By Jamie Gier, Chief Marketing Officer, SCI Solutions
A recent article on health system marketing spend in the U.S. cited a 2009 survey by the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and stated that “the average marketing budget for an American hospital ranged from $1.3 million for an independent hospital to about $5.8 million for a big health system.” What is remarkable about this is that after activating clever marketing strategies to attract new patients, many hospitals lose them due to bad customer service. What’s worse is that some patients don’t even make it to this point – they experience barriers to entering the health system during the patient access process, making the money that was spent up to that point a complete waste.
As I thought about my own 2015 marketing budget, I contemplated the ways that I could best allocate my dollars – but maybe more importantly, give our customers a good experience that perpetuates their loyalty to our company. This area is something I believe many health systems must better navigate, particularly in this new era wherein they are losing revenue to declining inpatient volumes and need to not only better attract patients and partners, but also retain these people, too – in order to bolster the economic health of their business.
I recently wrote an article touching on this topic in Becker’s Hospital Review, outlining the ways in which Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and the patient access departments of health systems must align efforts more closely, making marketing dollars work harder and last longer, to actually bring patients into the system. The article also explores how these considerable investments are thrown away when health systems don’t make it easy for patients and other stakeholders to do business with them – or get premium value for what they purchase. The article explores the ways health systems can extend collaboration to drive ROI – and also apply new technologies, tools and strategies to close the patient access gap, improving overall satisfaction for patients and bolstering revenue for health systems. For a fraction of what CMOs spend monthly to attract patients, hospitals can implement these new practices in order to help them admit new patients, and keep them loyal to their network.