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Showing posts from November, 2008

Evidence-Based Strategy

Though some physicians I've talked to seem to loathe the term "evidence-based medicine," it's a long-overdue attempt to ground decisions on the care of individual patients in "...the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence..." (Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, courtesy of Wikipedia.)
As this new culture takes hold throughout the medical community, it seems fair to ask whether evidence-based discussions might benefit other processes outside of the clinical realm, say, the process of crafting organizational strategy.  And what might "evidence-based strategy" look like compared to current practices?
Some planners may argue with me on this point (actually I hope they do; sparking arguments is one of my goals for this blog) but large briefing books and PowerPoint decks, though ubiquitous, are not by themselves evidence for anything except planners' inability to separate the "vital few" facts from the trivial ma…

Is Health Care "Marketing-Savvy" Enough?

A recent Linkedin query asked whether the healthcare industry is "marketing-savvy" enough?

My answer:
I agree that...compared to a decade ago, health care providers' marketing budgets are way up, but you shouldn't infer from that fact that marketing is getting savvier or more sophisticated.

From my experience (20+ years in the provider trenches) a huge obstacle to the more rapid diffusion of more sophisticated marketing approaches is pervasive CEO unwillingness to demand more of their marketing departments: more visible results, more accountability, more bang-for-the-buck, more customer engagement, more process improvements, more adoption of innovative approaches from other industries, etc.

If the CEO is not educated on what marketing CAN be and what it COULD do, it's difficult to set different and/or higher accountabilities for the marketing function. And, regrettably, hospital marketers are frequently content with the situation as it lets them off the hook …

Terms Of Engagement

Since this is a relatively new blog I think it's only fair to warn you about a few things, since they drive the perspectives from which I write.

First, the best definition of marketing I've ever encountered: marketing is the disciplined, organized pursuit of revenues.

Second: the best definition of branding I've ever encountered: a brand is not what an organization says about itself, but what that organization is capable of doing, willing to do and actually does.

That's enough for now. Stay tuned.Over the next few days I'll be developing the concept of "evidence-based strategy."


Google Flu Trends

Using Google Flu Trends to track this season's flu epidemic may give your organization's response a two-week head-start. According to Google's web site:"We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for "flu" is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.It'll be interesting to see how Google's forecast correlates with this season's actual cases. If it works, look for more early-w…

The Health Of Health Care

Health care was once thought to be relatively recession-resistant. Not so, reports today's Chicago Tribune in a story about Moody's forecast of softening demand, tightening credit and declining reimbursement.
Certainly in good times but especially in bad, health care providers are way too passive about growth, tending to view top line revenue as fixed and pretty much out of their control. Neither is true, but if you believe it is, expenses are the only lever left to pull. And so it becomes that after much effort spent on reengineering, budget-cutting and de-layering, what's left behind is an organization too shell-shocked and untrusting to heed a "we now need to grow..." message.
Using a biblical term, successful organizations - those achieving true strategic separation - spend the "years of plenty" deepening loyal customer relationships and building robust growth-oriented cultures, recognizing them as the necessary seed corn for surviving the inevi…

Draw A Line...On The Wall

Business Week covers Dr. Donald Berwick's efforts to remake health care. Sometimes innovation is as simple as a line on a wall.
Now the question is how to turn that line - and the quality improvement it represents - into a strategic differentiator.  I.e. what's in it for the customer, as we marketers would put it?  Higher quality at the same or lower price means an improved value proposition.  In any other industry, that's a winning hand.

Knock! Knock! Anybody Home In H-R?

Despite the economy, there's still a war on for the best talent.  Always will be.  Give me the best of the best and, even on a playing field tilted against me, I'll take market share away from your merely-average crew every time.
Thus it's a mystery to me why so many organizations maintain such user-unfriendly "talent acquisition systems" on their corporate web sites.  Don't believe me?  Pretend you're a job-seeker and "mystery-shop" your organization's process.  Ask yourself how many otherwise stellar people you've driven away.  
I'm betting the number is more than zero.  Ask yourself where they went.  Maybe to your competitor?  Can you afford it?  Maybe what's saving you is you're no worse than anybody else.