#SHSMD16 Takeaways

4 Strategies for Healthcare Marketing

This year’s SHSMD Connections conference in Chicago was the biggest yet with more than 1,800 people onsite for the four-day healthcare marketing event, which included a packed agenda, plenty of hands-on educational sessions and insights from industry leaders.

Among the many challenges and perspectives shared, we heard some consistent themes on how (and what it means) to connect consumers with hospitals through strategy and marketing. Here are four key takeaways from the conference:

  1. Understand the customer journey. The Integrated Delivery Network’s role in coordinated care has become a driving business strategy for provider marketers, but highlighting this differentiator requires a better understanding of the customer (notice we didn’t say patient) experience. With greater access to care and services over an expanded geographic area, customers now have many new entry points into your system.
  1. Take a balanced marketing approach: Rather than viewing brand awareness and service line demand as two separate marketing communication objectives, provider marketers need to take a balanced approach that includes content for relevance, branding to drive awareness and demand generation to drive action. Brand communication without an offer, or a demand generation campaign that doesn’t support the values of the organization, are wasted efforts. And none of us have money to burn.
  1. Consider industry disruption: The consumerization of the health insurance industry has trickled down to healthcare providers. Today, we’re seeing a new category of brands emerge onto the healthcare scene, such as Walmart, CVS Health and Dignity Health, who bring data-driven strategies to the fight for marketshare. As healthcare payers and providers converge in their joint efforts to realize value, marketers will need to carefully examine their brand strategy.
  1. Invest in analytics and reporting: The healthcare marketing landscape has become increasingly complex with the rise of digital marketing, mergers and acquisitions and other changes that have created new challenges and opportunities that compete for marketing spend. As demand for maximizing marketing dollars increases, you need to be able to analyze marketing spend to quickly understand what’s working and what’s not. To keep up, companies need to invest in more sophisticated measurement strategies and technologies that move beyond brand awareness tracking. Taking a more holistic view of measurement—one that considers perception, performance and financial return—aligned with your different internal audiences is a must-have for the future of hospital marketing.

These four takeaways align with the work that Partners & Simons is doing on behalf of a national roster of provider and payer marketers. If we can be of service to your healthcare brand in these fast changing and complex times, we’d enjoy the opportunity to start a conversation.

Founded in 1989, Partners & Simons is a brand communications and integrated marketing services firm with deep domain expertise in healthcare and financial services that creates communications to help people make the most important decisions in their lives. Fluent in digital and traditional communications – from online, mobile, and social media to direct mail, print, outdoor and broadcast advertising – the firm creates integrated marketing programs that connect with consumers and business-to-business buyers in meaningful, measurable ways. More information is available at http://www.partnersandsimons.com/.

About the Author

As a member of the executive team, Chris manages the agency’s sales and marketing. Since joining Partners & Simons in 1995, Chris has overseen new client acquisition. He is an integral piece of our pitching process and over the years has lead the effort in winning many clients (big and small), including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fidelity, Thermo, Pioneer Investments, SunLife, Applied Biosystems, Agilent Technologies and Genzyme.