This post is the first of a seven-part series on healthcare marketing. It looks at the six critical phases of marketing that healthcare marketers should master to accelerate patient/client growth, increase revenue, reduce marketing expenditures, and build a high-performing internal marketing team. Subsequent posts, published weekly, will examine each of the 6-critical phases of healthcare marketing in greater depth.
Checkout the entire series:
This post is the first of a seven-part series on healthcare marketing. It looks at the blind spots healthcare marketers must address to increase patient growth, improve revenue and profitability, and build a strong, internal marketing team in the process. Subsequent posts, published weekly, will examine each of the 6-critical phases of healthcare marketing in greater depth.
Checkout the entire series:
Healthcare marketing can often feel like a roll of the dice.
Does this sound familiar?
- We need to bring in new patients but don't know how to attract them.
- We want to set goals, deadlines, and deliverables but don't know where to start.
- We have a vision but lack a strategy to get there.
- We're not sure which metrics to monitor.
- We don't have the time or expertise to fully understand what we're doing wrong.
- We have annual and long-term goals but haven't communicated them well.
- We're not sure if the marketing campaigns we outsourced are quality or junk.
But marketing doesn't have to be a guessing game.
In the same way you practice evidence-based medicine, you can also implement a proven process for building a marketing and campaigns that achieve predictable and consistent results. You just need a proven process that provides structure and insights so your campaigns and results continue to improve and provide a return on investment.
A truly efficient and effective marketing process enables the synchronization of executive management visions and goals with the executional efforts of sales, operations, finance, and marketing.
A process such as this must be tightly documented and run, so that employee turnover has little to no effect on planned outcomes.
The secret to high-performance marketing is getting the right optics on your strategy, tactics, and team
In a nutshell, if you want to turn your marketing team and budget around to generate exceptional results consistently, you just need to do six things and do them extremely well.
Those six phases are critical to marketing success and hold the key to revenue and patient/client growth.
- First, you must accurately identify where you are and where you've been.
- Next, you need to visualize and communicate to everyone where you're trying to go.
- You then need to properly identify and define every detail about your target market, how you will reach them, and your strategy for getting there.
- Once that's in place, your team needs to implement the tactics necessary to fulfill the strategic vision by following a well-documented execution plan.
- During this execution phase, you should hold your team accountable for specific metrics that indicate success or need adjustment. They should make those adjustments in real-time to achieve maximum results.
- Finally, you should continually evaluate your progress and define goals for the next iteration, ensuring everyone from the CEO to the sales team is on board.
The vast majority of healthcare organizations fail to get this right, and it's clearly contributing to the rapid failure rate of hospitals and medical clinics across the country.
Here’s an easy way to remember the six critical phases, so you can walk through them with your organization. If you want to get your marketing process straight, you really need to get eyeballs on every phase if it.
Think of the six phases as gaining “optics” on your marketing.
OPTICS — an acronym for Orient, Predict, Target, Implement, Calibrate, and Sync — is a trademarked and strategically-structured process designed to make your healthcare marketing more efficient, productive, and consistently effective.
OPTICS™ is similar in scope to the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) outlined in the book Traction by author Gino Wickman, except OPTICS™ dives deeper into EOS's sales and marketing portions. While EOS is about gaining and maintaining organizational traction, OPTICS™ is about growth acceleration and sustained velocity.
If you're concerned about patient and client growth, marketing team oversight, strategy development, metrics and standard operating procedures (SOP), vision and goal setting, and the quality and reliability of outsourced relationships, then implementing OPTICS™ in your organization is the fastest way we know of to get you where you want to go.
Let's touch on each phase briefly. (We'll go into more detail in subsequent posts.)
The Orient phase helps you clearly understand where your marketing efforts currently stand. The idea here is to take an accurate inventory of the past and present, so you can establish a baseline.
As part of the Orient process, you’ll want to document the past 1-3 years of marketing results, year-to-date results, any vendor relationships you might have, what marketing technology is currently in use, your current marketing budget, and a list of team members including responsibilities, strengths, and experience.
Perhaps the most important exercise in the Orient phase is to get a clear, step-by-step understanding of your Patient experience. We’ll cover that in more detail in our next installment of this series.
Once you assess your current state, it's time to visualize a better future. That's what Predict phase is all about. You will document your quarterly, one-year, and three-year goal-oriented vision here.
To effectively hit your desired targets, you’ll need documentation, a defined budget, and properly identified key performance indicators. You’ll also need to develop a well-thought-out campaign calendar outlining what you’ll be doing and when in order to accomplish your goals.
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is failing to specifically identify and target their ideal patients or clients. In the Target phase, you will need to define every aspect of your ideal patient or client.
What are their pains and frustrations? Where do they hang out? Who do they listen to for advice? What are the outcomes they seek? You will need to answer dozens of questions for your campaigns to be effective.
The Target phase is not so much about "reach and frequency" as it is about "audience and message." Once you nail that, you'll need to prioritize your marketing campaigns based on which will move the needle in the right direction the fastest.
Once you have assessed your current state, completed goal planning and targeting activities, and defined the strategy and tactics, it's time put it all into action. Part of that includes implementing an agile marketing process to ensure campaigns run on time and all stakeholders know their roles and how they are accountable.
As part of the agile marketing process, your team will use daily stand-ups and weekly check-ins with everyone affected by marketing, including operations, sales, accounting, and the c-suite, to ensure executional excellence.
Once you know where you are, where you're going, who you're targeting, and have started implementing campaigns and tactics, it's time to calibrate — evaluate and fine-tune your marketing activity for optimal results.
Calibration should be ongoing so that if campaigns aren't working, you can adjust quickly before burning months of expenses.
During this phase, you’ll need to pay particular attention to things like:
- Marketing processes and automation - to see what's broken and fix it.
- Your online reputation - to ensure referrals and ratings are moving in the right direction.
- Conversion rate optimization data - to examine whether your lead magnets are converting and, if not, determine the problem.
Finally, we get into the Sync phase. This is where you continually ensure that your marketing objectives and activities consistently synchronize with the goals across the entire organization.
While the Sync phase is the last of the six, the process doesn't stop there. The OPTICS™ Framework is essentially a continuous loop. The Sync phase is your time to reflect on and share lessons learned, establish new baselines, set new goals for the upcoming quarter, and see if longer-term visions need adjusting.
Each of these phases is critical to building a high-performance marketing team, so you can hit your growth targets consistently and accurately.
There are a great many elements to document in the OPTICS implementation process, but once you do them, you’ll have a system that runs smoothly and effectively. DO NOT take this documentation lightly, as it is essential for building a team with repeatable processes. For instance, in our OPTICS™ Academy, we provide an entire Notion database to help document, access, and share these items across your organization.
If you want to know how you currently stack up in each of the six critical phases of healthcare marketing, we recommend you take our quick self-assessment. It’ll give you a score in each of the areas along with suggestions for improvement.
Healthcare marketing does not need to be a guessing game. Implementing a proven process for marketing excellence will help you accelerate growth and achieve your goals consistently and effectively. The OPTICS™ Framework accomplishes precisely that.
In our next installment of this series, we’ll take a deeper dive into the ORIENT phase. Here you’ll get a closer look at importance of this phase, and why a proper review of your current state will effectively set up everything to follow.
If you're unsure if OPTICS™ will help your organization, schedule a free, 1-hour Marketing Diagnostic Consultation with us. We'll help you uncover any weak spots in your marketing process and identify new ways to accelerate your patient/client growth over the next 90 days.
Check out the rest of the series:
November 15, 2022
November 17, 2022
November 22, 2022