When Does It Make Sense to Outsource Hospital Marketing Efforts?

When Does It Make Sense to Outsource Hospital Marketing Efforts?

In-house, outsource checklist in green colored pencilThe business side of hospital operations is well acquainted with the concept of outsourcing. Tapping the expertise of outside resources can often provide specific—and usually specialized—services.

Institutions expect greater efficiency and cost effectiveness by partnering with vendors who provide housekeeping, information/technical services, food/catering, facilities/janitorial management and similar functions.

There are many occasions when it makes good business sense to outsource some of your hospital’s marketing efforts. It is an operational technique that retains management oversight while enhancing the overall project or campaign success.

Financial performance tops the list…

With financial performance being a primary challenge for administrators and managers, marketing has an increasingly important role to contribute to the organization’s bottom line and to deliver on Return-on-Investment (ROI) goals.

We’ve found that outsourcing is most often appropriate when one or more of the following influence factors are part of the business mix:

COST CONTAINMENT AND SAVINGS — It makes sense to look beyond your internal resources when the budget or the project requirements don’t justify a full-time employee or when there is a need to control or reduce fixed overhead. What’s more, external resources typically do not draw down on the organization’s existing headcount, equipment, supplies, facilities or space requirements.

From a broader perspective, the services of an advertising agency can be applied to a particular marketing or advertising project with a single, capped budget for deliverables that would be cost-prohibitive if purchased separately. Media buying services, as one example, can often benefit from economies of scale when done through an experienced healthcare advertising agency.

CRITICAL SKILLS AND CREATIVE TALENT — Outsourcing makes sense when an expert skillset or best-practices approach is required on an interim—but not long-term—basis. For a select healthcare campaign, as an example, better ROI will be produced when an experienced agency draws on proven strategies and tactics. There are times when the creative talents of a medical writer or web designer are highly important, but not on a permanent-hire basis.

LITTLE TIME, BIG SCOPE — Urgent deadlines and/or unexpected work can stretch the resources of a hospital marketing team to near-breaking. Outsourcing can insulate against the unintended consequences of “drop-everything” projects. These can include missed opportunities, poor results and/or regular work requirements falling through the cracks.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND INDUSTRY DYNAMICS — As the nation’s healthcare delivery system constantly reinvents itself, the only certainty seems to be change itself… and a promise of more of the same. Adjustments can range from rapid growth (and you can’t hire fast enough) to downsizing and mergers (and you need to fill critical skill gaps.)

Outsourcing can also smooth difficult transitional moments by providing interim help and providing marketing-focused staff training where necessary, for example in Physician Liaison or Patient Experience.

COMPETITIVE FORCES — Adjusting to the competition, shifts in market factors or the launch of completely new service offerings can signal the need for additional marketing help. In fact, turning to outside resources can accelerate the adoption of experience-based best practices without investing time and money to experiment with what works.

IMPROVED RESULTS — From time to time, nearly every organization will “hit the wall.” The tried-and-true marketing and advertising plan becomes tired, and traditional strategies and tactics no longer deliver effectively. Turning to an outside vendor—particularly one with an independent perspective—can inspire fresh ideas, challenge marketing professionals and invigorate results… often with the added benefit of being more cost-effective.

When the situation demands, outsourcing hospital marketing is a particularly effective business strategy that applies outside expertise to control costs and ease the marketing “rough spots.” It’s a path for the institution to achieve a cost-effective advantage and better results by augmenting the internal staff and resources.

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