Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Brave New Healthcare Marketing World 2010 And Beyond- Its All About Demand Management

The world as you know it is changing forever, so better for you to face the brave new world of healthcare marketing in 2010 and beyond, than to be on the tracks of an oncoming train like a deer in headlights and be hit unprepared.

Assuming healthcare legislation will pass in early 2010, its time for healthcare systems to start thinking and learning about demand management.

Not the generating type of demand for services, but managing the demand that will naturally come from 31 million plus people suddenly having access to health insurance and healthcare services. Granted, the reforms will phase in over the next few year until 2014, when the healthcare reform actions will be fully in place. The coming demand for services will be unprecedented. And the current configuration of the healthcare system across the country for care delivery is not ready. Not ready at all.

Hospital beds taken out-of-service over the years. ERs strained from over utilization; lack of nurses and primary care physicians; this is a marketers dream. Maybe not to the CEOs and COOs out there, but you have an underutilized asset. That's assuming of course that you do have marketers in your organization and not just people doing stuff and making pretty brochures. If you don't you're in trouble.

Marketers can play an important part in this generational transformation process. It's time to step up and step forward and lead a transformation in healthcare marketing that is long overdue.

Running an advertisement attempting to generate demand for a services is not the same as understanding local market forces at play and how much potential demand exists for services in your community. The healthcare consumer is becoming more mobile than at any other time in the history of healthcare. Choice, convenience and access. Can you meet those needs?

The Walgreens, CVS and Walmarts of the world already understand this and with retail clinics, home care and ambulatory infusion centers they are already well positioned to take advantage of all that new demand that will be coming on-line. That's your business and they will do it faster, cheaper and with better customer service.

It all about managing demand, customer service, and the right mix of docs and services. Otherwise, long wait times for care and procedures, poor customer services and patients choosing to go where they can obtain needed care.

A mobile healthcare consumer. A hospital and doctors worst nightmare. Unless of course you can manage demand and deliver exceptional customer service.

With change come opportunity. Hopefully you won't lose that opportunity.

Happy New Year everyone, 2010 is going to be something.

I can be reached at 815-293-1471 for strategic healthcare marketing consulting services.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are You Working in a HiPPO Marketing Environment?

The other day, I was attending an American Marketing Association webinar on “Your Customers Aren’t Hiding the Answers, You Just Need to Know Where to Look”, sponsored by Autonomy Multichannel Customer Interaction Solutions. The presenters were Andrew Joiner, CEO and Jeff Westover, VP Marketing. (Note, I am not receiving any payment in mentioning this, but you will see why in a short bit. It’s all about full attribution.)

In one slide they presented what really summed up for me what most healthcare marketing is like. And I wish I had thought of it; which bring us back to the original question. Are you working in a HiPPO marketing environment?

H Highest
P Paid
P Position
O Opinion

Yes HiPPO! It was a moment in time where it all fell together. No marketing science, no qualitative understanding of markets, just opinion, hearsay and flavor of the day from reading an article someplace or seeing an advertisement. No primary or secondary market research or understanding customer needs except in the most superficial level. One maybe two people say something and then it’s the whole universe acts that way. I am the highest paid person here…. so go 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.

An interesting concept that’s easy for you to determine if you too work in a HiPPO marketing environment. Take a step back and look at your healthcare company. When you do that the choices become really clear if you want to succeed.

My read on this….

A HiPPO organization will never reach its full potential and is characterized by a lack of sustainable mission, vision and values, short attention span, constantly shifting plans and priorities, inability to execute operationally, constant crisis and chaos and lacks a formal integrated planning process. Communication is poor interdepartmentally and marketing is seen as doing “stuff”. 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 lack of foundation in reality.

I do think my time for change has come.