Stephanie Burton

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthcare Marketers

By Stephanie Burton on January 3, 2013

Now, more than ever, healthcare marketers face greater scrutiny and more intense pressures. Let’s collectively accept the challenge. Here are five New Year’s resolutions I recommend healthcare marketers make.

1. I will work from a marketing plan closely aligned with my organization’s strategic priorities. If your marketing plan is not closely aligned with your organization’s strategic priorities, don’t be surprised if the C-Suite questions your value when budgets are discussed. In addition to helping you justify your own position within an organization, a marketing plan closely aligned with your health system’s strategic priorities provides a powerful defense against fulfilling “off-plan” orders. Speaking of …

2. I will stop taking orders and start asking questions. I know, I know. We all have our fair share of “political” orders we must take to maintain a good internal rapport. But, don’t let internal politics serve as an excuse for not fulfilling your role as a strategic advisor. Your job is to (respectfully) challenge others. The next time you’re bombarded with a brochure request, resolve to ask questions such as, “What are you trying to achieve?” and “How does this fit within the organization’s strategic priorities?” Then, work with your client to help him or her arrive at the best way to achieve his or her objectives, IF they fall within the strategic marketing plan. Check out my blog for more tips on curing “I Need a Brochure” Syndrome here.

3. I will learn as much as I can about new and emerging media and its impact on my hospital and/or health system. Mark my words: Establishing and maintaining a strong social media presence is no longer an option for hospitals and health systems. If you are not using social media or (even worse) using social media sources poorly, you are missing an opportunity to interact with your patient base. A study released by PwC in April revealed that 41 percent of online consumers use social media to influence their health care choices. But, before you establish your external presence, make sure you understand your internal presence …

4. I will work to strengthen my brand internally, before I work to strengthen my brand externally. No matter how hard we try, marketing tactics cannot improve operations any more than a donkey can fly an airplane. Before launching a marketing campaign, establishing a social media presence or doing so much as creating a brochure, make sure you understand what people are saying about your organization internally and externally.

5. I will educate myself about healthcare reform. Healthcare reform has arrived. It’s up to us as healthcare marketers to understand how it will impact our profession and, more importantly, the way in which we interact with our publics. Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health Care Lad and What it Means for All of Us is currently on my nightstand, but there are Twitter handles, email alerts and Facebook feeds aplenty to satiate your need for vital reform information. What resources have you found?


Stephanie, APR, is Core Creative’s director of healthcare marketing. Prior to joining Core, Stephanie spent six years with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, leading many PR and marketing communications efforts, including spearheading a campaign to build awareness for its new $168-million tower. Stephanie is an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Marquette University. Follow her on Twitter at @SHungerford.