If you are able to sell leadership on a marketing campaign and they come looking for metrics that assign value, be prepared, says Beth Wright, vice president of corporate communications and strategic marketing for Franklin, TN-based Capella Healthcare. Capella operates in six states, but isn't a giant system with access to all the bells and whistles of an academic medical center.
"Capella is a system, but healthcare and hospitals are local, so measurement is different," says Wright, who works to measure what she can.
Wright says sometimes her resourcefulness means getting creative with who is part of a marketing effort. For example, to increase a particular insurance-covered procedure, such as bone-density scans, the registrar can ask three questions at the point of screening. That is a simple step worked into an already established process netting information about prospective patients.
Perhaps the biggest roadblock to bumping up marketing's reputation in healthcare is educating leadership about the nuances of everything a marketing department does, or can do.
"One of the obstacles is not really understanding what is marketing, versus advertising, versus branding," says Connolly. "I was fortunate to have people to educate me really well, and I thought I knew a little bit about this, but people raised my consciousness about the difference between those and how they need to reinforce each other. "