• We’ve outlined three steps for readiness to measure effectiveness of your healthcare organization’s marketing programs
  • Driving visibility into the full range of material that prospects and clients see is a good way to start
  • Check out GE Healthcare’s story about its journey towards marketing ROI reporting for some inspiration

There’s no dearth of information about how to gauge the effectiveness of your organization’s marketing programs. But let me raise a potentially controversial idea: I would bet that many healthcare organizations can’t even measure most of their marketing efforts, let alone determine if they’re effective.

So, let’s take a big, industry-sized step back and consider this: If your goal was to measure 90 percent of your organization’s marketing programs, what would need to be in place?

Here are three baseline steps for readiness:

1. You actually need to know what’s being delivered to prospects and clients.

Sounds straightforward, but it most likely isn’t. Most marketing teams start by compiling the full inventory of their own campaigns and initiatives. Indeed, this is a solid start, but we all know this audit likely produces an incomplete list. What about that last-minute slideware that your sales support team gets dragged into? What are salespeople crafting themselves (that you never see – but should!)? What tools do account managers use (that may or may not coincide with your corporate messaging strategy)? What has to be totally revamped to be appropriate in various regional theaters?

Without visibility into the full range of materials and messages that prospects and clients see, marketing leaders cannot measure the full impact of their contributions (and for that matter, the impact of those contributions). There are other downstream impacts as well – including, but certainly not limited to, the possibility of marketing renegades, suboptimal messaging effectiveness and misalignment of marketing resources.

Consider hosting an amnesty day when salespeople, account managers, product managers, field marketers, business unit leaders and other stakeholders are encouraged to bring forward the materials they use with prospects and clients and have an open conversation about where their needs are and are not fulfilled by marketing.

2. It has to be OK to say “no” – at least selectively.

Easier said than done, I realize. If our goal is to be able to measure in some way, we have to eliminate (or at least strongly question) activities that are not measurable. No, this doesn’t mean that we throw all branding out the window. Quite the opposite, actually. We hold ourselves to the commitment of measurement and find ways to measure what’s important (check out this post from my colleague Erin Provey on brand and its charge to drive revenue). 

During your planning process, consider adding a marketing “will” and “will not” section – that is, activities that you will and will not engage in. This helps you and your critical stakeholders align around marketing’s charge and commitment to delivering on activities that can be measured.

3. You need to consider systems readiness.

There’s no doubt that measurement will be easier if you can automate much of it. Many healthcare organizations have underinvested in marketing and sales technology (common reasons are long and complex sales cycles, audit trail requirements and budget), but a commitment to measurement means that reporting must be consistent, ongoing and credible – all made easier by automated systems.

Need some inspiration to get started? GE Healthcare has an amazing story about its journey toward marketing ROI reporting.