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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 (

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