Podcast: episode 116

Aug 13, 2021

Marketing governance inside health systems

Marketing governance inside health systems Featuring Sean Young of Penn State Health

A quick COVID-19 pulse check Health systems are seeing an uptick in admissions — many of which can be attributed to the Delta variant, with higher concentration in the southern states. We live in a strange world where fact is not always fact, and perspectives on health reflect political orientation, not proper understanding. For example,…

A quick COVID-19 pulse check

  • Health systems are seeing an uptick in admissions — many of which can be attributed to the Delta variant, with higher concentration in the southern states.
  • We live in a strange world where fact is not always fact, and perspectives on health reflect political orientation, not proper understanding.
  • For example, Associated Press published an article that said 100 vaccinated people in Massachusetts died of COVID-19. That’s only 0.002% of the population, but AP is a well-known news authority. We have a responsibility to represent facts accurately without sensational language.

Decisions, they get easier when you get buy-in up front

  • It can be common for health system marketers to launch a campaign or initiative — only to receive negative internal feedback after the fact. This delayed pushback can derail campaigns and waste marketing resources.
  • A marketing governance program can help reduce this strain on health system marketing departments by getting buy-in from clearly defined decision-makers.
  • Penn State Health has a marketing governance charter outlining the decisions the Council needs to help manage, including a cohesive brand strategy, annual priorities amongst service lines and geographies, change management, budgets, organizational alignment on marketing priorities, and ROI measurement.

Health system marketing governance in practice

  • Individual hospitals leaders were being held accountable for disparate PNLs, resulting in unnecessary competition between system units. Penn State is unifying marketing system-wide through Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.
  • Marketers should ask, “Where do we really need to grow the organization’s volume and support brand?” For example, opening a new facility requires marketing support. That had to be a priority.
  • Penn State Health acquired Holy Spirit Medical Center, which means acquiring all the practices they previously competed for. Penn State Health figured out a way to distribute marketing resources so that practices weren’t competing while also communicating why certain practices received more help. It’s not just about who’s loudest.
  • Penn State Health had a change of neurosurgery leadership who wanted to make changes to the strategic plan. The Marketing Governance Council procedure required this leader to request a change through the hospital president, who then would choose whether or not to open the discussion with the Council.