What Challenges Do You Face Post-recession?

4 09 2010

I just came across a recent study and wanted to share the results. Accenture reached out to 400 individuals in lead marketing positions at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue to ask what issues were most important as they move ahead.  Here are the results:

 SOURCE:  Onward and Up: How Marketers are Refocusing the Front Office for Growth, Accenture.

Surprised?  I have to say, I am not.  For years now I have been advising healthcare providers to focus their marketing on three core things. It may sound simplistic, but I feel they hold the keys to your success.  But I will admit I order them a bit differently: 

 (1) Never take your eyes off of your prospects — keep your primary focus on acquistion of new patients. And don’t forget that often means your key target is your referral source and not the patient himself. (Channel management is key).

 (2) Build relationships with your current patient base to ensure loyalty. This means you need to start conversations and learn what is important to them. Work to develop meaningful touch points in your communications, use experiential tactics and CRM to cross-sell services over time. Don’t ever assume that exposure to you once will guarantee return visits.  Research shows not even women who deliver their children at your site maintain loyalty to you over time. Needs change and patients shop by condition and even body part these days. Take nothing for granted — work to earn loyalty.

(3) Increase revenue. Seems so simple but I see this as a blend of the #3 and #4 issues on the Accenture study.  You need to be a true marketer and not just a communicator. Work with your leadership and clinical teams to develop new services and products of value to your community. Whether this means you need to recruit in new specialists, acquire new technology or simply extend current offerings, product development is key. But you don’t have to be wildly innovative or invest a small fortune to increase sales — simply making services more accessible (think online registration, second opinion programs, online health risk assessments, same day appointments, retail clinics, etc.) can extend your reach and increase your traffic and revenue.

While the Accenture study was not an exclusive healthcare study, I must say they results were great to see. They confirm that I am not completely crazy and only add validity to my strategic marketing platform and the need to keep your focus narrow and course steady.  When its time to start market planning for your next fiscal year, keep it simple and work to acquire new patients, enhance loyalty and increase revenue and you will be well on your way to meeting your organizational and departmental objectives.

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