Usually when you blog from a healthcare conference like CHPRMS, you listen, write and post as quickly as possible. With Chris’ presentation on Thursday, December 2, I knew that would not be the case.
His enlightening presentation on measuring healthcare marketing was a call-to-action for marketing professionals to better prove their worth as budgets, strategies and staff positions continually appear under the cost-cutting microscope.
In a world where many executives view marketing as an expense; Chris wants to help you demonstrate the value marketing efforts bring to your organization. He never suggests measuring is easy, but proving results builds a measurement discipline in your marketing program, puts efforts into perspective and shows what works.
His five steps for measurement:
Define the activity.
Pinpoint what you’re going to measure (and what you’re not going to measure) and when.
Identify desired metrics.
Will success be measured in financial metrics such as revenue, contribution margin or profit margin, acquisition cost or ROI? Or, will metrics be behavioral, to analyze real action and impact. Volumes, admissions, visits? Referrals? Website traffic or social media activity? Or, is your metric attitudinal such as awareness, perception, satisfaction or simply a willingness to recommend to others?
Set the measurement categories.
After you identify what’s to be measured and the metrics to measure by, establish categories for measurement. Check out page 21 of Chris’ presentation for activities and categories to measure joint replacement surgery volume, seminar attendance and a special joint pain are of the website.
Establish pre-activity numbers so you can measure ongoing and final usage. Establish how long measurement will last. The time length will depend on whether you’re measuring a marketing initiative for micro-level impact or for long-term macro-level results.
Evaluate and report.
Don’t wait. Be objective. And don’t hide bad answers or expect perfection. Chris likened marketing reporting to grand rounds. Rounds aren’t held to assign blame; they’re to see what works or doesn’t. He suggests approaching reporting like science: did an initiative meet your expectations or not? Measurement helps to understand why it did or why it didn’t.
His parting tips?
Negotiate your success up front. Being thorough on the front end inevitably refines marketing objectives. If you’re looking for a five percent bump in orthopedics, that’s a start. Be more strategic. Is success more joint replacement procedures? If so, which kind? Are there specific DRGs or payor mixes?
Be cautious with your objectives and focus on outcomes, not actions.
Create proxy actions. As marketers, we cannot drive heart surgery volume directly. We can, however, engage people in cardiac-related proxy actions that indirectly impact the cardiac program: screenings, measurable behaviors, heart-healthy recipes.
The big takeway? Healthcare marketing measurement will empower your organization’s marketing efforts and you as a marketing professional. Do it!