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Lemonade, Anyone? The Upside of Marketing Healthcare in a Recession

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2009

Is it possible that there are some positives when it comes to marketing in a recession? That there is a silver lining to the mess we're in now? There are, according to sources I interviewed for my story in the August issue of HealthLeaders Magazine, "What Resonates Now." From a surge in creativity to an opportunity to make some beneficial business deals to a chance to do the right thing, there is an upside to marketing in a recession.

A Cycle of Creativity
"Nature runs in cycles and this is a cycle," says Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, CEO and creative director of the Atlanta-based ad agency Tribe, Inc. "The important things about the recession is to use it as a time for planning and building as a brand or marketer."

It's also "a great time to reinvent, to zig where you've been zagging," she adds. "It can be a very creative time for brands and companies."

A Renewed Focus on What Counts
The recession can even provide marketer's with a "teachable moment" for service line directors and others who clamor for marketing attention, even if their department isn't performing. Healthcare organizations should be putting their marketing dollars behind those services that which will bring them the greatest revenue in the shortest period of time, says Rob Rosenberg, president of Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, Ltd. in Arlington Heights, IL. The recession "gives good marketers an excuse or a reason to be even more disciplined in using the criteria and educating service line managers to step up."

And, he adds, "When the market swings back, they're going to see the benefit."

A Bevy of Business Opportunities
Stewart Gandolf, founding partner of HealthcareSuccess.com, a healthcare marketing consultancy based in Irvine, CA, says marketers should reevaluate their vendor and supplier contracts in tight times. "This is an opportunity to renegotiate longer contracts and get a much better rate," he says. "If you want to negotiate, cash is king and longer-term contracts are better."

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