The Big Shift: New Strategies for Hospital Service Line Marketing

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Service Line Growth | 0 comments

Driving priority service line revenue is more critical than ever—and healthcare marketers are the vanguard for this pivotal mission. Discover how a reimagined approach to hospital service line marketing will improve the health of your community and ignite long-term financial success for your organization.

Among the cur­rent pri­or­i­ties for health­care mar­keters amidst the pan­dem­ic, there is an acute focus on accel­er­at­ing rev­enue growth.

This man­date to move the rev­enue nee­dle comes in response to a sharp decline in health spend­ing, as illus­trat­ed by recent reports:

  • Hos­pi­tal spend­ing, as well as physi­cian and clin­i­cal ser­vices spend­ing, fell by 40.7% and 40.9%, respec­tive­ly, in April. (The Keck­ley Report)
  • U.S. hos­pi­tals are pre­dict­ed to lose more than $200 bil­lion in rev­enue by June 30, with the total rev­enue hit from the pan­dem­ic esti­mat­ed at about $50 bil­lion a month among health­care facil­i­ties since March. (Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal Asso­ci­a­tion)
  • While fed­er­al fund­ing will help hos­pi­tals on the road to recov­ery, just 11% of all executives—and only 3% of health sys­tem respondents—believe it will be enough to cov­er COVID-19-relat­ed costs. (Guide­house)

Rebound­ing from this finan­cial deficit will be more of a marathon than a sprint. Mar­keters who lay the ground­work now will posi­tion their orga­ni­za­tions for an accel­er­at­ed recov­ery peri­od and long-term finan­cial health.

Healthcare Marketing’s Moment is Here

To reach their com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing this time of cri­sis, health­care orga­ni­za­tions are turn­ing to the experts in con­sumer engage­ment: the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions team.

Around 70% of health sys­tem exec­u­tives sur­veyed in June said their main con­cern is replac­ing lost patient vol­ume and rev­enue, and a sim­i­lar share said their focus is on mar­ket­ing, edu­ca­tion and patient out­reach to make it happen.

When clin­i­cal lead­ers were recent­ly asked to rank their top con­cerns about resum­ing deferred pro­ce­dures, the major­i­ty (54%) cit­ed low patient demand—their #2 con­cern behind the pos­si­bil­i­ty of anoth­er out­break or sec­ond wave. Despite this con­cern, 30% said their orga­ni­za­tions have not yet imple­ment­ed an exter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy to address the issue.

The oppor­tu­ni­ty to guide your com­mu­ni­ty to bet­ter health is here.

The imper­a­tive to dri­ve growth for your orga­ni­za­tion is clear.

The time to shift your hos­pi­tal ser­vice line mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is now.

Here are four areas that must evolve to make it happen.

The Shift in Planning: From Squeaky Wheels to Strategic Focus

Before: Mar­ket­ing plans were always designed around pri­or­i­ty ser­vice lines, but often evolved hap­haz­ard­ly through­out the year based on bright shiny objects, physi­cian turnover and the whims of the loud­est C‑suite voices.vWhile there will always be curve­balls thrown to mar­keters through­out the year, a shift to a con­sumer-cen­tric approach to mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and pri­or­i­ti­za­tion is crit­i­cal to recov­er­ing from the impact of the pandemic.

Now: As health­care mar­ket­ing matures into a data-dri­ven dis­ci­pline, the focus for ser­vice line cam­paigns is deter­mined by mar­ket demand and capac­i­ty fore­casts, vir­tu­al care capa­bil­i­ties, prof­itabil­i­ty and oth­er strate­gic perspectives.

This evo­lu­tion in plan­ning from instinct to insights is ele­vat­ing the role of mar­ket­ing and fos­ter­ing greater col­lab­o­ra­tion among clin­i­cal lead­ers and oth­er stakeholders.

The Shift in Content: From Hard Sell to Consumer-Centric

Before: Health­care ser­vices can, for many orga­ni­za­tions, be grouped into two buck­ets: imme­di­ate needs that con­sumers want to access as eas­i­ly as pos­si­ble and those with a longer deci­sion cycle. Mes­sag­ing has often aligned with where con­sumers are in their jour­ney to dri­ve them from aware­ness to con­sid­er­a­tion to action as quick­ly as we can.

Now: We’re cur­rent­ly faced with a unique chal­lenge of con­sumer fear and a hes­i­tan­cy to return to care, cou­pled with a demand for mes­sag­ing that’s per­son­al­ized and appro­pri­ate for where the indi­vid­ual is on their deci­sion journey.

It’s crit­i­cal to com­mu­ni­cate why it’s impor­tant to seek emer­gency care for a poten­tial heart attack, why it’s impor­tant to catch var­i­ous can­cers ear­ly through reg­u­lar screen­ings and more. Con­sumers also demand to know what you’re doing to keep them safe at your facil­i­ties and what’s expect­ed of them.

The Shift in Channels: From Isolated to Integrated

Before: Brand and lead gen­er­a­tion strate­gies have his­tor­i­cal­ly been dis­crete mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives in health care, with lit­tle over­lap between the con­tent planned, devel­oped and dis­trib­uted for each.

Now: Con­tent mar­ket­ing and tra­di­tion­al brand ini­tia­tives are being used as growth dri­vers in new ways that both opti­mize suc­cess and max­i­mize bud­gets. Social media, in par­tic­u­lar, allows you to align con­tent mar­ket­ing and dig­i­tal strat­e­gy to effec­tive­ly build a fun­nel of poten­tial can­di­dates. This com­ple­ments paid search efforts that dri­ve imme­di­ate conversions.

The Shift in Tools and Tracking: From Vaporware to Value Add

Before: Man­ag­ing a ser­vice line cam­paign involved a hodge­podge of dis­parate and often home-grown tools for plan­ning, project man­age­ment, per­for­mance track­ing and oth­er key functions.

Now: Health­care mar­keters are adopt­ing dig­i­tal tools used by retail and oth­er indus­tries, allow­ing them to glean real-time cus­tomer insights, scale cam­paigns across mul­ti­ple mar­kets and increase con­ver­sion rates for high-val­ue services.

Let’s Shift Your Service Line Marketing Strategy

Our health­care mar­ket­ing experts can guide you through every step, from plan­ning and cam­paign devel­op­ment to mea­sure­ment and optimization.

Sign up for updates!

Sign up for updates!

Get marketing tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!