How Do You Quantify Your Healthcare Marketing?

If you’re reading this, your employer is likely reacting to the new marketplace post-ACA, with incredible shifts in the way it does business: reimbursements are shrinking, margins are getting tighter, and quality of care will be more important than quantity. For marketers, the battleground for consumer choice has also been shifting: many important healthcare decisions are no­t being made while driving past expensive billboards and listening to radio ads, but during one-minute Google sessions on mobile phones.

To survive in this new world, the entire healthcare industry has been taking a critical look at how it does business: reallocating resources, changing processes, and taking measured risks. C-suite members are zeroing in on key clinical metrics like readmission rates, length of stay, and medical errors so they can make decisions on how to allocate resources for them. Can marketing be the same way?

If you want your marketing to be viewed as a useful asset and not overhead that needs to be slashed, you must measure results on what’s working, and scale, improve, or discard what’s not. You must also make room for thoughtful risks that can provide learnings (“there is no fail, only try”). “Because we’ve always done it like that” needs to be stricken from your vocabulary, not to mention its cousins, “because our patients aren’t tech-savvy/young/interested,” and “because Dr. X likes seeing our ad in the newspaper.”

It might sound scary to challenge assumptions, but the benefits are two-fold: you’ll have data to tell the story of how you market your organization, and you can use the data to get better at your job! You can put some free tools to use: sitealerts.com, Builtwith Technology Profiler, Google Analytics, and the bit.ly link shortener (to track clickthroughs via social media) can all make your job easier.

Here are some tips for quantifying your marketing:

  • Find gaps between a patient searching on Google and making their decision on where to receive care. Conduct an A/B test to see if you can improve your conversion rate.
  • Benchmark your data against competitors.
  • Benchmark your data against comparably-sized best-practice leaders.
  • Compare your level of investment (whether financial or time-based) to the engagement that results from it.

You can’t tell a doctor how to perform cardiothoracic surgery, or an emergency room director how to properly triage patients, but with quantified data on your marketing, you can demonstrate to them how to interact with their patients in a digital world. With buy-in, to paraphrase the great Gary Vaynerchuk, you can stop marketing like it’s 1990, and start marketing to your patients in 2014.

Find More Ways to Quantify Your Marketing Efforts

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Note: A version of this article appeared in the June issue of the Public Relations Society of America Health Newsletter.

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