How to Effectively Communicate Your Martech Solution Choice to Leadership and Internal Users

You’ve found a martech solution that addresses some of your biggest challenges. It can save your department time; help you execute more effective campaigns; and generate quality leads. But, first you have to convince two key stakeholder groups that will use the new software – your executive leadership team and staff members who will be using it.

Internally “selling” a martech software implementation can be difficult, but most of the challenges can be traced back to two basic objections:

  • CXO perspective: Is the technology worth the investment?
  • User perspective: Do we really need to change things?

Securing buy-in from management and users will require effective communication of the software’s potential benefits, but what and how you communicate to each stakeholder group should differ. Here’s how to effectively communicate the benefits of the martech solution you are getting behind, which should help you save time by clearly and thoroughly demonstrating your rationale, addressing what matters most to these key audiences:

Justify the Investment to Leadership

Securing top-level buy-in is the natural first step. After all, there’s little value in spending time winning over employees if key decision-makers aren’t on board. That being said, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding how well employees might accept a system change.

Justify the spend by communicating to leadership how the marketing software investment will tie in to organization values and support top priorities. Make sure you can answer questions:

  • What are the current problems?
  • How are they holding your business back?
  • What are the expected measurable benefits?
  • What’s the scalability of the software?
  • Are there sufficient training and IT support resources?
  • How will the software integrate with existing systems?
  • What is the cross-departmental value?

Distill Research and Evaluation Notes to Make Your Case

Research and evaluate various software options and articulate why your choice rose above the competition. Avoid bombarding the executive team with a massive spreadsheet of key features and pricing information. Hone your notes and research until what remains is a succinct list of benefits that address issues most important to the C suite.

Be Prepared to Explain How the Software Will Combat Pain Points

Be able to verbalize, if not already apparent to leaders, the problems the software will measurably resolve to justify the investment. Communicate the expected outcomes associated with the software and emphasize that you will perform continuous evaluation to ensure you are reaching your goals. Look for relevant case studies to support your reasoning. Investigate whether other departments within the organization are successfully using the same software or a comparable platform that saves time and resources.

Link Software Features to Measurable Objectives

According to a recent Gartner article, sound technology purchasing decisions should be grounded in SMART objectives. Develop objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound that you expect the martech to effect. Avoid broadly stated goals such as “Generate more inbound leads.” Rather, assign a percentage growth and a time period: “The new tool will help the marketing team generate 30% more inbound leads in 2018 compared to 2017.”

Secure Buy-in from Internal Users

Lack of employee buy-in is a major hurdle to overcome for successful martech adoption. The software champion first needs to generate acceptance of a new system, then maintain enthusiasm through the onboarding period.

There is always resistance to change, even if the change is positive. Even if that legacy system is rife with issues, they’re a known quantity to users. It can be a tough sell to convince employees that learning an entirely new way of doing things is worth the trouble. But adoption is essential in getting the desired ROI from the system – so this step is critical as well.

While conversations with the leadership team focus on specific measurements and business values, communication with potential system users needs to convey the idea of the software. Tell a story, in essence, of how the product can change their work lives for the better. Talk about time saving, elimination of headaches and other real pains they experience.

Start Early

Educate employees about the new software far in advance of the launch so that even the most tech-averse users will have time to warm up to the change. Meanwhile, advanced communications might win over more tech-savvy employees who tend to be early adopters; they can help generate enthusiasm among peers. Don’t forget that most decisions are base on emotions. Communicate the idea that the new software will make their lives easier rather than harder. This also helps make users aware early on that executive staff is committed to successfully implementing the new software.

Manage Expectations

Acknowledge that change is difficult and that the launch of something new is inherently messy. Recognize that employees will need to “retrain their brains” to adapt to the new interface. Then, stress that the long-term benefits will make the transition worthwhile. Frame an authentic story around how their workday looks today, highlighting inefficiencies and challenges. Contrast it with how their workday will improve post-implementation.

Listen to Users’ Concerns to Gain Valuable Input

Taking user concerns seriously is an important part of the implementation process. Gather information on what might be needed to help navigate potential barriers to a successful launch. Understand the challenges on the employees’ end, and foster a collaborative approach to achieving the end goal – easier, more efficient processes for users.

Follow Up with Extensive Training and Evaluation

Congratulations, you’ve secured executive sign-off and an implementation schedule has been set. Your role as project champion now transforms to project nurturer. The smoother the adoption period, the faster the new technology will start proving ROI.

Lack of proper training is a top reason martech solutions are underutilized and fall short of expectations. Ensure that the necessary time and attention are devoted to training and onboarding.

Also, check in frequently with users to identify any perceived issues or barriers to complete adoption. Assigning a tech-savvy early adopter to act as a liaison is a solid way to get smart feedback. If something isn’t working, address concerns immediately – don’t let issues fall through the cracks. This is a fast path to dwindling returns. Likewise, gather feedback on employees’ perceptions of the most valuable benefits.

How to Ensure Optimal ROI for a Marketing Technology Investment

Online media outlet Martech Advisor recently published Strata Company’s unique perspective on ways to strengthen martech ROI. Martech Advisor provides information on products, vendors and industry developments to help marketing and sales professionals research software solutions.

As the pressures mounts for marketing professionals to demonstrate the value their department adds to the bottom line, tying positive ROI to martech investments essential. The article, written by Strata President Jeff Sammak, discusses how marketing leaders can avoid choosing martech solutions that may have all the “latest and greatest” features – but strike out when it comes to meeting their organization’s true needs, thus undermining ROI.

Whether an organization is interested in an off-the-shelf product or a custom-built platform, Sammak advises a strategic approach to martech selection that includes:

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Assessing both measurable and soft benefits
  3. Carefully analyzing usage potential of all features
  4. Ensuring user buy-in through comprehensive training
  5. Taking a long-term view of technology investments

Read the full article, 5 Ways to Ensure Your Martech Platform Delivers Optimal ROI, for further information.

Strata Company, a marketing, communications and technology firm based in Plymouth Meeting, PA, has collaborated with clients to develop customized technology solutions for more than 20 years. We also provide user-friendly, customizable SaaS solutions that deliver high adoption rates and rapid return on marketing investment, Check out our client success stories, or contact us today to discuss your goals and challenges.

Optimize Local Marketing, Centrally Manage Content, Track Spend and Automate Workflow

From physical mail and email, to flyers and in-person sales, spending on marketing is expected to increase in 2016, as marketing consulting firm Winterberry Group predicts a 6.4% growth to $163.7 billion. Email marketing is considered the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States, yielding a whopping average of 4,300% return on investment for businesses, according to CMOCouncil.org. More than 62% of the top performing organizations use marketing resource management (MRM) systems to elevate direct marketing programs, and streamline efforts to make them more efficient and cost-effective.

MRM systems allow marketing team members throughout an organization to have anywhere-access to the materials they need to better optimize marketing efforts. From spurring more personalized interactions, to responding more quickly to needs and changes in the market at a local level, here are some quick reasons why your business should utilize MRM platforms to improve direct marketing processes:

Optimize Local Direct Marketing Programs

For enterprises or mid-size business with multiple geographic locations, a marketing resource management system improves local efforts since marketing assets are contained in one centralized area. Successful local direct marketing relies on visuals and messaging that resonates with various target audiences, but it also needs to align with the corporate brand and strategies.

Varying types of direct marketing programs may also have more success locally versus on a larger scale. For example, direct mail is the preferred channel for receiving marketing from local retailers and banks, while email was preferred for events and competitions. Keeping assets for a variety of campaigns in a central location benefits both individual markets and the whole enterprise, which can learn from other markets. This creates an integrated, efficient process for enterprises juggling national and regional programs.

Centralize Brand Assets

For businesses with multiple locations in different geographic areas, and for corporations that have franchises, field sales, distributors or channel partners, MRM platforms allow your business to store approved, compliant digital assets and customizable, branded templates that can be used in direct marketing programs.

With the ability to set user permissions and view past creative for inspiration and guidance, marketing resource management ensures consistency among all branded materials including graphics, videos and copy.

Manage Workflow with MRM

Having cloud-based MRM systems enables streamlined production since content can be downloaded, customized, ordered and distributed in real time. Proofing and approvals can occur within the tool including getting feedback from management and monitoring version history.

Executing direct marketing programs can happen instantly, allowing stakeholders to take advantage of timely and localized events and better connect with prospects and current customers. As an added benefit, different permissions profiles allow for certain access and usage among different departments.

Maintain Brand Control and Compliance

Web-based brand management systems like MRM help ensure companies follow best practices, business rules and regulatory and legal requirements in their direct marketing programs. These solutions allow easy access for management to review materials as needed. Once assets are approved, they may be stored and accessed by users based on authorization.

Important brand guidelines may also be stored as resources in MRM systems, to save time on training a marketing team and ensure the creative team develops compliant content from the beginning of any project.

Track Direct Marketing Spend

Eliminate over-spending and misspending by tracking usage and orders more precisely with marketing resource management. MRM systems give businesses the ability to report on direct marketing programs spending, purchases made from direct marketing efforts, and return on investment from both work conducted and price discounts offered.

Businesses may use budget spending to derive analytics that allow them to refine the direct marketing strategies that are working and discontinue or improve others. Without accurate budget tracking provided by MRM systems, accurate analytics to improve processes are more difficult to obtain.

Scale Your Direct Marketing as You Grow

As your brand assets evolve and your company expands on marketing efforts, MRM allows for fluent scalability. Scalability is vital for organizations because it allows for:

  • Ability to adapt to changing strategy
  • Easy adoption as businesses change and grow
  • Agility to evolve with your customers
  • Expansion of new product offerings to existing customers
  • Capability of focusing on new targets and reaching new goals

Strata’s MRM platforms seamlessly evolve with your business, allowing you to retain historical data and add to your assets without the need for purchasing new marketing resource management software. Using customized technology to manage direct marketing programs makes rapid growth easier to prepare for and adjust to.

Improve your Direct Marketing Process

To evolve adroitly with the times, your company’s direct marketing programs should be driven by technology and create more personalized experiences with your target audience. MRM platforms allow your marketers to execute campaigns more quickly and easily, and with greater accuracy, leading to significantly more efficient direct marketing campaigns at a regional and national level.

Contact us to learn more about how Strata’s innovative marketing resource management solutions can help you.

Technology and Data-driven Strategies in Modern Direct Mail Campaigns

Applying modern principles and a multi-channel approach for direct mail that drives measurable bottom line benefits

In today’s rapidly changing, technology-dependent environment, successful direct mail campaigns have to go beyond traditional print mailers, email blasts and isolated ads. A truly informed approach builds upon traditional analog elements, implementing more advanced data driven techniques and incorporating digital components.

There are a variety of modern and creative ways you can enhance traditional direct mail with digital elements to better target and engage customers. Implementing such methods allows for deeper insights gained through response tracking, analysis and measurement, and enhances your lead scoring efforts.

  1. Data:
    Utilize the information you have on your consumers at every point along your campaign. Start with clean mailing lists, and personalize each element you send. Go beyond basic profile information and look at all the data to truly customize your approach. Analyze user behavior, product preferences, location and life stages to create a highly personalized and interactive campaign, and significantly improve your response rates. Implement plans and processes for the management and optimization of additional data you acquire as a result of multichannel, integrated campaigns.
  2. Modern Mailers:
    Distinctive, highly personalized mail with customized offers and easy-to-use response mechanisms are still an effective way to connect with customers and prospects. But modern direct mail is not an isolated, print event. It’s a holistic, integrated communication strategy with multi-channel elements that take your target audience down a progressive path, engaging them further each step of the way. The fact is, direct mail remains competitive with digital methods, continuing to deliver 3.7% average response rates.
  3. Email:
    Email continues to be one of the most effective, and certainly cost-efficient, channels, but only if your message is relevant. Ensure your messaging is placed within the framework of a larger strategy and integrated with other campaign efforts. Enhance print pieces with corresponding emails that expand your message and continue to engage recipients. Linking direct mail to your marketing automation efforts is a value add tactic that can measurably improve response regardless of where the contact is in the buying process.
  4. Web:
    Incorporating digital elements like personalized landing pages not only increases the opportunity to inform consumers about your offering or products, it provides rich data you can use to further fine-tune your current and future campaigns. For new contacts, you’ll acquire data you may not have previously had. You can add these respondents to marketing workflows should they not have responded to other tactics, or where emails were not linked to landing pages or forms.
  5. Mobile:
    Consider adding mobile as an element in your direct mail campaign. Again, integration is the key: for example, combine direct mailers with personalized coupon offers and provide recipients with an easy way to redeem them via a mobile phone. Make it easy for them to request an additional 5% off, while also collecting their data without requiring too much information from them. Mobile can continue to be wrapped into the other channels used in the campaign; after completion of a landing page form, a next-step call to action and additional offer can prompt respondents to provide mobile information they may not have provided before.
  6. Marketing Resource Management (MRM):
    With the advent and explosion of technology options, there are a myriad of applications to help you streamline and synchronize your direct marketing efforts. One in particular is Marketing Resource Management software. By centrally managing your direct mailers, email templates and ads, you get a holistic view of all of the elements that can be utilized in a campaign. With all of the assets centrally stored it makes it easier for those executing the campaigns to expedite the process. MRM’s inherent ability to drive consistency and coordination makes this more effective approach to direct marketing highly attainable and efficient.

Conclusion:

Direct mail continues to be an evolving and effective tool for everything from acquisition and engagement to loyalty and retention. Figuring out how to best incorporate modern digital elements to enhance your efforts is now a non-negotiable, rather than a nice-to-have. But it has to be done in an informed, strategic way. Top Marketing Performers go beyond the trends and find ways to maximize their data, utilize personalization and leverage multiples channels, including the latest technologies. The result are powerful direct mail-driven marketing programs that drive measurable response and contribute directly to your bottom line.

Contact us to learn more.

Executing Effective Service Line Marketing Campaigns

Redefining Marketing Strategies for Growing Patient Volume

The world of Healthcare has changed dramatically.

As a result of healthcare reform and “accountable” care, some hospitals and healthcare facilities are shifting their strategies to a more collaborative service line (or specialty service) orientation in order to stay competitive. Add to this the “retailization” of healthcare and a more educated and value-oriented patient base, and healthcare marketers are left with a need to transform the way they approach their business.

Taking a Step Back: Why We Need to Redefine Our Marketing Strategies

It’s a different world. Patients today are far more educated. They’re more proactive. When it comes to their health management, they’re interested in the whole package. But, they have specific requirements. Beyond seeking an “excellent facility,” they want to have confidence in each step of their journey. In light of this, as marketers, we too must redefine our strategies and speak to these new pain points.

Many marketers have executed healthcare service lines and hospital service lines Service Line campaigns with direct benefit to their bottom line. While it’s true that most hospitals are now promoting individual service lines, when we refer to this tactic, we must consider a much deeper level of service line marketing strategy and planning.

But before we dive into strategy, we need to recognize the palpable link between hospital reputation and customer preference. We need to take a step back to consider what the marketing objectives would be under this newly defined orientation.

Marketing Goals for Health System and Hospital Service Lines

  • Increase foot traffic – increase patient volume
  • Satisfy physician expectations for patient traffic
  • Actively direct patients to profitable lines of business
  • Build trust in the brand
  • Ultimately increase revenue

With that said, how do you begin to make this fundamental shift, develop new patient-centric strategies and align with these new goals of a service line (or specialty service) model?

Getting Started: The Advantages of Healthcare Service Line Campaigns

To start, these campaigns provide a focused introductory message to new and prospective patients, establishing a clear expertise in a particular field of care.

So, what makes service line campaigns so attractive to marketers? Service line-specific campaigns allow them to connect at a more personal level with prospective patients. They also enable marketers to produce campaigns focused on service lines of high strategic significance and/or the most lucrative revenue producers.

Instead of working across multiple departments and service lines, Service Line campaigns give marketers a chance to create a focused message that can be integrated into the larger marketing mix. Compared to general patient acquisition campaigns, campaigns for service lines in hospitals and health systems allow marketers to compartmentalize messages and act with greater autonomy.

Additionally, marketers can align service line campaigns to fit a wider array of strategic objectives. Whether it be driving revenue to more lucrative service lines, establishing credibility in a developing field of expertise or acquiring a specific group of new patients, service line campaigns may possess a greater amount of utility than more general campaigns.

Strategies That Work: Ideas for Creating Effective Service Line Campaigns

With a greater influence on data-driven marketing than ever before, hospitals are in a unique position to address the needs of their patients in accordance with trends like those New Year’s resolutions. It’s about getting the timing right. Here are a few examples:

  1. Bariatric Marketing: Leverage the battle of the bulge
    Obesity is a U.S. epidemic. It’s a common health risk and pain point that gets the attention of a broad audience. Every year, when January 1st rolls around, millions of Americans resolve to lose weight through a variety of means, whether it be healthier eating habits, hitting the gym and, in some cases, bariatric surgery. Creating a campaign targeting this specific pain point, aimed at helping patients in this battle of the bulge, is a great opportunity for executing a hospital service line campaign.
  2. Engage existing patients or acquire new patients for your cardiovascular department/services
    The idea here is to kick off a focused campaign in February just in time for American Heart Month. This tactic aligns well with high-performing Cardiovascular Service Line marketing strategies.
  3. It is an opportunity well timed for:
    • Creating messaging specifically to highlight your cardiovascular department and the professionals who make it work.
    • Educating patients about the benefits of your service line with patient success story videos throughout the month.
    • Proactively promoting Heart Risk Assessments or Heart Disease Risk Calculators as a way of engaging with the audience.
    • Developing a campaign-specific hash tag for utilization across select social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram, depending on where your target audience is active.

Some Common Stumbling Blocks in Service Line Campaigns

While service line campaigns for service lines in healthcare can prove to be solid sources of revenue, there are a number of challenges to execution that marketers must consider. By and large, most of these issues derive from data management, including:

  1. List building: Effective service line campaigns typically target extremely focused demographics. Often times, these groups won’t be part of your general marketing database and they might not be obvious in the data selection. That’s why partnering with a dependable list/data provider, someone who can provide options and create the robust lists you’re looking for, is so essential.
  2. Timing: Having the right message and the ideal target audience are the fundamentals to build any campaign on. But service line campaigns strike when the iron is hot, like in the example of bariatric campaigns coinciding with the New Year. Execute your campaign too early and you might find an unmotivated audience. Too late and your prospective patients might have found someone else.
  3. Spend: Calculating your expected rate of return is critical at the onset so that all stakeholders are on board with projected revenue versus program expense.
  4. Personnel: Coordinating across multiple departments, including IT, marketing and others can seem like a daunting task, but creating a focused, cross-discipline approach can give your campaign a decided edge. Don’t be afraid of trying to put together an all-star team for your service line initiatives.

Moving Forward: Teaming Up to Identify Solutions

As competition gets tougher and consumers become more active in making decisions for their health, healthcare marketers need highly effective, fast-response programs to drive acquisition and strengthen their market presence.

If you’re just getting started or have come up against some challenges in pursuing a service line campaign approach, you may consider aligning with a partner who can provide campaign support, identify opportunities and help navigate through your challenges in your initiatives.

Strata Company specializes in highly targeted multichannel campaigns aimed at helping healthcare marketers measurably drive patient acquisition and service line growth. Our programs include end-to-end services such as List Acquisition, landing pages, response tracking, reporting and analysis.

Service line marketing campaigns can be executed via a number of different channels and tactics, but a fundamentally sound strategy is a must. If you’d like to learn more about how Strata Company can make your service line campaigns a success, contact us today.

A Game Plan for Patient Acquisition: Tips for Health care Marketers

New Patient Acquisition in the Modern Healthcare Marketing Landscape

It’s not news when I say that what’s going on in the healthcare marketplace is game changing. As the landscape moves from volume to value, we’re witnessing a fundamental shift from the treatment of chronic and catastrophic illnesses to long-term wellness and prevention. Plus, with the influx of new consumers as a result of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare marketers are confronted with the challenge (and opportunity) of acquiring new patients. This is why having a solid game plan for connecting more patients with physicians has never been more crucial.

Think about how the industry has evolved: Health information has essentially become a commodity. Patients are increasingly relying on the web for medical info and guiding their own health and wellness, which in effect is narrowing the information gap between physicians and patients.

A 2011 study by Harris Interactive reveals that three quarters (74%) of all adults have gone online at some time to look for health information, and that 60% have done so in the previous month. “Cyberchondriacs” (what Harris calls people who go online for healthcare information) who say that they believe the information they obtained was reliable has risen to 90% this year from 87% and 85% in the two previous years.

A New Playing Field for Healthcare Marketers

Marketing physicians

While the physician/patient relationship is still critical, it’s a highly competitive environment. Today, in order to stay competitive, marketers are forced to be more adept at differentiating the physicians in their network from the competition. Marketers must be more proactive, more sales oriented about promoting the unique value of their physicians. Physicians themselves need to take heed of this too for their own success. Ultimately, it means new challenges for physicians, health care administrators and healthcare marketers alike.

Challenges for health care administrators

One of the challenges for hospitals and health care systems is how to link physicians as a revenue stream. But, each is different – some own their physician practices, some don’t.

Hypothetically, let’s use a local children’s hospital as an example. Let’s say their competition is a big city children’s hospital. In this case, the local hospital’s marketing challenge is about making the hospital and doctors relevant to their target market and eliminating the mindset that patients need to go to the city to receive the best care.

In addition, there’s the challenge of acquiring more patients in a market that is always changing. At any given time 15% of the market is moving in or out of the area. This is where true opportunity lies.

A new player coming off the bench

As part of the healthcare evolution, there’s a new role emerging in hospitals and healthcare organizations: the physician liaison.

The role of the physician liaison is to serve as a personal contact for physicians and their practice managers and staff. They bridge positive and open relationships with physicians—which, by the way is a huge undertaking. Some hospitals do it on a service-line basis. For example, the hospital may have a service-line manager specifically for maternity. Their mission is to build a campaign to connect physicians, their staff and other members of the area’s healthcare community with the hospitals maternity services and resources.

Overall, the physician liaison’s objective is to make partnering with the hospital as productive as possible for the healthcare providers and as beneficial as possible for prospective patients.

Playing To Win In the Patient Acquisition Game

Your marketing playbook: new strategies for healthcare marketers

In today’s healthcare marketplace the stakes are higher than ever. So, in order to be at the top of your game, you need a play-by-play strategy that focuses on outreach and acquiring more patients. Strategies for healthcare marketers should include building relationships with new residents in their area as well as these “newer players” – the physician liaisons. The primary objective is to connect a patient with a physician based on the idea that, once they choose a physician, patients tend to say with that provider; and the hospital gets the downstream revenue.

Traditional approaches to acquiring new patients

There are many effective options for promoting your services to prospective patients, including:

  • Direct Marketing
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • SEO/PPC
  • Public Relations
  • Online Events
  • On-site Health Fair/Open House Events
  • Community events

Let’s explore two of these: Online Events and On-site Health Fairs.

AMA: Short for “Ask Me Anything” these online events are a way for your staff to connect with patients via social media. Whether your network specializes in oncology, bariatric or anything in between, this will give you the chance to educate the community while advertising your expertise.

Hospitals have always been a fixture in their local communities. Opening your grounds and inviting everyone to experience what makes your hospital unique can reinforce the value of your network. Provide free health assessments like blood pressure, heart health and other screenings.

Keeping score: Identifying appropriate metrics to measure results

In the game of healthcare marketing, data analytics and the measurement of data are critical. Analyzing relevant attributes certainly increases your chances of success. For instance, you could sort data by location, family make-up, employment status or any other relevant attribute. The more info you have to go on, the better your chances of success.

Be a game-changer

At the end of the day, what separates your system or hospital from the competition can’t be summed up by anyone other than you and your fellow marketers. Whether its facilities, physicians, research, cutting-edge medicine, or simply a strong commitment to community, there is always something you can leverage in the patient acquisition conversation. The ways you choose to deliver that message are up to you too, but we hope this blog has given you some new tactics to think about and eventually implement. The healthcare industry is always changing, but a proactive and relationship building acquisition strategy can ensure that those changes aren’t such a challenge. Contact us to learn more.