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Marketing with a Mission: Is Your Healthcare Marketing Agency Aligned With Your Mission? [PART 1 of 2]

Posted in Category: Articles 3 min read

Here’s the PROBLEM:

“Some organizations believe that numbers are a far more superior form of knowledge than stories. This is short sighted.

All numbers still need interpretation and analysis. And if they want to be understood and actionable, they need stories.”

—Tricia Wang, Ethnographer and tech economist  

Rethinking the Mission of Healthcare Marketing

Hospitals and health systems across America are facing (or will soon face) an important moment in how they approach healthcare marketing. The driving force behind this moment is the need—or better stated, the imperative—to understand and empower the diverse people and communities we are charged with caring for while not losing sight of the imperative to drive positive business outcomes for the brand.

Across the nation, hospitals and health systems are becoming increasingly compelled to take a genuine and empathic interest in the well-being of the communities they serve—to not only target and sell to the best patients (competent, digitally savvy, insured customers), but also to engage with, educate, and empower all consumers to choose them when the need arises and to take a more active role in their own health and well-being. A fresh approach that champions balancing brand awareness and patient acquisition with education and competency building.

This is leading to an evolution in how hospitals approach healthcare marketing. While supporting marketing initiatives that bolster profits, attract the best patients, and leverage data-driven digital experiences remains important, we can no longer discount every hospital’s ultimate mission and responsibility—to nurture a more competent healthcare consumer community.

This means two things for hospitals and the healthcare marketing agencies that support them:

  1. A reliance on digitally collected and purely quantitative market research data will soon take a back seat to a more elegant approach to consumer and market understanding. Healthcare marketers are more often than ever before compelled to seek out qualitative insights that provide a richer understanding of their patients and communities.
  2. Healthcare marketing agencies in particular need to re-think how they approach strategy, design, content, and patient education programs for their hospital and health network clients. That means prioritizing an approach to insights that helps you understand how to engage patients where they actually are, with what they actually need, even if that means embracing an approach that is not grounded exclusively in digital marketing and quantitative data.

And so, this leads us to our (and your) “million dollar question.”

Is your healthcare marketing agency’s approach aligned with your hospital’s mission?

Ask yourself and your healthcare marketing agency:

Are your objectives aligned with the priority of improving the health and well-being of the community? Or, are you just driving the best patients to the right service lines with little understanding of the human condition at ground level?

We all know that healthcare marketing professionals struggle to balance championing the mission of community well-being and consumer competency with the need to deliver on targeted business goals—the latter of which directly impacts budgets and resources. And many agencies, in-turn, tether their programs to this reality.

But today’s more enlightened healthcare marketing professionals are investing in programs and initiatives that are mission-driven—enabling them to impact positive financial, clinical, and strategic outcomes for their hospitals while simultaneously educating and empowering a more competent and loyal consumer community.

This “mission-driven” mindset to healthcare marketing that challenges the status quo of “conventional” healthcare marketing strategies and tactics is fast becoming the new normal.

In the next installment of this two part series, we will offer a SOLUTION,  sharing three components of a mission-driven mindset and some guidance on how you can elevate your hospital’s marketing and content game.