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ROI: The Three Letters that Make Every Healthcare Marketer Squirm

May 7, 2015
Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Strategy, ROI

As a marketer, we hear the same question over and over from senior management: 

“What is my return on investment for (enter any marketing execution here)?”

It is not that it is a bad question.  In fact, management should be asking this question, as well as marketers.  Who wouldn’t want to know that their marketing is working and increasing the bottom line?

What makes us squirm is that while we know that ROI is important and often the driver of our budgets, we just can’t get to that magical number.  Across the industry, healthcare marketers struggle to close the loop and prove a direct correlation between an increase in the bottom line and their advertising in market.  HIPPA privacy regulations roadblock a lot of the key information we need to close the loop, so what is a marketer to do?

Well, you have come to the right place.  My team and I were able to close the loop and report accurate ROI for a campaign called, Ask the Doc.  

ROI Success Story: Ask the Doc

Ask the Doc is a paid television program featuring Holy Cross Hospital’s physicians that runs during local news segments.  We taped and aired 13 two-minute episodes in which physicians were interviewed about their medical specialties.  2014 was our second year executing Ask the Doc, and we made great strides in adding digital components and tracking.

Being that ROI was a goal of ours this year, we approached the campaign much differently than the previous year. We began by creating a user experience flowchart to follow the user through all campaign entry points to ensure we close the loop at the end.

It helped to start from the bottom line number and work backwards to the patient entry point. If we had a name and phone number, we could match that information with hospital billing records to identify the patient’s medical expenses and calculate ROI.  So how do we collect the name and phone number of potential patients? 

We utilized our client’s third-party call center. They provided us with a designated Ask the Doc toll free number.  The call center was equipped with the episode air schedule and a script to ask, “Which Ask the Doc episode are you inquiring about?” Prior to transferring to the physician’s office, they also asked for a name and phone number (the “gold”).

The Ask the Doc phone number was key to collecting the data we needed and was only displayed on the Ask the Doc microsite (housed on the hospital website) and in the TV episodes.  Therefore, our next step was to identify all entry points and user experiences that will drive traffic to these two channels.

Hospital E-newsletters, Ask the Doc E-blasts and paid digital advertising promoted watching the Ask the Doc episodes, and the Call-To-Action in all communications was to click through to the microsite to learn more or schedule an appointment.  The microsite housed videos of all previously aired episodes and included the option to subscribe to weekly Ask the Doc E-blasts. But most important, was the Ask the Doc phone number.

Here’s the microsite:

Below is the user flowchart that visually demonstrates how all entry points drove traffic to the Ask the Doc phone number:

Ask the Doc User Experience Flow Chart

View the full-size flow chart

As mentioned, the call center then takes the collected potential patient contact information and scrubs it against the hospital billings and voila!  You now have a bottom-line number that you can prove is a direct result of the marketing campaign.

So, there is no reason to squirm at the letters ‘ROI.’  With a little preplanning and charting… You got this! 

Kara Hoffner

Kara is a Senior Account Executive with a unique combination of strategic thinking and creativity. Her work experience includes Kirshenbaum, Wunderman and The Food Group in New York and Ogilvy in New Zealand. Upon returning stateside, she launched The Liba Group, providing agencies with experiential and guerrilla marketing initiatives that leveraged clients’ campaigns.

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