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Don't Let Lack of Metrics Sink Your Hospital Marketing Department

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, July 24, 2013

The notion that it's too hard to determine the value of a marketing strategy is common. And it could be negatively affecting the way that marketing departments are viewed within the C-suite.

Spending money without knowing what you're getting in return is something most of us recognize as a bad idea, yet hospitals and health systems continue to approach their marketing this way.

For some organizations, tracking the value of a marketing dollar is qualitative and therefore generating ROI isn't easy. For example, the owner of a family practice in the Midwest told me last week, that it was "impossible" to determine the ROI of its marketing, which consists of its physicians being "very involved" in the community by way of attending chamber of commerce meetings, local community events, and the town's high school sports games.

As the owner of that practice put it, "How do you put a value on a physician being present at chamber of commerce meetings?"

As a writer and observer of healthcare marketing, I had no advice to give, but the implication that it's too hard to determine the value of a marketing strategy is something I hear a lot. And, it could be affecting the way that marketing departments are viewed.

With shrinking margins and price pressure mounting, C-suite executives are eager to see meaningful numbers from every department. Not measuring the ROI, even qualitatively, of an organization's marketing efforts, is one of the barriers to a marketing department's desire to be seen as strategic partner that supports the vision and mission of a hospital system.

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