The Coffey Blog

Top takeaways from SHSMD Connections 2016

Posted on: Monday, September 26, 2016

SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy & Marketing Development) Connections brings together healthcare marketers from all over the country. The Coffey team attended this year like we've done for decades. Together we learned from industry experts, networked with peers and took home best practices to share with our staff—and you.

4 marketing strategies to take you further

Here are four of our favorite takeaways from some sessions we loved at the conference:

1. Think like a CEO. It takes a solid relationship with the C-suite to implement marketing strategies that work. But how often do we get an uninterrupted hour with the CEO to hear what he or she really thinks about marketing?

"The insider look at what makes CEOs tick is what I liked most about this session," says Coffey's Eric Dutton, Business Development Consultant. In the session, "The Naked CEO II," a panel of three CEOs led by two moderators offered secrets about what CEOs need most from healthcare marketers.

Each CEO revealed how they're expected to drive business through various departments while being held accountable by the board. They shared that most CEOs need to be generalists who focus on the big picture. That's why they rely on the marketing department to plan and execute the organization's marketing strategies—to sweat the details. CEOs also expect marketers to do their homework before they dive into a new initiative or request new budgets. They want answers to questions like these:

  • How does the initiative align with the mission of the organization?
  • How does it align with the strategic goals of the organization?
  • What is the implementation plan?
  • How are you going to measure its success?

What you can do: Think about how you will implement marketing activities that get results—before you speak to your CEO.

2. Measure metrics that matter. "One of my favorite sessions was 'Marketing Metrics That Matter: Determinants, Drivers and Opportunities' by Preston Gee, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Christus Health," says Katie Oblisk, Business Development Consultant at Coffey.

More than ever, measuring the right metrics matters. The session offered insights on how Christus Health developed a method for measuring their marketing initiatives—and how that data was used to further improve the system's overall performance.

The health system began by:

  • Aligning the metrics to be measured with the organization's goals.
  • Emphasizing volume, market share and financial metrics.
  • Prioritizing projects based on the recorded metrics.

Christus Health framed their key performance indicators (KPIs) based on what was important to their healthcare consumer. They asked hard questions like whether the organization was delivering on promises made to patients and their families. They also had multiple departments within the organization track KPIs to help assure they were capturing the entire patient experience.

What you can do: Measure the right metrics based on your organization's goals. Use the data to make improvements in the way marketing projects are prioritized and how those strategies will improve the lives of patients.

3. Personalize patient connections with marketing automation. With so many traditional and digital communication channels available now, automation—the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes—is often needed to help achieve marketing objectives and maximize ROI.

The Coffey team gleaned helpful tips from two healthcare marketers who successfully use an automation platform to offer healthcare consumers personalized content. They discussed how setting up workflows to match what customers want is key to driving engagement and conversions online.

These workflows generally focus on acquiring new patients. Still, as marketers, we can do more to engage and retain healthcare consumers. We can also look for ways to prioritize automated messaging goals that focus on the most crucial audiences and also achieve measurable results.

What you can do: Embrace a digital communication strategy that includes marketing automation to connect with patients when they need you most. Nurture specifically prioritized workflows, measure your results and keep adjusting your approach as needed.

4. Apply analytics and predictive modeling. Strategies that make healthcare marketers more successful energize our team here at Coffey. That's why we liked the session on "The Many Applications of Healthcare Analytics: Market Planning, Social Good and Donor Acquisition." Presenters offered tips on how to measure data and use it to prioritize projects.

When using data to improve your marketing approach, first take a step back. Begin by focusing on the collection of quality data—not the quantity. Decide what data points you need to track, and work with other departments to set up a tracking system throughout the organization. Analytics from quality data is more useful. With it, you can answer bigger questions about your marketing efforts to know what's working and what isn't. This makes you even better at supporting your overall mission, social goals and growth objectives.

Predictive modeling allows you to take the data a step further. It gives you a clearer picture of current and potential patient needs. Modeling is based on certain criteria so that you can better reach patients with messages tailored to them, making them more likely to respond. That means you can make smarter decisions about where to spend your time and money as a healthcare marketer.

Using analytics and predictive modeling also shows you unserved areas of business where you can focus. Remember, big data isn't just for clinical settings—it can drive business throughout your organization.

What you can do: Collect quality data. Analyze with the end result in mind. Use predictive modeling that helps you identify new opportunities to serve your community even better.

Consider the possibilities

We hope you enjoyed reading these four take-away messages from SHSMD and that at least one of them helps you expand your healthcare marketing goals. We'd love to help you achieve those goals. Connect with us so we can share ideas and best practices with you.

We look forward to seeing you next year at SHSMD Connections 2017!