Similar, But Different

What ReviveHealth’s latest healthcare buyer research tells us about decision-makers in two areas of healthcare that are often seen as adversarial.

Revivehealth just wrapped up its latest study on healthcare buyer personas. Previously, we’ve conducted some fairly in-depth research on hospital C-suite decision-makers and now we’ve tackled the next frontier - health plan buyers and their decision-making processes. And, the results are… well… interesting… on a number of fronts.

Health Plan Decision-Makers: We’ve got the power.

While our prior work on hospital C-suite decision-makers confirmed what we already believed - the phenomenon of decision-by-committee is, indeed, real - the latest study on health plan decision-makers tells a slightly different story. Based on our research across all buying categories, health plan decision-makers actually feel individually empowered to make buying decisions as opposed to the hospital C-suite where virtually no one reported individual decision-making power.

Decision-Making Inside Health Plans


Does this mean we’re different?

This begs the question: For B2B organizations, when marketing to health plan audiences versus hospital C-suite audiences, are we simply trading one daunting task for another? Are we trading messaging to a handful of influencers, a sea of subject matter experts, and no clear decision-makers for messaging to an unnavigable ocean of buyers with varied decision-making authority? Our research says… not exactly. 

Final Decision-Makers Inside Health Plans

No. We’re kind of traditional.

As it turns out, while health plan buyers report the freedom to make informed, autonomous decisions, they also widely report a clear understanding of “everyone’s role” in decision-making and seem to see formal RFP processes as a fact of life. This suggests that, even with autonomy, a substantial level of traditional decision-making structure and hierarchy exists. 

And, B2B organizations marketing solutions to health plan decision-makers and hospital leadership can leverage similar channel strategies to reach decision-makers in each camp. It seems that health plan buyers rate many of the same information sources as credible - namely industry associations, peer networks, and trade publications.   

And, kind of NOT.

There’s an interesting nuance on the health plan side with respect to credible sources, however. Our research indicates that compared to their hospital leadership counterparts, health plan buyers rate the credibility of social media outlets much higher. As you might expect, LinkedIn leads the way. But, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all get mentions. 

Three Important Implications: 

While we’ll want to validate our findings further, the first implication - no surprises here - is that with both audiences, B2B organizations still must address the task of pinpointing the right buyer to champion their respective solutions. However, once they find the right person within a health plan, this person should have the authority to make a buying decision, assuming they’ve followed their organization’s decision-making protocols. 

The second implication is that opportunities for B2B organization visibility are expanded for health plan decision-makers. In addition to building awareness in trade publication and industry association channels, well-leveraged social media channels may prove to be very effective with this audience.  

The last implication is one that we stress consistently with our clients. No matter how great an organization’s solutions, marketing efforts, or sales teams are, nothing is more valuable than referenceable clients. Decision-makers, regardless of the areas of healthcare they represent, place their highest level of trust in their peer networks. In other words, client satisfaction is one of any organization’s most valuable marketing tools.

September 5, 2019
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