Due to upcoming changes in healthcare laws, many hospital systems are expanding into offering insurance plans. This presents a totally new challenge for marketing departments at these newly formed insurance organizations as they immediately must become business-to-business marketers (B2B) in addition to business-to-consumer marketers (B2C). This also places them into direct competition with all of the deep pocketed insurance companies like United Healthcare, BCBS, Aetna, etc.
To help organizations get up to speed quicker and solidify their insurance organizations, Frank H. Leone penned the book “Marketing Healthcare Services To Employers: Strategies and Tactics.” This book does a very deep dive in to the strategies and tactics that are necessary to build and maintain an insurance organization. To say that there are A LOT of different activities that must be performed is an understatement, but there is no doubt that each of the organizations that are building insurance extensions understand the task at hand. Mr. Leone does an excellent job detailing the steps that must be taken, but also explains why different activities must be done. The name of the book is should really be “Marketing and Selling Healthcare Services to Employers” because the book is split between marketing and sales activities. Mr. Leone explains the direction connection between sales and marketing and how both organizations must work together for success which is very true and it is unlikely that one will have success without the other.
Here are some of the highlights of the book:
- Develop a Plan and Follow The Plan – Success requires a detailed plan that is closely followed and tweaked as necessary. There must be clearly defined daily, weekly, and monthly activities that are are performed consistently for success. Often marketing departments do not plan their activities which lead to last minute decisions and a lack of cohesion from one activity to the next.
- Sell Your Differentiation Points – An organization should not talk badly about their competition, but should highlight the differences. This is merely stating and emphasizing your competitive advantages. Prospects are overwhelmed with so many of the same, bland marketing messages, that marketing the key points that make your organization different will lead to success.
- Segment Your Market – The message must vary to businesses of different size and industry. The pain points, decision makers, and needs requirements will vary by business and so should your marketing message. Just like most other situations, one size does not fit all.
- Be everywhere – Mr. Leone details a huge list of activities that should be employed to attract businesses to your insurance plans. The best way for me to sum it up is to be everywhere. Social media, websites, printed materials, open houses, networking events, seminars, conferences, SEO, PPC, onsite tours, etc. With the combined effort of the sales and marketing departments, you must be everywhere because if you are not, your competition will.
- Cross Sell Service Lines – The projected benefit for the hospitals that are starting these insurance plans and the employers that will use them is improved service coupled with a cost savings. The more services that are used under the umbrella of the hospital system, the more cost efficient the hospitals can be.. To do this effectively, the hospitals must sell various services to the employers. This includes wellness services, urgent care, women’s services, etc. The more services, the better.
- Hire, Train, and Compensate Good Sales People – Sales people are your lifeblood and very important to the success of the insurance organizations. Mr. Leone goes into great detail about how to hire, train, and compensate the right sales people. He states that if this is done effectively. He goes in such great detail about how to do this correctly which is what led me to state the the book is incorrectly named. All of the best marketing tactics will be ineffective without the right sales people in place to close the deals.
- Market On A Tight Budget – All activities need to be tracked and measured for return on investment (ROI). Different then some traditional marketing activities that do not require positive ROI,marketing insurance plans is different. A lot of money can be spent very quickly and if this is not closely tracked, it will be a fail. Organizations must be frugal and strategic with their marketing spend.
These are only a few of the important points that Mr. Leone makes in the book. The book is over 360 pages and includes some nice checklists and action plans to get your organization off on the right track. It is a very quick read and covers so many marketing and sales tactics that are likely forgotten or not used as a part of an integrated plan. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone involved with the development or launch of and insurance organization at a hospital system.