Video: Emory Healthcare VP of Marketing Amy Comeau on Thriving in a Competitive Healthcare Market

by | Aug 19, 2021 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

As VP of Marketing at Emory Healthcare, Amy Comeau has a unique vantage point into the opportunities and challenges of leading brand and revenue growth strategies for a nationally ranked academic health system.

Emory Healthcare Director of Marketing Amy ComeauIn this excerpt from our “3 Key Insights” series, you’ll learn how Amy Comeau is pri­or­i­tiz­ing her mar­ket­ing plan, lever­ag­ing CRM and oth­er tools and get­ting buy-in from key stake­hold­ers to influ­ence all stages of the patient journey.

Key insight #1: You need the right tools to compete in a crowded market.

Atlanta is a com­pet­i­tive health­care mar­ket and we all seem to go after the same mix of patients. You absolute­ly need to have CRM and data-dri­ven tools; oth­er­wise, you’re going to keep chas­ing after the same patients or try­ing to one-up each oth­er in the mar­ket and spend­ing a lot of mon­ey, which none of us can afford to keep doing.

We’ve got to focus on the tools that are actu­al­ly work­ing to dri­ve toward the busi­ness goals that our orga­ni­za­tions need us to achieve. We can’t get dis­tract­ed by some­thing that’s bright and shiny that one of our com­peti­tors is doing. That might actu­al­ly be fine because they’re going after a dif­fer­ent market.

Key insight #2: Find your force multipliers.

We joke that there’s an insa­tiable demand for mar­ket­ing with­in our orga­ni­za­tion. We will nev­er be able to meet the needs of those with­in the sys­tem, so I learned ear­ly on that we had to pri­or­i­tize our work.

To align our strat­e­gy with busi­ness goals, I devel­oped an mar­ket­ing exec­u­tive advi­so­ry com­mit­tee that includes a physi­cian leader and an admin­is­tra­tive leader from each major ser­vice line, the CEOs from all our hos­pi­tals, our chief oper­at­ing offi­cer and oth­ers. This helps guide our focus to dri­ve prof­itable vol­umes into the sys­tem while also build­ing and pro­tect­ing the Emory Health­care brand.

One of our core pur­pos­es as a mar­ket­ing team is to sup­port and align our work with the annu­al oper­at­ing plan goals for the sys­tem. We also get involved in the five-year strate­gic plan­ning process. The com­mit­tee ensures align­ment in those areas, and we also have sub­set meet­ings with ser­vice lines iden­ti­fied as dri­vers with­in the busi­ness and we’ll work with them to define vol­ume and busi­ness goals.

Through these efforts, we achieve clar­i­ty on growth, expan­sion, bud­get and oth­er strate­gic ini­tia­tives. Then we look and see how much do we believe mar­ket­ing can actu­al­ly move the nee­dle. We also devel­op score­cards that mea­sure the busi­ness goals we’re try­ing to sup­port. This informs areas like the leads that we need to gen­er­ate and con­vert into surg­eries and oth­er pro­ce­dures, along with the tools that will most cost-effec­tive­ly dri­ve those leads.

By work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with the busi­ness units and admin­is­tra­tors on those goals and tying our work back to the annu­al oper­at­ing plan, we’re much more than just a mar­ket­ing shop that’s pro­duc­ing brochures.

Key insight #3: COVID-19 forced durable change on healthcare organizations.

Pri­or to the pan­dem­ic, we were in year three of our CRM implementation—and COVID-19 helped accel­er­ate that process. When we start­ed out, it was going to be very mar­ket­ing-spe­cif­ic with propen­si­ty mod­el­ing cam­paigns that dri­ve direct mail and tar­get­ed dig­i­tal cam­paigns. Our long-term goal was to use mar­ket­ing automa­tion and CRM for ongo­ing patient com­mu­ni­ca­tions like send­ing appoint­ment reminders via email. How­ev­er, up until COVID-19, we had not reg­u­lar­ly mass com­mu­ni­cat­ed with patients because we did­n’t have the tool to do it.

Sud­den­ly, we had a des­per­ate need to tell our patients that we were sus­pend­ing surg­eries, chang­ing our vis­i­tor pol­i­cy and oth­er safe­ty ini­tia­tives. We had to accel­er­ate that long-term strat­e­gy and we basi­cal­ly con­densed a three-year plan into 18 months. We call it a durable change.

Now we’re send­ing emails to patients reg­u­lar­ly and we’re able to see what con­tent inter­ests our com­mu­ni­ty. For exam­ple, we recent­ly con­duct­ed an analy­sis of COVID vac­cine FAQs that were get­ting the most clicks to deter­mine the key areas of hes­i­tan­cy that we need to address.

We can make assump­tions, but now we have the data that can val­i­date our assump­tions or tell us we’re wrong and point us in a new direction.

Get more expert perspective from Amy Comeau in this segment of 3 Key Insights.

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