A look back at hospital marketing trends: Brand Introspection

2016 hospital marketing trends wrap-report

Note: This is part of a series of blog posts related to our 2016 Hospital Marketing Trends White Paper. We will review and discuss one trend a week, and provide feedback about what happened in 2016 and what’s to expect in 2017. If you’re interested in finding out more, then download our 2017 Hospital Marketing Trends white paper today. 

Due to significant changes in government and our current political climate, the future of healthcare is more uncertain than ever before. Although we can’t predict what’s in store for next year, when you’re informed about the past, planning for the future is easier.

We recently challenged our agency to review our 2016 Hospital Marketing Trends white paper and report about what stayed the same and what changed for the future.

Here’s what we came up with:

What we said:

With the rise of mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare space, more hospitals and health systems will put marketing dollars towards internal alignment. The first step to effective healthcare marketing is organizational culture. Unless physicians, nurses, and staff are aligned to the brand promise, it will be difficult to deliver a consistent, positive patient experience that will generate word of mouth referrals. When the external marketing messages aren’t consistent with the reality of care, there is an expectation gap that no amount of external marketing can repair. Fix issues internally by establishing core values and eliminating employees who don’t adhere to this organizational culture.

What happened:

Not only has internal alignment become a trend fast in 2016, but it’s likely to continue to be a hot topic for years to come.  In 2016, it seems like just about everyone we’ve had contact with in hospital management and marketing has it top of mind. Three of our clients have reached out to us, unsolicited, for our help building internal alignment campaigns to improve the patient experience. Earlier this year, we landed a new client who had achieved a high degree of internal alignment over the past three years and needed help communicating this success to the outside world. Two of our Brains over Brawn podcast guests spoke at length on the subject.

Considering the outcome of this year’s election, with President-elect Trump’s promise to repeal the ACA and the likely defunding of DSRIP, the competition in the provider space is likely to heat up, even more, moving forward. Which makes achieving a higher degree of internal alignment an imperative to organizations competing against stronger clinical reputations, or low-cost alternative providers. 

-Mark Shipley