Communication Strategies: Proving Marketing’s Worth to the Hospital C-Suite

Data analysis and reporting are an essential component of the hospital marketing department’s responsibility – measuring the success of marketing efforts is critical for informing future tactics and helping to secure budgets.

Marketing reporting has become much easier and more accurate with the adoption of technology, such as a CRM, that improves organizations’ capacity to collect, organize, and analyze data.

In order to get buy-in from executives and secure budgets, hospital marketers need to be able to communicate their successes effectively. The hospital C-suite, including the CEO, CFO, CIO, and CXO, is tasked with overseeing the organization’s operations and steering it towards defined business growth and financial performance goals. Since marketing is a vital contributor to hospital growth, the C-suite needs to receive regular reports that clearly communicate successes.

Forum Research found that while the majority of healthcare marketers are sharing metrics with the C-suite, they are focusing on non-financial data, which is not immediately useful to executives. To shift toward a reporting method that works best for the hospital C-suite, marketers first need to understand what metrics are most valuable.

Key Metrics the Hospital C-Suite Needs

Hospital marketing departments handle a lot of data, including customer demographics, campaign history, and clinical conversion numbers. While it’s important that marketers store all available data, it is not necessary for them to present the C-suite with every single metric.

When it comes to marketing reporting, C-level executives prefer data that is easily digestible, clearly actionable, and focused on ROI. The C-suite is responsible for making high-level decisions that affect the hospital’s business performance – as a result, they are primarily concerned with metrics that impact financial outcomes and growth, such as:

  • What risk, economic, and competitive trends are likely to impact performance?
  • Which marketing and promotional activities directly contribute to revenue?
  • How do markets and consumers perceive services, brands, and system strategies?

To give the C-suite what they need, healthcare marketers need to develop a streamlined and comprehensive communication plan. The challenge is consolidating vast amounts of data into the key insights executives want.

How to Effectively Communicate Marketing Metrics to the C-Suite

One effective way for marketers to communicate their work to the hospital C-suite is to utilize an executive dashboard. An executive dashboard presents key marketing insights based on healthcare CRM data and analytical insights. These are used to provide valuable, easily digestible information.

In order to create a dashboard that meets C-suite needs, marketers need to initiate a conversation with executives to determine which metrics are most useful and what an ideal dashboard looks like. Most likely, the C-suite will ask for data that will give them the ability to correlate marketing performance with business and financial performance quickly. A few key metrics may include:

  • The overall campaign conversion rate
  • Campaign ROI
  • Numbers of generated leads
  • Cost per acquisition

With this knowledge in hand, marketers can go about creating executive dashboard-based reports that will help the C-suite guide the hospital towards its business goals. Successful reporting also helps marketers communicate the value of their department and secure future budgets.

When presenting executive dashboards at the agreed-upon intervals, typically monthly or quarterly, hospital marketers should:

  • Focus on the selected metrics
  • Be brief but thorough
  • Be transparent about results, both positive and negative
  • Be prepared to answer questions
  • Practice beforehand to ensure timeliness and clarity

Frequent and effective communication of metrics gives C-level executives the information they need to get a clear picture of marketing’s work and make business decisions quickly.

Case Study: Lehigh Valley Health Network

A good example of a healthcare organization that effectively communicates their marketing data to the C-suite is Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Dan Lavelle, Administrator of Marketing at LVHN, explains that their marketing department realized they needed to quantify ROI in order to “change the way [they] reported on multi-channel marketing and efforts and provide data to prove [their] marketing effectiveness.”

With the goal of ensuring marketing had a seat at the organization’s strategic decision table, LVHN spoke with their C-suite and together decided on eight metrics they would present quarterly. LVHN marketers then went to their IT department to create an executive dashboard that would be linked to their HCRM.

The eight metrics LVHN presents to their C-suite each quarter are:

1. Top highlights from the quarter, including completed campaigns, cumulative leads, ROI and conversion rate, and quality of conversions

2. Rolling performance from quarter to quarter, which helps the C-suite put marketing metrics in context

3. The insurance status of conversions, since LVHN sees the most ROI from commercially-insured patients

4. Campaign details, such as maturity, growth, and completion percentages

5. Cost per acquisition specified by region to measure brand strength

6. Lead origins, such as whether leads are coming from digital or call center resources

7. Cumulative ROI of all campaigns

8. Percentage of patients served who are commercially-insured

Notably absent from these metrics are vanity metrics such as click-through and impression rates. These numbers, while important for marketers to track and analyze, do not move the needle across the entire organization – and are therefore excluded from the C-suite report.

Final Thoughts

The hospital C-suite has a lot on their plates, so marketers need to be efficient and respectful of their time when presenting reports. By focusing on the key metrics that matter and forgoing complicated, difficult to interpret spreadsheets and graphs, healthcare marketers help the C-suite get the valuable insights they need to make strategic decisions across the organization. In this way, the hospital marketing department can prove their worth and help drive overall hospital performance.

Chris Girardi

Chris Girardi

Chris Girardi oversees all staff and functions of Evariant’s multi-channel digital media offerings including planning, analysis, management, execution and analytics. He has over eight years of experience in digital media and direct response marketing.
Chris Girardi