Volume 2 | Issue 1
The politics of healthcare marketing
Navigating complex organizational hierarchy
In large, complex institutions such as hospitals and healthcare provider networks, it takes interdepartmental teamwork to achieve organizational goals. In this issue of Protocol, we’ll look at how marketers can navigate the complexity of healthcare politics to execute an effective marketing strategy.
The hospital’s many headed monster
When an organization’s first priority is caring for patients, it’s sometimes easy to forget that hospitals and healthcare provider networks are also businesses. And like so many others, healthcare providers are challenged to organize, align and build productive, mutually beneficial relationships among their many stakeholders and functional departments. The success of the organization depends on each department doing its individual job, yet all pulling together toward a common goal.
Each business unit – whether it’s the clinicians, operations people, housekeeping or administrators – has its own interests, specialties and expectations. Each is measured and judged by different criteria and goals. When you throw in the diverse personalities and work styles of each director and department head, getting agreement on a course for the hospital can be like trying to herd cats. That’s why getting buy-in and active participation in a marketing strategy takes diplomacy and an understanding of hospital politics.
Enlisting the hospital stakeholders
The marketing team faces the challenge of working with many hospital stakeholders; relying on support from many of these functional units to achieve its goals and objectives. From translating the corporate mission into a defensible market position to communicating the brand to every level of the organization and the public at large, healthcare marketers collaborate with nearly every functional area of the hospital organization.