Make ROI the Way Your Healthcare Marketing Team Operates


It was Wednesday morning, the last day of SHSMD 2015. It may have been the timing, but the 8:30 a.m. session summed up the entire conference for me: ROI should not be an afterthought or a proof check at the end of the campaign, quarter, or year. It should be the way your team, and even your organization, operates.

In the session, John Marazone and Simon Yohe, both of Orlando Health’s marketing team, talked through their journey of moving from a cost center to revenue generator. And although they admit they’re not done, they are in their second year of a well-planned execution with interesting insights to report.

Marazone began the story when an interim CEO took over Orlando Health two years ago and promised the marketing department no increase in budget, but the trust and leeway to do what they do well. As fans of the ‘moneyball’ philosophy in baseball, John’s team believed the only way they could improve was to implement accountability. Their guiding principles are as follows:

  • Healthcare marketing has to be accountable
  • Shift to a more integrated digital, social, mobile multi-channel marketing strategy
  • Align physician outreach with consumer marketing
  • Precision marketing – using data to engage both current and future patients

The Importance of CRM & Finance

An important part of making this transformation included limiting untraceable spending. Advertising spending is shifting from traditional to digital channels. The organization’s CRM has become the central point for the marketing team, and is admittedly the most valuable tool.

Another key part of success for Orlando Health was engaging other departments in the organization, most importantly finance. Bringing finance into the fold helped the marketing team create corporate-wide approved ROI formulas.

And since then, every campaign has had an understood need, baseline numbers (including revenue and cost), and an execution plan All campaigns include downstream revenue tracking. All campaigns have lead generation as part of the strategy. So far, all campaigns have met their goals.

Impressive Results

Although still early in the transformation, Marazone and his team are reporting impressive numbers. From FY ’14 to FY ’15, the team has recorded a 200% increase in landing page unique visitors, a 100% increase in web-based appointment requests, and a 317% increase in marketing campaign call center volume.

Overall, since making the move Orlando Health’s marketing team has tracked $17 million in gross charges and $4 million in net revenue.

Talk about impressive. And those numbers are even more amazing if you stop and recall they successfully made this shift without a budget increase.

The Takeaway

A lot of Orlando Health’s success hinged on the fact they realized driving traffic to digital spaces was critical, and that they agreed on the outset that the only real way to say with certainty that a campaign succeeded or failed was with data.

These are conversations we have every day with our clients, and it’s refreshing to see so many healthcare marketers embrace digital and the improved tracking capabilities it offers. If you’d like to talk to a partner that isn’t scared of ROI, contact us. We love to help our clients prove the value of marketing campaigns and digital efforts.

SHSMD Taskforce Unveils the Ultimate Healthcare Strategy Guide

Strategy GuideThe forces of change are arraying and the impact on healthcare marketing, public relations, communications and planning will be significant. The change isn’t just driven from healthcare reform, it’s also coming from health consumerism and advances in technology including big data, personalized communication and CRM.

I’ve had the opportunity over the past year to be part of a SHSMD think tank exploring the future of the strategy disciplines — marketing, planning, public relations, corporate communications, and physician relations — within the healthcare enterprise.

This task force, working with David Grandy and a team of design thinking consultants from HDR consulting, interviewed, work shopped and vetted its conclusions with hundreds of professionals, executives and CEOs from both inside and outside of our industry.

The result of this work is the impressive Bridging Worlds report. It provides a detailed and actionable plan outlining the changes that healthcare organizations need to make to succeed in the future.

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Sometimes It’s Hard to See Change From Up Close

Geonetric Values
For the past month or so I’ve been working very little with the Geonetric team. We moved to our brand new building last month, and I was pretty focused on that. But I’ve also been working with startup teams on our second floor in the Iowa Startup Accelerator, and will be until November. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know about our 18-month old experiment in which our teams operate without managers. Perhaps this takes the experiment to its logical conclusion: can the teams run without a CEO for three months?Of course the answer is yes.

Today I joined the entire company in our new café for our monthly company meeting. But unbeknownst to me, they had changed it up dramatically. And the modifications they made to the meeting are indicative of the important cultural changes that have been taking place.

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What Does Geonetric Value

In the second year of our Agile-beyond-software transformation, we had an “aha” moment. We realized our core values were fuzzy and didn’t necessarily reflect the company we are today. We trust employees to self-organize and make the “right” decisions – but they didn’t have clear principles to guide those decisions.

In a traditional environment, the executive team might hire a branding company to define and roll out the organization’s values. The company then typically ends up with words that are cliché, ambiguous and impossible to measure – values like “passion” and “excellence” – or a Dilbert-like phrase filled with buzzwords – such as “leveraging core competencies to achieve synergistic results”. That doesn’t cut it here.

So of course, we decided to turn the process on its head. We asked employees to tell the executive team what our core values are.
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Building a Democratic Workplace at Geonetric

worldblu certification

Today Geonetric was certified as a Democratic Workplace by WorldBlu. We’re proud to be a company that values its employees and actively works to create such a positive workplace culture.

Geonetric has always been a great place to work. About 18 months ago, we took that a step further – we said “great culture” has to mean more than just amenities like free food and a flexible work environment. So we eliminated our formal management hierarchy and instead created self-organizing, self-managing teams. That was a pretty major step toward a democratic workplace, even before we knew that was a “thing”.

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Clients Still Satisfied? Check.

Client Satisfaction Graph
We did it again! The results of this quarter’s client satisfaction survey (and yes, we do it every three months) shows that our clients continue to value Geonetric as their Web partner. Last quarter, we hit an all-time high overall score of 5.32 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest). This quarter, we maintained that impressive score.

We have a pretty lofty goal for response rate. We need 70% participation, every survey. And you know what? We’ve consistently exceed that goal for more than two years. This time around, 73% of our clients participated in the survey and 92% of those respondents gave us a 5.0 or higher overall score!

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Learning to Build a Better Team

team building with adhesive notes

What do you get when you gather 150 digital project managers together for two days? A well-organized conference that runs on time.

I spent two days in Philadelphia at the inaugural Digital PM Conference produced by the Bureau of Digital Affairs in association with Happy Cog™. This event is being touted as the first of its kind. There are plenty of conferences that include topics relevant to project managers as a side discussion. But to have a conference dedicated to the trials and tribulations of the digital project manager was definitely unique.

The topics covered how to manage projects from a variety of perspectives. The sessions shared ways to keep projects moving, clients happy and teams engaged. I have to say I picked up some really great tips and met a lot of “my people.”

Rachel Gertz presented “Clients Matter; So Put Your Team First.” This topic fits well into the agile culture we work in daily at Geonetric. Clients continue to make requests and our primary goal as project managers is to keep them happy, but sometimes we do this at our internal team’s expense. We are so buried in the weeds that we forget the needs of our team. If we lose our team’s confidences, we’re sunk.

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Humanizing Work: Conference Review

About 1/20 of the giant post-its capturing learning at the Humanizing Work Conference.

A number of the readers of GeoVoices are other companies using Agile methods, or considering it, because Geonetric is particularly aggressive in using Agile methods. If you’re interested in Agile, this post is for you. If not, feel free to skip this one!

Our Agile coach, Richard Lawrence, and his company Agile For All, put on a conference called Humanizing Work this week for advanced practitioners of Agile. Everyone had at the minimum been through a full Agile training program already; most had been involved with Agile for quite some time, some for many years. Attendees ranged from very large, well known corporations to small businesses and everything in between. Continue reading

Voice of the Customer versus Survey Fatigue

Photo of a man holding his hand to his ear.

It’s a well-documented fact that Geonetric surveys our clients every quarter to find out how we’re doing. In fact, we just wrapped up our Q3 survey.

Some might ask why we survey so frequently. Doesn’t that lead to survey fatigue? Aren’t we worried about over-surveying leading to skewed results and lowered response rates?

On the other hand, good businesses have to pay attention to the “Voice of the Customer.” What are their preferences, expectations, and experiences with our company?

So how do we balance these two seemingly conflicted questions?
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Embrace What Makes a Team Better and Ditch What Doesn’t


Change is scary. But what happens when you throw all convention out the window? Like really let loose and do something totally extreme. When you keep doing something over and over that doesn’t work… isn’t that the definition of insanity? So instead of driving yourself crazy, beating your head against the wall doing the same old thing, what’s stopping you from trying something different?

If you follow our blog, you’ve probably heard how we jumped in and implemented agile methodologies throughout our entire organization. Whether you know what that means or not, the bottom line is we knew we could do things better but the constraints of traditional management and organizational structure were preventing us from changing.

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The 2013 SHSMD Annual Conference in One Word

SHSMD Annual Conference

Having spent my week at SHSMD schmoozing with the biggest gathering of healthcare strategy, planning, communications, marketing and PR professionals that the Society has ever had, the current state of our industry can be summed up in a single word:


We’ve been on the cusp of major industry shifts for a few years now, but for all of the discussions and debate, no one is really sure what our industry is going to look like three years from now.

This week saw the biggest step to date in terms of actual implementation of the ACA (AKA Obamacare) and we’re still playing a guessing game to determine what its real meaning to our service mix and financial picture will really be. Obamacare applies leverage to the edges of the healthcare system, but doesn’t dictate what the care delivery system will look like or how it will work.

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Pit Stops and Continuous Improvement

At our last company meeting, we watched a video about pit stops. Why? Because it was freaking awesome to watch! The Red Bull team set the record for the fastest pit stop in April of this year. The video shows it in slow motion for a minute and a half, and then the entire process in real time.

So, before you watch it, predict right now how long you think it takes to do a pit stop for a Formula One racecar. Remember it, we’ll come back after you check it out (you will want to put in on HD, and turn up your speakers):

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The Geonetric Games: Cross-Functional Teams for the Win!


At Geonetric, we’re all about cross-functional teams. We organize ourselves in groups of people with various expertise and we all work toward a common goal.

This year’s Geonetric Games was no different. Teams were formed and a heated competition ensued. Teams took the events as seriously as we take our commitment to doing great client work! This year’s favorite events included office chair relays, javelin (a.k.a. pool noodle) toss, and a water balloon toss (er… fight). As I whizzed past CEO Eric Engelmann in an office chair I thought, “How awesome is Geonetric?”

If you want to participate in next year’s Geonetric Games, check out our current job openings and join the fun! Bring on next year!

Geonetric Forums: Better Together


I like to believe I bring insightful perspective when consulting with healthcare organizations and in my speaking, writing, social media and blogging activities. What I bring to the table is insight that spans all organizations. I see how different healthcare professionals approach similar problems, when they succeed and fail, and, with a little luck, can provide some thoughts as to why certain outcomes happen.

What I can’t bring to the table is the first-person perspective. I’m not the person in the hospital working to move that initiative forward. I’m not the one navigating the internal politics, receiving the angry phone calls from physicians, or selling the health system’s brand. It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve worked in a hospital and I’ve used up my war stories.

Fortunately, I work with a truly incredible group of healthcare organizations. The wisdom and depth of experience I find when talking with healthcare professionals is as valuable as the perspective I bring to the conversation. Likely more so.

That’s why I regularly co-present topics with our clients and engage with them when I write. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy going to so many conferences and tradeshows throughout the year.

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Responsive Design is a Journey, Not a Destination

Highway with arrow, illustrating the responsive design journey

We’ve been talking about Responsive Design for a long time. In truth, Geonetric was one of the first healthcare Web firms to promote the benefits of this approach in our industry. With the explosion of new devices, form factors, and formats like Windows 8’s touchscreen computers and convertible laptop/tablets, it’s more important than ever to evolve our thinking from “the mobile Web” to a “Whole Web” philosophy.

The initial goal of Responsive Design was simply to deliver all of the content and functionality on our websites to the mobile audience. And it accomplished that. Adobe Flash® features went out the window. Mouse-over menus were outfitted with touchscreen friendly navigation support. And content was prioritized to keep the most important items visible as screens got smaller and smaller.

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