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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

COVID-19, Patients, & Digital Healthcare, Leveraging the Obvious - 10 Steps for Marketing

COVID-19 and the innovation that continues to rapidly evolve in patients' access and comfort in using digital healthcare can be transformational for the hospital. For example, the pandemic has placed the patient in charge of when, where, and how hospital services are utilized.  Suppose for a moment that the pandemic has taught patients how to change utilization behavior. In that case, telemedicine and digital healthcare teach that one only needs a hospital for a few medically necessary services that cannot be provided in a freestanding ambulatory center.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The fourth wave of the digital healthcare transformation is an opportunity for the hospital.

The patient is increasingly in control. Patients control their health and health data through wearables, mobile health platforms, telemedicine, and self-tracking devices. Patients have experience expectations based on previous non-healthcare digital experiences by selecting the most appropriate digital healthcare type.

What does it all mean for marketing the hospital?

In the fourth digital healthcare wave, hospitals need to be transforming from a group of static services to the view that hospital services are living and liquid with precise engagement and service expectations.  In the fourth digital wave, the leverage for new market positioning is there to take for hospitals who understand that services are liquid with different patient expectations.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
10 Steps and implications for fully understanding the fourth wave of digital healthcare for hospitals. 

1.       Spend the money for market research to understand how the market segments, primarily how the Silver Surfers use digital health, the internet of everything, and their expectations around those channels. 

2.       Understand the experience, expectations, messaging, and perceptions of the hospital or health system digital brand. Does it meet the expectations uncovered in the market research? 

3.       View the hospital's digital brand as liquid. Hosptial leadership, physicians, and clinicians should view most hospital services not as static provided in-person in a single location, but as liquid which can be provided in any number of digital channels.  

4.       Learn from other industries, such as Amazon, Apple, Uber, and competitive innovations, that the patient has and is transferring to the hospital. Learn and emulate. 

5.       The patient moves quickly between mobile, online, wearable, and smartphone devices with expectations for a seamless digital experience.  Can the hospital or health system deliver on the expectation? 

6.       Development the internal marketing educational programs for all staff levels about the fourth digital wave. Include what it means when the patient is searching for providers and how they use the hospital's digital experience. It's not just an excellent wireless experience. 

7.       The more difficult but now essential transformation is from the hospital-centric business model to a patient-centric model. 

8.       Marketing needs to lead the active use of digital in establishing the patient experience and engagement. Digital is where patients live and expect to be engaged seamlessly across all digital platforms. 

9.       Focus marketing efforts on the hospital brand and value proposition along with value-focused communications on outcomes, experience, and expectation. 

10.   Listen to the patient digitally. What a patient or their family says in person, is often, a very different picture of what they say in the digital world. 

Hospitals have courageously innovated and changed to meet the patient needs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There is no letting up now. The next great transformational leap awaits.

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.

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.

The opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Eight Strategic Imperatives for Hospital Marketers in 2021

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay.

We are on the 12th day of 2021, and already, the signs are apparent it will be another challenging year for hospital marketers. One could hope for improvement, but the confluence of external events, price transparency, and changes in healthcare delivery poses exciting challenges. The tried-and-true traditional ways of approaching the physician and patient market are no longer sufficient.

As hard as it is externally, hospital marketers, in many cases, still face the daunting task of driving revenue and building the hospital brand with diminished budgets.  The marketer's glass is either half full or half empty depending on your perspective. I prefer to see the glass full of tremendous opportunity.

The choice can be boiled down to; you can either surf the wave of change or let it wipe you out by marketing in your historical approaches and channels.  

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

With that in mind, here are eight strategic trends that hospital marketers should be focusing on in 2021. 

1.       COVID-19 will be around for a long time, and its impact will not go away anytime soon. Even with a vaccine, high unemployment will remain. In some cases, the patient's ability to pay for care will still be challenging, if not impossible. Patient fear still reigns supreme in deciding when and where to seek care. Hospital marketers will need to pivot to long-term growth strategies, brand reputation, demand generation options for multiple locations for care, brand awareness, public relations, and patient engagement. 

2.       Communication and engagement are essential. If not already, that means the hospital must be the trusted, credible source for health information and perspective, pandemic or not. It is time to humanize your communications. It is no longer about medical service, technology or building, and other features. Your communications now need to be engaging, informative, compassionate, trustworthy, and useful. 

3.       Patient experience is job number 1. Every single touchpoint in the patient experience needs to be revisited and addressed. The added urgency besides the pandemic is as of January 1; patients can now search the hospital's website for the prices of 200 common procedures. Price transparency and hospital medical service shopping have been introduced. While it will take a while for patients to figure it out, it will impact future utilization.  It is not the patients' role or responsibility to figure it all out. That is your job. That requires high-level communication and an easily navigable experience. 

Areas of focus are appointment scheduling and availability, procedures for in-person or telehealth options, elective and non-elective procedures, safety procedures and requirements, and general information. To optimize the patient experience, update your website content and navigation, revisit your call automation and routing system, personalize email and text messaging, provide an excellent mobile app experience, and update your business listings. 

4.       Focus on your brand reputation. If people have the feeling that you place profit over people, they will lose trust in the hospital. What you say and do will have a higher level of scrutiny in the coming year than ever before. No one expects you to stop advertising, but they want you to get it right.  

Areas of focus include 1) authority – how credible are you and the information you provide.  2)Transparency - it's time to stop omitting details. If things have changed, you have to be honest and inform on any issue, the who, what, where, and why. Omitting details or essential information builds distrust. 3) Reputation management- what is your program to generate positive patient reviews and address negative reviews? How are you optimizing the patients' digital experience to add to the hospital brand, not detract? 4) Public relations- don't turn it off; that is the worst thing you can do. But the time has come to change from throwing to the press release for a new medical staff member, award, or service. It is time to focus your PR on the good the hospital is doing in the community and the causes you are supporting. 5) Community engagement – with patients turning to healthcare organizations for safe, credible, and useful medical information, turn this into becoming the moderator for your communities in forums with medical professionals. Control the discussion and narrative. 

5.       Evolve your investment and spend on SEO and content marketing. The conversation is not what we are spending, but how is the patient using SEO and the desire for high-quality content changed?  How are your SEO and content spend best supporting the patient as they search for information? Patient searching hasn't gone away. Neither has the patient need for high-quality content. What has changed is how they search, such as voice using Echo and Alexa, for example, and what topics they are searching. 

6.       Telemedicine is not going away. Now is the time for hospital marketers to build demand for telemedicine services. The framework needs to be built now how telemedicine fits into the hospitals' overall services to look seamless to the patient. It is a focused brand awareness building. Telehealth is a different animal than the brick and mortar medical-based service. Telemedicine is, by nature, a virtual experience. The requirement focuses on the patient experience and engagement that is user-friendly, easy to use, and accessible. Build a telemedicine hub website that consolidates all the hospital's telehealth services in one place so that the user experience can be consistent and managed. It's just not another service that is an indistinguishable section of the existing hospital website. Telemedicine is a different high-tech animal that is the future of health care; when combined with wearable healthcare tech, it will only grow in importance. Make is it so. 

7.       Focus on and lean into innovative services.  Advances in technology such as medical AI, chatbots, medical care apps, curbside care, and other innovation come at you and the patient faster than you can shake a stick. The trick is to market these innovations, and the value and benefit to the patient, not features focused, but how to address and manage the experience. 

8.       Improve user's digital experience. The challenge is to create an exceptional digital experience no matter the user's skill level or digital literacy. How fast does your website load? Is information easily found? Can a person searching via mobile devices make an appointment or access a service? Can they log into the patient portal?  Using the Google Analytics dashboard, review the user experience data to tell you how people are using your website? What are the entry pages where are people using to access the site? How sticky is your website? Are people staying or dropping as soon as they find what they need, if at all, etc. Understand the bottlenecks, search patterns, and where the user experience fails and improve.

Image by Pixels from Pixabay

The year 2021 will be another challenging effort, with seismic changes lasting well into the future, not just the foreseeable future.  Ride the wave of change and own it. Focus all actions on the patient for success now and well into the future.

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.

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.

The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Welcome to 2021, Where Patients Become Price Buyers- Seven Considerations for Hospitals

 

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Patients as buyers are no longer an "it will happen someday," but a market reality come January 1, 2021. Signs are apparent that market power is shifting from the hospitals as the dominant seller controlling the relationship to the patient as the chief buyer. The CMS January 1, 2021 mandate of the 200 searchable standard procedures with prices on the hospital website will allow the patient more control.

In this kind of environment, the patient is king and queen. The hospitals' position in patients' minds will be an amalgamation of expectations and experience along the dimensions of brand, price, quality, experience, and engagement. Why? Because hospitals and health systems have little differentiation.

Image by djedj from Pixabay

A hospital is a hospital, is a hospital.

What value does the hospital or health system bring to physicians and patients? That is the question at hand. And in a buyers' market, it's the only question you can answer successfully. In many ways, a hospital service buyers' market is about the accountability of your offerings' for patients and community regardless of the demographic or market segment they reside.

To respond appropriately to a buyers' market, hospital marketers need to dramatically change their approach and techniques.

Moving forward with seven considerations to respond to a buyer's market

1. Brand and competitive position. Patients are ready for transparency and convenient technology-enabled access to care. Healthcare providers capable of identifying these needs and how they want their healthcare needs met through technology will gain new patients and next-generation physicians.

2. Engage existing customers and patients. An individual is only a patient 1/3rd of the time they come in contact with you. That is during the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery phase. Pre and post this experience; they are a healthcare consumer, not a patient. So why then is it the only time one chooses to meaningfully engage them is during the period when they are a patient? Continuous patient engagement builds loyalty, and more importantly, keeps them in your network, which has some pretty significant financial ramifications in a risk-based reimbursement model.

3. Engage physicians. No matter the payment model, the hospital or health system still needs a physician or physician extender medical order to get anything done in a healthcare setting. That means engaging physicians in meaningful ways, using the methods, technology, and systems that will make their life easier, improve their productivity, and protect or increase their income. An effective and efficient physician has more to do with the impact of cost and quality in the hospital than any other factor.

4. Improve physician experience. How hard is it for a physician or physician extender to practice medicine in your organization? Have you looked at the hassle factor that physicians encounter when trying to get things done in the hospital setting? Understand how the physician experiences your organization at every touch-point they meet the hospital. Understand their experiences overall from beginning to end, not just in an isolated segment. Fix what is broken; keep what is working. The more satisfying the experience, the better you will do financially.

5. Focus on patient experience. A hospital's ability to deliver an experience that sets it apart in the patients' eyes and potential patients from its competitors - traditional and non-traditional - increases their loyalty to the brand. One needs to actively manage the customer experience in totality by understanding the customer's point of view. All touchpoints internally and externally that the patient encounters, which create the experience, need to be actively managed. Exceptional experience means gains in market share, brand awareness, and revenue.

6. Expand retail healthcare. Traditional ways of delivering healthcare are going by the wayside. Think of the hospital system as a distributive computer network. Price convenience, access, and outcomes are the drivers in retail healthcare. Find the need, understand the patient's behavior drivers, design the offering around the patient, not the hospital, in a convenient location, and price it appropriately. Oh, and name it correctly; think will the patient understand what you do from the name and not something opposite. If you can't compete in the market in this way, the last one out can turn off the lights.

7. It's an omnichannel world. With the healthcare consumer living in an omnichannel world, turn to social media and influencer networks to engage, manage the experience, drive loyalty and referrals. As healthcare continues evolving to a consumer dominated transaction in a semi-retail environment, social networking is a healthcare marketing channel that underperforms. Go where the patient is, not where you want them to be.

Seven steps for hospitals to achieve market and revenue growth in the new buyers' market. Not an impossible task, but one that does require focus and a willingness to break from the past.

Welcome to the age of the patient as a buyer.

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. 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.


Monday, December 14, 2020

It's Time for Hospitals to Step Up in the COVID-19 Vaccination Effort

Image by pearson0612 from Piaxabay

 

Hospitals and health systems made great strides in leading and engaging their communities through the teeth of the first wave of the pandemic, and establishing themselves as the credible source of information and resources, communities, who responded positively for the most part.

Once the first wave passed, most healthcare organizations moved away from the pandemic messaging and quickly reverted to pre-pandemic marketing efforts.  It was too soon to completely drop the pandemic community leadership and patient messaging activities, as I have written before.

Now with SARS-CoV-2 infection rates skyrocketing daily across the country, thousands of deaths per day, and hospitals at or near ICU capacity, and canceling elective surgeries, hospitals have a high stake in the success of the vaccination efforts now underway.

As reported in The Hill, "About half of Americans willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine, AP poll finds" only 47 percent of the American public state they will get vaccinated for COVID-19. A more optimistic poll by Gallup on December 8 reported in The Hill, "Willingness to get COVID-19 vaccine up 13 points since September," found that 63 percent would get vaccinated. For the sake of discussion, let's split the difference then and assume that at least 50 percent of the US public will get vaccinated.

The surveys indicate that willingness to get vaccinated rates are not high enough to achieve the promised land of community herd immunity and some semblance of normalcy.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine receiving FDA emergency use approval, and the vaccine shipping on Sunday, December 13, it's time for hospitals and health systems to get off the fence.

There is so much false and misleading information, the hospital needs to reestablish itself and the credible source of information and lead patients and the community to get vaccinated.

It is not the time to say the government or others have the responsibility on our behalf to step-up with informational vaccination campaigns.

Your patients and community need a credible, trusted source of information about vaccination and education on the need to vaccinate.

Why?

Image by PDPics from Pixabay

Because the public has an apprehension and fear of the unknown, much of that is because of false facts, historical mistrust of government, foreign misinformation campaigns, anti-science lying political leaders, and the anti-vaccination people. I also understand that some individuals, for medical reasons, may not be able to either.

We all want some semblance of normalcy in our lives after the last year. The healthcare industry that responded in unprecedented ways with speed, new efficiencies, and change to combat the pandemic's first wave needs a return to some normalcy.

You have a significant stake in the success of the vaccination, the effort to get to herd immunity, and a normal return.

Be the credible source of vaccination information and community leader again and bring this pandemic to a swift end.

Please.

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. 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Nine Hospital Steps for Actively Leading the Community Through the SARS-CoV-2 Surge

 From Newsy, “Surgeon General, Others Warn Hospitals Can’t Handle Surge,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted Monday that hospitals can't sustain high levels of care during a COVID-19 surge. In New York, ICU occupancies have quadrupled. And in Ohio, doctors say hospitals are struggling to keep up. Dr. Helen K. Koselka, chief medical officer at Trihealth, said: "We're tired of seeing the fear on faces and tired of seeing people who are passing away. We're trying to blast a siren. We need the community's support."

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What are hospitals accomplishing with their marketing and public relations to provide leadership in partnership with State, County, and local health departments to actively engage and lead the community out of the pandemic surge?

It’s a valid question underlying the concept of the hospital’s responsibility in the execution of hospital and health system mission statements focused on community health and wellness, with a professed focus on population health management.

And what do we see in the media?

Media broadcast and print stories about the need to cancel elective surgeries.  News stories that are all about us and look at what we are doing to treat COVID-19 patients. Execution of marketing campaigns that make it seem as if all is well with the world.

Little if anything to engage and lead the community in slowing the community spread, staying safe, wearing a mask, social distance, and washing hands for a start.

I get it that we all want to move along and send marketing messages that the hospital is open for business.  The need to revive utilization should be balanced with the hospital's health and wellness mission in the community.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

It’s about taking responsibility and being the leader. The hospital is the source of credible news and information regarding COVID-19, in slowing community spread and countering false information by promoting safe practices such as wearing a facemask, washing hands, and social distancing.

This is what happened during the first wave, which, unfortunately, was quickly forgotten in a rush to normalize and reopen like it never happened.

Amid the pandemic fatigue, tragedy and despair, communities need leadership from hospitals and health systems, not the stupidity of gaslighting officials, the scientifically illiterate, and conspiracy theorists.

Hospital leadership can add the following to their already full plate to figure out how they will survive. 

·         Leading the community public health effort. 

·         Being the credible source of truth. 

·         Providing unbiased, scientifically accurate information for preventing the community spread of the disease. 

·         Continuous, efficient, and effective patient and community engagement

It’s not over until it’s over.

Given the lack of a coherent national plan and response, it now falls, rightly or wrongly, to the hospitals in the local community to take a far more active role in the leadership of the pandemic response to slow the community spread.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It is about continuing education and crisis communication messaging.

The marketing and PR messaging of the hospital and health system should flow along two simultaneous lines. One is educational by providing information and teaching what the individual and the community role in slowing the community spread of COVID-19. The other is treating every message as part of your crisis communications.

The hospital efforts all come down to continuing the educational and crisis communication activities. 

1.       Use social media for continuous communication for updates on the hospitals or health systems activities related to Coronavirus virus preparations and things the public should know. 

2.       Work internally with your employees, admitting physicians, Broad members, and volunteers to share what the hospital and health system are doing. 

3.       When you hear or become aware of stupid related to the Coronavirus, put out a statement to correct the misinformation. 

4.       Create easy to read and digestible educational information sheets on the Coronavirus for use in the community. 

5.       Back to massive digital and social media use since it’s the fastest method of information distribution and sharing to reach many people. Plus, that is where people live. 

6.       Run print ads, cable spots, radio ads were available and compatible with your messaging. 

7.       Message your community with status updates regularly in the messaging. 

8.       Become the trusted and reliable source of news and information in your community related to the Coronavirus. 

9.       Don’t be afraid to ask the community for help.

For the second mission, PR crisis communications, remember. 

1.       Effective crisis communications are grounded with credible sources. Credibility is about trustworthiness and expertise, as well as a perceived sense of morality. 

2.       Be honest to reduce rumors. Effective crisis communications are frequent, accurate and it does not over-reassure. 

3.       Aim for meaningful actions. Effective communications during a crisis involve persuading people to take harm-reducing steps. 

4.       Draw from experts, not amateurs. Effective communications during a crisis draw on the knowledge of subject-matter experts. 

5.       Be consistent. Consistency of messages is the final and maybe the most critical factor. 

As Charles Dickens writes at the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” 

Tomorrow will never be the same, but it can be different from the past when we were all unprepared.

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 -the app is needed with 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, November 10, 2020

Nine Steps for Integrating Marketing and Sales to Increase Healthcare Provider Growth

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Provider sales are hard. Provider marketing is challenging. It's even harder in vendors where marketing and sales are not highly integrated. The tension found in vendors can be summed up with the following statements. Marketing says, 'If the feet on the street would just sell it as we told them, they'd be successful." Followed by sales saying, "Marketing just makes things look pretty."

In many ways, healthcare vendors need to be focused on selling solutions to solve the business challenges, not selling features and benefits, because you know, "we have the best stuff since sliced bread." The all about us approach falls on deaf ears nowadays. By the time a provider contacts the vendor, they already have identified the problem, know more about you than you think, and are interested in your solution to their challenges.

Providers have seen your thought leadership, maybe seen your booth at a trade show pre-SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, heard the thought leaders in a webinar, and browsed your website.

Image by Nattanan Kanchamapart from Pixabay

Organic growth for the healthcare vendor is much easier when there is a collaborative, integrated, and respectful relationship between sales and marketing. 

Given today's customer journey and coming into the sales funnel from multiple directions, failure to integrate the two departments will not result in the organic growth you need. The result is low-quality marketing qualified leads, and fewer sales accepted leads impacting the pipeline.

In essence, you are working against yourself in a highly competitive market with internal strife and confusion while answering your shareholder's and investor's questions regarding lagging organic growth to budget.

Of course, it's a more complex issue than just sales and marketing integration, but no need to make it any harder with at least one variable you can control.

With that in mind, here are nine basic rules of thumb for sales and marketing integration.

1) Your salespeople must be using a common sales strategy across the enterprise. I have seen too many organizations where everybody's left to their methods. The result is incorrect messaging and using poorly designed home-grown materials.  Your sales force activities are about relationship selling and acting as the champion of your organization. If you don't have a method and training, chances are you will not be as effective as your competition. 

2)  The sales CRM and marketing automation need to be integrated as well.  The sales CRM is not marketing automation, but they need to be integrated and connected for seamless data flow. Your sales CRM is the source of truth for marketing.

3) Create an interdisciplinary marketing sales advisory committee.  Where most organizations fail is poor communication and working relationships between the two groups. It's time to get past the "the feet on the street" don't deliver the brand messages and promise in the right way, and all that marketing is good for is making stuff look pretty," because I need more stuff to leave behind attitudes. 

4) Train your marketing department in the sale approach that your salespeople are using.  This way, marketing begins to understand the opportunities and challenges faced and how your sales staff is trained to overcome them.  All marketing materials should be applicable and useful at some point in the sales cycle. It's all about shortening the sales cycle and creating usable and compelling collateral.

5) Let your marketing staff accompany sales on calls and presentations. They can be a new set of eyes and ears and which will provide marketing with new perspectives on the difficulties of selling. 

6) Cut down on the number of slides you use for presentations. An 80-page slide deck is all about you and nothing about your potential customer.  If you have to use more than 10 – 20 slides, you don't know what you are talking about and don't understand your audience. A talking head is boring.

7) Have marketing attend your sales meetings and pipeline calls.  It's about relationships and dialogue. A lot of marketing intelligence is available that sales had that will assist marketing in developing customer producing campaigns and messaging that hit the mark, create new thought leadership  content generating more marketing qualified leads to become sales accepted leads

8)  Annually establish joint goals and objectives and quarterly reporting.  Share in the pain and share in the gain.

9) Constantly evaluate and begin again.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As healthcare providers' consolidation continues unabated across all channels, sales, and marketing, integrated and on the same page, make for a formidable and successful competitor in the market.

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.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Are You Telling Your Patients What They Want to Hear, or What You Want?

Are you telling your patients what they want to hear, or are telling them what you want them to hear? It’s a valid question in the age of pandemic because there is a difference between the two thoughts—a large chasm in some cases.

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

As a potential answer to the headline question, there is one question you should ask yourself that is fact-based.  But the adage “never ask a question you don’t want an answer too” applies.  You may get an answer you never wanted in the first place.

Is telling patients what you want them to hear driving changes in your hospital or health system market share?

Since the 1990s, when the talks began about consumerism in health care in the Clinton administration, hospitals and health systems have been telling patients what they want them to hear, not what the patient wants to hear.  I see print and electronic advertisements. I see social media and banner ads. etc., etc., etc.

When the primary research market share reports come in, I’d be willing to bet that market share changes among competing hospitals in a given geographic area is only around one or two percent and driven more by physician admitting behavior.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixaby

Hospitals have continued to close and affiliate or merge with health systems as patient admissions declined and payers restricted networks. Now, I am not saying that just telling patients what you wanted them to hear is the sole cause for loss of hospital independence and closure, but it is a contributing factor.

Think about this for a moment.

For 30 years now, we have been telling patients all about our facilities and new buildings. Our most recent and most fantastic high-tech equipment, testing, and diagnostics paired with how we care about the whole person and Centers of Excellence. All the while, your competitors have been doing the same thing.

Don’t you think patients after all these years already know what you do? Do patents come to your website via a home page entry to learn about you? Or are they coming into the website in specific areas to know some information they need as part of a self-directed Google search?

That is the difference between telling patients what you want them to hear versus what they want to hear.

As hard as we all try, hospitals and health systems tend to focus on the "all about us" of information that supports that idea. It is much easier to be all about us than to be patient-focused informationally. Patients are looking for not the feature information of what you want to tell them, but an answer to their question.

It’s the pandemic driving the informational bus.

In the age of a pandemic, patients are looking for leadership from the hospital. They are looking to understand how to stay safe and healthy. They are looking to trust the hospital again after being sacred by the first surge and changes in care and how they access care. Patients and the community are suffering from pandemic fatigue and the relentless 24/7 news coverage, political leadership gaslighting, conspiracy theories, false and dangerous misinformation, rising case count, and the death toll for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Patients are looking for public health leadership from the hospitals.

Sometimes, we need to tell patients not what we want them to hear but what they want to hear.

Image by fancycrave1from Pixabay

As an example, removed somewhat from healthcare but not, I write a fun blog that I started in March 2019, Perceptions, Observations and Musings of an Old Man. I have spent an extraordinary amount of time, 22 posts to be exact, on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.  Posts intended to provide answers to questions and different ways to cope.

I would highly suggest that you look at some of the posts for ideas on the information they want, not what you want to give them.  Leadership in a pandemic means we step out of our comfort zones and become accountable and responsive to what is needed, not what we want. It may not be healthcare as we know it either.

“22 Old Man Blog Posts for Surviving the Worldwide COVID-19 Resurgence” https://bit.ly/3kNMaPw

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.