How to Make Small Hospital Marketing Budgets Count

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , September 18, 2013

Engage With the Community
The sentiment is a win for the AHA and for DHHCC, which is tying its community partnership to specific marketing strategies. It's a smart tactic that smaller hospitals can learn from because chances are that partnerships are an untapped source for marketing that isn't being leveraged strategically.

Megan Maloney, marketing director for DHHCC, knows marketing budget challenges, but is blazing a new trail at the small system by tying its AHA partnership to cardio service lines at two of DHHCC's hospitals: French Hospital Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center. Together, both hospitals have 60% of the market share; Maloney is aiming to grow that by 3% next year.

"We've always tracked the community engagement activities with our disproportionate population, but the marketing… we've never tracked because we're a small community hospital," says Maloney. "We lacked the funds, the focus. Now things are changing so much in healthcare. I need to make sure we're very strategic in what we're doing. I need to make sure we are putting efforts toward programs and spending marketing dollars that are going to help and effect the population."

Mine the Waiting Room for Patient Feedback
Wright believes that service lines offer a tailor-made route to track marketing activities. And she's right. The message is usually aimed at a specific audience, and counting appointments made for a specific period of time after the campaign begins is a standard, effective measure of volume growth.

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