Driving revenue is more critical than ever—and healthcare marketers are rising to the challenge. Discover how a reimagined approach to hospital service line marketing will improve the health of your community and supercharge your patient acquisition strategy.
Now more than ever, there is an acute focus on accelerating patient acquisition through service line marketing.
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)
Another factor driving the urgency to generate new patients is shifting consumer loyalty. To illustrate, a recent McKinsey survey of healthcare consumers found that 80% have a primary care provider (PCP), and more than 1 in 10 are considering a change. Of the 20% who do not have PCP, and nearly 1 in 3 are interested in finding one.
These factors are converging to catalyze the importance of an effective service line marketing strategy. As noted during our recent webinar with healthcare experts at McKinsey & Company, “now is a very important time to think about a comprehensive growth plan.”
In this environment, patient acquisition is paramount.
This imperative is reflected in the 2020 Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends survey that found, “Patient acquisition shot to the top of the list [of priorities] this year, and by a wide margin.”
While no walk in the park prior to the pandemic, building volume is even more challenging in an environment where consumers are more prone to switching healthcare providers.
The reality is that rebounding from this financial deficit will be more of a marathon than a sprint.
Marketers who lay the groundwork now through effective service line marketing will position their organizations for 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 last 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 where your healthcare marketing plan 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. While there will always be curveballs thrown to marketers throughout the year, setting priorities based on the areas of greatest impact is imperative to recover from the financial challenges of the pandemic.
Now: As healthcare marketing matures into a data-driven discipline, the focus for service line marketing 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 pipeline 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 hospital service line marketing 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.
Discover How We Do It
Find out how we helped Beaufort Memorial Hospital generate leads for orthopedics, women’s health and other priority service lines.
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.