Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Next Flavor of the Day for Healthcare Vendor Sales & Marketing - OODA Loops in Nine Steps

Something in the integration of sales and marketing in healthcare vendors could be amiss. One camp is still living in the 90s. Another in the 2000s and yet another in the 2010s around the selling and marketing process. I forgot to mention as well, leadership reading an article, attending a conference, or hearing speaker assuming they know it all and then mandating a change in organizational direction. Size of the company matters little for it happens in all of them.

The healthcare vendor world regardless of product or channel is a very competitive place with clear winners and losers. It’s a winner take all proposition with physicians, hospitals, and health systems, hence the need for a sales and marketing strategy that can give an edge. And that can be difficult in a parallel world of messages, product capability and solutions.

Enter the concept of OODA LOOP applied to sales and marketing.

But, let’s first start with what is an OODA Loop. Developed by USAF military strategist Colonel John Boyd, OODA- Observe, Orient, Decide and Act applied it to military combat operation process at the strategic level. It is now making its way into the business world and how a competitive edge can be gained resulting in sales, growth, and revenue. This approach cycle favors agility over raw power in dealing with individuals or groups of individuals in any endeavor.

Besides the obvious goal of winning the sales, the activity of sales and marketing is to get into the decision-making process of a company.  Boyd has postulated that decision-making takes place in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. Now, any sales and marketing team of a company that can process this cycle quickly observing and reacting to events more rapidly than a competitor, or to a competitor’s mistake, can get inside of the process and gain a competitive and tactical advantage.

But first, let me take a moment to apologize my readers. The above-shortened explanation does not do the nature or complexity of OODA Loops justice. It serves in a small way to at least provide a conceptual framework worthy of further investigation.

Now think about how this formalized process could apply to sales and marketing cycles for healthcare vendors in the provider space. 

Sales and marketing gather information (observe), form a plan of action around customer activity, their intentions and competitors (orient), make decisions (decide) and execute (act). This cycle is continuous given the changing market dynamics, companies, needs, and requirements. 

The precise application of this process gives the healthcare vendor the advantage over a competitor who is merely reacting to conditions as they happen, or just isn’t paying attention to the opportunity. It also allows for the sale and marketing team of the healthcare vendor to recognize and capitalize on competitor mistakes, forcing them to spend time and resources in correcting the error.  By the time the competitor realizes what has happened and reacts, the headline and story written. It’s too late, and they have lost any tactical advantage.

A word of caution is in order. Often, teams working the OODA Loop often get stuck in the D (decision), and no action is taken allowing the competitor to gain the upper hand. If a healthcare vendor is going to use the OODA Loop process, then they must understand that without decisions, it fails.

So, what does it take? 

1.       A far more sophisticated understanding of the OODA process than what is here. 
2.       Sales and marketing team which is highly integrated, collaborative and responsive. 
3.       Sales and marketing operations built on agility. 
4.       Create an OODA Loop Team. 
5.       An ability to respond rapidly to changing conditions measured in minutes and hours, not days or weeks. 
6.       A culture that accepts ambiguity and can tolerate rapid shifts in strategy and tactics. 
7.       An aggressive mindset that recognizes competitor mistakes and can drive action and accountability in responding. 
8.       The ability to rapidly shift sales and marketing resources. 
9.       Abilities to be different and succeed.

Nine steps that are a tall order for most healthcare vendors and many in their wildest dreams will never be able to do this.  But then, all you must do is learn and use OODA Loops to beat your healthcare vendor competitors into submission in the market.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide.  Michael is an established influencer and inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Nine Essential Strategies for Engaging the Healthcare Consumer & Patient 24/7, Because That is the World of Life.

Last time I looked, hospitals were 24/7 operations. And the other thing I noticed, individual use of health care in many ways is 24/7 too. Since healthcare continues evolving into an innovative, accountable, cost-effective, quality outcome and consumer need driven model, it begs the question, is engagement now an all the time new reality? Secondary to that question is, are healthcare organizations prepared for that new marketing realty?

Like anything in life and business, some are, and the majority are not.   But be that as it may, consumer and patient engagement is not a part-time, or as we happen to think about the activity. What patient and consumer engagement is the opportunity to create, engage, foster and nourish an enduring relationship with those individuals and families. And that engagement is regardless what day, time of day, social media channel or location in space and time the individual resides.

That is a scary proposition for some healthcare organizations. It means being accountable and responsible to those you serve and meeting their needs by delivering on the brand promises day in and day out.  Otherwise, you will see more outmigration from your community for care because others can do it better, faster and more cost-effectively.  

After all, healthcare is a 2.8 trillion dollars business and the competition from traditional and nontraditional providers is accelerating. CVS, in a little-noticed press release announcement on Friday, April 13, 2018, that Marc-David Munk was named Chief Medical Officer for CVS Minute Clinics. Munk will oversee expanded healthcare services across CVS Health in what Munk calls “primary care 2.0” when at Iora in a 2015 blog post.  

You can bet that any expansion and innovation will come at the hospitals and health systems expense. As the strategies unfold, with 24/7 engagement and an incredibly strong brand that will overshadow hospitals and health systems, CVS will become the go-to destination for many healthcare services using effective “all the time” engagement strategies.

What to do?

Here are nine engagement strategies hospitals and health systems need to employ:

1. Integrate your engagement solutions. That means information is delivered seamlessly to the healthcare consumer r patient so that they can interact with you any way they want when they want too.  Think an omnichannel continuous presence.

2.  Marketing should be using both push and pull messaging.  Messaging needs to be relevant to the audiences at the point in time it’s needed that is personalized, customized, and aware of the cultural heritage and influences tailored to them.

3. Incentives and motivational techniques will be needed to keep patient engaged. That doesn't mean cash. Look to the gaming industry for gaming technology and gaming prediction, for ways to engage without cash. Be creative.  Look outside healthcare for ideas, tools, and techniques to engage. 

4. Create a sense of community.  You have to compete, and one needs to feed the beast. That still in many ways means “heads in the beds.”  Get into the inner circle of the audience and become the trusted advisor. It's not just about loyalty. Shape the behaviors to the point where they will recommend unconditionally.

5. Know the audience and with whom one is speaking too. A case of back-to-basics CRM understanding the gender, age, integration of risk assessments, culture, etc.  One cannot engage unless there is intimate knowledge about who they are, their needs and how to tailor the information they need to engage them.

6. Test and measure. There is no time to be reactive in approaching and engaging.  The only way to can figure out if it's working is to test and measure in a very methodical way.

7. Use technology.  We live in a world of technology, and you need to run a multifaceted, highly integrated campaign. With social media, smartphones, web, text messaging, mobile messaging, etc., eighty percent of consumers want the option of interacting with a healthcare provider via their smartphones. The healthcare consumer and patient are inviting hospitals and health systems to engage them and engage them all the time.

8. Know the influence of culture on behavior to engage. Living in a multicultural society where assimilation may become a thing of the past, the culture will play an increasingly important role. Become familiar with the different individual cultures of those who use your healthcare services. It is a consumer need. Meet it.

9. Time it right and add value.  If your message is not resonating with the healthcare consumer or patient when they receive it, then you have lost them. Communicate relevant messages to a committed patient right at healthcare decisions points. That means knowing the patient and their needs.

The healthcare consumer and patient have moved from passive healthcare participants to active choice and decision makers. The engagement reality hospitals face, finding a way to the healthcare consumers and patients 24/7 engagement cycle.    

Do you still think you can compete against CVS Health and other competitors without 24/7 engagement? Or, maybe you like the care model of only being used for three things, emergency care, care for acute complex medical conditions and intensive care?

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide.  Michael is an established influencer and inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Social Media Use for Hospitals, the Easy Guide to Message and Channel Integration

Social media isn’t hard. What is hard is developing the strategy, content and then integrating your messages across multiple channels. Since the healthcare consumer and patient are omnichannel, hospitals and health systems must be as well. It’s an online world that moves beyond the brick and mortar features approach still prevalent in today’s hospital marketing.

Use of social media for engagement and experience management can be a hit or miss proposition without the proper strategy and resourcing. When one considers that the healthcare consumer and patient have over 145 touch-points that impact experience, engagement, and their decision-making choices, social media is a strategic business imperative.

Effective hospital marketing is about meaningful engagement, managing the experience and meeting the healthcare consumer’s needs and expectations.

A tall order indeed that takes a strategic business outlook, an unrelenting focus on the meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer, is meaningfully engaging and manages the experience across all touch-points, not just one to two.

What does the provider need?

The following slide illustrates the easy button guide to the hospital using social media.



Now what?

Alignment. Alignment.  Alignment.

With clinical. With Physicians. With executive leadership.  With the business plan. With the entire healthcare enterprise.

Effective social media utilization does require alignment and integration.  Danger alert- it can be very tempting to assign social media to one person and start publishing by throwing a lot of stuff against the wall.  To be successful in social media, it takes planning and execution in alignment with the healthcare enterprise; the content can integrate across your social media channels and platforms seen by the healthcare consumer and patient. 

It comes down to the following key factors. 

1.       Do the market research. If you don’t know what social media platforms the healthcare consumer and patients are engaging in, then how can one decide what social media platforms to choose?  Know the audience. Know the markets. Know what information the healthcare consumer is searching out. Know what social media platforms they use to gather information and engage. Secondary research may give one clue in how to proceed with primary market research in the hospital service area, but these are guides only.  
2.       Build a social media content plan, and calendar fully integrated into the overall marketing plan and strategy of the hospital or health system. Include in your plan, goals and objectives, key messages, engagement strategies. How it will be measured and evaluated and who is responsible for executing the plan. What gets measured gets done. Obtain executive buy-in. If leadership does not support the plan or is not engaged in the effort, stop now and find something else to do. 
3.       Evaluate constantly and learn what the healthcare consumer likes and doesn’t like. Test messages. Test engagement strategies.  Fail fast and become the learning organization and not repeating the same mistakes. 
4.       Engage and build a meaningful relationship with the healthcare consumer. Stay away from meaningless fluff and anything that looks like it’s all about the organization. And listen. Listen very carefully to dialogue and tone of the conversations and respond accordingly. 
5.       Allocate the resources for someone to do this full time all the time.  Don’t say the hospital doesn’t have it.  Reallocate the marketing budget to social media from more traditional areas. 
6.       Invest in staff training on social media, identifying the skills sets that may be lacking and if need be, hire from the outside. Experience counts as the healthcare enterprise does not have the time for trial and error. 
7.       Budget the appropriate marketing resources and systems for measurement, automation and reporting on social media channels and activities. 

Social media done correctly will drive engagement, revenue, and growth. It will also provide the healthcare enterprise with a continuous presence in the market that supports and is part of all the other marketing activities. 

The healthcare consumer and patient is omnichannel. You need to be too in a consistent and engaging manner. And in a retail medical environment, presence builds preference.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide.  Michael is an established influencer and inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Does HIPPO Drive Hospital Marketing? Come on Now, be Honest.

The other day, I heard a hospital advertisement on the radio. A 60-second spot chock full of everything under the sun, including the kitchen sink. Since then, I have had the opportunity to hear it serval more time. I lost track of all the different features packed in 60-seconds within it, without any mention of benefits. Does your audience care that in the jammed packed copy chorus of “all about me,” that you spent one million dollars updating your cardiac cath lab?

The disappointing part is that not anywhere in the ad, was any reason of why I should choose the hospital. Why they are different because from the ad this hospital sounded just like all the other hospitals. What is the benefit to me? What is the value proposition that you gave me to answer the question why I should choose this hospital?  

One could tell from the laundry list of features that there were too many voices in creating that ad. It was a clear case of everyone in leadership being involved and stating add this, and this, and this, and this. My head hurts just thinking about it. Which finally leads me to, is your hospital marketing driven by HIPPO?

Sounds interesting you say? What is this marketing by HIPPO?  Get ready because you may not like the answer.

HIPPO = Highest Internally Paid Person’s Opinion

           
The not so funny thing about it is that the marketing department will be blamed for the nonsense when really, the question is, was this driven in a large extent by a highest paid person’s opinion?

And that happens a lot in hospital marketing. One maybe two people say something and then it’s the whole universe that acts that way.  I am the highest internally paid person here, so do this. A competitor does this, so you do this. I have made up my mind because I believe this to be true and I am the insert title here- CEO - EVP – VP, etc.

Do you work for a HIPPO driven hospital marketing department? Be honest now.

Does your hospital look like this? Larger than life executive egos (big fish in a little pond)? Lack of sustained focus on the meaning of mission, vision, and values beyond executive decree? Short attention span due to constantly shifting plans and priorities? The inability to execute operationally driven by crisis and chaos? Adherence to that “this is the way we have always done it so way we are doing it that way”? 

But wait, there's more as we continue along the path of marketing HIPPO characteristics. Is organizational communication poor, and marketing makes things look pretty? And the best one of all - proposed marketing solutions are seen an “elegant” and not as the right way to build revenue and brand because they aren’t expedient.  It’s all about the HIPPO and what they believe regardless of any data-driven outcomes as to what people need and want.

In today’s world of lightning-fast change, social media and the growing power of the healthcare consumer with more of an economic stake, you can’t afford ineffective and inefficient healthcare marketing.  That doesn’t build a strong brand. That doesn’t provide you with a competitive advantage. And most importantly, it doesn’t engage the healthcare consumer in any meaningful way.

If you are not engaging the healthcare consumer on their terms by giving them the outcome and value reasons for why they could choose you, then you are failing.

It’s not about you anymore; it’s all about the healthcare consumer. Don’t be a HIPPO.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide.  Michael is an established influencer and inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling   815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.