To drive sustainable growth in a tough economic landscape, hospitals and health systems are making big investments in optimal service line and ambulatory strategies. Ensuring the organization’s consumer marketing plan is fully aligned is critical to financial success.

To be among the successful health systems of the future, you must have two things. The first is system-wide alignment around your long-term strategic growth plan that includes a shared set of goals and performance metrics. The second is deep market intelligence, including rich consumer insights, to serve as the foundation for shared decision making and tracking progress against agreed upon goals.

At most companies, strategy is a highly abstract concept — often confused with vision or aspiration — and is not something that can be easily communicated or translated into action. But without a clear sense of where the company is headed and why, lower levels in the organization cannot put in place executable plans. In short, the link between strategy and performance can’t be drawn because the strategy itself is not sufficiently concrete.

Many hospitals and health systems are failing when it comes to mastering organizational alignment around a strategic plan. Only 14% of employees understand their organization’s strategy and less than 10% of all organizations successfully execute their strategy. If your system can establish alignment, you’ll be doing better than the vast majority of your competitors, which inevitably translates into growth and measurable success for your hospital or health system. You need a cross-functional growth team comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders ranging from the CEO and CIO to leaders of strategy and marketing to actual consumers in your market. This is the only way you can validate perceptions of what is valued in the market and optimally differentiate your services from all angles.

Start your strategy session by asking the questions:

  • Who are our actual competitors?
  • What are their capabilities and strategies?
  • How are they positioning their service lines in the market?
  • How will we compete?
  • How will we distinguish and differentiate our service line from those of our competitors?

As your healthcare organization works on enhancing your consumer experience strategy, your teams may be relying more heavily on IT to support your investment efforts around consumer-centric data and processes.

If so, you’re not alone. Increasingly, other business units, from marketing to customer service, are turning to IT to support the technology they need to achieve their consumer experience goals. In fact, Salesforce.com reported that 77% of IT leaders believe they now act as an extension/partner of business units rather than as a separate function.

But, how can IT help marketing, sales, and service teams deliver on your consumer-centric initiatives?

How IT and Marketing Teams Can Work Together for More Success
Enhancing the healthcare consumer experience may seem complicated, but establishing a shared vision and roadmap across your organization will help streamline your efforts.

Your goal in bringing IT and marketing together is to bridge any gaps in technology. You’ll have to develop that process from the inside out, taking a look at what assets you already have on the table and then what features and use cases you’re missing. Any potential solutions will have to be vetted both for marketing’s needs and IT’s requirements – be that how quickly marketing wants to move on developing new landing pages or how a solution is structured to handle PHI. Don’t forget to expand your efforts to include stakeholders from other business units, including operations, security, and clinical care teams, as you continue to map your strategy.

If everyone can agree on essential requirements, then finding the right solution or solutions to help you achieve your goals will be a much easier process. This allows investments to be made strategically and data to be better integrated and exploited to its full potential. Having a roadmap also helps you avoid missteps in the consumer journey that lead to frustration, disappointment, and a lack of trust and loyalty.

Getting Outside Support
Sometimes bringing IT, marketing, and other business units together can be done more easily with an outsourced solution. Often, an objective third-party is better positioned to present a cohesive, holistic plan independent of departmental or personal bias.

Your healthcare organization may want to consider hiring a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) to lead consumer-focused change and oversee digital investments. Consulting firms or outside experts may be best suited for facilitating information gathering, sharing, and cross-team planning.

Finding Solutions That Work For Everyone
Choosing the right technology can be instrumental in helping your cross-functional team more easily achieve your consumer experience goals.

As data-driven insights become more and more important to provide the kinds of personalized, relevant experiences consumers expect, IT will need to equip marketing, clinical, and operations with specialized data analytics capabilities that can identify meaningful differences and patterns of change in consumers’ behaviors and preferences over time. A healthcare-specific CRM solution should enable you to leverage predictive analytics to glean these insights and build dynamic campaigns around them.

When you want to create personalized experiences on the web, you need to be able to develop, deploy, and maintain multiple assets, content types, and publishing outputs with ease. When your marketing team is heavily reliant on IT to build web pages or update sites, you end up with bottlenecks because of differing priorities. The right content management system will enable marketing to launch multiple projects concurrently, test new campaign ideas, experiment with new delivery methods, and nimbly respond to changes and challenges in the marketplace – without requiring IT handholding at each step.

If you can find solutions that meet multiple stakeholders needs simultaneously, you can focus on getting the work done and engaging your consumers more effectively rather than fighting internal battles and struggling to get buy-in.

Want to learn more about building a better customer experience across your healthcare organization? Read our Healthcare Consumer Experience white paper.