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Claiming Marketing's Seat in the C-Suite

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, October 5, 2011

If a healthcare organization were a dinner party, the marketing team would play the role of host.

Think about it – the host is the first person to make an impression by opening the door and welcoming you to their home. The host is also expected to greet everyone at the party. Plus, the host cleans up after any messes.

If you've ever hosted a dinner party, you know this role is easier said than done. Hosting involves more than just being charming, attentive, and generous with the goodies – the same goes for the role of a healthcare marketing and communications team. 

The perception of the marketer is often the person in charge of funky swag, signage, and the silly gimmicks to grab patient attention. While part of this may be true, the role's reach and responsibility go beyond the ability to order promotional items bearing the hospital logo. The marketing and communications department is often the team most connected to all initiatives in a healthcare organization.

Despite marketers' importance, they are frequently left on the outside of the C-suite's strategic planning efforts.

Only 27% of 493 respondents in the 2011 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey identified the chief marketing officer as a role represented on the senior executive team (the inner circle that works together on strategic planning).

Eight titles were ranked higher than CMOs for inner circle representation.

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