The End of Hospital Marketing

The time is nigh. All roads must end. Prepare yourself. All that we’ve ever known is drawing to a close. Believe it…the end of hospital marketing is here.

Which means it’s time to celebrate! Because the title of our new book, the last in the Joe Public trilogy, doesn’t mean the end of marketing hospitals. It means the end of “hospital marketing.” As long as I’ve worked in the hospital and health system marketing field – going on 20 years now – there has always been a stigma attached to the concept of “hospital marketing.” The qualifier “hospital” has carried with it an inflection of negativity, of something lesser – less sophisticated, less advanced, less innovative, less scientific. Of course, some of that stigma has been deserved. As an industry, we have traditionally trailed behind in adopting the marketing strategies, tactics and technologies that are effective and commonplace. True brand building. CRM. SEM. Social media. Personalized marketing. Data marketing. Digital.

But it’s a new day. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a dramatic shift in hospital and health system marketing. Sitting through sessions at national conferences, reading trade publications, talking to other marketers and working with clients, something has clearly changed. Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing, is an accounting of that shift – a celebration of the idea that some organizations have clearly caught up, and in some cases passed, the broader field of marketing in terms of employing new strategies, tactics and technologies. Those marketers who are building better brands, connecting with consumers, and driving true change no longer think like great “hospital marketers” – they simply think like great marketers.

Our goal with Joe Public III is to share what the most successful, innovative hospitals and health systems are doing, and to reestablish the benchmarks for advanced, successful marketing in our business. We had an idea of what we might find when we set out, but in confirming the New Imperatives for healthcare marketing, we wanted to go beyond our own thinking and observations and talk to those actually living these principles. As a result, we spent dozens of hours talking with thirteen of the top marketers in our field. And the results – what we call the six New Imperatives – most likely won’t be a surprise to those who have followed the trends and leaders of our field. But they represent what the best of the best have done to overcome “hospital marketing” and, therefore, are strategies we should all try to emulate.

Over the next year, we’ll use the new Joe Public III book as a springboard for conversations, online content and other engagements to dive deeper into advances in the industry. But it really begins with a pat on the back, a salute, a round of applause – let’s all come together and celebrate the end of “hospital marketing” as we know it.

November 10, 2017
Marketing driving business success — at a health system?
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