Now follow Chief Marketing Officer on Facebook.



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Waving Goodbye to 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to turn our attention to the future and focus on emerging trends, issues and opportunities facing healthcare marketers in the year ahead. But before we do, please indulge our brief stroll down Memory Lane to reflect on these 10 key posts from 2010.

The Gap Between Older Adults and Millennials is Shrinking When it Comes to Key On-line Activities

Ever hear a healthcare executive say “our patients are older and don’t use the Internet”? No doubt there are generational differences in on-line activities; however, the gap between how younger and older generations use the Internet is shrinking in a number key areas according to Pew Research Center’s Generations 2010.

Read more; download the report . . .

Five Things Healthcare Marketers Should Break Free From in 2011
by Priya Ramesh of CRT/tanaka

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to talk social media trends and what’s next with Chief Marketing Officers in the healthcare space at the Innovator’s Studio in Chicago. As part of the discussion, we were asked to break into two groups and identify a few traditional tactics that the CMO’s in the room would commit to get rid of in 2011. Let me just say the experience was very eye-opening. I strongly recommend this exercise with your team at the end of each fiscal year to sit as a group and identify where you can cut expenses and re-invest that money/resources into other more efficient ways of doing things. So here’s a list of five things that a group of highly experienced, smart healthcare marketing leaders decided to move away from in 2011 that might get YOU thinking:

Read more . . .

Putting Market Share in Perspective
a point of view from Chris Bevolo

For many hospital marketers and their CEOs, market share is the ultimate measure of marketing success. In the “2010 State of the Art” survey highlighted in the last issue of Healthcare Strategy Alert, respondents listed the top area of marketing focus as “increase market share.” When asked to rate “measures of success” however, respondents listed market share third, behind awareness/preference and patient volume, a drop from its first place position in 2005. But this actually may not be a bad thing.

Read more . . .

Customer Relationship Management - What are You Waiting For? (Parts One and Two)
by guest blogger Les Stern

Sophisticated customer relationship management systems for healthcare organizations have been around for almost 15 years. Yet only 15% or so of healthcare providers are using them.  Before we understand the benefits of CRM, let’s agree on what the three key components of a CRM program for healthcare organizations.

Read more (part one) . . . 
Read more (part two) . . .

Thinking Retail . . .

Once upon a time, I used to call my doctor’s office to make an appointment for the annual flu shot. It was always scheduled at a time more convenient for the office staff than for me (“We do shots between 10 am and 2 pm, but we’re closed from 12 to 1 for lunch.”) and even then, a 25 to 45 minute wait wasn’t unusual.

Read more . . .

Three Factors Motivate Performance - Money Isn't One of Them
Marketers have long known that price is rarely the true motivator for consumers; when it comes to motivating employees, the same principle holds

Last Fall, I heard author Dan Pink speak on the science of motivation at TEDxNASA and was delighted to run across a You Tube posting of the talk. From his study of the scientific literature on motivation, Dan outlines the myths and perils of extrinsic motivators (such as money), and describes the three key elements of truly effective motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A key finding from the MIT study described in this piece is that, while financial rewards tend to motivate people doing 'mechanical' tasks, it has the opposite effect on workers using 'cognitive' skills.

Read more . . .

What is Your Approach to Marketing Leadership? Parts 1 and 2

Part One:
Marketing departments emerged in health care organizations in the early 1980s when prospective payment methodologies made it evident that certain clinical programs were more profitable than others. Hospitals began to compete for patients for those services and procedures that produced better financial outcomes. Many of these early marketing programs were administered by existing public relations or community relations functions, and had a strong communications focus. Over the next two decades, marketing practices matured to include other aspects of the discipline such as research, sales and referral development, segmentation, product development and brand building.

Today, marketing management systems differ significantly across health care organizations. Some are expansive, core business functions with strong growth accountabilities aligned to strategic planning, business development, clinical operations and financial management initiatives. ROI expectations center on overall growth, profitability, brand equity and creation of sustainable competitive advantage.

Read more . . .

Part 2:
Marketing orientations differ across hospitals and health systems for a variety of reasons - culture, philosophy, strategy, even knowledge or understanding of the marketing discipline. One approach is not necessarily “right” where another is “wrong” – what is important to understand is that each path requires a specific configuration of core competencies, staff capabilities, processes and investments aligned to organizational vision, strategy and business objectives in order to produce results. Misalignment occurs when management wants to achieve significant improvements in strategic growth, for example, but has a production-oriented marketing operation. Which of the following best describes your organization's approach to marketing management?

Read more . . .

Patient Experience Starts with the Hiring Process

It’s 6:45 am on a Sunday morning and I’m sitting in an airport waiting on a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. The flight is running a little late, and bleary-eyed passengers bemoan the extra half hour of sleep they could have had. Meanwhile the Southwest gate agents, who look much too rested and energized for such an early hour, begin the lighthearted banter for which they are known. Pretty soon, the delayed passengers are laughing at their goofy repartee of corny jests and bad-rhythm rap. Once on board, the pilot apologized for the delay and joked that he’d just had a low-carb, high energy drink to help get us there in record time

Read more . . .

President Signs Health Care Reform Act; Now What?

This week, President Obama signed into law the most significant social legislation since the 1960s. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) extends health insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans ― at a cost of $940 billion over the next decade. The legislation ensures that by 2014, nearly all Americans will be required to be insured, and by 2016, the majority of the uninsured (30 million people) will be covered.To do this, the legislation expands Medicaid to cover families making as much as $88K a year. It also creates state-supervised exchanges to expand coverage access to individuals and small businesses. Other goals of the legislation are to improve affordability and accountability, crack down on waste, fraud and abuse, and ensure fiscal sustainability. What Didn’t Get Passed? 
Read more . . .

Marketers Must Lead Health Systems in Embracing New Media
By John Marzano, VP External Affairs, Orlando Health

Orlando Health took the better part of a year in developing a strategy to participate in the social/digital environment. In November 2009, with full support of organization leadership we launched our plan with both a Facebook (www.facebook.com/orlandohealth) and You Tube page (www.youtube.com/orlandohealth). To date, we have acquired more than 3,800 fans to our page and have over 4,000 views on You Tube for a special heart month video called 'move it' as well as other videos featuring tours of our facilities and physician expertise. Overall, we looked at some best practices (Mayo Clinic, University of Maryland Medical System) and took a measured approach while setting very realistic parameters, guidelines for use, and expectations as part of a new communications platform that addressed the mix of traditional and digital forms of communication to engage our target audiences. In addition, we seamlessly moved two FTEs into roles that support this strategy and help us stay current with the technology.

Read more . . .

Many, many thanks to our colleagues, readers, contributors and friends for your participation and support this past year.  Happy New Year to you – may 2011 bring you much joy and success.

Karen Corrigan

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gap Between Older Adults and Millennials is Shrinking When it Comes to Key On-line Activities

Ever hear a healthcare executive say “our patients are older and don’t use the Internet”?  No doubt there are generational differences in on-line activities; however, the gap between how younger and older generations use the Internet is shrinking in a number key areas according to Pew Research Center’s Generations 2010. 

A few key take-aways:
  • Millennials (those ages 18 – 33) are more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone, and still surpass their elders online when it comes to use of social networking sites, instant messaging and online classifieds.
  • Internet users in Gen X (ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to visit government websites and get financial information online.
  • While the youngest generations are more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.
  • The biggest online trend: certain key internet activities are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These include email, search engine use, seeking health information, getting news, buying products and on-line banking, among others.
Additionally, searching for health information, an activity that was once the primary domain of older adults, is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users 18 and older.

As for those older adults that “don’t use the internet”?
  • Nearly 80% of boomers are on-line
  • Over half - 58% - of adults 65 – 73 are logging on
  • And nearly 1 in 3 of people aged 74 and older are cyber-surfing
Click here to download a copy of the report.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Upcoming Conferences Offer Essential Topics for Healthcare Marketers

As difficult as it is to carve out time on already overbooked calendars, keeping abreast of rapidly changing market forces, industry trends and strategy innovations is critical for chief marketing officers charged with growing business and improving competitive performance of health systems and businesses.  Here are a few upcoming meetings where CMOs will be gathering to share, learn and network with colleagues:

The 3rd Annual Health 3.0 Conference: The Next Online Generation
January 25-27, 2011; Orlando, Florida

This conference will explore the newest outlets for social media and mobile applications that have the ability to revolutionize the way health plans handle information exchange for member engagement and ease of use for better health outcomes. Health 3.0 features strategic sessions focused on wellness management and product development, in which industry leaders, C-Level plan executives and senior directors, analyze the future of the next online generation. I'll be facilitating a workshop on the Innovation Process: Steps and Tips to Build Innovation Into Your 3.0 Offering

Click here to view the agenda.

Physician Strategies Summit
February 27 - March 1, 2011; Phoenix, Arizona

The passage of health reform, with its focus on accountable care, care coordination, and value, commands hospital/physician alignment as never before. This conference will arm healthcare executives with the information, insights and peer contacts to develop innovative, successful approaches to bring hospitals and doctors together in new delivery models.  A knowledgeable faculty with practical, in-depth experience in the development, implementation, and operation of sound physician strategies will share case studies and lead thought-provoking general sessions.  I'm pleased to be presenting with Carol Via Flynn, corporate director of marketing and communications for Sentara Healthcare, and Susan Milford, senior vice president for strategic marketing and planning for Centegra Healthcare, on the topic of Marketing the Employed Physician Enterprise.

Click here to download the conference brochure.

Healthcare Marketing and PR Social Media Summit
March 14 - 15, 2011; Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Ragan Communications have partnered to bring healthcare marketers and PR professionals the hottest social media case studies.  Top social media experts and insiders from Mayo's Center for Social Media will show you how to measure your social media efforts, build a social media plan, transform your communications strategy with mobile health applications, and more. Last year's session sold out.  Click here to learn more.

Mark your calendars also for the following. I'll post more information as it becomes available.

Sixteenth National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit
March 27 - 29, 2011; Orlando, Florida

SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) CONNECTIONS 2011
September 14 - 17, 2011; Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can iPad Improve Physician Sales and Referral Development Activities?

by Susan Lilly - consultant, researcher, and a bit of a contrarian

Those genius marketers at Apple have channeled the enthusiasm behind their consumer products into a business application -- this time, in health care.  According to the Wall Street Journal, physicians love their iPads, while medical device and pharma companies are using them as sales tools.  These medical companies are buying iPads by the thousands and giving them to their sales and marketing teams. Why? Physicians prefer iPads' portability, and sales reps can quickly and engagingly present their products.  No more shuffling through papers, or waiting to boot up the laptop. 

Which makes me wonder:  are health system sales and referral development professionals embracing iPad as a new sales aid?  How could the iPad enhance your sales encounters with physicians?


Susan Lilly consumes vast amounts of health industry data so you don’t have to.  She has worked in the field for 20 years, in both the private and public sectors - and focuses on telling the story inspired by research findings to help health care clients grow and thrive. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Patients Share Intimate Joys and Sorrows on Facebook

by Allison Sherwat - marketing consultant, social media advocate, and mom

The nay-sayers may argue that the proliferation of social media communication has distanced us from making true connections with others. However, this intimate story in today’s Washington Post demonstrates that nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, Facebook can enable patients, providers, family and friends to connect with each other even during the most vulnerable of times. If patients are relying on this medium to connect, wouldn’t it be wise for caregivers to show up as well?

Click here to read the story:  http://wapo.st/f6jOMr.  But grab the kleenex first.

AHA Fellowship Aims to Prepare Health System Executives to Lead Under Reform

The American Hospital Association is seeking applications from C-suite executives and senior vice presidents or vice presidents from the disciplines of strategy, physician relations/medical leadership, finance, or operations for the AHA Health Care System Reform Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month, highly interactive learning experience designed to give healthcare leaders the tools and skills necessary to design, lead, and manage emerging care delivery and payment models, such as medical homes, bundled payment arrangements, and accountable care organizations. Visit www.hpoe.org/fellowships/health-care-system-reform-fellowship/index.shtml to learn more and download an application form.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

26 Tips for Pumping Up Your Facebook Page

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
New Facebook pages for hospitals, physicians and other healthcare businesses are popping up like crazy.  Whether you're just getting started or are actively growing your Facebook community, having a strategy and content plan are critical aspects of success. Social Media Examiner offers 26 great tips for marketers, social media managers, business owners and others charged with building a social presence using Facebook.

A key take-away is that content strategy is, well, key.  Everything from company news to facts and statistics to contests to events schedules and helpful hints can keep you busy posting; but making sure the information is relevant to your community, having a little fun, asking your audience for advice and other conversational methods will keep your fan base engaged.

Be sure to share this link with any of your staff and colleagues that are building, managing, posting and conversing on your Facebook page:  26 Tips for Enhancing Your Facebook Fan Page - and let me know if you see a jump in traffic and deeper engagement.

What other strategies have you found to be successful in building and engaging fans?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) Issues Call for Speakers for 2011 Conference

Have a great marketing, planning or communications success story to share??   The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) is looking for speakers for the organization's annual conference to be held February 14-17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  If you have innovative strategies, cutting-edge ideas, new concepts or practical tips to help health systems improve competitive performance, submit a speaker's proposal on-line.  Just follow this link:  SHSMD Connections 2011 Call for Speakers

The deadline for submission is January 14, 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest blogger Brian Walker of SRK Discusses the "Strategic Halo" of Integrated Service Line Strategies

Brian Walker
“Strategic Halo” What is it? Why Should You Care? Part 1 of 3
By Brian Walker, Senior VP, SRK

You may have seen the “Strategic Halo” featured in a recent HealthLeaders post as an innovative strategy of breaking down existing product line silos and truly understanding the interdependence of your products and services, physician impact and patients ongoing pattern of care. “Halo” implications have a broad strategic value from marketing and planning to finance and physician staffing as well as customer satisfaction and loyalty. Now it seems to also be emerging as one possible strategy on the road to an ACO.

Historically, too many healthcare organizations have looked at their product lines as stand alone entities: “Our CV business is worth $X million and we see X# of patients each year with a primary clinical focus on Y” What the “Strategic Halo” (created by SRK) suggests is to look more broadly to better understand the upstream (where your existing patients are coming from within your organization) and downstream (where your patients go) journeys and the total feeder impact across product lines.

Looking beyond the simple transaction or vertical experience is something other industries have done successfully, however healthcare has been slower to adapt. “Halo” thinking can now arm your organization with similar data insight to make informed business decisions. By following your patients over time you best understand their behavior, financial value, experience and overall continuum of care.

From a CMO perspective, this approach has been extremely valuable in helping improve segmentation and targeting, focusing cross-sell and loyalty tactics, better measuring marketing activity and ultimately driving more revenue.

Interested in learning more?

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, SRK will host an educational webcast on: "Product Line Integration" focusing on the  marketing and ACO implications of the "Strategic Halo."  I'll be joined by Karen Corrigan on the session.  Registration is free; but space is limited.  You can click here to register.

In the coming weeks, I'll post more on the topic.
  • Part 2 of the “Strategic Halo” will showcase actual hospital data and how this strategy is helping executives make more informed business decisions for their healthcare organization.
  • Part 3 of the “Strategic Halo” will discuss both the short-term and long-term implications of this strategy
Brian Walker is a senior vice president with SRK, a national healthcare marketing and strategy company based in Chicago, Illinois.  Brain can be reach at 312.335.2788 or bwalker@srksolutions.com.  Follow him on Twitter @catalyst4growth.

Friday, December 3, 2010

HHS Introduces Healthy People 2020

Yesterday, HHS released Healthy People 2020, an ambitious10-year agenda for improving the nation’s health. Healthy People 2020 is the result of a multiyear process that reflects input from a diverse group of individuals and organizations. Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

The initiative's overarching goals are to:
  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.
Click here to download a copy of the Healthy People 2020 brochure.  You can also learn more and download additional resources at www.healthypeople.gov.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Mishaps are Focus of this Humorous Hospital TV Spot

Does healthcare advertising always have to be so darn serious?  Lexington Medical Center's Christmas season advertising employs a humorous twist to show they're at-the-ready for real life Clark Griswolds.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SHSMD Healthcare Advisory and Webcast to Focus on Trust and Transparency in Healthcare Marketing Communications

Mark your calendars.  On November 30, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) will release an all-new, downloadable advisory entitled Principles and Practices for Marketing Communications in Hospitals and Health Systems. Then, on December 8 at 1 pm eastern, SHSMD Board and Healthcare Advertising Task Force members Carol Koenecke-Grant (Guthrie Healthcare System) and Larry Margolis  (SPM Marketing and Communications) will present a 75-minute SHSMD U webcast on the principles and practices outlined in the advisory.  Topics to be covered include:
  • A marketing communications checklist
  • Instituting a formal review process
  • Awards, ratings, and accreditations
  • Conveying price information
  • Use of endorsements and testimonials
  • Use of physicians in marketing communications
  • Social media
  • Pay to play: Blogger advertising
  • Responding to another organization’s unsubstantiated or misleading communication
  • And other ethical considerations
The webcast is free for SHSMD members and $99 for non-members. For more information check out SHSMD-U.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Five Things Healthcare Marketers Should Break Free From in 2011

by Priya Ramesh of CRT/tanaka

(Reprinted from The Buzz Bin, a CRT/tanaka blog)

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to talk social media trends and what’s next with Chief Marketing Officers in the healthcare space at the Innovator’s Studio in Chicago. As part of the discussion, we were asked to break into two groups and identify a few traditional tactics that the CMO’s in the room would commit to get rid of in 2011. Let me just say the experience was very eye-opening. I strongly recommend this exercise with your team at the end of each fiscal year to sit as a group and identify where you can cut expenses and re-invest that money/resources into other more efficient ways of doing things. So here’s a list of five things that a group of highly experienced, smart healthcare marketing leaders decided to move away from in 2011 that might get YOU thinking:
  1. YELLOW PAGES: Are you kidding me? I mean, I was surprised that big organizations still spend millions of dollars every year in advertising in the Yellow Pages (physical directory) that goes straight to the dumpster! Seriously, when was the last time you reached out to that bulky thing to find a business or a service? There is a reason why Google is so successful. Why not spend the Yellow Pages budget into SEO for your website? Chris Silver Smith, SEO expert and contributor on one of my favorite blogs, Search Engine Land discusses why Yellow Pages is becoming an obsolete concept. Must read. If you are still doing Yellow Page advertising in 2011, I really would love to hear from you and understand the ROI behind that. All about hard metrics at the end of the day.
  2. PRESS RELEASES: This debate continues in the PR world, and those who continue to churn out press releases every week openly admit that they do so to appease their C-Suite. So let’s do the math quickly, depending on the purpose of the press release, the whole process involves several hours of research, writing and my favorite part: the APPROVAL PROCESS. Then we drop it blindly on a distribution system without any SEO, multi-media content, anchor text and hope that the Wall Street Journal and New York Times is going to call you asking for an interview. I am sorry if that’s what you are doing right now, you belong to the dark ages of PR. First let’s start by renaming it a News Release. With citizen journalism, blogs and Twitter breaking news these days, company announcements need to be geared toward all audiences versus just the “press.” Maybe its time to cut down on the weekly churn and focus on multi-media content for your company announcements that actually get read, blogged about and tweeted. Start by exploring Pitch Engine. CRT/tanaka clients have seen good results with Pitch Engine releases.
  3. NEWSLETTERS: Every month, we spend a gazillion hours mailing or e-mailing the company newsletter that’s filled with content about ourselves. We all know readers are more interested in WIIIFM (What Is In It For Me?). Instead generate content that highlights industry hot topics, best practices, use cases that help your customer/employee get better at what they do. Further e-newsletters are fading due to low click through rates and corporate blogs are taking over as good alternatives. All that time spent on a company newsletter can very well be spent on a blog that generates fresh content and keeps you on top of search rankings and if you do it right, start generating leads for your business. Debbie Weil, well known B2B social media expert shares some very useful tips on how to integrate your e-newsletter with blog efforts in this post.
  4. BROCHURES: Okay I get it that some of you might need that fancy brochure to leave behind after a sales meeting or at a trade show, but honestly, do we really need to kill that many trees every year on print materials that get tossed once you leave the room? How about creating digital content that’s more engaging? I still like flash drives or a piece of personal technology that eases some stress in my work life. If the whole point is to get noticed, then why not provide something that matters to your audience and in the process of doing so, ensure they remember your brand name. Hey if healthcare marketers can move away from printed collateral in 2011, anyone can! Right?
  5. MEETINGS WITHOUT SPECIFIC GAME PLAN: Some 25 million meetings take place in corporate America and according to Peter Economy, 50 percent of business meetings are a complete waste of time. I couldn’t agree more when the groups at Innovator’s Studio agreed that they need to think before scheduling a meeting and then to run that meeting most efficiently. Giga Om’s Imran Ali did a really nice story on how to run meetings effectively — Google style. http://gigaom.com/collaboration/work-hacks-how-to-run-meetings-google-style/. I think its beneficial to highlight an excerpt of the Giga Om story below:
    • Google’s Marissa Mayer was recently interviewed by Business Week. In the interview, she described her own methodology for dealing with the 70+ meetings she needs to attend each week. Mayer’s six key principles for running productive meetings are:
      • Set a firm agenda. Mayer believes agendas provide focus and help participants find routes toward achieving a particular goal.
      • Assign a note taker. Mayer’s meetings tend to use multiple displays to project presentation slides, a live transcript of the meeting and a ticking stopwatch! Each element provide focus, and crucially a record, enabling non-attendees to stay informed.
      • Carve out micro-meetings. Mayer routinely divides larger meetings into smaller 5-10 minute blocks to highlight particular subject areas. This enables agendas to remain flexible, but disciplined, and also allows wide-ranging discussions to occur.
      • Hold office hours. Each day, for 90 minutes at 4 p.m., Mayer holds court with colleagues in her own office. Co-workers can choose a slot on a first-come-first-serve basis. Incredibly, she’s able to get through up to fifteen meetings in these periods.
      • Discourage politics, use data. To avoid showing favoritism and to minimize office politics, Mayer insists all decisions are driven by performance-based metrics and analytics. (This approach has caused some controversies, as related by former design director Douglas Bowman.)
      • Stick to the clock. The “ticking clock” mentioned earlier might sound draconian, but is apparently a source of levity at meetings, exerting a subtle motivation, but also underlining a precious commodity in a busy organization.
Thank YOU Innovator’s Studio especially Karen Corrigan and Carla Bryant for facilitating this discussion last week. Nothing ever gets translated into action if we first don’t accept and verbalize the areas of improvement. Your workshop helped us just do that.

So if you had to pick just one of the five goodbye items above, which one would you say goodbye to in 2011?

Priya Ramesh is director of social media for CRT/tanaka.  She helps companies employ strategies to leverage new media platforms such as YouTube, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, in order to drive results by building awareness, increasing brand visibility and increasing lead generation. Her experience includes managing social media efforts for Network Solutions (the leading web-hosting service provider) and its Grow Smart Business initiative.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AMA Adopts Policy to Guide Doctors in Use of Social Media

A new policy by the American Medical Association (AMA) aims at helping physicians to maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.

“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” said AMA Board Member Mary Anne McCaffree, M.D. “The AMA’s new policy outlines a number of considerations physicians should weigh when building or maintaining a presence online.”

The new policy encourages physicians to:
  • Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the fullest extent possible on social networking sites.
  • Routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship when interacting with patients online and ensure patient privacy and confidentiality is maintained.
  • Consider separating personal and professional content online.
  • Recognize that actions online and content posted can negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, and may even have consequences for their medical careers.
The new policy on professionalism when using social media was adopted November 8 at the AMA’s semi-annual policy making meeting in San Diego. 

Click here for a copy of the policy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Increase Your Healthcare Marketing Know-How with These Resources

There's something about Fall that always puts me in a learning state-of-mind.  And, for healthcare strategy and marketing executives, it's a season rich with opportunities to advance knowledge, track trends, learn a few new tricks and network with colleagues.  Just a few weeks ago, more than a thousand marketers, strategists and other healthcare professionals met up at the annual SHSMD conference in Chicago.  Craving more?  Here's a line-up of a few additional upcoming conferences, webinars and events.
Looking forward to seeing you out there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Putting Market Share in Perspective

Chris Bevolo
A Point of View from Chris Bevolo
For many hospital marketers and their CEOs, market share is the ultimate measure of marketing success. In the “2010 State of the Art” survey highlighted in the last issue of Healthcare Strategy Alert, respondents listed the top area of marketing focus as “increase market share.” When asked to rate “measures of success” however, respondents listed market share third, behind awareness/preference and patient volume, a drop from its first place position in 2005. But this actually may not be a bad thing.

While market share is a critical metric, it’s what I call a relative metric, meaning its value is based on how it compares to other organizations. A competitive comparison is, of course, always treasured by leadership, but it should not be considered the ultimate measure of success. For example, increased market share in volumes for a specific service line doesn’t necessarily ensure increased revenue or margin. To measure these important financial data, using Return On Investment (ROI) would be a better choice.

There also are many variables that lie outside of marketing that can move your share up or down. The capacity of your physicians or facilities, and competitor moves are two of the biggest. The best approach is to identify as many variables as you can, work hard to control for their impact, and be transparent about how much marketing really drives any shift in market share.

Market share should be one of your top metrics, and will likely always be a hot point for leadership. But to demonstrate the true value of your marketing efforts, it’s best to employ a multifaceted approach to measuring success and keep market share in the proper perspective. 

Chris Bevolo is a recognized thought-leader in healthcare marketing and branding. He is a fervent blogger and frequent keynoter on the topics of marketing, branding, innovation, the patient experience, and consumer trends. He is also is the author of two books, “A Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Results” and “A Marketer’s Guide to Brand Strategy.”  Chris is owner, founder and lead strategist of the Minneapolis-based healthcare marketing agency, Interval.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How does Your Physician Sales and Services Program Compare? New Benchmarking Study to Assess Trends and Practices.

Physicians still direct the vast majority of inpatient healthcare in the marketplace - as many as 80% of patients enter the doors of hospitals and facilities at the direction of physicians. The movement toward a consumer-driven market notwithstanding, many hospitals, health systems and large specialty practices have turned to physician sales or referral development programs to grow their business. Unfortunately, motivating physicians to change referral patterns is a daunting task under the best of circumstances and the lack of industry “best practices” complicates the situation even further.

In September 2010 Corporate Health Group (CHG) launched their third benchmarking study of Physician Sales and Service. The National survey will obtain new trends and craft comparisons and a gap analysis of data captured 2005, 2008 and now 2010. The survey (a mix of open and closed ended questions) is available online and respondents will get a free Executive Summary. (and who turns down 'free' these days?)

The results will provide detailed management and benchmarking data for physician sales managers and healthcare executives to benefit their programs for future success. Key insights will include:
  • How are others in your shoes attaining ROI successes?
  • What new best practice is growing net new referrals?
  • What are emerging trends in physician relations?
  • How does your program compare to national leaders in physician relations?
You can participate in the study (and get a free copy of the Executive Summary) by clicking on this link: Take the Survey.

Additionally, if you work for a large system or association, CHG can set up a unique organization code so that you receive a report showing overall trended data (2005, 2008 and 2010) compared to your organization. Get the code prior to taking the survey by contacting Laurie Slater at Corporate Health Group (lslater@corporatehealthgroup.com).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Part 2: Customer Relationship Management - Getting Started

A Point of View from Guest Blogger Les Stern.

So last time I asked you: “What are you waiting for?” in terms of starting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program for your organization. And I’m thinking, maybe you just don’t know how to get started.

Getting started means answering three questions.

1. Who in our organization should be involved?

First, you need to sell the concept to everybody. CRM is an enterprise-wide initiative that needs buy in from the highest levels (see last post on the benefits of CRM).  The team that actually selects the CRM vendor should include the following:
  • Marketing (to spearhead the process)
  • IT (to deal with the data)
  • Finance (to ensure all assumptions on ROI, etc. are correct)
  • Physician relations (if marketing to physicians is a key strategy)
2. Who should we contact?

Stay away from generic CRM companies that have a technology solution that they claim they can “adapt” to healthcare. Instead, look at CRM providers that offer:
  • A database specifically designed for healthcare
  • Built in segmentation or modeling that can quickly target the right people for specific campaigns (the ideal target is likely to need the service and be profitable)
  • Reports that can easily answer all your questions, from targeting to tracking ROI
  • Staff that are healthcare CRM experts
  • An easy to use tool, if you do not want the CRM provider to do everything (both options are available)
3. How do we make our decision?

There are several excellent providers, but no one provider is the best choice for everybody. Here are the key steps:
  • Initial presentations at your location, focusing on how their solutions can meet your needs. At the initial meeting, if you are planning on using their tool, you may ask for a demonstration. (Note: the companies may ask for a call prior to this meeting so they can get an overview of your organization, your needs, etc.)
  • Compile all features and put together a matrix of all features, including pricing, so you can easily make comparisons.
  • Check references. Do this early on, so any red flags can be raised early in the process.
  • Visit the finalists. Make sure you meet the person who will be your account manager. And go through a case study from beginning to end.
  • Make your decision. You will have a lot of information to make your decision. Trust your instincts.
Good luck. Let us know how you do.

Les Stern is president of L. Stern & Associates. He can be reached at info@lsternmktg.com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Part 1: Customer Relationship Management - What are You Waiting For?

A Point of View from Guest Blogger Les Stern.

Sophisticated customer relationship management systems for healthcare organizations have been around for almost 15 years.  Yet only 15% or so of healthcare providers are using them.

Before we understand the benefits of CRM, let’s agree on what the three key components of a CRM program for healthcare organizations. 

  • Capturing data from across the enterprise and consolidating it into a database
  • Analyzing the database to determine the best marketing opportunities and the best targets for those opportunities 
  • Identifying the return on investment from those campaigns
 Here are the benefits of implementing a CRM solution:
  1. It improves the bottom line.  A CRM program allows you to target your efforts on your most profitable customers (consumers or physicians) and people who “look like” your most profitable customers.  For example, if you are doing a promotion for mammographies, CRM will allow you to target women who not only are most likely to need these services, but will also be more profitable customers for you. CRM also can improve your bottom line by lowering marketing expense.  Since you know the best people to market to, you don’t have to spend money marketing to others.
  2. It is quantifiable.  CRM allows you to track the return on investment of your programs.  By using control groups, you can measure the impact of the marketing campaign, and counter the objection that “they would have come anyway.”  As one hospital marketer recently told me: “It is a great way to substantiate that marketing decisions are valid, that marketing does move the needle, and that we need to continue to market, even in bad economies.”
  3. It enhances relationships (and your brand).  Your CRM program will enable you to send the right message to the right people at the right time, thereby allowing them to take better care of their health.  Programs such as these can boost customer loyalty.
  4. It can help you achieve your mission by improving the health of your community.   This may seem counterintuitive, since you may be reducing the number of people to whom you are marketing.  But think about it:  (1) Through targeting, you are sending your messages to the people who most need the services; and (2)  Improving the bottom line will free up resources for charity care and other initiatives to help you better serve your entire community.
So how do you go about setting up your CRM program?  That topic next time.

Les Stern is president of L. Stern & Associates.  He can be reached at  info@lsternmktg.com.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Staying Ahead of the Curve at the 14th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference

The upcoming 14th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference (November 15 - 17, 2010; Las Vegas, NV) offers a great opportunity for chief marketing officers to learn how market leaders are using the Internet, social media strategies, networked technologies, mobile media and other technologies, strategies, and solutions to connect, grow and enhance competitive performance. This is must learning for marketing executives looking to stay ahead of the curve of ever-accelerating advances and applications of new media technologies.

Conference features include:
  • Six general sessions to inspire and broaden your thinking about the impact of new technologies.
  • 29 case studies from health systems recognized as leaders in the areas of technology and Web strategy.
  • The Eleventh Annual eHealthcare Leadership Awards Presentation, an informative session highlighting the current landscape of healthcare Internet development.
  • Dedicated time in the Exhibit Hall, allowing you to interact with leading consultants and vendors whose emphasis is on "Where eHealthcare and Customer Focused Marketing Meet."
  • Networking opportunities that connect you with your peers.
And good news for your budget - you still have a few days (until Friday, September 17) to take advantage of the early registration rate (save $100).  Caesar's Palace has also announced new discounts on the room rates, now starting at $120 per night for the Roman Tower.

You can download the full conference brochure and register at the Healthcare Strategy Institute website.

On a personal note - can it really be 14 years since this conference first launched?  Kudos to Greystone.Net and the Forum for Healthcare Strategists for recognizing the importance of this space early on and, along with its sponsors, advancing the industry's knowledge and application of web and technology-enabled strategies and practices.

See you in Vegas.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thinking Retail . . .

Once upon a time, I used to call my doctor’s office to make an appointment for the annual flu shot. It was always scheduled at a time more convenient for the office staff than for me (“We do shots between 10 am and 2 pm, but we’re closed from 12 to 1 for lunch.”) and even then, a 25 to 45 minute wait wasn’t unusual.

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I had a flu shot at a doctor’s office. Last year, it was done while traveling between the B & C concourses at the Charlotte Airport in North Carolina – 5 minutes, $35 and a record of the event sent to my email before I boarded the plane. My husband and I had H1N1 injections administered by a pharmacist at RiteAid on a Sunday afternoon. No appointment, no waiting.

If you haven’t yet noticed, retailers such as CVS and Walgreens are already heavy into flu shot promotion season. Here are a few lessons from the retailing of these preventive injections:

  • Price is front and center – you know what you’re going to pay before you walk in the door; price points seem to be hovering in the $30 range
  • Convenience is all about the consumer – CVS’s “Flu Shots Your Way” promotes your ability to “click, call or come by”
  • Loss leaders drive traffic – one retail pharmacy is giving the flu shot free when you spend $30 on a core set of brand products; could there be some co-marketing spend here as well?
  • Keep the paperwork minimal – at the airport kiosk, I checked ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to 5 questions and signed permission to administer
  • Customer service, customer service, customer service – no additional explanation needed
All of this customer experience design is there for a $30 flu shot; what might happen if we put the same effort into a $30,000 inpatient procedure?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye to a Colleague and Friend

A. Thomas Tebbens, Jr.

When fellow marketer Candace Quinn, left me an urgent message to call her, I had that intuitive feeling that it wasn't going to be good news. And was shocked to learn from her that longtime colleague and friend, Thomas Tebbens had died just that morning.  Tom was vice president of marketing and communications at Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. He'd been there just two short years, but was orchestrating major change initiatives when he passed away.  Prior to his work at Einstein, Tom was the chief marketing executive at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx borough of New York City, and had a long, successful career in the advertising field.  His obituary in the Philly Inquirer referred to Tom as a adman - I think he would've liked that.

Besides his professional contributions, which were many, Tom also was active in the community and in the arts, and treasured his family above all. 

How hard it is to say goodbye. 

 

Three Factors Motivate Performance - Money Isn't One of Them

Marketers have Long Known that Price is Rarely the True Motivator for Consumers; When it Comes to Motivating Employees, the Same Principle Holds

Last Fall, I heard author Dan Pink speak on the science of motivation at TEDxNASA and was delighted to run across a You Tube posting of the talk. From his study of the scientific literature on motivation, Dan outlines the myths and perils of extrinsic motivators (such as money), and describes the three key elements of truly effective motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A key finding from the MIT study described in this piece is that, while financial rewards tend to motivate people doing 'mechanical' tasks, it has the opposite effect on workers using 'cognitive' skills.

I wonder about the implications of these findings on the healthcare industry's quest to achieve clinical, financial and market performance improvements. What are our myths? That tinkering with reimbursement models will make healthcare organizations set up and take notice? That performance bonuses will transform providers into a newly energized pep squad? Maybe. But history and science suggest 'maybe not' - especially if other core elements of motivation are lacking.

And I also wonder if organizations could get to the same end faster and with a more engaged, motivated team waiting at the finish line, if as much time was spent on powering up people and leadership skills, as is devoted to endless operational restructurings, process redesigns and rounds of right-sizings. That will require a new mindset about about people as strategy-critical assets, and a much greater understanding of what drives and sustains motivation for the nurses, physicians and thousands of others that are healthcare's front line. 

As Dan puts it - people are not as endlessly manipulable and predictable as you might think.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Downside of Experience is That it Limits Vision . . .

Seth Godin's blog post "Senior Management" got me thinking about the magnitude of change required to truly bring about transformation of today's healthcare systems and the leadership 'will, ideas and means' to make that happen. How can entrenched 'old timers' make room for and embrace the new, breakthrough ideas of younger colleagues?

From his post:

Worth quoting--one of Arthur C. Clarke's lesser known three laws: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong."

The paradox is that by the time you get to be senior, the decisions that matter the most are the ones that would be best made made by people who are junior...

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Marketing Analytics and Performance Accountability

As organizations continue to tighten their purse strings and demand accountability from their executives, marketing departments are finding themselves under increasing pressure to justify their spending, prove the effects of their marketing campaigns, and demonstrate program success…or risk losing their budgets.

To shed more light on the topic of marketing metrics, Forbes Insights, in association with MarketShare Partners, surveyed U.S. marketing executives on the topic of measurement and accountability. The Accountability Evolution looks at how these executives are managing metrics to quantify and demonstrate the impact of their marketing. The study also identifies potential gaps between marketers’ desire to employ metrics and their actual formal execution of goal-focused measurement.

According to the survey, nearly seven in ten said they used analytics to measure marketing effectiveness. Internal resources were used most frequently to measure the success of marketing programs; 86% used internal data, with 74% relying on internal teams and 52% on internally developed tools. Fifty-eight percent (58%) used third-party data and 35% turned to outside professional services. Many marketers still report that these tools do not meet their needs and the majority believe that they're not adequately communicating the value or impact of marketing initiatives to company executives.

Click here to download a copy of the Forbes Insights Study:  The Accountability Evolution:  Marketers Turn to Metrics to Boost Their Strategic Value

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Many Americans Still Confused About Health Care Reform

Lack of understanding linked to rhetoric that preceded the final vote in March, and the complicated nature of existing health-care system.

Not sure what’s in—and not in—the new health-care legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in March? You're not alone. More than 2,100 adults were given a list of 18 reform items and asked to identify what’s included and what's not included in the law. Only four items were correctly identified by the majority of those polled.

Most (about 58 percent) know that the reform package will prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people because they are already sick; 55 percent know the law permits children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26; and 52 percent realize that people who don't have insurance will be subject to financial penalties. Additionally, half are aware that employers with more than 50 employees will have to offer their workers affordable insurance.

These are some of the major findings of today’s HealthDay/Harris Poll, conducted between July 15 to 19, 2010 among 2,104 adults (aged 18 and over).

Among other findings: 63 percent of those polled either aren't sure or don't know if the new law will increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, (it will); 79 percent don't know or aren't sure if drug companies will pay an annual fee, (they will); 73 percent don't know the law establishes a new tax on the sale of medical devices; 66 percent don't know or aren't sure if the legislation will result in insurance exchanges where people can shop for insurance, (it will); and about 82 percent think the bill will result in rationing of health care, or aren't sure if it will. (It won't).

"The problem for the (Obama) administration is health-care reform is fiendishly complicated because the health-care system is fiendishly complicated" said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, Harris Interactive’s long-running public opinion poll. Another cause of the confusion is due to the long and heated political debate that surrounded the bill before it was passed, Taylor said.

"It seems people are still reacting to the rhetoric, not the substance of what is in the bill, because they don’t actually know what is or is not in the actual legislation."

The complete findings of this joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay health-care reform poll are illuminating. Read the full report for all the details of the poll. HealthDay's news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.

Mayo Clinic Launches Center for Social Media

Mayo Clinic announced this week the creation of a Center for Social Media to accelerate effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and to spur broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients to improve health globally.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a first-of-its-kind social media center focused on health care, builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among health care providers in adopting social media tools. Mayo Clinic has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube and more than 60,000 “followers” on Twitter, as well as an active Facebook page with well over 20,000 connections. With its News Blog, podcast blog and Sharing Mayo Clinic, a blog that enables patients and employees to tell their Mayo Clinic stories, Mayo has been a pioneer in hospital blogging. MayoClinic.com, Mayo’s consumer health information site, also hosts a dozen blogs on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s to The Mayo Clinic Diet.

“Health care has lagged behind other industries in applying social media tools,” says Lee Aase, one of the leaders of the new center. “Social media interest and activity among hospitals and health care professionals has grown remarkably, though, with the number of hospital Twitter accounts, for example, doubling in the last year. Still, according to Ed Bennett’s Hospital Social Networking List, only 762 of the more than 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. have some social networking presence. Mayo Clinic, which has been on FORTUNE Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work For List for seven consecutive years, has been actively using social media tools to engage employees in its business strategies, manage change and share company news. Employees can comment on strategic efforts, ask leaders questions and share their ideas.

“Staff at many hospitals wanting to get involved in social media have pointed to Mayo Clinic’s activity and experience to help make the case for engagement with their senior leaders,” says Victor Montori, M.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the center’s interim medical director. “Some have even consulted with us informally and asked for advice on implementation. One of our goals for the center is to provide a mechanism for this consultation and sharing, so we can help colleagues in health care everywhere break down the barriers to involvement.”

In addition to reaching out, the center staff will work with Mayo Clinic colleagues to find new and innovative ways to apply social media tools throughout the Mayo system. “We see immense opportunities to use internal social networking tools for collaboration among our employees to improve patient care, education, research and administration,” Aase explains. “As we find new applications, we plan to conduct research into their effects so we can measure any cost savings, efficiency gains and improved effectiveness. And when we do, we’ll be sharing those findings externally to help the whole health system improve.”

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Patients at Orlando Health Join Marketing Campaign


When Orlando Health launched a new advertising campaign this past year, it invited patients and community to join in and share their own pictures, stories, and video clips representing the "Family Is" theme of the campaign. Hundreds responded through the health system's Facebook page. Read more at HealthLeaders and check out the "Family is e-Scrapbook".

Visit Orlando Health's Facebook page and learn more about how the health system is engaging its community through social media.

Orlando Health took the better part of a year in developing a strategy to participate in the social/digital environment. During that time, they studied some best practices (Mayo Clinic, University of Maryland Medical System) and took a measured approach to setting realistic parameters, guidelines for use, and expectations as part of a new communications platform that addressed the mix of traditional and digital forms of media. In November 2009, with full support of organization leadership they launched their new plan.

CMO John Marzano, vice president for external affairs at Orlando Health, will present the Orlando Health case discussion at the Chief Marketing Officers' Innovator's Studio July 26-27 in Chicago.

Orlando Health in central Florida includes Orlando Regional Medical Center, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando and other hospitals and patient care services. Prior to joining OH, John was VP at MedStar Health (Baltimore/Washington metro area) where he led marketing, communications and public affairs.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Harbor Hospital Launches Mobile Marketing Strategy to Drive ER Business

MedStar Health’s Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland recently launched a mobile display advertising campaign targeting 20 Baltimore City zip codes to increase awareness of the close proximity of Harbor Hospital's Emergency Department to downtown Baltimore and surrounding neighborhoods.

"Time is of the essence when finding emergency care and we want to educate Baltimore area residents and business professionals in a compelling and innovative way that quality emergency care is only minutes away at Harbor Hospital," said Jean F. Bunker, AVP, Marketing, Community Relations & Philanthropy.

One of the first campaigns of its kind for a hospital in the Baltimore region, the 12-week mobile display advertising campaign combines mobile web advertising with the geolocation of smartphone users — such as BlackBerry®, iPhone, Palm, Windows® and Android™ users.

The hospital partnered with mobile advertising company Millenial Media to reach a targeted Baltimore City audience via advertising on mobile versions of popular news and consumer websites.

From May and through July, anyone in or around the downtown Baltimore area linking to specific websites via their smartphones may be greeted with a Harbor Hospital mobile web banner that will give them access to detailed emergency care information. By clicking on the banner, users will be directed to Harbor Hospital's mobile-specific landing page where they can enter their address via a Google™ Maps application that provides door-to-door directions to the hospital's Emergency Department. Users can contact the Emergency Department by utilizing the "click to call" feature also located on the landing page.

The mobile advertising campaign is one of several components in Harbor Hospital's new comprehensive Emergency Department marketing campaign.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Your Approach to Marketing Leadership? Part 2

Marketing orientations differ across hospitals and health systems for a variety of reasons - culture, philosophy, strategy, even knowledge or understanding of the marketing discipline.  One approach is not necessarily “right” where another is “wrong” – what is important to understand is that each path requires a specific configuration of core competencies, staff capabilities, processes and investments aligned to organizational vision, strategy and business objectives in order to produce results. Misalignment occurs when management wants to achieve significant improvements in strategic growth, for example, but has a production-oriented marketing operation.

Which of the following best describes your organization's approach to marketing management?

Product-driven

A product-driven marketing orientation assumes that as long as a health system has excellent outcomes and a top notch safety record, business will find its way to the front door. Performance improvement, leading edge clinical technologies, physician talent and development of clinical centers of excellence are core areas of focus. Awards and recognitions (such as “Top 100” designations) reinforce the organization’s quality achievements. Physician influence trumps consumer choice. The clich├ęd expression “build it and they will come” is an entrenched belief, as it the assumption that clinical quality alone will create competitive advantage.

Sales-driven

Sales-driven health systems primarily view marketing as a tactical tool or set of tools to drive volume to clinical services or programs. Filling beds, getting appointments, and securing contracts are primary goals. Consumer promotions, physician referral development and managed care contracting are core capabilities. The focus is on more volume for existing services. These are all good things, but a purely sales-driven organization may miss opportunities to discover new niches, create new products and lines of business, or enhance points of differentiation that grow overall revenue potential.

Market-driven

Market-driven organizations place greater emphasis on market research to better understand customer needs and discover market opportunities that can be addressed in unique ways. Designing and developing services, programs and access points to attract key customer segments are priorities for the marketing operation, making R&D a core competency requirement. Marketing planning is more strategic than in sales-driven organizations, encompassing segmentation and targeting, product positioning and design, pricing, promotion and channel strategies – and is a more integrated process through which value is created. Because growing overall market potential and profitability is as important as growing market share, marketers must have a strong P&L mindset.

Relationship-driven

Relationship or customer-driven organizations place significant emphasis on mass customization as a competency to create one-to-one relationships, enabled by sophisticated, enabling CRM technology that recognizes, supports and delivers customized messages, offerings and solutions for valued customers. Today, some of these capabilities are embedded in call center and CRM systems, but new advancements, such as the widespread implementation of electronic health records and growth in social media communities offer health systems unprecedented opportunity to better understand and predict the needs of patients and customers – and proactively design the marketing strategies, tactics and programs that stimulate and drive demand.

There is one more position to consider: the MARKET- DRIVING organization. Market-driving companies are those that re-set the rules of competition through value innovation – radical, disruptive moves that create new markets, transform customers into fans, and build such distinct points of competitive advantage that they are difficult to duplicate. Think Apple, which sold 1,000,000 iPads in less than 30 days from the product launch. Innovation is the core competency – and success comes from developing deep insights into core human desires, discovering unmet needs, and bringing creative, profitable ideas to market.

Who are the market-DRIVING health systems?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is that YouTube soundtrack legal?

Seems all it takes these days to video-publish is an idea, a Flipcam, editing software and the right theme song. Before you upload, remember that publishing a video with copyrighted music requires a license for the song.

Beginning June 29, 2010, music licensing company Rumblefish will allow users to buy a license to a copyrighted song for $1.99. However, this new service, Friendly Music, can be used only for noncommercial purposes — any commercial use requires a different license.

Taking a minute out to check the rights on your video soundtracks is a good idea.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What is Your Approach to Marketing Leadership? Part 1

Marketing departments emerged in health care organizations in the early 1980s when prospective payment methodologies made it evident that certain clinical programs were more profitable than others. Hospitals began to compete for patients for those services and procedures that produced better financial outcomes. Many of these early marketing programs were administered by existing public relations or community relations functions, and had a strong communications focus. Over the next two decades, marketing practices matured to include other aspects of the discipline such as research, sales and referral development, segmentation, product development and brand building.

Today, marketing management systems differ significantly across health care organizations. Some are expansive, core business functions with strong growth accountabilities aligned to strategic planning, business development, clinical operations and financial management initiatives. ROI expectations center on overall growth, profitability, brand equity and creation of sustainable competitive advantage.

In other health systems, marketing is configured more functionally to support the development and deployment of marketing tactics aimed at research, promotions and sales. Success is measured by research metrics such as increased consumer awareness and preference, by response metrics such as increased call center or web traffic, and by sales metrics such as referrals, ER visits and procedure volumes.

Some hospitals, however, have not evolved at all from those early days when marketing relied on a narrow set of tools (e.g. press releases, health fairs, advertising, newsletters) to promote programs and services. The marketing department orientation is production – number of news releases, advertising campaigns, circulation – making it difficult to link marketing expenditures and activities to business outcomes.

Why such a difference? It can largely be explained by an organization’s approach or orientation to the market which is shaped by a variety of factors including strategic focus, growth objectives, culture or even leadership understanding of the marketing discipline.

In an upcoming post, I'll describe different marketing orientations and the configuration of competencies, staff capabilities, processes and investments that are characteristic of each.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Your Brand is What You Do; Not Just What You Say You Do

In this brief and well-articulated essay (Make Your Product Work for Your Brand, CMO Strategy), author Steve Beck (VP Strategy, Organic) drives home the point that brands today are built more powerfully through the experience that consumers have with your product or service. 

One of my favoritie quips, "It's not McDonald's saying their food is healthy, it is McDonald's putting healthier food on the menu. In the past, the whole world of positioning was really simple. You targeted an audience, articulated a promise and then communicated the heck out of it. You created advertising. Today everything is an advertisement -- starting with what it is you are selling."

Brand experience doesn't happen by accident; it happens by design.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Global Consumer Confidence Rebounding

Global consumer confidence in the first quarter of 2010 rebounded to reach its highest level since the third quarter of 2007, providing the most definitive sign that the world is beginning to recover from the recession, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index. As the world’s consumers started to spend again, they drove the global index up to 92 points (100 = average) in the first quarter. This represents a six point increase from six months ago and only two points short of the 94 point index mark in Q3 2007, just prior to the decline into world recession. Consumer confidence hit an all time low of 77 index points in early 2009, following the collapse of the international financial system, before steadily increasing again last year.

Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence Index tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 27,000 Internet users in 55 countries. In the latest round of the survey conducted between March 8 and March 26, 2010, consumer confidence in many markets rebounded to pre-recession levels of late 2007 and early 2008. Additionally, over the past year, the number of global consumers who believe they are currently in recession dropped 19 points to 58 percent, compared to 77 percent a year ago.

That's the good news.  The report, however, also highlights the disparity between East and West - the pace and extent of economic recovery is greatest in Asia Pacific and Latin American countries and, although better, still sluggish in the U.S. and western Europe, largely due to higher unemployment rates.

“Americans are still extremely cautious about spending given the uncertain nature of the recovery in the U.S. and the continued level of high unemployment. They remain committed to managing controllable costs such as gas and utility bills, and they continue to focus on repairing their balance sheets,” said James Russo, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at The Nielsen Company. “That said, they are expressing a desire to spend more on discretionary items such as out-of-home entertainment, apparel and vacations—a noticeable shift in this survey. A huge opportunity exists for manufacturers, marketers and retailers who know how to reach the right consumers in the most effective way.”

Get the full report - click here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Patient Experience Starts with the Hiring Process

It’s 6:45 am on a Sunday morning and I’m sitting in an airport waiting on a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. The flight is running a little late, and bleary-eyed passengers bemoan the extra half hour of sleep they could have had. Meanwhile the Southwest gate agents, who look much too rested and energized for such an early hour, begin the lighthearted banter for which they are known. Pretty soon, the delayed passengers are laughing at their goofy repartee of corny jests and bad-rhythm rap. Once on board, the pilot apologized for the delay and joked that he’d just had a low-carb, high energy drink to help get us there in record time.

While some might see these gestures as silly, they are part of the airline’s legendary culture – one that turns customers into loyal followers. Southwest’s vigorous hiring process assures they have a better than average track record of selecting good-natured individuals that love to serve others but don’t take themselves too seriously. It makes for a great customer experience on an otherwise no-frills aircraft.

With all the talk about customer experience in health systems today, I wonder how many organizations have hard-wired their HR systems to weed out those applicants who just don’t have customer service in their DNA. Why try to train the surliness out of people that shouldn’t have been hired in the first place?

So many of our healthcare employees truly enjoy serving patients and customers, and do so admirably – often under trying circumstances. But those that don’t, hijack your brand – and break the covenant of trust between the brand and customer. That’s a marketing problem.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Matching Social Media Tools to Your Strategy

The CMO's Guide to the Social Media Landscape

Strategy first is the mantra when it comes to social media tools for brand building, marketing, customer engagement, search engine optimization and more. Dean Whitney of Dean Whitney Interactive put together this guide which provides insight into the effectiveness of various social media tools against specific goals.