Using marketing to achieve internal alignment
Everyone has a role in delivering the brand promise
In this issue of Protocol, we’ll explore how hospital and physician practice marketers can help define and communicate the organization’s purpose so every member of the healthcare team understands how they can deliver the brand promise.
Why is alignment important for hospitals and physician practices?
Delivering healthcare in the 21st century is a complicated business. It requires a large, complex organization made up of thousands of individuals with wide-ranging responsibilities. Healthcare providers face new regulatory and competitive pressures, and like all businesses, they have limited resources. For these and other reasons, hospital leaders are looking to organizational alignment initiatives for a competitive advantage. They understand that a shared purpose, supported by clear goals and values make the organization more desirable, more competitive and more profitable.
Benefits of an aligned healthcare organization:
- Reinforces the competitive brand position
- Helps deliver a unique patient experience
- Defines expectations for staff members
- Attracts and retains the best employees
- Uncovers and corrects deep-rooted bad habits
Why alignment matters for healthcare marketers
For healthcare marketing, alignment means delivering on the brand promise. They know that the most effective marketing channel is word-of-mouth, generated by positive outcomes and satisfied patients. But meeting patients’ expectations doesn’t happen by accident, especially in a large, diverse organization. By finding creative ways to communicate the brand position, the marketing team can influence both staff behavior and consumer perceptions.
Three steps to organizational alignment for healthcare:
- Articulate what makes your organization different or special
- Educate staff members on how to deliver the patient experience
- Hold staff accountable for keeping the brand promise
So why can’t all hospitals achieve internal alignment? Unfortunately, very few organizations bother to communicate or educate their employees on competitive positions, patient experience or brand promises. An article in Leadership Excellence reported that on average, less than 20% of employees knew the company mission and an even smaller percentage could articulate it. If employees don’t understand what’s expected of them, the patient experience suffers.