5 Signs of the Times at the 2017 Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit

by Jason Skinner, Chief Marketing Officer - 05/22/17


Healthcare marketing continues to advance by adopting the practices of retail, automotive, and other consumer-focused industries. This evolution was on full display during the 2017 Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit in Austin.

Here are common themes discussed at the conference that demonstrate the progress healthcare is making along the marketing maturity curve.

Voice of Customer is critical.

Several sessions referenced the practice of gathering insights directly from customers to inform marketing campaigns — from channels and messaging to topics and frequency of communication.

Whether at discharge, through follow-up surveys, or using paid/earned/owned media channels, gathering VOC data is a common denominator among market-leading organizations.

Know your customer journeys.

"We have to get over touchpoints and into journeys," said Texas Health Resources Senior Vice President of Brand Experience Paul Szablowski during a session titled Competing in the New Consumer Landscape. "Our job is to understand the totality of our patient journeys and stop thinking solely about our interaction with them — it's merely a pinprick of their lives."

Embrace the role of bridge builder.

In her workshop titled, Proving Marketing ROI, CHI Memorial Health Vice President of Marketing Communications Lisa McCluskey challenged marketers to break down silos by sharing insights that connect a stakeholder's function to the organization's goals.

"Our job is to have a view of the organization's global strategy along with market relevance," she said. For example, she helped affiliated physicians who had never seen market share data or contribution margins for their procedures understand the value of meeting with referring doctors to reduce outmigration and achieve growth. 

Measure what matters to your leadership.

McCluskey also encouraged attendees to connect their measurement plans to the leadership's priorities. She has established a regular cadence of pulling data and reviewing dashboards with her CEO and other stakeholders to understand the impact of marketing on financial metrics.

"My CEO loves that I'm tying marketing reports to the key performance indicators on his dashboard," she said. "It makes us strategic partners."

Along with snapshots of active campaigns, her dashboards include the following financial metrics:

  • Outpatient Visits YTD
  • Inpatient Visits YTD
  • Total Patient Encounters
  • Likelihood to Recommend (Net Promoter Score)
  • Physician Practice Visits YTD
  • EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization)

Find inspiration from outside the industry.

When seeking best practices for department structure, brand strategy, and revenue growth, many HMPS presenters suggested looking to the likes of Apple and Starbucks rather than limit research to industry peers. For example, Szablowski said he reviewed org charts from Disney, Zappos, and other leading brands when restructuring his marketing team. 

His co-presenter, David Duvall, used these organizations as a guide when joined Novant Health as senior vice president of marketing and communications and inherited a marketing plan encompassing 1,400 tactics supporting 600 team members. The transformation of his marketing team required a "complete retooling" and was ultimately pared down to 5-8 system and 3-5 service line priorities.

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Topics: Healthcare Industry Insights & Trends

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