Voice Search– Is being adopted by patients. With the rapid growth of iPhone Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, voice search is becoming the most used healthcare search method. Voice search arrived years ago mainly on mobile devices but has now entered the home in a big way. That doesn't mean you have to go fill out on optimizing for or voice search, but it means the hospital needs to get started adapting for natural language SEO.  Dive into long-tail-keyword research and how Goggle defines search intent. Write conventional style content based on how people commonly asked questions when searching for a hospital or physician, and not answering what you want them to ask. 

5.       Digital Advertising – More targeted than ever. From demographic and geofencing, the available data has allowed hospital marketers to become hyper-focused and target precisely the type of patient you want to attract for a specific service if your ads are done right. You will be social media to leverage ad drive referrals. 

6.       Online Reviews–People trust online reviews as much as they do family and friend recommendations. In April 2020, in "How Patients Use Online Reviews," by Lisa Hedges and Colin Couey from Software Advice found that in 2019, found that 72 percent of patients used inline reviews as the first step in finding a new doctor, 88 percent trust online reviews as much as a recommendation for family and friends, and 48 percent would go out of network. Now is the time to actively request reviews from your patients and manage user-generated content and display them on your website and social media. 

7.       Micro-influencers- Extend your local reach. Not the well-known celebrity or sports star that carries a lot of risk, baggage, and expense.  The focus of your influencer marketing should be the micro-influencers in your community or region. These are the individuals who people trust and listen to. Finding a local influencer who align with your services is the way they go. It's nice to have Tony Robbins or Danika Patrick, but do they align with your services? Micro-influencers will drive followers and increase the utilization of your services. 

8.       The importance of a mobile website. From bluelist.co "60+ Statistics to Help you Rank #1 in 2019",  60 percent of people search and access the internet from a mobile device. Google and other search engines favor mobile sites over those optimized for a desktop or laptop. Now that Google has announced they have mobile-first indexing, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing, lest you be left in the dust, and at the very bottom of searches. 

9.       Focus on how you help, not what you do. If anything, this was the most significant change to come about because of the pandemic. People don't care about technology, buildings, or a plethora of medical services and features. Patients want to know the benefit to them of what you do and how you help them. That means moving away from what to do service-wise to how you help them potentially solve a medical problem. It's not about the hospital anymore. 

10.   Optimize your website for local search. Smartphones and wearables have made ultra-precise location-based SEO one of the most significant healthcare marketers' strategies and tactics. In addition to long-tail keywords, SEO optimization also includes image optimization site maps, backlinks, meta tags, crawl errors, and more. There is no reason not to have a highly optimized landing page for the hospital.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

The pandemic forced a significant change in hospitals and marketing in 2020. One can expect more of the same for 2021 with fewer marketing resources. These ten strategies should assist you in your budget and marketing plan development and provide you with some agility to respond to changes and not go completely dark as it happened in 2020.

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, PinterestTikTokFlipboard, and Triller -app needed no web access.

. 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 daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

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

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.

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 daily. Add your email address in the signup on the sidebar.

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



Monday, July 6, 2020

Because Of COVID-19, Continuous Ongoing Patient Engagement Is The New Reality

Hospitals and health systems, as a direct result of the pandemic, needed to engage patients, employees, and the community continuously. Messages were varied for each audience, but the current situation provided the opportunity as never before for the continuous engagement of the patient on a meaningful level. There is no reason why those engagement efforts should stop.

What should be apparent in the new reality of healthcare, as an unintended consequence of the ongoing pandemic is that patient engagement is not a part-time or some of the time activity. What it should be viewed as is the opportunity to continue to create, engage, foster, and nourish an enduring relationship with those individuals and families.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How healthcare is delivered changed exponentially, and now looks more like a distributive computer network, where the diagnosis and treatment were “distributed” out of the hospital or system. Patients had a taste of the new healthcare reality, for example, with telemedicine that was easily accessible, convenient, effective, and affordable. As a result, most hospitals and physicians are struggling with getting patients to return for care. Some of the disappearing patients are attributed to fear, others out of having experienced alternative methods for care that better met their needs.

The old ways of engagement don’t work anymore.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

That is a scary proposition for some healthcare organizations. I have already seen the old pre-pandemic engagement messaging come back in the urban market of my residence.  It’s almost as if nothing ever happened, and we can all go back now to the way it was.

The Coronavirus pandemic is still a public health crisis. The patient hears that intense messaging across all sources of news and social media day in and day out.  With fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in their mind, why would you change your COVID-19 engagement and messaging strategies? 

You can’t abandon the recent efforts and success at engagement and return to the past.

The continuous ongoing engagement of the hospital and health system with patients should now be the number one job of the hospital.

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. Opinions expressed are my own.

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




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nine Strategies in Engagement & Experience for the New Reality Demanded by the Insured Consumer & Patient.

It’s the consumer demand for the Amazon experience that is beginning to drive expectations and experience in health care.  Secondary to the headline question is, are healthcare providers prepared for that new marketing reality?

Like anything in life and business, some are, but the majority is not.   But be that as it may, it would seem that healthcare consumer or patient engagement is not a part-time or some of the time activity comprised of hit or miss events.  My goodness, there are over 147 engagement and experience touchpoints with the insured consumer and patient with the hospital or health system. So when all of the interruptive outbound marketing that goes on with silly messaging of we have the best doctors, our nurses care more, etc., no wonder the insured consumer and patient roll their eyes during the engagement and experience process when reality meets fantasy. 

What engagement should be viewed as is the opportunity to create, foster, and nourish a one-on-one relationship that is enduring with those individuals and families.  

A scary proposition for some healthcare organizations as it means being accountable and responsible to those you serve and meeting their needs by delivering on the brand promise day in and day out
.    
After all, healthcare is a $2.8 trillion dollars business, and the competition from traditional and nontraditional providers will only get more intense. The healthcare consumers will spend more than $350 billion out-of-pocket for insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.   Providers that can engage will become the go-to destinations for healthcare that will not only survive the storm but prosper as well.

Providers now live in a retail medical market.  Though others will tell you that it’s all about the experience, that’s just cover for the old ways of doing business and telling you what you want to hear.  It’s now about four dimensions-, price, outcomes, engagement, and experience.  Focusing only on experience with your marketing communications and campaigns is a prescription for failure.

So what to do?

Here are nine engagement strategies you need to employ:

1. Integrate your engagement solutions. That means information is delivered seamlessly so that the health care consumer can interact with you anyway they want when they want too. 

2.  Marketing should be using both push and pull messaging.  Messaging needs to be relevant to the audiences at the point in time it’s needed that is personalized, customized, and aware of the cultural heritage and influences tailored to them.

3. Incentives and motivational techniques will be necessary to keep the patient engaged. That doesn't mean cash. Look to the gaming industry for gaming technology and gaming prediction for ways to participate without money. Be creative.  Look outside healthcare for ideas, tools, and techniques to engage. 

4. Create a sense of community.  You have to compete, and one needs to feed the beast. The hospital has not yet tipped to be a cost center from a revenue center. That day will come but not for a while yet.  Get into the inner circle of the audience and become the trusted advisor. It's not just about loyalty. Shape the behaviors to the point where they will recommend unconditionally.

5. Know the audience and with whom one is speaking too. This is back-to-basics CRM understanding the gender, age, integration of risk assessments, culture, etc.  One cannot engage the insured consumer or patient unless there is intimate knowledge about them, their needs, and how to tailor the information.

6. Test and measure. No time to be reactive in approaching and engaging.  The only way to can figure out if it's working is to test and measure in a very methodical way.

7. Use technology.  We live in a world of technology, and you need to run a multifaceted, highly integrated campaign. With social media, smartphones, web, text messaging, mobile messaging, etc., eighty percent of consumers want the option of interacting with a healthcare provider via their smartphones. Forty-one percent of healthcare consumers use social media to make vendor choices.   The healthcare consumer and patient are inviting healthcare organizations to engage them all the time.

8. Know the influence of culture on behavior to engage.

9. Time it right, and add value.  If your health messaging is not resonating with the healthcare consumer or patient when they receive it, then one has lost them. Communicate relevant messages to a committed patient right before healthcare decisions are made. before.

If you can come to grips with the market reality that a hospital is needed for three things -emergency care, intensive care, and treatment for complex acute medical conditions, then you’d get away from the nonsense that is senior leadership-driven that goes in hospital marketing today. Focus on engagement and experience so your more than three things to the insured consumer or patient.

Can you hear me now?


That's why you engage all of the time.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Is the smartphone the cure to maintain physician independence?

The healthcare consumer will shell out $345 billion dollars this year for health insurance, co-payments, and deductibles. On top of that, they will spend another $271 billion on health-related items like gyms memberships, weight loss programs, exercise equipment, etc. That's a whopping $626 billion dollars out-of-pocket that are expected to rise for the foreseeable future.

The healthcare consumer and patient are demanding value, price, and quality transparency from healthcare providers. Consumers want retail medicine, mHealth, and Telemedicine. All the while healthcare providers focus on market dominance and acquire physician practices to create market heft and then wonder why consumers are cranky?

With all of this happening then, is the smartphone the tool for physician independence? And, can the use of apps, mHealth and telemedicine allow a physician or physician group practice to remain independent?

In both cases, I think the answer is yes, with some pretty large ramifications for healthcare marketing as well.

First let’s reflect on the independent practitioner, primary care group, or multi-specialty group.  Here is a story to illustrate my point. 

Some of you may remember a time when there were corner grocery stores.  Little mom and pop operations located in quiet neighborhoods before the advent of the big box grocery chains.

Then it appears as if overnight, the big box national and regional grocery chains take over for our food dollar. We all heard the doom, gloom, and prophecy of the demise of those little mom and pop stores. Sure they are gone from the corner in the quiet neighborhood; but guess what, they are still around today and have been for a very long time.  Though the form is different, those little mom and pop operations are now the 7-Elevens, White Hen Pantries, and AM-PM Minimarts for example.

Mom and pop operations competing very well against the big box grocery chains on convenience, accessibility, experience, engagement, and sometimes even price.

I am not saying that physicians are grocery stores, but the lesson is apparent.  But before everyone calls the independent physician or unaffiliated group practice a thing of the past, one needs to review recent history in other markets for potential lessons of survival.  Technology, innovation, and meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer, experience, and engagement will keep the independent physician a reality.

The smartphone as the doctor meeting the healthcare needs of the consumer.  All of this driving convenient, accessible, mobile, and giving the healthcare consumer or patient a measure of value, price certainty, quality, control, and information.

The use of technology and innovative care practices by physicians, which no doubt requires a change in the business model and some openness, can be the doctor’s friend in countering the advances of hospitals and health systems. In the long run, independent physicians are better for healthcare consumers and patients in care, experience, and engagement.  Besides, no matter the payment system it will still take a doctor’s order to get anything done.

Long live the independent physician.


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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ten Steps to Make Hospital Marketing Sticker.

With all the things that hospital leadership and healthcare marketing executives have on their plates and keeping them up at night, here’s a new one.  And unfortunately, it’s out of one's control, and no exceptions are allowed.

With the economic shift from a product and service economy to an experience economy, providers are at a clear disadvantage by continuing to market like it is the 1990s.  Now that being said, it’s not all providers, but the vast majority.  

Being paid for the production of care in the fee-for-service model is a product and service approach to healthcare.  Though the payment mechanism is changing, little has changed in provider marketing.  

A vast majority of healthcare providers still taking the product marketing features approach. Notice that I did not say features and benefits marketing. Providers only go halfway choosing features or warm fuzzy improbable benefits but not both in their marketing.  I have yet to see a provider or provider system provide me with compelling reasons for the advantages of using them. It’s no wonder then that little differentiation exists in the market resulting in provider marketing that is not sticky.

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

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

Now what?

Time for a change.

To grow and thrive in the experience economy while all else is in flames around the hospital or health system, it means moving from traditional marketing to experiential marketing that addresses the needs of and meets the experience expectations of the healthcare consumer and patient.

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

Here are ten new marketing rules in an experience economy for making provider marketing stickier: 
1.       Understand fully and comprehensively the healthcare consumer and person experience. With over 147 touch-points for the customer and patient experience with 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 experience touch-point 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 website to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, etc., focus on the experience. Be visual. Be compelling. 
3.       Identify and work with the leading influencers.  Providers need community influencers to amplify the message through social media. Encourage user-generated content. 
4.       Develop testimonials about the experience of care and engagement from patients and healthcare consumers. 
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 patients 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 that consumers will use- desktop, smartphone, or tablet for a seamless experience. No disconnects. The healthcare consumer moves freely between all three devices expecting the same experience across all three. 
8.       Traditional marketing needs to focus more on the price, outcomes, experience, and drive engagement.  No more buildings, smiling doctors, shiny new equipment.  
9.       Teach employees how to use their social media channels to amplify the provider. 
10.   Show a healthcare organization that marketing today is no longer about transactions but value.  Transactions will come after the value is understood.

There is no escaping or slowing down the experience economy as it overtakes healthcare.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing 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 and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. 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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are you taking advantage of the third wave of digital in health care?


Change can be transformational for companies. Or, for the lack of leadership and understanding, spell the death knell of the business model as the market and industry changes. For example, one only needs a hospital for are three things, intensive care, care for complex acute medical conditions and life-threating emergency care.  After that, all other healthcare consumer or patient medical needs can be meet outside of the hospital or hospital-based outpatient services.
The third wave of digital transformation.
Keep the above thought in mind as another transformational innovation is impacting health care and hospitals.   The third wave of digital isn’t pie in the sky and few years out. This market changing transformation is the third wave of digital for providers. No one is immune.
The healthcare consumer is increasingly in control.  Period.  They are in control of their heath and health data through wearables, mobile health platforms, and self-tracking devices. They are in control of the experience. They are in control of the expectations for services.
What does it all mean?
In the digital third wave instead of healthcare services being static, they are now living services with liquid expectations.  It is through the third wave, that lays the marketing opportunity for healthcare providers, in understanding those living services and leveraging liquid expectations.
Marketing steps to take now.

1.     Market research to understand how the market segments especially how the Silver Surfers are using digital health, the internet of everything, as well as their expectations around those channels.

2.     Understand the nature and function of the hospital or health system digital brand. Does it meet the expectations uncovered in the market research?

3.      Embrace the trend don’t fight.  That means marketing leadership and participation in hospital or health system strategy development.

4.     Understand, and this is important for senior leadership and clinicians, all services in this new environment are liquid.  Clinical serves are no longer static and unforgiving of expectations.

5.    Understand the experiences that the healthcare consumer has in other industries and is transferring to healthcare. Learn and emulate.

6.    The healthcare consumer is moving between mobile, online, wearable and smartphone devices with expectations for a seamless digital experience.  Can the hospital or health system deliver on the expectation?

7.    Development of internal marketing educational programs for all levels of staff about the third digital wave and what it means when the patient is searching for providers and when they are in-house.

8.    More difficult but now essential transition from a provider-centric business model to a consumer-centric business model.

9.    Use digital to establish and manage engagement. That is where the healthcare consumer lives and expects to be engaged. Seamlessly across all digital platforms.

10.  Focus marketing efforts around the healthcare brand and value proposition around outcomes, price, experience, and expectation.

11.  Listen. Listen. Listen. And listen some more to the healthcare consumer and their needs.

Things have just gotten a lot harder in healthcare. The healthcare consumer is gaining control faster than hospitals, and health systems can keep up.
Not good.  Not good at all for the digital deaf providers.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing 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 and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. 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.