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Is Centralized Healthcare Marketing Right for You? Three Questions at the Center of Any Decision.

Julia (Hansch) Schultz

Is it acceptable for separate facilities and departments to “do their own thing,” or should all marketing efforts be centralized? Many hospitals and healthcare systems face this important issue regularly. Perhaps you find yourself weighing what’s best for your situation.

In our view, step one is to ask three pivotal questions:

  1. Will having them “do their own thing” run counter to every other thing you’re hoping to accomplish? It often does. That’s because anything that doesn’t add to the overall brand experience runs the clear risk of diluting ultimate impact and delivering subpar results for everyone involved.
  2. Could the “thing” itself have unintended, negative consequences? When each separate facility or department only follows systemwide branding loosely, it becomes altogether too easy for brand consistency and the overall patient experience to suffer.
  3. Is everyone’s definition of the “thing” too narrowly defined? It’s easy to think centralized marketing simply means developing a set of rules on how to use logos and taglines. It can (and should) be much more. Done well, centralized marketing can improve overall patient experiences systemwide.

We did not define the brand experience too narrowly for Saint Francis Healthcare System in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. By engaging 31 employed (and formerly private) practices throughout the region with centralized branding and marketing, we helped improve overall patient experiences in ways that benefited everyone.

One tangible result: Healthgrades® named Saint Francis a recipient of the Outstanding Patient Experience Award in 2016 and 2017. You can learn more about how centralized marketing led to other quantifiable results in this special case study.

Let us know when you are ready to discuss your unique healthcare marketing and communication challenges.


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