5 New Year's Resolutions for Hospital Marketers

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , January 4, 2012

The new year is an exciting time because it holds promise for the future, but it also is an apt time for reflection. Hospital marketers saw a lot of successes in 2011 by making strides in new media, revamping the patient experience, and even starting to spend a little more. Here are five resolutions to ensure that 2012 continues on the same path.

Spend smarter and track better
Marketing budgets are slowly making a comeback after being slashed across the board during the 2008–09 recession. In many regions, hospital promotional spending is creeping up.

But smart marketing executives know that when hard times come, their initiatives are among the first on the chopping block. To mitigate cuts when these situations inevitably arrive, every single marketing initiative must directly support the organization's strategic plan.

Track financial ROI for as many marketing initiatives as possible. And when you can't trace efforts back to dollars and cents, track as many other results as you can: patients reached, page views, event attendees, phone calls, app downloads, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, email open rates, media inquiries, and so on.

Anecdotal feedback is reassuring and nice to share with staff, but in today's competitive market that cannot be considered ROI in and of itself. The more stats, facts, and figures you have to show your CEO and support your initiatives, the more secure the marketing department will be in 2012 and years to come.

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3 comments on "5 New Year's Resolutions for Hospital Marketers"

Donna Arbogast (2/10/2012 at 9:15 AM)
Great list, but as marketers, we can take a more proactive approach to assessing the patient experience. It's not enough to rely on the patient to tell us [INVALID] after the fact [INVALID] how things went. We should be walking the halls, traveling the same paths patients and families travel, listening, watching and suggesting new ways to improve experience. Brand Champion or Patient Experience teams, with marketing in a leadership role, can be very effective.

Eric Brody (1/6/2012 at 3:44 PM)
Good points, all valid. I'd volunteer a few more: 1. A Wider-Angle Lens. It's important to seek out new inspiration and insight by looking in new places and making new connections – beyond healthcare! 2. Creating A Platform For Patients. Thinking more holistically about how your brand can serve as the platform to move customers, and therefore your brand, forward. Thinking beyond transactions to creating relationships. 3. The Patient Experience. As you state, the patient experience, so important to fostering longer-term relationships and building brand value, is rarely informed and shaped by "marketing." But it should be. Experience must become a "team sport." Here's to moving the needle on hospital and healthcare marketing.

Daniel Fell (1/4/2012 at 10:46 PM)
I think ROI and marketing analytics in general will be a focus in the coming year. Healthcare marketers have never had access to so much data - much of it coming from new digital and social channels - but making sense of all this new data will be a key objective.




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