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6 Tips to a Successful Health Care Marketing Plan

Health care administrators use marketing plans to construct, forecast, formulate and assess how an organization will engage consumers. They outline the numerous activities and strategies that attract clients and create a positive organizational image. The plan serves as a blueprint, charting the steps and resources required to launch and manage a successful marketing campaign.

Marketing Plan Strategy

Administrators treat marketing plans as a living document that evolves in response to ongoing developments. Assessments take place yearly, at a minimum. During assessments, health care administrators compare marketing performance against planned goals and make adjustments to improve engagement outcomes. The following six tips reflect common details that comprise a basic marketing plan.

Tip One: Identify the Target Market

Health care administrators define the organization’s best clients as accurately as possible, and then plan all marketing activities to attract those and similar consumers. [1] This strategy helps administrators make the best use of organizational resources. The administrator’s ability to relate to the target market directly correlates with how much audience information can be discovered

Tip Two: Evaluate the Competition

Competitive analyses allow health care administrators to evaluate market influences and advise executives on how to vie with other organizations. Administrators start this process by reviewing the websites of competitors to learn how they differentiate themselves and what services they provide. Media assets — such as newspapers, radio advertisements, billboards and other digital platforms — also indicate how other organizations operate.

Tip Three: Establish SMART Goals

Administrators use SMART goals to establish marketing objectives. To begin, administrators examine what activities will help an organization reach desired outcomes. The SMART acronym serves as a checklist during planning meetings, with the letters delineating vital characteristics for each goal:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

This mental exercise helps planners develop goals objectively.

Tip Four: Define Actionable Metrics

Patient satisfaction surveys carry substantial influence in the current patient-oriented health care environment. [2] Patient concerns help administrators identify areas for improvement, while praise from patients makes for stirring media content that administrators can use to promote positive public opinion.

When measuring organizational marketing performance, health care administrators focus on key performance indicators (KPIs). These can encompass activities such as the number of patient appointments scheduled by the organization and the overall operating income that is earned. Administrators base marketing KPIs on the organizational metrics that executives use to make critical business decisions.

Tip Five: Deploy Social Media Effectively

Most organizations use social media, but do they use it effectively? In truth, many health care organizations fail to fully exploit the platform. [3] Most organizations currently use social media solely to engage employees. While this practice remains effective for boosting employee morale, administrators should also use social media to engage their target consumers with community health statistics and exceptional health-related information.

Tip Six: Deliver Superior Service

Positive patient satisfaction serves as perhaps the most powerful marketing tool available to administrators. [2] As a result, most health care administrators include quality control information in their organizational marketing strategies. Quality control initiatives focus on characteristics such as:

  • Benchmarking
  • Brand identity
  • Leadership
  • Organizational culture
  • Transparency

Over time, such initiatives can increase patronage and improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

A Marketing Campaign by Carilion Clinic:
Successfully Campaigning to Reduce Breast Cancer

The Carilion Clinic promotes early breast cancer detection with the “Yes, Mamm” campaign. [4] Carilion practitioners organized the campaign after noting low breast cancer screenings in the Roanoke, Virginia, community where the clinic operates.

The organization promotes the awareness initiative, which provides screenings regardless of consumers’ ability to pay, on Twitter and Pinterest with the #YESMAMM hashtag. As of 2016, the clinic’s Twitter audience increased from 3,000 to 4,600 followers.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Comforts Clients With Effective Marketing

Phoenix Children’s Hospital receives over 80,000 patients annually, many of who share their experiences on the organization’s “Meet Our Kids” Web page. The institution launched the marketing campaign to reassure parents who have limited, if any, choices when visiting a pediatric specialist. However, Phoenix Hospital wanted the consumers who do patronize the establishment to feel reassured.

The Web page allows children and parents to see that those who visit the hospital have rewarding patient experiences and positive outcomes. The website also promotes Phoenix Hospital’s holistic healing philosophy and the organization’s belief that each child personifies more than a patient.

It is advised that current and future health care administrators incorporate their respective organizational cultures into health care marketing plans. Additionally, it is important to solicit confirmed support from organizational leaders before committing to a plan. This means having the organization’s top management participate in, and approve, all marketing plan details before going live with any campaign initiatives. Having full support from leadership is the best way for health care administrators to ensure their marketing plans are met with success.

Learn More

Healthcare markets are expanding. The workforce is growing. That means demand for new leadership is rising, too. Through the online Master of Healthcare Administration in Strategy and Innovation at Adventist University of Health Sciences, you can learn to steer multifaceted health systems toward a culture of innovation, all in line with your core morals. We believe furthering healthcare starts with advancing dedicated leaders like you.


[3] care/4-ways-hospitals-can-improve-marketing