This is a guest post from Chris Boyer, the director of digital marketing & communications at Inova Health System. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisboyer.
How much ROI are you bringing into your hospital?
Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the best way to figure out the answer to that question. Not only does a CRM system allow you to analyze your region for marketing opportunities, but it can give you the tools to track data throughout your hospital's marketing campaigns.
Sounds like a good plan, right? But many hospital marketers and communicators have questions about measuring ROI and implementing a CRM system.
Let's take a look:
Isn't building brand awareness about our hospital enough?
Even if you solely engage in brand building, it's important to measure its effectiveness. Focus groups and market studies help, but using a CRM to measure downstream utilization (money) is important to validate your branding efforts.
Don't underplay the importance of focusing on growth areas at your hospital. Using CRM measuring techniques will allow you to find faster ROI by marketing destination services, such as joint replacement, bariatric surgery or even cardiovascular surgery.
We don't have a CRM system. My boss doesn't want to invest in one.
It's an unfortunate reality that the most important tool for healthcare marketers is usually the one we need to fight to purchase. How can you prove that you need it? Start small. Choose one marketing campaign and use an Excel spreadsheet to measure ROI.
This is how you do it:
Input your marketing costs, find ways to measure the effectiveness of your call-to-action, and then measure increases in utilization (or volume). After sharing the results with your management team a few times, bring up the idea again of investing in a CRM. Being a champion for dollars-and-cents value will get their attention.
Math scares me.
Don't worry about learning how to measure--your successor will be much better at it than you are.
Sound harsh? Like it or not, it's becoming a requirement for marketing professionals to know how to measure results. There are a variety of books, classes, and web resources available to help you learn. Start networking and share best-practices with your peers. In the future, knowing how to measure will be a prerequisite for the job.
OK, OK. Let's say we start to measure. And we find out we're failing. Now what?
When you measure, you'll find out the good and the bad of your marketing efforts. For beginners, it's easiest to start measuring after a campaign is over. The information you learn is helpful to shape future efforts.
As you get more comfortable with measuring, you'll eventually be able to keep track during your campaigns, and make changes in the middle of it. That's when you know you've graduated to the pro-leagues of ROI tracking. Our league meets every Wednesday night at the Bowl-ROI-Rama. (Unlike some professional leagues, the use of performance enhancing drugs is banned.)
How do you measure ROI? Please feel free to share your stories.