What If We Stop Marketing?


Season 1, Episode 10

Whether the focus is the patient or the C-Suite, healthcare marketers are responsible to craft powerful stories that not only save lives, but justify the work that they are doing.

Learning to communicate effectively, using data intelligently, building effective plans, and using advanced technologies like AI can give marketers the edge they need.

Join Chris Hemphill as they guide us through conversations with some of the leaders who know how to use internal storytelling to keep a hospital’s consumer growth arm going.

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Chris Hemphill

VP, Applied AI & Growth
Actium Health


Debra Jasper

Founder and CEO
Mindset Digital


Jean Hitchcock

VP, Marketing, Communications and Physician Relations
Phoenix Children’s Hospital


David Marlowe

Founder and CEO
Principal and Founder


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Jean Hitchcock (00:00):
I can’t tell you how many marketing departments don’t market marketing.

Chris Hemphill (00:04):
That’s Jean Hitchcock, VP of Marketing at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Jean Hitchcock (00:08):
If you’re not reporting out to your board quarterly about all that you’re doing to build your brand, you’re missing an opportunity. Because if the only time they hear you is when you ask for budget, and they don’t know what you’re doing with the money, you’re not going to get the budget.

Chris Hemphill (00:23):
Wait, so you’re telling me that after we’ve marketed to the market, we have to market internally too? After the intro, let’s dig into what it takes to keep a hospital’s consumer growth arm going. Consumer experiences, major disruptors, and AI tech are shaping healthcare for years to come. On Hello Healthcare, we dive deep on these issues with leaders who are driving change. I’m Chris Hemphill, VP of Applied AI at Actium Health. And we hope that these stories will help you to create or demand better future in healthcare. We’ve previously discussed how healthcare marketing is key in healthcare delivery. Check out our previous episode, do healthcare marketers deliver care, for more on that.

Chris Hemphill (01:12):
The communications and stories that alert people to act on their health, helps to save lives. But that’s only one side of the picture. Healthcare marketers are also in the unique position of constantly having to justify their real impact on the bottom line. So, essentially, there are two jobs in marketing. To communicate with the patient audience, and to justify to a business audience that this outreach is working. That’s easy, right? Not quite. Progressing with senior leaders means breaking through noise, holding attention, and telling compelling data stories. We’re going to dig into how to accomplish all of that. And what you’ll learn isn’t limited to just marketing roles. But first things first, how to break through the noise.

Debra Jasper (02:03):
Especially senior leadership, because I do a lot of keynotes for C-suite executives. And you think we’re all distracted. “They’re hyper distracted.” Right?

Chris Hemphill (02:11):
You’re hearing from Debra Jasper, CEO of Mindset Digital. She’s helped thousands of leaders work with busy executives.

Debra Jasper (02:18):
Everybody’s so busy, we all have so much coming at us. And so, one of the things we used to talk about is how today’s audiences have eight-second attention spans, which is still true, but now people are not just distracted. I think the big challenge now is they’re distant, and they’re distressed. And the brain science of this, I find fascinating. The brain science basically says when we’re stressed out, it’s harder for us to listen. It’s harder for us to learn. And it’s harder for us to remember what we learned, which is why we go through a meeting, and then we say, “What was it that you were talking about?” As leaders, we’re going to have to communicate with extreme clarity and impact. Not just clarity, but extreme clarity, if we have any hope that we’re going to drive action.

Chris Hemphill (02:57):
Extreme clarity? Wait, what’s that?

Debra Jasper (03:00):
A lot of what’s happening now is people… I talked today about the three W’s you have to start with. What am I talking about? And why does it matter? So, what is this about? And you better be able to answer that in a sentence or two. So what? Why does my audience care? And now, what do we want them to do next? And we all know the self-interest rule, people care because what’s in it for them? But too often, we start our presentations, and our emails, and our reports with why we care instead of talking about why they care. Why does the audience care? So, extreme clarity requires you to get to the heart of why people care first. I teach graduate courses actually, in public policy. That was the last class before graduation.

Debra Jasper (03:41):
And I would say, “Now you’re going to take that lovely thesis. And you are going to try to break it down. Not dumb it down, but break it down in a way that makes people want to read it.” Because sometimes you think about all those college papers, and of course your professors read them because you paid them to. Now, when you’re out here, people aren’t… We are not tuning in, unless you can make a compelling case for why we should. And everybody always talks about the famous quote, people argue over who said it, but I love it. It is, “I’m sorry I wrote you this long letter. If I’d had more time, I would’ve written you a shorter one.” It’s because it takes time to get down to what’s most essential to share. And if you don’t know why it’s important, your audience really doesn’t. So, that’s true if you’re writing. I always say clear writing reflects clear thinking.

Debra Jasper (04:28):
But it’s also true if you’re presenting. If you put a lot of complexity on the screen, all that says to me is you haven’t done the hard work of breaking it down and telling me why it matters. So, I was a journalist of in another life, and I was an investigative reporter. And I used to write long-form investigative projects. I once filled, it’s like, a dozen pages in the newspaper. So, I love all that analysis. And I love long-form writing, and you bringing out all this complex data. But the truth is where we are now, with the audiences so distant, so distracted, so much going on. You think about everybody at home, and their kids are talking, and their dogs are barking and there’s just too much. We can choose to give them all that complexity, but if they don’t read it or they don’t take it in, it doesn’t matter. So I say, we can either be relevant or we can be reluctant. But we can’t be both. We cannot be reluctant to adapt to this changing environment, if we want to be relevant.

Chris Hemphill (05:24):
As H.G. Wells said, “Adapt or perish.” But how? To help out with that, Debra has all sorts of heuristics and learnings that work. One for the books, however, is SOS. Short, organized, skimmable.

Debra Jasper (05:40):
We have a whole program on short, organized, skimmable. So, we have entire micro courses, because again, you can’t teach people how to be short, organized, skimmable, with long, and meandering courses. But that one is critical. But we also talked, you heard me talk about ARC, which is you have to have a clear call to action, clear recommendations, and clear context. And the context should be at the bottom.

Chris Hemphill (06:04):
Again, just in case you’re not writing it down, ARC. Actions, recommendations, context.

Debra Jasper (06:12):
You’ve got to start with what is that call to action. If you have more than one, I’m probably not tuning in. If you give me five, then I just get paralyzed. We also talk… A lot of things that people find compelling though, is sometimes they’ll say, “Debra, you talk a lot about the power of the informal.” That’s why we say casual does not mean careless. People are resistant to being more informal because to your point, business schools, and all that, they teach you a lot. They teach you to elevate your language, but then you’re into that cursive expertise, which is when you’re talking to impress rather than inform. And we’re just not tuning into any of that. So, you’re over here going, “Look how amazing my research is.” And everybody else is like, “Wow, there’s a cute, new cat video on YouTube.”

Debra Jasper (06:56):
A friend of ours, actually I stole this from home, always says, “You don’t have time to write [inaudible 00:07:00].” I don’t have time to read it. Yeah. LinkedIn profile is the same thing, that formality. So often, people want to get on LinkedIn, and they want to write in their elevated language. And they want to say… Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down today and say, “Hi, my name is Debra. Debra is a dynamic leader.” We just don’t do that. But somehow we go to LinkedIn, and we write like that. And that is not building trust. So, we have to think more about telling the powerful story of us, which goes back to why do people care?

Chris Hemphill (07:28):
When you’re crafting your communications, that’s the first question to ask. When you’re reviewing the communications, that’s the last question to ask. Why do people care?

Debra Jasper (07:36):
None of us want to present in a way that you start watching people get on their phones. It’s painful. We’re in pain as speakers when we stand up in front of an audience, and you just feel like, “I’ve lost people.” And when you put up visuals, at Mindset we call it rapid visual storytelling, you can almost see people lean in. It’s just so much more engaging. And when you get to clarity like, “I’m going to give you three key things.” People will start writing things down. So, I had a guy call me a couple weeks ago, and he just gave a talk with over 150 slides. It was his first time doing visual storytelling. And he was so excited. So, here’s what’s really fun. None of us want to slog. Work is hard enough. Slogging through bad emails, slogging through bad PowerPoints-

Chris Hemphill (08:22):
It’s rough out here.

Debra Jasper (08:25):
We just have to stop doing this to people. And we have to stop doing it to ourselves. No one wants to lead bad webinars. And definitely no one wants to sit through them. So, I think the big challenge is getting people to invest the time it takes to become a powerful virtual communicator. But you’re not going to have a choice. I’ve been evangelizing about this, I feel like for a decade. But in the last year and a half, people have said, “Yeah. We have to do this, and we’ve got to do it now.” So for me, it’s been joyous to see people lean in finally and say, “Yeah. We’re going to embrace some new approaches.”

Chris Hemphill (08:59):
Let’s talk about some of those approaches or as Jean Hitchcock put it, how to market marketing. Jean is the VP of Marketing, Communications and Physician Relations at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She’s also led consulting efforts at many healthcare systems across the country. And she has a special focus on managing up.

Jean Hitchcock (09:21):
There was a time when marketing wasn’t even a department in healthcare because you didn’t need to market. So, in this day and age if you’re not measuring results in dollars to the bottom line, you’re really behind the eight ball. I find very few marketing departments that haven’t jumped on the MarTech, digital marketing, and really being a partner with finance on showing how they make contributions to the bottom line. If you’re not doing that, you’re really doing marketing for maybe two decades ago. You have to show results. I can’t tell you how many market departments don’t market marketing.

Chris Hemphill (09:58):
I’m sure they want to market marketing, but how?

Jean Hitchcock (10:01):
If you’re not reporting out to your board quarterly about all that you’re doing to build your brand, you’re missing an opportunity. Because if the only time they hear you is when you ask for budget, and they don’t know what you’re doing with the money, you’re not going to get the budget. So, you need to report out what you’re doing. And it needs to be a comprehensive reporting now. People used to think if they reported out how many clicks they had or views they had on a website that meant something. No. They got to sign up for an appointment now. They’ve got to schedule a test now. They have to select a physician now. And that’s the kind of real business success that you need to report out through the entire attribution period for a service that you decide to take to market.

Chris Hemphill (10:41):
Attribution. Now we’re getting to the really hard questions. Attribution is where the most fighting happens.

Jean Hitchcock (10:47):
If you don’t have the ability to do it, I’d say get it like yesterday. But think about what you already have in place. So, you talk to your CFO and you say, “What do you think the value of a primary care patient is?” Because for every physician referral that you provide, you should be quantifiably recording that. So, I think it was [McKinsey 00:11:06] says it’s worth about 6,500 discounted by 50% for reimbursement, $3,200 a pop, right? So, you have a new movers program. How many of those convert to actually patients? And then, most people will tell you that you probably market 10% to your existing patients. You need to really mine your own data. Go into your medical record and find out exactly who you’re treating now, and some predictive modeling of what services they might need in the future.

Jean Hitchcock (11:36):
I’m a classic orthopedic patient. I will go until I hurt so badly that I’ll finally get something done. And that’s exactly what I did. So, if you know that someone’s been complaining and been taking medications, and having treatments for sore joints, they’re a perfect person then to identify for orthopedics down the line. So, mine your current client data in your medical record, look at new movers programs, look at physician referral, whether it’s in your call center or request to your website. And then volumes. First things like ambulatory. Ambulatory is really a reach area. If people have a choice to go for services, scans or whatever, really set up ways to track new patients to that, that you didn’t have before. So, there are things that if you don’t have a whole big MarTech stack, you can do. And then once you start getting into CRM and things like that, you can really get very granular about where you’re picking up people, new physicians who are referring to your organization. And that’s where you really need to focus when you start developing and maturing as a marketing department.

Chris Hemphill (12:42):
We’re clearly big fans of CRM intelligence, but that’s not the only part of the picture. People can mine for data all day long, in attempt to prove any point that they wish. So, no matter how much prep you do, there’s going to be a little bit of skepticism. How do we address the debate about all the other things that could be impacting your output?

Jean Hitchcock (13:04):
It goes back to what I said about marketing not marketing. If you think about it, and a CEO told me this one time, he says, “I’ve never had a marketing person come to me that told me they could help me meet my bottom line.” We can’t help them meet their bottom line, what department can? Second thing is, build your partnerships with the CFO and the CIO. With all the digital stuff you need, that CIO had better be your partner in crime. And the CFO, you need for that purpose of credibility for the results when you report out.

Jean Hitchcock (13:32):
So, when you talk about where do the communication go south, if you haven’t started really proselytizing a little bit about what marketing is to IT, finance, and to your leadership, start there. Then, make sure that they understand you are going to be their partner, and hitting the bottom line. And you’re going to show them how you’re going to do that. And there’s a process you go through to select what you take to market. I always have planning, the CIO, and finance at those sessions because I found very few physicians when I ask the question, “Is it profitable what you do?” They look at me like, “I have no idea.” So, you have finance in the room to tell you what makes money and what doesn’t make money.

Chris Hemphill (14:14):
Partnering up with your clinical team is key. Remember that marketing is part of the delivery process, and influencing consumers when they’re not in the hospital is a major part of that. Does it sound daunting? Does it sound like something that only the HCAs and [Kaisers 00:14:30] of the world can do? Jean shared some advice on how to know when your organization’s ready for data-driven initiatives?

Jean Hitchcock (14:39):
I’ll go back to the fact that you have to start somewhere, and you have to start with what you have. Do you have your own call center? Do you have a call center? Do you have online scheduling now? Take a look at what you currently have, okay? MarTech stacks can be built like [Legos 00:14:55]. Okay? CRM systems are all different. If you have a really robust call center, you’re going to want a CRM that really does a very easy interface with them. If you have an organization, that’s the technical piece. The organizational behavior though, also comes in. And this is why the consensus with the CIO is so important. There are some organizations that are really, really, strict about access, and integrating, and API shooting data to different systems. That’s why that partnership with the CIO is so critical. Because if you’re going to mine that data for marketing, they need to have assurance that is protected. So, you might have to incrementally take advances in some areas based on how open your organization is to integrating systems or not.

Jean Hitchcock (15:46):
And then the other thing is everything costs different amounts of money. A new movers campaign, isn’t that much money. But a new movers campaign that’s tied to CRM, that’s tied to a call center, which is really the Cadillac of what you want, maybe we should be saying the Tesla of what we want, that’s going to take more money. So, part of it is assessing your organization’s readiness to take this on. The second piece is, what do you have in place now that you can build upon? Are you all on one medical record or not? Do you have to jerry-rig the medical records? A lot of people have a different outpatient medical record than inpatient.

Jean Hitchcock (16:22):
And then do you have a CRM system that can handle that or whatever it is, online scheduling? Whatever it is that you want to look at. And have the vendors come in and show you what they can do? And have them answer questions for you around ease of integration, cooperation with IT, security of data. They get these questions every day. So, they’re very willing to answer. But that’s how you have to really assess whether you’re ready or not.

Chris Hemphill (16:47):
Okay. So, build coalitions first. Ensure your goals are aligned. Build strategies before buying technologies. Now we’ve got everybody together, now what?

Jean Hitchcock (16:57):
One question that CIOs sometimes bring up, and I’ll just say that because it’s come up a couple of times this year, in a perfect world, they would like to be all fill in the blank. Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce, whatever. Life just isn’t that homogeneous anymore. So, when you come up against a CIO, and that’s probably too strong a word, who has that belief, you have to educate them about why going a different way makes sense from a marketing perspective. They don’t know marketing. You don’t know IT as well as they do, but they don’t know marketing like you do. And you need to explain that to them. I have had more conversation with CIOs about the fact that I’m not going to put 37 things hanging on your chassis. I’m going to put a cohesive program together on your chassis because it meets my needs, but it will not impact or upset what you’re trying to do.

Jean Hitchcock (17:48):
So, that’s why those coalitions are just so important to have upfront because when the vendors come in, it’s not the time you want to find out that your IT department is really not open to this. I will tell you that one of the top five organizations in the United States, that’s near me, hired a CMO in the last year and a half. And they had a person lined up for interviews with a number of people. And her comment was, “I don’t see the CIO here. I have to meet with that person before I will consider taking the job.” And that just shows you the shift in how that’s going forward, because she knows how important that’s going to be for her going forward.

Chris Hemphill (18:26):
That insistence on meeting the CIO ahead of the job, highlights a powerful point. It’s never just you, it’s never just us. We need to know that we can get operational support. We need to know that the C-suite gets and respects what we’re trying to do. How do we tie all this together to build and deliver great stories for our leaders?

Jean Hitchcock (18:48):
I’ll give you an example of what people used to do, and why it didn’t serve them. People who used to judge public relations by the amount of space in a newspaper, and what the equivalent cost would be of buying that space and add value, that is an old metric that doesn’t mean anything. And so, people would look at them going, “Well, we wouldn’t have spent that money anyway.” What you do now in PR is you say, “If we’re going out with a program around our brand or around heart, then any news stories that are positive, we’re going to get credit for.”

Jean Hitchcock (19:21):
Neutral is a different rating. You grade the PR you have now based on how well it’s aligned with philanthropy, maybe human resources, and marketing. It’s a very different way of looking at it that you’ve ever had before. And that’s why I think you need to look at what is the organization going to believe, which is we’re getting you get the value first. And you never do a marketing plan without a measurable… If this is your goal, what are your measurable metrics you’re going to have? And you’d say, “This is what we’re going to do.”

Chris Hemphill (19:52):
Great. It’s awesome to have the right coalition, and right storytelling framework in place. Depending on how tight that connection is, and how your organization’s needs pan out, some stories are going to work better than others. Where’s a good place to get started?

Jean Hitchcock (20:07):
Obviously, new movers is always a great place to start, and in Phoenix… Forget about COVID. But Phoenix, for example, was the fastest growing county in the country. So, new movers would make perfect sense. There’s other parts of the country that’s losing population. So, that wouldn’t make much sense. I use a 10-point criteria of what to take to market. And it has things like, is the patient experience good? Does it make money? Are we clinically strong in that area? Probably the biggest piece is, do you have any capacity? The worst thing is to market something and people can’t get in. Is there a physician champion who can make changes? If the patient experience isn’t good, is there a doctor who can make it better? Type of thing. Is there spinoff revenue from this service? IVF, in vitro fertilization programs, is one of those things that has tremendous spinoff because of labs and what have you.

Jean Hitchcock (21:01):
So, you have to take a snapshot of where you are or your organization. And then the big one, which I think a lot of people are going to have to focus on more than they’ve ever had before. And because I came up through operations, I recognize how the ops people are so crucial. What is the throughput? Which goes to patient experience. I had a marketing professor that used to tell me to always look for the person who was the first who did something. And then follow to see what happens to that idea, whether it’s electric cars, 3D printers or whatever. So for marketing, my gold standard has been… And when I think about how they went from selling books to recommending purchases for me, to now everything from financial products to owning The Washington Post, it goes on and on.

Chris Hemphill (21:51):

Jean Hitchcock (21:52):
I think their insights into consumer buying habits is the gold standard. I think Apple has been somebody who went with the quality and never left that positioning. I once had somebody tell me that if Apple made white bread, they would buy it. Because that’s their reputation. And they really work on that. So, I look at those sorts of people that I am impressed by from a marketing perspective, but as a consumer, I was one of those PC people. We’re totally Apple now, kind of thing. So, I look at how they do it, and are there things that we could do differently? And years ago, I had an orthopedic doctor who said, “I want people to think of my practice like a fine French restaurant that they’ll wait months for.” And I said to him, “If I’ve got a bad knee, I’m not going to wait months.” That shows you how much we’ve changed where now people can do online scheduling. A consumer is really throwing their weight around in a way that they should have all along. And I just think it’s wonderful.

Chris Hemphill (22:54):
That gives us some action and some inspiration on how to kickstart these efforts. Awesome. Now let’s jump in. Wait, while that part can be exciting, going in without a plan is a recipe for your efforts to get railroaded. How to get to the seat at the table where marketing is strategic, rather than being a mission monkey for billboards and social media posts. David Marlowe, of strategic marketing concepts, has been helping healthcare leaders to do this for over 40 years.

David Marlowe (23:26):
The industry has gotten so reactive that it’s moved away from putting together marketing plans. It’s almost as if there’s no time. We just have to react. And the problem of course is, when you always live in a reactive mode, you never do carve out the time to put together a marketing plan. And you never get proactive. You’re always reacting to somebody running in the room saying, “I have this crisis. I have this. I need this. I need that.” And you essentially become order takers. And a good marketing function shouldn’t be… It’s not a restaurant. You shouldn’t be taking orders. What you should be doing is saying, “Okay. What’s the opportunity? What’s the problem? We’re bringing on two new surgeons that are going to give us a capacity we didn’t have before. That’s a great opportunity. What do we need to do to communicate that or to set up the marketing for that, to take advantage of that expectation?”

David Marlowe (24:22):
And I will answer that, that one of the things I worked with a lot of places are really emphasized, is that… I said the word communication a minute ago. But marketing’s a lot broader than communications. In healthcare, the typical hospital health system, it tends to be very communications oriented. That’s the way it’s evolved. That’s a lot of who’ve taken those positions. And that’s fine. That probably is 75% of what has to be done. But there’s a lot more to marketing than that, even if it doesn’t fall under the marketing department. So, for example, access. Are these new doctors located someplace I can find them? How do I make an appointment? Can I even get an appointment? Do they take my insurance? These are all issues that come into play. What’s the experience like?

David Marlowe (25:06):
I’ll use an example of hospital-based diagnostic imaging up against freestanding diagnostic imaging. To get an x-ray at a typical hospital, you got to park two Zip Codes over, find your way through the building, register, get to wherever or you can go to the freestanding diagnostic imaging center where you can park 25 feet from the door, register online, get it done and get out. Which one are you going to go to? So, that’s a marketing issue. Sometimes price is a marketing issue. So, all I emphasize to people is, I know you as the marketing director don’t necessarily control the price, but you need to recognize that if that’s a problem, build it into the marketing planning process so that it’s addressed.

Chris Hemphill (25:48):
Very nice, David. We’re off to a good start. Planning is the difference between an experience that delights patients or frightens them away forever. So, what does a good plan look like?

David Marlowe (26:01):
A good marketing plan basically connects what’s going on in the environment that the organization deals with. And I don’t care if the organization’s a hospital or a medical group or an urgent care center or home, whatever it is. What’s going on? What do people want? Is the population increasing or decreasing? What’s the payer mix? Who are you competing with? Whatever’s going on, connects that to where the organization wants to be positioned. And sometimes that position is real. Sometimes it’s aspirational. What marketing strategies are you going to put in place? 2, 3, 4, 5, whatever is reasonable, to achieve that position. And it might be communications, and it might be media relations, and it might be digital access or whatever it may be. Then it leads to what are our quantifiable objectives? And that’s, by the way, a big problem with a lot of marketing work. And a lot of marketing plans is we don’t measure what we’re doing.

David Marlowe (26:55):
So, what are our objectives? And then what are the specific actions we’re going to take in the next year to get there? And you pull that all together, figure out the resources to do those 20 actions, 30 actions, and there’s your marketing budget. And the marketing budget was tied all through all that whole plan. That’s really what a good marketing plan does. And what I try to teach people is, here’s the process. But whatever you’re going to include in your hospital plan, is going to be very different than that medical group’s plan. There’s not one size fits all. You have to reflect what’s happening in the environment. You also have to reflect what’s the marketing function. If it’s a one-person marketing department. That’s going to be a very different marketing plan than if it’s a 35-person academic medical center. Just reality.

Chris Hemphill (27:42):
A good plan obviously requires heavy reflection and preparation. But is that enough? Well, as John Steinbeck said, “The best laid plans of mice and men go off astray.” I think we can recall many times where we get railroaded because our leaders just don’t get it. Is there any way to work with them, and to win for the long haul?

David Marlowe (28:06):
Part of that is education. It’s getting people to understand what the role of marketing is. I think that’s gotten better. When I came into the field in 1980, nobody had a clue what to do, what marketing was. So, and it’s gotten better. I think more people understand it, but clearly it’s educational. It’s also involvement. In other words, in the marketing, people can’t go into a closet somewhere, come up with a plan and, “Lo, here it is.” If I have to put together a marketing plan for the diagnostic imaging area, I need to involve you, if you are the director of diagnostic imaging. I need to know what’s happening, what are your challenges, what are you trying to accomplish, okay.

David Marlowe (28:45):
So, it has to be us putting the plan together. It’s not this, I go off into this amorphous wilderness, and I create a plan and come back and hand it. And that’s true. I think a good human resources department works with its managers. A good finance department involves its leaders in budgeting, and they don’t just go make a budget in a closet somewhere and come back. I think maybe some CFOs do but no. I’m saying that it’s involvement. So, marketing becomes part of the organization’s culture, not this one-off specialty that we only see once in a while.

Chris Hemphill (29:19):
So, you’re not alone in this. You’re likely not the only person or department to have plans that have been side-railed. The key here is bridging the gap with other areas of your health system. David has more on that.

David Marlowe (29:33):
Let me give you a couple that are non-communications. And again, communication is a big part of what a good marketing department does, but I think the people who are getting this, who understand the communications component. So, let me give you a couple that are not. One of them was a hospital that was getting feedback, [inaudible 00:29:50]. It’s a market that there’s a high level of consumer price shopping. There’s a whole lot of high deductible plans. People are responsible for the first three or $4,000 out of pocket. So, when the doctor says, “Go get a CAT scan.” Until they meet that deductible, they’re paying for it. And all of a sudden they’re price sensitive to whether the CAT scan’s $300, 500. Of course you’re paying out of your pocket. So, they got a lot of feedback that the system-owned diagnostic imaging, the doctors were having a hard time getting people to go to it because it was a lot more expensive than the freestanding.

David Marlowe (30:24):
And what they did is they all sat down as a group. Marketing brought that to the forefront, said, “What can we do?” Finance adjusted some of the prices of some of the most commonly shopped services on top 10, if you will. And then marketing was able to put a campaign together to get that information back out to all the doctors. They didn’t advertise it to the public, because it’s not the kind of thing you run ads into the public. But they got the information to the doctors, and the doctors would say, “They’ve adjusted the prices. I’d really like you to get it here. And it’s not competitive.” So, there’s an example of bringing the whole group together.

David Marlowe (30:59):
Another quick one is a specialty surgical hospital I worked with not too long ago. It’s a doctor-owned hospital. There’s no emergency room. There’s no public. You can’t walk in. But it’s for orthopedic surgery and spinal surgery, now they’re specialized. And the job of the marketing department was to bring in new surgeons. That’s where the revenue came from. The problem was there was no operating room time available because [inaudible 00:31:24], the existing surgeons were always late. So, marketing was able to demonstrate and put data together to show what was happening. That it came down to about 10 doctors that accounted for almost all the lateness. And they started working with ways to get those doctors transported from their other hospital where they were working, get there on time. It is a lot of detail. But again, it wasn’t a communication solution. It was, how do we open up hours of operating room time so I can now go out and recruit another surgeon to bring in more revenue? It’s a very broad perspective of marketing. But what marketing did was able to look at a variety of data and say, “Here’s the problem.”

David Marlowe (32:06):
And don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of communication. It comes down to also understanding the service. If you have urgent care centers, you have to constantly promote them. Because urgent care is the kind of thing that we don’t really think about it until the moment you cut your hand, and now you got to get it taken care of. And there’s eight urgent care centers around there. So, I need to keep mine top of mind for you and easy to find. Because now you’re on “I got to get this taken care of now” mode. You’re not going to sit there and start doing a lot of Google searching. But it’s episodic, and I got to keep. So, there are communications but it comes down to the marketing director understanding the nature of how urgent care works.

Chris Hemphill (32:50):
And again, with all that effort, what if our leaders don’t trust the results? We’d like to get multiple perspectives on that.

David Marlowe (32:57):
That can certainly happen. Ideally, if you’ve shown a really well thought out methodology, that you can show this is what we did, here’s how many inquiries we got via the website or via the app, here’s how many of those inquiries converted into usage. And 70% of those were people we’ve never seen before, and here’s the revenue that was generated and actually collected. It’s a whole process. If you can have that level of discipline, of diligence, it goes a long way. Now, I’ll be direct about it. Politics are politics.

David Marlowe (33:35):
I’ve told people before, if you work for organization that you’ve done a good job and you really have created a good marketing function that’s on top of what’s going on, and is showing value. And at the end of the day, you’re getting poo-pooed all over the place, I hate to say it, it may be a time to think about working somewhere else. I know that sounds flipped but sometimes you can only hit your head against a wall so many times. Hopefully, you’ve got a leadership that says, “Hey, that’s okay. I see where you’re going with that.” But every once in a while, the reality is we work for places where they’re just never going to get it.

Chris Hemphill (34:12):
So, we started you off with how to break through the noise. That of course begged the question, we’ve got their attention, now what? And finally, David Marlowe wrapped it up with how to plan, and how to manage up. We meant for Hello Healthcare season one to guide you down the intersections of strategy, data science, and emotional intelligence. We wish you a fantastic transition into 2022. And we look forward to saying hello again for season two. Thanks again for tuning into Hello Healthcare. If you like what you heard, we appreciate a review on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening. You and your feedback fuel us. This conversation is brought to you by Actium Health. To get the latest on what these healthcare leaders are saying, subscribe to our newsletter on hellohealthcare.com or join us for our weekly sessions on LinkedIn. Thanks. And when we see you next time, hello.

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