February 15, 2018

Does My Hospital Need a Newsletter?

Every healthcare marketing and communications (MarCom) leader has heard this question from a service line or physician leader. Somehow, a newsletter is going to put their program on the map, drive volume, attract new referring physicians and make them profitable. But isn’t this the same fantasy thinking that supports billboards as business drivers?

At AB&C, we have worked with many healthcare clients who want to take their programs to the next level. But many of these clients still ask us to employ outdated MarCom tactics instead of more effective modern methods. Never has the need to evolve the MarCom function been more important. The world has changed.

Not long ago, communication was a one-way street. You wrote a newsletter, sent it to your readers, and they either read it or ignored it. Nowadays, communication flows both ways thanks to social media. We still publish information, but now our readers respond back to us, leaving comments and sharing with their friends.

It’s up to MarCom leaders to educate their clients about this evolution, and to put a context around all marketing and communications tactics. MarCom leaders must be able to identify the most effective and efficient tactics to achieve the organization’s business goals. And digital marketing should be a major component of any marketing plan. However, few clients truly understand how it works, much less how it drives business.

It’s important for MarCom leaders to remain current and design their programs around organizational priorities and the marketing environment in which they live. Both traditional and digital advertising have a role. It is up to MarCom leaders to know which tactics will get the desired results.

As an agency with a strong healthcare practice, we have also seen the changing staffing patterns within healthcare MarCom. As departments shift to more digital activities, they are in need of social media strategists, data analysts, web developers and such. These are jobs that didn’t exist 15 years ago within MarCom, but are now the essential building blocks of any successful program.

But what about the “traditional” side of marketing? Doesn’t that need to evolve as well? Of course.

Content remains king, and should always have multiple uses. Good writers and editors are still foundational functions within MarCom. And with the inclusion of medical-group and health-plan marketing in any healthcare MarCom portfolio, an effective leader must be able to integrate, repurpose and align to keep the message on-brand.

At times, this can seem overwhelming, but true healthcare MarCom professionals embrace the challenge, because the results can be so significant.

Changing healthcare has been a recurring theme for many years in all media. That rate of change affects all parts of the healthcare industry, including marketing and communications.

But unlike other parts of healthcare, MarCom can learn from other industries and adopt best practices, especially in digital marketing and communications. We all must embrace technology and the changing marketing demographics of different personas, and execute campaigns accordingly. If we don’t, our competitors will. And you will find yourself losing in your own market because you didn’t change with the times or recognize the impact for your organization.

Let us help you evolve your marketing and communications program, and grow your business. It can be a scary world out there, but we are here to help.

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