Big Marketing on a Small Budget

Anna Webster, April 27, 2011

Healthcare marketing is a unique beast to tackle when compared to other fields. Marketers cannot guarantee their work. Quality is tough to measure. Healthcare is a service most people use because they have to, rather than because they want to (except for those who like lounging in examining rooms and undergoing surgeries). And because privacy standards are set high, there are limits on data usage.

In order for healthcare marketers to be credible, they need to be able to prove the worth of their efforts, especially in a cash-strapped economy. It is tough to determine when and how each marketing dollar tied to a campaign will pay off. Example: If there is a campaign promoting the emergency department of Hospital B, there’s no good way to tell who chose Hospital B as a result of the campaign, and who chose it for other reasons.

Though the measurement of marketing dollars can only go so far, I wanted to explore some ways healthcare marketers are watching their ROI and making the most of their  budgets.

Genesis Health System in Davenport, IA started a blog in 2004 to educate their patients about bariatric surgery. The blog features bariatric surgery patients who provide regular updates about their experiences. In order to see the blogger updates, viewers must sign up and provide information such as email, address, age, and how the viewer discovered the blog.

Smart move. Collecting this small sample of information is vital when it comes to measuring how people are responding to a marketing effort.

Anna Webster Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Anna Webster, Online Content Coordinator for HealthLeaders Media, can be reached at
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