Eight health system and hospital marketing executives weigh in on what their teams will focus on during the upcoming year.
As we settle into the new year, hospital and health system marketing leaders have hit the ground running with marketing strategies for 2023.
HealthLeaders asked several marketing executives: What marketing trends are you currently following and what will be your main focus to make 2023 a successful year for your marketing department and organization?
While the answers vary, the consumer remains at the center of healthcare marketing, much like during the past year. Read on to see how eight healthcare marketing executives will execute their marketing strategies this year.
Lee Echols, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Northside Hospital
"In 2023, the Georgia-based Northside Hospital system will continue communications that acknowledge patient sentiments, and that are aligned with their health, social, and cultural experiences. As we typically do, we'll try a few new strategies. Our community partnership program is very strong and will broaden into new areas this year. We'll also stay on brand with our very successful 'Look To Northside' campaign, reviving it occasionally with tighter targets in mind."
Jennifer E. Gilkie, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Dartmouth Health
"Like all healthcare organizations, we are grappling with the increased demand caused by the 'tripledemic,' ongoing workforce challenges, inflation, and supply chain issues that are causing even more economic stress than what we experienced during the first three years of the pandemic. That said, we are optimistic around the opportunity this presents for the strategic impact which marketing can make—now more than ever during these challenging times.
"At Dartmouth Health, we are focused on thoughtfully positioning ourselves through the use of storytelling tools to deliver content through targeted channels, with an emphasis on new digital formats and enhanced use of video to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. As part of our brand journey, we spent a great deal of time understanding what makes our internal and external audiences passionate about who we are [and] what makes us distinctive in the market. We used this knowledge, along with data and analytics, to build our communications and marketing strategies, including where we need to 'be seen' and deliver what consumers think and want."
Sandra Mackey, Chief Marketing Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health
"2022 ended with the healthcare industry experiencing turmoil and economic challenges, which we expect to continue throughout this year. As marketers, it is our responsibility to be nimble in an environment of economic uncertainty while providing consumers with the broadest access to high-quality care across our communities. Our pivot from more traditional forms of marketing to those that demonstrate tangible results allow us to optimize in real time. We employ an agile test and learn approach that enables us to lean heavily on digital capabilities, which both creates efficiencies and produces meaningful data that informs our decision-making. Doing so has allowed us to demonstrate how we're driving growth and impacting the bottom line, as well as giving us the opportunity to glean quick insights and rapidly refine our approach as we go. We will continue to implement agile marketing strategies that enable us to leverage consumer insights much like other industries, such as hospitality, have been doing for years."
Nisha Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, City of Hope Orange County
"Major cancer centers understand that the disease we seek to treat and cure is complex, not just as we develop medical breakthroughs but also for care delivery. No organization can do this alone. It takes collaboration with like-minded partners to find solutions and make them equitably accessible.
"Last year, we opened City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center and brought in many partners along the way by developing innovative affiliations with the public and private sectors, as well as forming traditional and non-traditional relationships. This greatly expanded our reach, enhanced innovation, and allowed us to further our vision of democratizing cancer care. From a marketing perspective, it also challenged us to broaden our narrative, reach out to diverse communities, and take advantage of new tech formats to enhance the patient experience.
"In 2023, our marketing team will continue to use data and digital tools to enhance these relationships and ensure we are reaching those needing our services. With one in three Americans receiving a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, we are compelled to come together, be highly effective in our work, and make this the decade of new hope and, eventually, cures."
Nick Ragone, EVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Ascension
"We have several marketing priorities for 2023, including social validation and storytelling—making sentiment and reviews available for consumer preference and bringing to life the shareable stories of Ascension's compassionate, personalized care from our associates, our patients, and their families in their own words. [We are also] further aligning our marketing technology stack as a growth function with our digital and operational experience, and creating multi-touch, integrated marketing campaigns that will focus on leading with quality and highlighting the advancements our providers and sites of care are making across Ascension."
Chrisie Scott, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Virtua Health
"Orienting to the ever-evolving consumer will continue to drive our 2023 marketing strategies. The aftermath of the pandemic, combined with economic uncertainties and the acceleration of digital technologies, will influence how we deploy our brand to new and existing consumers. We recognize that today's consumers place a higher emphasis on authenticity, transparency, and diversity than ever before. They expect relevant and seamless messaging and experiences across all channels—in person and digitally. Being intentional about delivering simple and personalized experiences to various segments will be key to our ability to build trust, inspire engagement, and engender loyalty.
"Our initiatives around creating ideal experiences in 2023 for 'everybody, always' will include marketing's influence on the experiences we extend to one-another within our workforce. Virtua Health has prioritized investing in well-being practices, and personal and professional skill development as a strategic imperative to nurturing an inclusive, caring culture."
Ramon Soto, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Northwell Health
"Northwell Health is focused on ensuring we deliver better health for all the communities we serve. One way we do that is by taking a deep look into what consumers' attitudes are regarding healthcare at both an individual and societal level.
"Regarding consumers, coming out of the pandemic, individuals are much more aware of the value of good health and the status of their own health. It leads to an opportunity to have a very different conversation about how we take the healthcare journey with an individual and how we can partner with them for better health.
"On the social health front, guns have become the leading cause of death for children in the US, as reported by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. [It's] an absurd place for this nation to be. Gun violence is a top concern for society. Northwell has moved forward with a gun safety campaign that has the potential to create great social good, save children, and address an important healthcare concern."
Eric Steinberger, Chief Marketing Officer, Atlantic Health System
"As hospitals and health systems complete a challenging finish to 2022, I am looking forward to a 2023 that will bring further opportunity for connecting with consumers in more personalized ways. By focusing on the end-to-end consumer experience Atlantic Health System recognizes that customers expect convenient digital tools and enhanced personalization to make the process of receiving healthcare in line with the evolution of their experiences across other industries, such as retail and financial services.
"The year ahead will be defined not just in how we reach consumers, but by the information we share with them. We are focused on creating consumer-first content. Because consumers are as proactive as ever about managing their health, we need to create content that is relevant to them and distribute in formats and channels that are convenient and fit into their lifestyle. As an organization we remain focused on creating health equity and reaching underserved populations. Marketing is a critical partner in helping ensure we are continuing to build trust in all of the communities we serve."
“As marketers, it is our responsibility to be nimble in an environment of economic uncertainty while providing consumers with the broadest access to high quality care across our communities.”
— Sandra Mackey, Chief Marketing Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health
Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.