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Tackling healthcare marketing challenges

We’re proud to be partnering with our friends from MedStar Health and Scripps Health to present an Idea Workshop at SHSMD’s Annual Conference. Our workshop will tackle seven of the most common healthcare marketing challenges faced by our colleagues around the country. We identified these challenges through a brainstorming session with MedStar and Scripps, a poll of all AB&C healthcare partners and a survey of SHSMD Annual Conference attendees. Here’s a quick look at three of the challenges that we’ll be discussing at the conference.

Challenge #1: How do I choose what to market?

Plan, plan and plan some more. Your marketing plan is one element of your organization’s planning cycle, and you should take cues from the other elements: your strategic plan, facilities plan, operating plan, financial plan, business plan and communications plan. From those plans, identify the organization’s priority service lines. Then determine if they’re ready to be marketed:

  • Do you have clinical strength in this area?
  • Do you have positioning power?
  • Is it profitable?
  • Is there competitor vulnerability?
  • Is there spin-off revenue?
  • Is there a product champion?
  • Can they deliver on patient experience?

If you plan properly and can answer these questions, you’ll have an easier time prioritizing your marketing efforts.

How do we get physicians involved in our marketing efforts?

How do we get physicians involved in our marketing efforts?

Challenge #2: How can I partner with physicians?

As marketers we spend most of our days trying to figure out how to best reach and work with physicians. How do we build a relationship and not just be their order taker? How do we get them involved in our marketing efforts?

Tackling the first challenge starts with listening. Learn what their needs are. Know their space. Find opportunities to network with them. Then communicate with them and keep them informed on planning and results. When you build trust with a physician, and when he or she sees you as an expert, you will become a partner.

When it comes to marketing to physicians, their most important question is “What’s in it for me?” What makes what you’re offering important? How will it affect them and their patients?

Challenge #3: How can I stretch my marketing budget?

Marketing budgets are constantly being cut. Or, almost as bad, you’re forced to justify every expense to keep them at the same level. Either way, you’re asked to show results and do more with less. Have you considered:

  • Pandora. With 200 million users, it’s the third-most downloaded app behind only Facebook and Instagram. It offers 15-second ads that you can target by consumer zip code, gender, age and even musical preference.
  • Site links. Not new to marketing, but a newer trend in healthcare marketing, they’ve been shown to improve CTR by 30%.
  • Microtargeting. Market to a small group of highly targeted consumers. Take advantage of resources like Facebook, LinkedIn, CRM or a homegrown database, variable printing, and partnering with organizations that will help you reach physicians.
  • Co-marketing and cross-marketing. Are you maximizing your affiliations? Can you partner with a nonmedical company? Can you partner with large physician groups?
  • Measure, measure, measure. Take advantage of all the measurement resources available — landing pages, trackable phone numbers, call center tracking. All of these will help you justify your marketing expenses and hopefully grow your budget.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?


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