• Alan Shoebridge

Healthcare marketers: How do you feel about 2018?



Continuing the trend for the past few years, healthcare is in an exciting period of innovation and change, which is pushing marketers, communicators and strategists to respond in kind. Yet, change is rarely easy, resources for most organizations are constricted and the pressure to show immediate results grows stronger every day.

Add in that during the past two weeks alone we’ve seen major disruption happening in the healthcare space with confirmed and potential “mega mergers” between CVS/Aetna, CHI and Dignity Health, and Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health. On the latter two developments, Forbes did some excellent reporting on what this might mean for healthcare overall.

Adjusting to healthcare's new normal

Given all of the churn in healthcare right now, I look ahead to 2018 wondering whether my fellow professionals are optimistic or pessimistic about the future. One way to answer that question is to consider whether you expect additional support and investment from your organization next year, and during the next 2-5 years.


Given the current economic climate, encouraging additional investment in healthcare marketing won’t be easy. That's especially true when you consider that every dollar we would like our organizations to spend is competing against critical funding for patient care, charitable giving, employee engagement and other priorities.

I wrote a similar message to this in 2016 and I feel like my sentiments and strategies are the same now as they were then. My overall approach will be one that is firmly grounded in reality. This quote from William Ward is a favorite of mine and best sums up my philosophy:

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

Focus on the fundamentals

For healthcare marketers, adjusting the sails means staying - or getting back to being -focused on the fundamentals. You can do that by:

  • Explaining where, when and how marketing can have the most impact

  • Moving to measurable ROI for the majority of your work

  • Becoming more proactive than reactive

  • Working with partners to make sure business goals are clear

  • Accepting that we won’t get all of the resources needed, but making the most of what we are given now to encourage investment in the future

  • Stopping or redirecting work that has minimal value

Embracing reality doesn’t mean you stop dreaming, innovating or building a case for what you truly need. However, being realistic will help ensure you get moving without delay next year and extract the maximum value out of the resources you have been given to work with.

That sounds like a pretty good year to me, but how do you feel?


3 resources for your journey:

#Marketing #Healthcaremarketing #Planning #2018

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