Study: Healthcare Marketers Report Their Biggest Success in 2022 Was Driving Patient Appointments


New report from Actium Health reveals 3 out of 10 marketers typically exceed their organization’s appointment-booking goals

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 13, 2023  – Actium Health, healthcare’s leading CRM Intelligence company, today released the results of a study of healthcare marketers that reveals their priorities, budgets, successes and failures – and how best to activate patients to take action for their health.

Key findings:

  • Three quarters say their outpatient volumes have increased over the past 12 months.
  • Seventy-one percent (71%) report they are evaluated on appointment bookings.
  • 1 out of 3 marketers cite ‘referrals’ when asked which initiative they have the most room for improvement, followed by patient satisfaction scores (24%).
  • More than half of respondents (55%) expect their 2023 budgets will decrease either somewhat or a lot.

Marketers are overwhelmingly measured on their ability to drive appointment bookings

Healthcare marketers cited the following as their top priorities over the past 12 months:

  • Define brand strategy/build the brand
  • Digital marketing and social media
  • Data-driven marketing techniques, analytics and modeling
  • Grow outpatient volume
  • Drive appointment bookings

But when it comes to how the marketing department is evaluated by their healthcare organizations, respondents cited the following measures:

  • Appointment bookings
  • Outpatient volume
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Outpatient service line revenue
  • Inpatient service line revenue

For many organizations, driving those appointments is a shared responsibility with medical groups (75%), service lines (58%), operations (46%) and strategy/innovation (25%).

“Overwhelmingly, marketers are measured by their ability to drive patient volume and appointment bookings,” said Alan Tam, Chief Marketing Officer of Actium Health. “One thing missing in these findings is a high prioritization of patient retention. When [new] customer acquisition can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, it makes sense that healthcare marketers move retention up in their list of priorities, and identify tactics and tools that both activate patients to make appointments and cultivate a sense of satisfaction and loyalty while doing so.” 

Taking the pulse of healthcare marketing tactics and tools: CRM is not enough

Over the past 12 months, 3 out of 4 marketers cite their outpatient volumes have increased as a result of the following tactics: paid media campaigns (71%); always-on campaigns (71%); ad hoc campaigns promoting specific services (61%); online scheduling (52%) and increased physician capacity (32%).

When measuring the effectiveness (defined as “extremely effective”) of the tactics used to activate patients to book appointments, marketers cite:

  • Paid media campaigns (59%)
  • Online scheduling (45%)
  • Always-on campaigns (41%)
  • Mobile app (23%)
  • Ad hoc campaigns (22%)

Interestingly, the effectiveness of these tactics does not necessarily align with the usage of each. For example, 89% report using paid media campaigns, while only 59% cite them as “extremely effective.”

When asked which execution tools they use to activate patients to book appointments, 3 out of 10 marketers cite customer relationship management (CRM), with 44% saying this tool is extremely effective. Following CRM, 23% use paid media, with 35% describing this tool as extremely effective.

“The results of this survey highlight that CRM alone is not enough for what healthcare marketers - and the organizations they represent - are looking to achieve,” said Michael Linnert, founder and CEO of Actium Health. “Like healthcare delivery itself, effective patient outreach marketing is about aligning the solution to the delivery. Just as you wouldn’t use a general anesthetic when a local works equally well with lower risk, you don’t need a broad marketing campaign when you can target them to your highest value patients most likely to make appointments — and make it easy for them to take action.” 

With 55% of marketers anticipating their budgets will decrease this year, 2023 could represent a good opportunity for healthcare marketers to reevaluate the tactics and tools they’re using in order to identify those that are extremely effective, demonstrate a significant ROI and address multiple priorities at once.

Actium Health will be hosting a webinar on Healthcare Marketing: Truths, Myths, and Trends Happening Now on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 3:00pm EDT / 12:00pm PDT with the Hileman Group, Cedars Sinai, and Oho Interactive to discuss and explore the results of this survey. The full report will be made available upon the conclusion of the webinar for all attendees.

Survey Methodology

Actium Health partnered with the Forum for Healthcare Strategists to administer the online survey to its membership in November 2022. A total of 52 senior-level healthcare marketers responded.

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For media inquiries, please contact:
Kristin Faulder (on behalf of Actium Health)
(586) 419.4652