By Mike Milligan, President of Legato Healthcare Marketing
I have a question for anyone in healthcare marketing – whether you’re a CMO, marketing manager, PR specialist or somewhere in between:
How confident are you in knowing the steps it takes to
elevate your marketing role in your organization?
It’s been a long, uphill battle for communications champions to get a seat at the C-suite table. Even for those who’ve pulled up a chair, it can be a continued struggle to have your voice heard?
Do you have these qualities?
A recent Deloitte study revealed the top factors driving CMO/Communicators’ success include:
- Knowing how to use customer data and analytics.
- Having an enterprise-wide business mindset.
- Being the voice of the customer at the leadership table.
- Proactively leading C-suite collaborations.
This closely aligns with responses Legato received when we asked rural health leaders what qualities they demand in their marketing champions. Their responses included: strategic, results-driven, big-picture thinker, revenue driver and collaborator, to name a few.
Not to make assumptions, but it would stand to reason that most communication leaders possess several of these qualities. But what many don’t realize is that the view from the top is changing – rapidly.
Those serving in this type of role are now expected to be problem solvers vs. taskmasters; proactive vs. reactive. And if the transition from a “service” department to a “strategy” department has yet to begin, there’s no more waiting. It’s time to make your move.
Following the steps below can help you deliver on what CEOs expect from their communication champions – and help you elevate your role in your organization.
- Take on the mindset of a CEO:
Familiarize yourself with your organization’s strategic plan:
- Provide recommendations how communications can impact the plan.
- Gain an understanding of finances.
- Review data trends and how they impact the hospital, e.g., increases/decreases in service volumes; click-through rates for social platforms and email open rates.
- Schedule an interview with your CEO:
- Ask questions, like: What should marketing’s role be in the organization? What suggestions do you have for me to better understand the finances of healthcare?
- Agree upon communication goals that are aligned with business goals.
- Gain knowledge as a forward thinker.
- Identify trends in patient acquisition and retention.
- Learn about new communication opportunities, e.g., voice-activated search.
- Develop a competitive analysis. Then schedule a presentation with leadership to share your insights.
- Develop an annual communications plan
After obtaining consensus on measurable goals. Some key points to incorporate:
- Strategies and tactics that effectively reach your organization’s short and long-term goals
- Communications’ budget, which is aligned with priorities/future growth potential.
- Lead the process:
Prepare monthly performance dashboards and present findings to leadership and the BOD:
- Use year-over-year dashboards for annual communications planning and budgeting.
- Feature measurable data points.
- Be visible:
Listen, learn, observe and engage – outside of your office. A few tips:
- View your organization through the eyes of the patient (e.g., service, signage, customer experience).
- Schedule regular communication updates not only with leadership but with all staff and employee ambassadors.
You can start to develop your role as a strategic leader now by attending the webinar I will be leading on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST titled "Professional Development: Elevating Your Role in Your Organization."
Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations Society, this webinar will focus on self-reflection and demonstrate ways to elevate your role as an innovative, strategic leader in your organization. Based on interviews with healthcare CEOs from around the country, learn what attributes these leaders seek in their communication champions, and how you can adapt your approaches to provide maximum value to your organization. Learning objectives include:
- Understand expectations leaders have of their marketing & PR professionals
- Discover ways to elevate your role in communications
- Learn to engage with your leaders to receive feedback and implement your plan of action
To register for this professional learning opportunity, please click the graphic below:
 Deloitte and the CMO Council, The CMO shift to gaining business lift, December 2016.