Overcoming Consolidation Challenges for Healthcare Marketing and Strategic Planning

Overcoming Consolidation Challenges for Healthcare Marketing and Strategic Planning

Maintain a Growth Mindset in the Face of Tightening Margins and Shrinking Departments

By Lee Ann Lambdin

As healthcare margins continue to tighten and consolidation remains a reality for many small hospitals, numerous marketing professionals are feeling the need to validate their impact by developing marketing strategies based on reliable, data-based intelligence. The pressure is on to stretch marketing dollars as far as possible, and it’s important for marketing outreach to be focused and data-based

Marketers and strategic planners alike are facing a new reality that requires them to do more with less. Many who haveiStock-538661656 (1).jpg marketing in their title are also responsible for planning and strategy as well, and it’s apparent that this phenomenon is due to one of two things:

  • Either there was never a planning position or strategy has increasingly become a more important function for the hospital or health system so this job was given to the department that made the most sense: marketing.
  • Or, the planning position was eliminated over time and the function was consolidated with the marketing function.

Additionally, planning departments are shrinking with the evolution of decision support departments. Whereas there used to be financial analysts, quality analysts, planning analysts and marketing analysts, now all of these positions fall under one category: decision support. Having worked at a number of hospitals and health systems, I have been able to watch this phenomenon in real time. While I was VP of Planning and Business Development at Covenant Health, I had a team of four that reported to me-- a statistician, two analysts, and an administrative assistant. Now, however, that same role has no one under them and must rely on decision support for all analytic work.

Some have lamented this loss of the specialty analyst in planning and marketing because these analysts have that rare combination of both creativity and analytics.  

  • Analysts need to understand the issue, the problem, the question. They need to understand how numbers and analytics can help them answer the question.  
  • Additionally, they need to be creative regarding how to look at the numbers and what they mean and what to do about them.  

Even in the face of consolidation and ever shrinking marketing and strategy budgets, there remains a need for an overall growth strategy that can be clearly articulated across the organization. Marketing teams cannot effectively market without an overall strategy in place to direct their focus and guide their goal setting. Furthermore, service line development will be stalled without a clear and focused overall strategy in place to guide the hospital or health system’s growth planning initiatives.  

Stratasan’s Launch Pathway can be the solution to the loss or lack of analyst power. Stratasan has done the hard work of creating a tool that can provide organization-wide alignment around market data and make it easier for teams to facilitate high-level strategic discussions. Everyone can be on the same page about where to focus their time and energy and will be empowered to set annual growth goals that are ambitious, yet attainable. Equipped with the right software, your team can make real-time decisions based on a universal understanding of market data intelligence.

If your hospital or health system is feeling the strain of tightening margins and department consolidation, be sure to carefully consider the tools available to your organization. If your team is not actively using a strategic intelligence tool, consider how it might be the right addition to your growth strategy. Set up a free strategy session with Sean Conway via Calendly today to learn more about the Launch Pathway platform.

Article by Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of Healthcare Strategy for Stratasan

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