Dear Hospital Executive,
I have a question for you. Why is it so difficult to track and measure the ROI of your marketing investment?
Marketing represents an investment; otherwise, the hospital CFO could just flow it straight to the bottom line. Any investment should pay off with an expected ROI, yet marketing dollars frequently don’t. Recently, I met with a hospital system who spends more than eight figures with no predictable cost per new patient discussion from their agency.After surveying over 100 different decision makers from hospital systems, Response Mine Health discovered that only 50 percent of hospitals are using a marketing agency to hit their patient acquisition goals. That means half of hospital executives don’t see the value in using an outside agency and, of those that do, our results found what they wanted from their agency varied drastically.
Today’s hospital marketing agencies are paid well, often in excess of $300,000/ FTE working on an account. If they charge full media commissions, the costs can be higher. So as a professional service offering, why don’t agencies quantify the growth of your service line patient candidate volume due to their marketing efforts?
After all, isn’t that what they promised during the pitch process?
This is because we, the marketing agency, fail our clients. Here are the three main ways we are failing you.
1. Agencies aren’t transparent in the way they charge you.
Often you are billed for hours even when goals aren’t met; this is the equivalent of fee-for-service charges not being tied to business outcomes. In fact, the whole timesheet thing is basically a dartboard of inaccuracy with agencies commonly estimating hours at the end of the month and moving hours around between clients and projects.
This fee structure inspires agencies to focus on creative production and research, but not on the desired result—increasing patient volume and accomplishing business goals.
2. Agencies are terrible at on-time delivery.
Advertising used to be completed on the agency’s drafting tables and sent to the magazines for publishing. Client’s didn’t need to implement. Implementation was outside of the hospital. In today’s world of digital marketing and growing health consumerism, advertising requires a lot of technical integration with the client’s website, their CRM systems and their patient contact center. This coordination of multiple internal system stakeholders requires excellent project management skills. Otherwise, even marketing becomes another failed implementation. Most agencies—especially content marketing and branding agencies, just don’t have the skillset to understand the internal team communications needed to get landing pages, lead capture forms, accurate tagging and measurement, and content approvals done on time.
Deadlines get missed. Strategy gets watered down just to get something out the door.
3. Agencies don’t fully understand your business and therefore have the wrong strategy.
This is the worst crime of all. You hire us for our innovative expertise and to demystify the new age of marketing to drive more patient and procedure revenue. Yet, we parade our volumes of content marketing strategy and engagement metrics as if that’s sufficient to put heads in beds and fill your waiting rooms. It’s not.
Marketing is a system of interdependent events that persuade an audience to respond, not just engage with them. Engaging is not yet a sale. Any advertising that does not measure response is spurious; and, sadly, most agencies can’t measure responses, much less appointments and consults.
Worse yet, today’s marketing executives rarely comprehend the true impact systemic leverage that a patient care coordinator can offer in marketing. Your patient contact center’s conversion rate can make or break a marketing effort, and that is rarely accounted for by outside agencies.
At Response Mine Health, we recognize these agency failings because we have often been guilty of them ourselves. We looked in the mirror several years ago, and we had to admit that if the campaign fails to produce a measured increase in patients, we were at fault—not the client, not the website, not the call center. We are hired to provide clarity on what is necessary to make a client’s marketing budget multiply their revenues.
Hospital and medical group marketing are entering a new era with new stresses and a lot more competition. At Response Mine Health, we haven’t solved every problem, but if you’ve ever experienced some of the problems above, if your marketing isn’t producing the results you need or the revenues your hospital hoped for, we’d be happy to share our strategy.
Call us today and let’s have a chat.
Response Mine Health
Is your marketing agency failing you? Download our “7 Questions to Ask Your Agency for a Healthier Marketing Strategy” checklist to find out if it’s time to start shopping for a new agency.