A marketing team comprises many specialists who work together to educate consumers, attract them to the health system, and continue to build engagement and loyalty through meaningful messages and quality service.

To execute this strategy and win market share, the team needs a playbook that guides their decision-making and adapts to ever-changing consumer needs and preferences. In this playbook, Healthgrades provides the top 10 CRM plays to help your marketing offense score points and pull off some big wins.


Use CRM insights to inform your overall strategy

CRM is not just a system but a major strategy, so it’s important to think beyond the platform and what you can do in it. You’ll want to use insights from CRM to inform not only your campaign development, but also your overall approach to the market. A simple framework for this approach is provided here.

The insights you glean from CRM will enable you to analyze and prioritize market opportunities, predict those who will require your services, engage current and future patients, and inform stakeholders about the results your programs are generating — all in a way that lets you prove your impact. Think about this as a continuous cycle.

Analyze +

Predict +

Inform +

Engage +

Analyze and prioritize market opportunities — so you can make data-driven decisions and focus your efforts where they will matter most.

Predict those who will require your services — before their moment of need.

Inform stakeholders about key program metrics and the ROI your programs generate so you can prove your value — then use the data to get even better.

Engage current and future patients with targeted content, at the right time, through the right channels with the help of intelligent marketing automation.


Identify your best marketing opportunities

A CRM platform can be instrumental in identifying market opportunities and determining where to invest your marketing dollars. Gain new insights about your market, make smarter decisions, and target more effectively by:

Analyzing service lines. Prioritize those with the greatest opportunity by understanding year-over-year trends, estimating the value of growing a service line, and comparing the average financial value of a patient across service lines.

Profiling consumers in your market. Evaluate and select the types of audiences you want to target by understanding demographic and psychographic traits, examining utilization patterns, and assessing medical needs and financial characteristics.

Identifying geographic opportunity. Focus your campaign investments by using CRM tools to identify the best populations by geography based on consumer need, risk, demand, digital engagement, and more.


Use predictive modeling to identify the highest value patients

Predictive models are the quarterback of a CRM strategy. With strong predictive modeling tools, your team can dig into at-risk populations to uncover the attributes shared by those patients and prospects who are most open to receiving your messages — and easily find, reach, and engage them, making the most efficient use of your marketing effort and spend.

The most accurate models combine consumer data with medical data and can help you reach 85% or more of patients most likely to need services by reaching out to only 20% of a defined population.

Not all CRM systems are created equal. Identify and familiarize yourself with the predictive models available and understand what they can tell you about patients and prospective patients at risk, estimated revenue per patient, channel availability, and more.


Dig deeper to target meaningful segments

Once you’ve identified the service line priorities and target audience that best meet your goals, you’ll want to segment your audience into meaningful groups so you can personalize your messages.

Personalization increases messaging relevance and drives higher rates of engagement and conversion. By segmenting your target audience into unique segments, you can develop personas for each segment to inform your personalization efforts.

Personas represent a portrait of a distinct consumer type or segment. They help marketers develop a more relevant experience by telling a story audience members can relate to. Audience segments should be differentiated on something meaningful such as financial value, medical needs, points of entry (e.g., primary care, ER), or cohorts (e.g., female heads of household).

Segments and supporting personas should be identifiable in your CRM database and actions should be measurable. This ensures you can track and report on changes and improvements.

Use segmentation and personas to prioritize audience targets and inform messaging and call-to-action development


Explore details of the Kiddie Kastles persona



Master the consumer journey

Craft effective content and track the right conversion metrics by understanding the consumer’s care journey and the various access points they encounter along the way. Journey mapping involves identifying the touchpoints where patients can be influenced to make specific choices.

Building on the segmentation and personas that have been developed with CRM data, journey mapping can help you think through all of the various consumer entry points in more detail, define the conversions you will track and measure, and connect them back to your business goals.

Once campaign data is flowing in, activity can be analyzed from each channel and an attribution methodology applied to allocate credit for a conversion among touchpoints. This enables you to determine how much ROI a particular touchpoint is generating.

Explore the Gary and Nicole personas to see how their individual journeys to knee surgery look different.



Leverage marketing automation for scale

Healthcare marketers are challenged to find ways to meet consumers along their journey and support frequent, personalized communications without additional investments. It’s no surprise that a growing number of health systems are powering this “always-on,” continuous engagement cycle with technology — not man-hours — to free up resources so the marketing team can focus on other objectives.

Getting started with Marketing Automation

  • Don’t rush
    Make sure the automation is set up properly with the correct technical requirements (DNS, domains, IP’s, DKIM, etc). Focus on the branding and deliverability of your automation system.

  • Coordinate with all internal teams
    Communicate with teams that will be utilizing the platform and develop SLA’s between them. Take the time to put processes in place to organize and coordinate communications being sent from the tool. Develop internal Standard Operating Procedures for engagement, naming conventions, folder structures, and business rule sets.

  • Run an IP warming campaign
    The very first campaign you should run when you add a new dedicated IP address is an IP Warming campaign. Warming up your IP allows you to gradually send more emails over your new IP to establish a good sender reputation. It is much easier to establish a positive reputation as a new sender than it is to repair an existing reputation.

Marketing’s job is shifting away from campaign execution to a role centered on identifying and using context to create a repeatable cycle of interactions, drive deeper engagement, and learn more about the customer in the process.

AI: The Next Generation of Marketing, Forrester, 2017


Think across channels and develop your own benchmarks

Take advantage of the opportunity to consolidate metrics across channels and develop a global view of how your campaigns perform.

Utilize the dashboard capabilities of your CRM platform to analyze results by channel across the consumer journey, identify your top channel mixes driving to conversion, and more.

Set benchmarks and goals based on your experience. Measure your programs and use the data to answer the question, “Are we getting better?


Follow tracking & ROI best practices

It’s hard to overstate the importance of results tracking and a rigorous approach to calculating ROI. These numbers ensure that there’s no debate over the wins your programs are achieving. The following best practices are a good starting point.

Tracking & ROI best practices

  • Understand your goal(s) prior to strategy development

  • Determine how you will measure success

  • Establish the appropriate tracking mechanisms and metrics before your campaign is in market

  • Test that the data is being collected properly

  • Test the messaging and CTAs and optimize based on the findings

  • Align with your C-suite and finance team on the metrics that are important to them

  • Utilize your own benchmarking to track your progress over time

  • Leverage the expertise and data a CRM partner can provide to help you gauge your effectiveness


Communicate the impact of your marketing

Greystone’s 3rd Annual State of Healthcare Digital Marketing report found that the top two challenges affecting digital marketing efforts are lack of staffing and lack of funding. These challenges make it imperative to get a CRM program off to a good start with respect to measurement, communication with key stakeholders, and use of data from the CRM platform to build support for your efforts.

Fortunately, best practices in this area are beginning to emerge:

  • Involve your finance team in the approach and methods you will be using to evaluate success; they will need to be engaged upfront to provide financial data for ROI calculations

  • Utilize dashboards and other data visualization tools from the CRM platform to inform the C-suite and make your case with impact

  • Give executives access to relevant dashboards and metrics, but try to set up ongoing reviews and reporting to reinforce results in terms of hard financials

  • Make it a habit to constantly communicate the value of CRM system efforts so you can preserve or even grow your budget

  • Leverage the expertise of the CRM partner to help you prepare for conversations about results, ROI and attribution, and support delivery where appropriate


Partner with your population health leaders

The marketing team isn't the only department in your health system that can benefit from a CRM system. The intelligence provided by a CRM platform can help leaders of population health initiatives better understand patient needs and use those insights to drive timely and effective intervention.

Addressing the Needs of Your Rising-Risk Patients,, February 2018

The top ways a CRM platform can enhance population health efforts

  • Identify patients whose risk levels are rising.
    CRM is ideal for identifying rising-risk and low-risk chronic patients before their conditions become so serious they require 1:1 intervention. Predictive modeling can help you find and engage patients with conditions that are newly diagnosed, chronic and/or progressive, or who will be high utilizers over time if their conditions aren’t well-managed.

  • Determine services that are generating a high number of claims and appointments for conditions that consumers could treat on their own.
    These patients can be referred via their physicians to self-care tools (such as Health Risk Assessments) that collect data needed to assess the patient’s progress and trigger referrals to their physician if needed.

  • Help physicians drive better care compliance among the patient populations they manage.
    By tapping into EMR data, a CRM system can identify patients who are not keeping up with tests related to their condition or getting basic preventive screenings (for example, diabetics who aren’t getting their A1C tests at least twice a year). These patients can be contacted, scheduled, and monitored with the help of a CRM platform.

As a marketer, you’ll want to become adept at applying CRM insights to population health challenges. Most population health initiatives target patients based on clinical data, but 80% or more of a population's healthcare utilization and costs can be related to non-medical care factors. This makes it critical to understand how to best target patients based on social determinants as well.

1 A call to be whole: the fundamentals of health care reform, CT. 53, Sowad, Barbara J · 855.665.9276

© Copyright 2019 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc.