Effective Healthcare Marketing Starts with Viewing It Through the Right Lens (Part 2 of 7) 

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November 17, 2022

This post is the second in a seven-part series on healthcare marketing. This installment looks at the first of six critical phases healthcare marketers need to go through to accelerate patient/client growth, increase revenue, reduce marketing expenditures, and build a high-performing internal marketing team. We will address the other phases in subsequent posts weekly.

Checkout the entire series:

How clear is your marketing lens?

This post is the second in a seven-part series on healthcare marketing. This installment looks at the first of six critical phases healthcare marketers need to go through to accelerate patient/client growth, increase revenue, reduce marketing expenditures, and build a high-performing internal marketing team. We will address the other phases in subsequent posts bi-weekly.

Checkout the entire series:

Every marketer has a lens through which they view their job. That lens colors their perspectives, and in turn their approach to strategy development, campaign design, tactical implementation, and decision-making. 

However, too many rely on what they see most frequently when making marketing decisions, a lens prone to guesswork, lacking empirical evidence. 

Often, what they think is an appropriate marketing strategy or an effective campaign is an "optical illusion." What they perceive to be effective because it is so prevalent isn't, in fact, effective at all.

That’s why it’s important that you gain “OPTICS” on your entire marketing operation and process, because 90% of what you see being done out there is just plain wrong.

Follow those strategies and tactics and you’ll end up losing money at best or out of business at worst.

That's where implementing the OPTICS™ Framework in your healthcare practice or business can help.

OPTICS™, as stated in the first segment of this series, is an acronym for Orient, Predict, Target, Implement, Calibrate, and Sync.

The OPTICS™ Framework is a six-phase process that helps you bring your vision and goals into fruition through an easily managed process for strategy development and execution. Follow this framework and you will eliminate the guesswork in marketing through a well-disciplined marketing structure.

This proven process exponentially increases the effectiveness and returns of your marketing efforts.

Think of it as the right lens to help you see and achieve your marketing goals.

The Orient Phase is the first phase of the OPTICS™ Framework.

We call this the Orient phase for good reason. It’s where you get completely oriented to your current capabilities as well as to your past performance. It is designed to help you get the most accurate picture of where your marketing team, assets, and efforts currently stand. 

The Orient phase is critical because it requires that you take an inventory of the marketing assets you have or need to improve your fortunes. 

It also forces you to take an eye-opening look at your historical successes and failures.

It’s critical that everyone on your team understand where you’re succeeding and where you need to make changes. This way, you can better allocate your budget to accelerate investments in strategies that work while redirecting funds away from the marketing investments that are less successful or losing money.

In the Orient stage, you’ll need to conduct a detailed assessment and audit of the following areas: Year-to-date results, vendor relationships, your marketing technology, budget, and team, and the patient/client experience.

Year-to-date Results

Year-to-date (YTD), obviously, refers to the period beginning the first day of the calendar or fiscal year up to the current date. YTD information gives you a good look at your current trajectory. You’ll want this to establish a baseline as you make strategic and tactical adjustments moving forward.

Questions to consider when assessing YTD results include: What have you tried year to date? What are the results thus far? Are those results tracking to get you toward your year-end goals?

One thing you’ll want to create at this stage is an archive of campaigns and resulting data that you've run in the past. This archive should be easily accessible and searched by all marketing stakeholders because they allow you to continuously improve and not repeat past mistakes.

Vendor Relationships

Every marketing team and department must outsource parts of their tactical execution. The vendors you select play a significant role in determining your marketing success. You must ensure that everyone on your team, including agencies and outside vendors, is executing effectively. This means setting clear priorities and expectations and holding people accountable for results.

This also means that someone on your staff needs to know what “good” looks like.

All too often, we’ve seen clients who kept vendors on for years not knowing that the results they were getting were far below average. If those clients had some level of expertise in knowing what results were possible or even just average for their industry, they would have terminated that vendor and the client’s marketing and revenue outcomes would have been completely different.

Questions to ask when assessing vendor relationships: Other than your team, who's handling various aspects of marketing? Do you have an outsourced media buyer, advertising agency, or other creative talent? Who else have you worked with in my industry? What references can you provide? Can you show me the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or conversion metric dashboards of a few of your typical customers (without the names being exposed, of course)?

The bottom line is you should provide your vendor with your own KPI expectations and confirm they understand them and are confident they can achieve them.

Marketing Technology

Effective marketing technology (often referred to as a "martech stack") can help you deliver real business impact, but you need to know what it consists of. That means conducting an audit of all the tools, platforms, and systems your marketing team uses. You also want to know what each tool does, how it should be used, and what it costs.

All too often in these audits we uncover hundreds if not thousands of dollars being spent each month on martech tools that no one uses, because they were purchased by someone who failed to pass on the knowledge or access to others prior to their departure.

You will then need to document the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their use. This process will help you uncover any redundancies, find new capabilities, develop a better working knowledge of existing systems, and plan a strategy roadmap for more efficient use.

For instance, if you are using marketing automation software (e.g., HubSpot, Marketo, Active Campaign), someone should document the SOPs for building a specific type of automation (like a lead magnet download or a webinar conversion).

Other tools that could benefit from SOP documentation include customer relationship management systems such as Salesforce or Pipedrive, content management systems like WordPress, audio software and equipment, cameras, lighting equipment, etc.

Aside from your tech stack, include any marketing collateral, like direct mail pieces or specialty advertising items, in the audit as well.

Marketing Budget

Another step in the Orient phase involves analyzing the current marketing budget, how well you stick to it, what hoops your marketing team has to jump through to utilize it, and what you do with any excess or shortfall requests.

One of the key components to analyzing a marketing budget is to determine what percentage of your marketing dollars are spent on activities that have a measurable return on the investment.

This information is essential, because your organization's growth hinges on your ability to measure marketing effectiveness. Your budget may determine how much you have to invest, but how you will spend it should be highly governed by your ability to gauge a return on that investment.

The allocation of your marketing budget needs to be the clearest of all the lenses you look through. Spending money on marketing tactics that provide no means of measuring a return is like driving down the interstate looking at your cell phone. You might get away with it for a few brief moments, but that lack of attention will kill you in the long run.  

Some elements to review:

  • YTD spending compared to sales and revenue. Some marketing expenditures are easier to measure ROI — a pay-per-click Google Ads campaign or a direct mail campaign, for example — while others, like PR or print campaigns, are less so.
  • Marketing goals. Setting clear goals will help you focus on what you want to achieve with your budget. It gives you a roadmap to follow to keep you from going off-course.
  • Changes in the market. Have there been changes in your industry? How is the economy doing (i.e., Is there a recession or growth spurt?) Has the cost of your products or services changed?
  • Market trends. Do any new industry trends exist that could affect your budget?

Marketing Team

Next, you’ll want to examine your current marketing team and the skills they possess. Assess strengths and weaknesses and look for gaps. Building and managing an effective team can be challenging, but it is essential to hitting short-term and long-term growth targets.

One of the most common ways to organize a team is by function based on the skills each area requires. That could include everything from a social media team to search engine optimization specialists to graphic designers, website developers, and content creators.

Questions to consider as you think about organizing a team include:

  • What goals are you responsible for achieving?
  • Who are your target patients/clients?
  • What are your marketing team's primary responsibilities?
  • In what ways does your marketing team support the larger organization?
  • Are there multiple product or service lines to support?

Also, ensuring all team members are working toward the same goal requires that they look through another lens: the company's growth vision. This means having regular check-ins and meetings to discuss goals, progress, roadblocks, and successes.

Patient/Client Experience

Another critical part of the Orient phase involves auditing your patient or client experience. One of the best ways to do that is to take a page from retailers and use a "secret shopper" who anonymously goes through the process of becoming a patient or client and documents or records that process.

The steps might include making an appointment online or over the phone, attending the appointment, and following any appointment-related action items. The person then offers feedback on their experience.

This approach is designed to help your organization and the marketing team get necessary information to better understand the patient or client experience from start to finish. The goal is to improve the experience, leading to happier, more loyal patients and clients who choose your facility or practice over competitors.

Aside from skills and objectives, your team will need systems and processes in place if you want to achieve any level of consistent and scalable success. OPTICS™ provides you with the framework to organize and document your SOPs to build and scale a high-performing marketing team.

Documenting the Orient Phase

There are many things to document in the Orient phase, none of which you should overlook. Good documentation provides a "wide angle" lens your team needs to get a 360-degree view of the current state — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — covering the entire range, including YTD results, marketing technology, budget, and team, and the patient/client experience. 

When you implement OPTICS™ through our OPTICS™ Academy, you get access to a Notion database template that helps you efficiently document, access, and share these items across your organization.

If the lens you're looking through seems out of focus and is potentially inhibiting your patient and client growth, marketing effectiveness, or business development efforts, then implementing OPTICS™ in your organization is the ideal long-term solution.

You can deploy OPTICS™ in two ways:

  • Bring in an implementation specialist to work with you.
  • Implement OPTICS™ at your own pace by becoming a member of the OPTICS™ Accelerator. Accelerator members get access to our OPTICS™ Academy, the OPTICS™ Accelerator community, and twice-a-week group coaching calls with our OPTICS™ implementation specialists.

To see if OPTICS™ could be the right lens to help your organization reach its marketing goals, schedule a no-cost, 1-hour Marketing Diagnostic Consultation. 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