All the marketing in the world will not fix a lack of operational readiness, nor improve customer experience. Brands must be ready and able to deliver on their promises before going to market.
Brand is an intangible asset that lives in the hearts and minds of your customers. It is shaped by consumer expectations born from your organization’s actions and communications. It stands to reason, then, that your brand strategy must account for operational considerations and your company’s cultural ethos. Authentic marketing depends on aligning the brand experience (your operations) with the brand promise (your communications). In other words, what you do needs to be in lock-step alignment with what you say.
Absent that, you’re simply putting lipstick on a pig.Authentic marketing depends on aligning the brand experience (your operations) with the brand promise (your communications). Click To Tweet
Those who embrace authenticity find consumers will do the marketing for them, says fellow marketer Ashley Deibert in a Forbes Communications Council post. Of course, the opposite is also true, given that today’s hyper-connected world means people will also quite publicly call out brands that don’t live up to their promises. Deibert asserts that, “…brands no longer have an option other than representing themselves honestly and transparently. Authenticity is crucial to continued loyalty from fickle audiences.”
I couldn’t agree more. At Dobies Health Marketing, we’ve been preaching the virtues of brand authenticity to our clients for more than 25 years, long before social media and review sites made word-of-mouth sharing so effortless and ubiquitous. The social media explosion has only intensified a bedrock branding principle that has always been there—authenticity is paramount.
As a healthcare marketer, you likely face the challenge of implementing authentic marketing every day. You intuitively know it is important for products and services to meet certain performance indicators before you invest in promoting them. But do you have those indicators clearly outlined in your marketing and positioning strategy? And how often do you enforce those levels of performance? Are you able to say yes or no and defend your position with data?
Defining and implementing guidelines on assessing service line readiness for marketing is a critical success factor—one that equips you with objective criteria on which to make marketing decisions when product managers or line leaders come calling for marketing support.
Marketing is not a given. It is a strategic operational initiative reserved for targeted organizational growth. For example, consider the following benchmarks for a hospital’s service line readiness:
- Customer Satisfaction – Are top box scores on satisfaction measures and ‘likelihood to recommend’ scores above 85% (or your specific organizational goal)?
- Access/Capacity – Do you have enough supply to meet the new demand marketing will generate? Do your physicians have capacity to take more appointments? Are next available appointments for specialists within seven days?
- Quality – Are quality metrics on your dashboard in the green? Or, if they are in the yellow, are recovery plans well underway?
- Contribution Margin – Does the service line meet productivity goals and other contribution margin objectives?
Good marketing will make the phone ring, so the product or service best be ready to take the call. Otherwise, you are investing in nothing more than lipstick for a pig. Worse, you’re marketing for your competitors!
About the Author
Carol Dobies is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.