Crafting any hospital marketing plan is a near-impossible task. The principal challenge is to satisfy the numerous and diverse internal demands, and to do so with finite (and often shrinking) resources.
It needs to be a cohesive, coordinated plan that effectively reaches your organization’s various audiences and serves or supports a range of service lines in a variety of service areas.
Patients recognize the hospital facility, but individuals’ needs are typically more narrowly defined among:
What’s more, there are the needs, interests and influences of — and the consensus among — the internal voices in your organization, including administrators, directors, medical staff, employees and many others.
Making it all more complex, the competitive environment — and even the delivery system itself — is constantly changing. Also the “customer” and their “purchase” are unlike any retail transaction. Often, the objective is to provide a convincing solution in advance of an actual patient need.
Did we mention patient experience/satisfaction, institution branding and messaging, professional reputation, wellness initiatives, community relations, cultural imperatives and government regulations?
A marketing plan is a strategic document
to achieve specific business goals and objectives
over a specific time period.
The critical elements of a hospital marketing plan are detailed in a series of previous educational articles.
It’s not an easy task, but it is an important one. A comprehensive marketing plan for hospitals provides the insight and tools needed to anticipate, assess, prepare, build a roadmap to follow, cover your bases, construct necessary support systems, protect yourself in the healthcare marketplace, win consensus, inspire a winning culture and specifically define the measure of your marketing success.
In this circus-like environment that’s part art and part science, it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. Is it any wonder that many CEOs don’t really trust marketers? This observation isn’t exclusive to healthcare marketing. But, according to a Fournaise performance survey in business, 80 percent of CEOs believe that “marketers are too disconnected from the short-, medium- and long-term financial realities of companies.”
“And that’s because 78 percent of these CEOs think marketers too often lose sight of what the real job is: to generate more customer demand for their products/services in a business-quantifiable and business-measurable way.”
In our experience, most successful marketing pros that we know are numbers-oriented people. A hospital marketing plan in their hands is designed to clearly express specific goals and quantifiable results. Ultimately, this is what creates business credibility with top management.
Internally, they have learned to communicate in hard numbers. They know that metrics, analytics and real-dollar Return-on-Investment (ROI) numbers are the primary language of administrators as well as physicians.
Doctors are trained in science, and they rely on evidence-based practices. Similarly, business-minded administrators, chief financial officers and managing executives will view a hospital SEO marketing plan from the bottom-line up. Neither group will be overly impressed with what they regard as “soft metrics,” such as “the number of brochures created and printed” or even “the number of people attending an event” (production outcomes).
The true scoreboard of success is an effective, strategic marketing plan that is carefully aligned with — and supporting of — your hospital’s business objectives.
For any hospital, large or small, the construct and implementation of a comprehensive marketing plan are complex and dynamic. (Please reach out to us, we can assist with that.) As a starting point, connect with us here for creating a plan that meets your hospital business objectives.
You’ll find more information about building a marketing system in our instructional library. And for related reading, click through to these articles:
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