WHPRMS January Blog: Six New Imperatives that Will End Hospital Marketing (According to Chris Bevolo)

If you attended the October WHPRMS Annual Conference you not only heard from an impressive array of very smart speakers, you also received a complimentary copy of Chris Bevolo’s latest book Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing. In short, the book is a “must read” for those seeking to take their organization to the next level in today’s constantly evolving marketing environment.

Chris knows what he’s talking about. He’s a nationally recognized author, futurist and speaker on healthcare marketing, branding and strategy. He has spent his career helping organizations better understand and leverage key trends in healthcare competition, branding and consumerism. And he’s a frequent presenter at WHPRMS and national healthcare conferences, addressing marketing, branding, innovation, the patient experience and consumer trends. His first book Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital is a “field guide” for driving transformation in hospital marketing departments. Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm came next, providing a strategic guide to digital and content marketing.

In Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing, Chris describes how until recently, hospital marketing was 10 – 20 years behind other industries, subject to healthcare leaders only interested in one of the four P’s – promotion – and unwelcoming of our input regarding place, price and product. Today, according to Chris, the gap has closed considerably. He says we’ve become strategic, smart, creative, results-oriented, brand-building, engaging and effective at marketing. Now, there should be no distinction between hospital marketing and marketing. Quoting Chris, “Hospital marketers are kicking ass and taking names.”

Joe Public III shares the most successful strategies of health systems creating new benchmarks for our industry, culled from interviews with some of the most influential individuals in our field. These strategies are outlined in six New Imperatives. They represent the best of the best in overcoming the old “hospital marketing” mentality, ensuring strategic leadership and achieving unparalleled hospital marketing success.

The New Imperatives are:

1) Digital Dominates – Make digital a core strategy. Digital isn’t a separate thing; it’s embedded in everything. Continue to explore the sometimes-overwhelming opportunities digital brings to your messaging and customer engagement.

2) Marketing as a Business Driver – Be certain that the number one goal of marketing is to support the organization’s business objectives. We’ve earned our seat at the leadership table by demonstrating ROI and aligning our marketing strategies with key goals.

3) Owning the Experience – Absorb responsibility for the consumer experience. This has profound implications for the organization and how marketing will be defined going forward. After all, marketers have the best understanding of the healthcare consumer.

4) Data-Driven Marketing – Focus on the data. Data reveals new and important insights that drive more effective targeted communications, better results and improved ROI for health systems.

5) Turning Sick Brands into Health Brands – Shift the health system value proposition away from being perceived only as a place for the sick and injured to one seen as a partner in staying healthy. Move from healthcare to health.

6) Low-Threshold Leadership – Be an early adopter. The Threshold Mode of Collective Behavior holds that those able to embrace new or contrarian ideas are more likely to strike out on their own. Marketing innovators show a common trait of being the first, or among the first, to adopt new technologies and strategies. So, go against the grain and pursue with relentless passion what you think is right.

The book covers each New Imperative in great detail, offering examples of how these leaders have implemented related strategies and created outcomes that lead to success. We learn what these leaders are doing, where they’re going and what they have in common. Last, the book ends with “words of wisdom” gleaned from hours of interviews with the best and brightest.

Chris’ excitement for healthcare marketing jumps off the page. He writes that despite all the upheaval occurring in the field characterized by changing business models, new competition and the variety of ways we must reach our audiences, “there is no more exciting time to be a hospital marketer than today.” He continues, “Thanks to all the challenges and craziness we face, our industry offers nearly infinite opportunities to drive innovative, successful marketing strategies”. Sounds like fun!

If you missed the WHPRMS Annual Conference, you can get your copy of Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing on Amazon. Better yet, get a bunch of copies, one for each member of your team and one for your CEO.


James Shulkin has been a member of WHPRMS since 1999. He is the principal at Windflower Consulting.