Category Archives: Trends in Marketing

Marketing through the healthcare reform transition

CMO Project Design Studio – April 15 & 16, 2013
Catalyst Ranch, Chicago, Illinois

On Monday, April 15, we will join chief marketing officers from leading U.S. health systems, at Chicago’s Catalyst Ranch for a two-day deep dive into healthcare reform and the implications for healthcare marketing. Corrigan Partners launched the CMO Project last year to establish a unique forum where healthcare marketing executives work together to create, discover and adapt ideas that advance the discipline and practice of marketing in healthcare.

Marketing through the healthcare reform transition is the topic of next week’s CMO Project Design Studio.  With passage of the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act, new payment models, insurance mandates and reporting requirements are forcing fundamental changes in operations, clinical processes, use of information technologies, physician relationships and care coordination. Competition is intensifying as providers move to create the critical mass, economies of scale and geographic coverage to improve market leverage. Continue reading

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Filed under Healthcare Marketing, Trends in Marketing

3 reasons to think about population health

ImageAs health care continues its shift from volume to a “value-based” reimbursement structure, hospitals and health systems are rethinking population health, as they are increasingly responsible for patient care beyond institutional walls.   In fact, one of the stated goals for newly created accountable care organizations (ACOs) is to “improve population health.”   And because providers will be penalized for “never events” and unnecessary hospital readmissions, effective health education programs have never been more important. Continue reading

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Filed under Health Care, Marketing, Trends in Marketing

Happy birthday, Twitter: 5 reasons it’s my favorite social platform

In case you missed it Twitter celebrated its 7th birthday last week.  That’s right, 7 years!



Twitter is my favorite social platform. The content that you find, the people you meet and the way some of my favorite brands have deployed Twitter to make it easier for me to do business with them combine to put it at the top of the list for me in terms of functionality. I haven’t had much time to devote to it lately, but I vow to change that!

Why is Twitter my favorite platform? I have a long list of reasons, but here are my top 5.

  • Source for breaking news. Who can forget the landing of the US Airways jet on the Hudson River? That story, and the first picture from the scene, first broke on Twitter. I love that today we can choose to have heavily edited news from media outlets, or get the raw news bites from Twitter – in real time.
  • 140-characters packs a powerful punch. Many celebrities, PR pros, and media darlings have learned how quickly a Tweet can land them in hot water or rocket them to stardom. Transparency is great, but we have to be ever vigilant and thoughtful in what we say.
  • Compelling content sells. As with any medium, the magic is in the message. If you have a compelling message good things can happen. Whether it’s helping to right a wrong, raise money for a cause, or spread joy, Twitter can be a super-charged, 21st century party-line (if you’re old enough to remember what that is)!
  • Twitter is good for business. Many companies have leveraged Twitter for business. Companies, like Delta Air Lines, now use Twitter for customer support. Delta operates @DeltaAssist 24/7 to help travelers who are delayed, stranded, or have other travel issues. Link Twitter and your American Express card and you can now even shop with Twitter!
  • Twitter facilitates connections. One of the most exciting things about Twitter is that it allows you to connect with like-minded people around the world. Drop into a scheduled chat and you’re just as likely to find people in your home state, as you are the other 50 and from various countries from around the world. The different perspectives are fascinating and add a dimension to the conversation that you can’t find anywhere else. Some of these individuals may become your friends and you may eventually meet some of them IRL (in real life) at a meeting or conference.

I have shared the reasons why I love Twitter. Twitter fans, what are yours?

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Filed under Content, Healthcare Social Media, PR, Social Media Policy, Trends in Marketing, Twitter

Five bold moves to transform healthcare marketing

Across the U.S., healthcare marketers are feeling the pressure to deliver greater returns on marketing investments. Changing economics are front and center, and make a compelling case for the role that marketers must play in an increasingly competitive environment.

Holding on to a narrow view of healthcare marketing as simply promotions sub-optimizes marketing performance and wastes marketing investments.  Best practice performers understand marketing as a business discipline aimed at achieving revenue growth and better business performance.

Success requires a purposeful, comprehensive and integrated approach to better understand markets, develop and deliver quality healthcare services, build effective business models, and create loyal customers.

Five essential moves

Creating a marketing or growth-oriented culture may seem formidable in organizations that are operations versus market driven – and many health systems are just that. However, with increasing recognition by healthcare executives that significant change is required for success under new reform mandates, marketers play a key role in helping organizations understand competitive dynamics, discover new growth opportunities, create new lines of business, and enhance points of competitive differentiation .

Here are five essential moves to effect the change:

  1. Transform the marketing culture – David Packard (of the Hewlett-Packard’s) is credited with saying that “marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” His point is that marketing, like HR, finance and other core business functions, is a strategy-critical competency for organizations that want to grow, thrive and succeed. This requires an organizational shift in thinking about marketing as tactical communications to a discipline that is strategic (focused on stuff that matters), cross-functional (orchestrated across the value chain), and bottom line oriented (delivers on revenue targets).
  2. Reconfigure the marketing organization – today, many (far too many) health system marketing organizations are structured strictly along functional lines (advertising, PR, events, sales, etc.) and operate primarily as communications service bureaus rather than revenue-generating strategists. Health systems must establish a vision, role and scope for marketing as a revenue-generating capability, then restructure marketing operations to support growth imperatives. Building a unified, high performance marketing operation is job one — investing in the marketing management infrastructure, elevating skills, adopting data-driven planning methods, laser-focusing marketing resources, establishing performance metrics.
  3. Acquire new competencies, capabilities and skills – Historically, healthcare marketing departments have over-invested in communications activities and under-resourced other aspects of marketing practice that drive customer acquisition and revenue growth. Today’s healthcare marketers must demonstrate expertise in market intelligence, business analytics, new product/program R & D, brand building (not just brand promotion), market and customer creation, relationship sales, social commerce, community management, cross-channel content marketing, and more. Customer relationship management (CRM), provider relationship management (PRM) and customer contact or call centers are essential marketing systems.
  4. Create a compelling case for change and bias for action – Data builds the case for focusing marketing investments on strategies that grow revenue, improve business performance, increase brand loyalty and build sustainable competitive advantage. For healthcare marketers, the strategy-critical short list includes brand building, volume building, channel management, new models of care and customer engagement that optimize profitability under reform economics, and leveraging web, social, search and mobile technologies for patient acquisition and retention.
  5. Communicate new roles, new rules, new expectations – The first step for marketers is to forge a robust partnership with administrative, clinical and business operations, and create co-ownership and co-accountability for marketing outcomes. Establish new ground rules, such as: marketing resources will be prioritized to strategic planning, business development, growth and financial performance imperatives. Or that data and analysis will inform strategic marketing thinking and planning, and provide an evidence-based approach to marketing investment. And, my favorite: time – and dollars – will be focused on fewer, more impactful activities; and tasks that do not contribute to growth and improved competitive performance will be transitioned or eliminated.

Now is the time

For health systems, growth and profitability are imperative. New reimbursement methods and emerging business models necessitate a different approach to customer acquisition, a fresh focus on customer retention, and a greater emphasis on customer engagement. And the transformation of marketing practice driven by social networking, search and mobile technologies can no longer be ignored.

Now is the time for marketers to assess the role, functions and performance of marketing departments, and move aggressively to transform marketing from promotions-oriented tactics to growth-oriented strategic leadership.  To build powerful, differentiated brands that drive growth, innovation and better business performance.  To lead organizations in mainstreaming social, search and mobile technologies that engage customers, build commerce and improve business functions.

Change can be difficult. Yet, will deliver substantial and long-lasting benefits.


Filed under Marketing Management, Trends in Marketing