June 22, 2017

How to Know if Your Service Lines are Market Ready

Healthcare marketers are barraged with requests for marketing support from physicians and service line leaders.

This is especially true when marketers are new to the organization. We recently finished a site visit with a client who has been on the job for just a few months. He can’t move fast enough to satisfy all the requests from physicians who have pent up demand for service line promotion.

Knowing which service lines to market often comes down to knowing the organization’s strategic priorities.

But how do you know if those service lines are ready to be marketed?

At Franklin Street, we use a Service Line Market Ready Assessment tool to look at 7 key indicators of “market readiness”, which include categories like access, profitability and competitive landscape.

In addition to the comprehensive assessment, we also encourage our clients to ask 3 questions as a gut check in determining if a service line is “market ready”.

The 3 Service Line Market Ready Questions

1. Do they get it?
2. Do they want it?
3. Do they have capacity?

1. Do they get it?

Do the physicians and leaders embrace the belief that delivering high quality care AND an exceptional patient experience is the expectation of today’s patients?

Or, will you as the marketer (and consummate advocate of what the marketplace wants and expects) have to continuously coach the service line leaders on how to meet and exceed patient expectations?

2. Do they want it?

Are the service line leaders and physicians hungry for growth? Are they excited to help more people on their road to health and wellness? Do they want to eliminate roadblocks on access so that prospective patients can be seen and treated promptly? Are they willing to acknowledge the aspects of their service line that could be better, and do they want to do the work to become better?

Or will you exhaust yourself drumming up enthusiasm to maintain even a minimum standard of quality, access and experience?

3. Do they have capacity?

This question has two components. First, exactly how much additional volume can the physicians handle? Enough to warrant marketing dollars? Second, do the service line leaders have the time to focus on encouraging outstanding care?

Promoting a service line can exacerbate cracks in the foundation. A less-than-stellar call center for patient scheduling can become a deep sore spot for patients who are seeking treatment but aren’t getting appointments booked in a timely manner. Communication challenges within a department can escalate when things get busier, as they often do after marketing does its job and attracts new patients for care.

The last thing a marketer wants to do is promote a service line that isn’t market ready. While we use sophisticated Service Line Market Ready Assessments to help our clients, we find asking these questions gives marketers a fast way to know if a service line is “market ready”.

We hope you’ll use these three questions during your next service line assessment. Leave us a response and share how you evaluate when a service line is “market ready.” We love it when our colleagues share lessons from the trenches.

Are you making the right promise?

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