Successful marketers use data and people
CHICAGO—Many of UCHealth’s marketing campaigns have been successful—sometimes too successful, sometimes overwhelming the system. Luckily, marketers keep a close eye on the performance of their campaigns, so they know when to turn them on and off.
That kind of detailed measurement and nimbleness is crucial in today’s marketing environment, according to speakers at Modern Healthcare’s Strategic Marketing Conference last month.
“We’re in the business of marketing something nobody wants,” said Manny Rodriguez, chief marketing and experience officer for Denver-based UCHealth. “But just because you market to someone about oncology doesn’t mean the person’s going to get cancer tomorrow,” he said. “We’re creating a relationship versus trying to sell or pitch something.”
At UCHealth, much of that work depends on analyzing data to create insights marketers and others can act on.
But data alone aren’t enough, Rodriguez said. “Everybody has data,” he said. “It’s analyzing the data and creating actionable items from the data that matters."
That includes assessing campaigns that go well, not just those that go poorly. “If you focus so much on the negative, you might think there’s no way to change it,” he said.
Marketers should also apply lessons from outside of healthcare to the industry.
“I have learned so much in the past 18 months from partners in our city that are completely outside the industry but do things really well,” said Nikki Moll, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Baylor Scott & White Health, including how to stay on the cutting edge of social media programs.
Mayo Clinic interim chief marketing officer Maureen Bausch used what she’d learned in consumer marketing to help shape Mayo’s Super Bowl campaign. “We had to rebrand Minnesota in order to get people to come to Minnesota in February.”
But healthcare is, nevertheless, a distinct industry. For instance, industry insiders want exact proof of a process before they implement it, said Paul Schrimpf, a partner at Prophet. That could be because of how much they spend. Healthcare organizations allocate about the same percentage of their overall budgets into marketing as retail.
When marketers come to meetings equipped with data, they set themselves up for success, others
“Everybody has data. It’s analyzing the data and creating actionable items from the data that matters."
Manny Rodriguez Chief marketing and experience officer Denver- based UCHealth
“We’re trying to get out of being just order-takers and putting up a billboard to really trying to build relationships."
Nikki Moll Senior vice president of marketing and communications Baylor Scott & White Health
said. For instance, when the Cleveland Clinic ran an article headline for its May 2018 women’s health campaign that used the word “vagina,” some in the C-suite scoffed, saying it was off brand. When Cleveland Clinic's director of content marketing, Amanda Todorovich, presented data showing how well the campaign performed—its click-through rate was the best of the month—they were sold. “We know our audience and we write for them,” she said. “We don’t write for the C-suite.”
To that end, marketers must keep a close eye on patients’ digital experience with health systems, presenters said at the conference. “The online experience is sometimes more important than the physical patient experience,” Todorovich said, “and we sometimes forget that.”
Health systems can use digital tools to address what patients might see as shortcomings of that physical experience.
For instance, Buffalo (N.Y.) Medical Group pushes out content that addresses underperforming areas, such as long wait times. By explaining that a delayed doctor could be addressing emergencies, marketers can send the message that the doctor will always care about patients in need, said Christie Witt Berardi, the medical group’s chief marketing and experience officer. That’s more effective, she said, than
guaranteeing a certain length wait time. “Your patients will hold you accountable,” she said.
“A brand is nothing more than a promise; a great brand is a promise kept,” said Nick Ragone, chief marketing officer for Ascension, the nation’s largest not-for-profit system. “Marketing helps establish the promise, but every physician, clinician, and associate is charged with keeping that promise every day.”
How marketers communicate those messages is crucial. “We’re trying to get out of being just order-takers and putting up a billboard to really trying to build relationships,” Baylor Scott & White’s Moll said. The system’s recent brand campaign, for instance, used micro-sites for individual geographic communities. “We’re trying to be much more targeted,” she said.
But technology alone isn’t enough for high-quality marketing. Technology, data and expertise can't create a human experience, said Suzanne Martineau, chief human insights officer at marketing agency SCC and the conference’s closing keynote speaker. For a full human experience, marketers must create empathy, and to do that, they can turn to storytelling. “Humans tell stories,” she said. “It’s how we make sense of our lives.”
“Your patients will hold you accountable.”
Christie Witt Berardi Chief marketing and experience officer Buffalo Medical Group