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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 ( and You Tube page ( 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:  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 to learn more and download an application form.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

26 Tips for Pumping Up Your Facebook Page
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  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