A sound hospital marketing plan is the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing a hospital system.
Competition is fierce, and there’s no margin for error. Trying to promote a hospital without a proven, well-structured strategy can result in a lot of wasted money and patients lost to other providers.
Things to Consider when Crafting a Hospital Marketing Plan
Marketing for hospitals can be quite unlike marketing for other organizations in other industries – or even within healthcare.
Hospitals, for starters, have a lot of different and diverse stakeholders. Hospital marketing teams have to market the hospital itself, any associated facilities in the system, plus every practice and specialty area the hospital offers – from cardiology to orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN, and the like. The larger the hospital system, the more difficult the balancing act becomes.
Hospitals also have to market before there’s a need. That’s because it’s impossible to predict when someone will need to go to the emergency room or see a primary care provider, etc. Patients choose hospitals in reaction to health issues, except for when they are either looking for a PCP (because they just moved there or have not had one) or are changing providers.
In both cases, brand recognition and awareness is extremely important, which presents a unique challenge to a marketing team.
A plan has to consider these things but also needs to be quantifiable, especially with tight budgets. A hospital marketing plan has to be carefully aligned with quantified business outcomes. Put another way, it has to be able to generate real, verifiable return in order to justify itself and the marketing team that executes it.
Hospitals these days cannot afford to waste marketing dollars. The plan has to be scientific in design to increase the chances that it will do its job and generate revenue for the hospital.
Key Components of a Successful Marketing Plan
There are a few key components that every successful hospital marketing plan has:
- Strategic, metric-bound goals: The hospital’s tangible, quantifiable objectives become the goals of the marketing plan. There need to be metrics in place by which progress toward these goals can be measured.
- Clear definition of stakeholders and target audiences: The plan needs to clarify who the plan is intended to market and market to, for stakeholders and potential patients, respectively.
- Analytical system to measure results: The plan needs to define how progress will be analyzed and tracked.
- Outline of target channels: A plan can use a variety of channels and methods to achieve its goals. Which ones are chosen should depend on the goals and target audience analysis contained within the plan.
- Concrete, yet flexible processes: A plan should define the processes that will be used to execute the plan. These could include anything from how content is conceptualized and created to an advertising calendar. The processes should be clearly defined yet flexible because the field is constantly changing.
If structured correctly – based on goals, a deep understanding of one’s audience, and the best way to reach them – a hospital marketing plan can be tremendously successful. This will give the system the best chance at competing in a tight market.
TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.