Sunday, June 24, 2012

How will healthcare marketing change post SCOTUS reform ruling?


Given the upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) expected on June 28, regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), how will that change healthcare marketing?

In the end regardless of the ruling, healthcare providers still need to reduce cost, improve quality, coordinate medical care inside and outside of the provider, integrate with physicians, manage chronic illness, reduce readmissions, etc. Government driven or privately driven, these issues and market momentum to change will remain regardless of the laws status.

Just my opinion, but healthcare marketing has been slow to adapt to this dynamic environment. Fee-for-service will continue in some form. ACOs, medical homes, bundled payments, value-based payment and various P4P programs will continue. It's really a question of who is driving the change bus, private industry or the Federal government.

There is really no choice in the matter anymore. Healthcare organizations will have to change their understanding and practice of marketing along these lines:

Marketing Leadership

Marketing is strategy first, tactics second. The voice of marketing should reflect the voice of your customers and not be a second thought. Your future programs and services will be determined by the needs of the market, not your gut feeling. You cannot become a customer-driven or market-driven organization if the skills and experiences of marketing is not at the leadership table.

Managing the Patient Experience

If anyone is prepared to understand and mange the patient experience across the organization it's marketing. Hospitals in particular are making the mistake of putting operations in charge of patient experience. This is an oxymoron really.

Patient experience means just that- understanding what that patient experiences is at all touch points. And then changing or managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrating process across the entire organization internally and externally. One organization to the patient, one patient to the organization. It is not simply another quality program or flavor of the day.

Understanding and Executing Demand Management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe. Marketing needs to understand what the demand for healthcare services will be, when they will be needed and manage that demand making sure that the hospital or health system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to meet demand. The days are rapidly slipping away where marketing will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

Becoming a Revenue Marketer and Having Revenue Accountability

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is necessary for anything marketing accomplishes, traditionally, socially or online. Marketers in healthcare organizations need to become revenue producers, not resource consumers that show little value beyond, it looks nice. In fact, marketing should have P&L as well as an SG&A accountability for many of the products and services being offered by a healthcare organization.

Marketing the Manager of Change

Who better in an organization than for marketing to manage the healthcare organizations transformation from an inward-focused it's all about me, to an outward-focused market and consumer driven organization? Open to much debate, this is probably the most controversial look at the expanding role of marketing. Individual who have looked internally at their organizations all of their careers, do not necessarily have the skills, training or abilities to change an organization 180 degrees. And that is the type of change we are talking about here.

Michael Krivich is  an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of  the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate  actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Is your healthcare brand architecture out of alignment?


What has many product lines? A multitude of names and logos ? An undifferentiated brand combined with a confusing brand architecture? And different looking marketing communications pieces within the same organization describing service lines, technology and clinical programs?

Hospitals, home healthcare agencies and specialty pharmacies to name a few. Managed care, medical device and pharma have it under control. Hints it's a major contributor to profitability; that ability to have a clear differentiated band in the market.

Too many times in healthcare, especially in hospitals, home healthcare agencies and specialty pharmacies, I have seen an absence of brand architecture. The logo and name of the hospital or other provider in multiple colors in different places in marketing communication materials. No standardization of key brand messaging.

Today, nobody flies under the radar screen. Healthcare organizations that understand the importance of brand image, brand architecture, brand equity and the impact dollar wise to the bottom-line, are growing organically and venturing into new healthcare services. Using the power of their brand to bring implied program or service credibility because of their brand reputation. They have it under control and guard it jealously.

It's all about the brand

In the new healthcare environment, your brand is becoming more important than ever. In a dynamically evolving healthcare marketplace where the healthcare consumer is on their merry to making purchase decisions. Where quality and price mean something. Healthcare consumers need a clear understanding and representation of your brand. If your brand is out of alignment, then you are losing revenue and credibility in the market.

This is also about marketing leadership. I speak to your ability to influence and change the organization of your employment. Educate. Inform. Teach. Do whatever you have to as a marketer too influence and lead your organization. Too much is a stake. Become a leading revenue marketer by creating a strong and enduring central brand.

Marketing is about generating revenue. You can't generate the revenue you need to grow and prosper because your brand or in some cases, multitude of brands are out of alignment in the marketplace.

The clock is ticking. The choice is yours. Fix your brand architecture now, or follow similar organizations to the ash heap of history.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is your healthcare marketing evolving?


Living in two worlds is never easy. One side of the healthcare marketing coin is generating demand to put "heads in the beds" for fee-for-service payments. The other is managing demand to keep people out of the hospitals in a value-based payment model. Care delivered in the most cost efficient and effective setting which may not be a hospital or hospital-based outpatient service.

Accountability, transparency, price and value are the new expectations. And your time for adapting is running out. By 2016 an inflection point will be reached where value-based healthcare payment passes fee-for-service healthcare. You will be managing demand instead of generating demand. And that is a very different skill set than what most healthcare organizations have today.

Here are some ideas about what healthcare organizations need to be doing too live in two worlds.

Managing the Patient Experience

Patient experience means just that- understanding what that patient experiences is at all touch points. And then changing or managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrating process across the entire organization internally and externally. One organization to the patient, one patient to the organization. It is not simply another quality program or flavor of the day.

Understanding and Executing Demand Management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe. Marketing needs to understand what the demand for healthcare services will be, when they will be needed and manage that demand making sure that the hospital or health system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to meet demand. The days are coming to an end where marketing departments will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

Marketing the Manager of Change

Who better in an organization than for marketing to manage the healthcare organizations transformation from an inward-focused it's all about me, to an outward-focused market and consumer driven organization? Open to much debate, this is probably the most controversial look at the expanding role of marketing. Individual who have looked internally at their organizations all of their careers, do not necessarily have the skills, training or abilities to change an organization 180 degrees. And that is the type of change we are talking about here.

Where is the brand equity?

You really have to figure out how to build brand equity for the consumer in the world. Brand equity is not built overnight, it takes years. For insurers they are ahead of the game and probably most doctors, even though their brand equity is more by chance than actual effort and planning. But hospitals, they are way behind the brand equity curve unless you are a Mayo Clinic, M D Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins and a few select others.

How can you build brand equity?

There is no simple answer, it is a combination of changing internal processes and systems ( customer experience management) to become more consumer-friendly and efficient. It's about adapting technology that will reduce errors and improve decision-making. It's about changing marketing and communication activities from what you do, to the value of what you do. You will need to engage in meaningful ways the healthcare consumer. You will need to become price and quality transparent. You will need to respond to each individual consumers healthcare needs.

Is your healthcare model evolving?

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.