The Future is Now: New Skills Are Translating to a Marketers’ Success

By: Ruth Padilla, MA

[box]”A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” -Larry Bird[/box]

Transformation in healthcare marketing departments is upon us. For some organizations, it’s actually been evolving for awhile.  Many marketing leaders have been asking themselves: “Does our team need new talent with different skills or capabilities to help us excel in our changing environment?”  Others are asking: “Do we keep the same team and just undergo intensive assessments to identify their knowledge gaps and train for those gaps?” Of course more often than not, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Marketers in this new age of healthcare complexity and opportunity must stretch their current skills beyond capabilities and comfort levels of today.  As we consult with healthcare organizations all over the country, we see that many marketing departments are still overwhelmed by the number of projects on their plates. Still, they’re working hard to be recognized for their contributions to the bottom-line, as well as for their innovative thinking within the organization.

We’ve known for some time that a marketer has to learn to think like an operator (especially a financial operator) and that won’t change. Payment models, health plans, transparency, margins and return on investment are just a few of the key areas that should be recognized and embraced.  However, beyond the finances, three critical emerging and relevant skills  are:

Marketers as Strategists First, Tacticians Second:  Marketers should be guided by organizational strategies as they develop and deploy their plans. Marketing that is not informed by leadership’s direction doesn’t work well. Sharpening skills around strategic thinking is an imperative for the future marketers’ role. To stay ahead of new emerging competitors, the “how-to” tactics can come in.

No Analyst is an Island:  Data is an essential part of the day-to-day intelligence of a marketing department.  A marketer who is comfortable with data and understands how to analyze and communicate information to help drive decisions forward will have a distinct advantage.  Some teams certainly have analysts do the work, but marketers who understand how to analyze, interpret and make data meaningful to the organization will have the greatest impact.

Strengthen Technological Acumen: Technology in our space is moving faster than healthcare organizations can keep up.  Many marketers are learning as much as they can about new technologies, from consumer-facing to those that support internal and physician operations. Forward-thinking marketers will continue to develop or enhance their technology skills as well as their ability to identify how technology can be used to support strategic growth.

Thinking about your team’s skill set or need to assess where your department is today? Email rpadilla@barlowmccarthy.com to set up a complimentary 30 minute chat.