Let’s face it, most online marketers (especially in healthcare) have trouble understanding their online goals and initiatives. Heck, a lot of organizations don’t even know what their goals are or how to generate good goals (I am not going to touch on how to generate good goals today, that’s for another post). And a lot of times, when organizations do have goals, they aren’t measurable.
One of the workshops I attended at the SHSMD Annual Conference this year in Chicago, IL was centered on dashboards and scorecards — specifically the right and wrong ways to do them and the information that should be going in each. Let me first go over what all of these different pieces are.
I was recently interviewed for an article on digital marketing. We covered a range of subjects around measuring marketing effectiveness, processes for continual improvement and how to build better ROI.
Then the whopper of a question came — how important are conversions, really? I was a little taken aback. This is someone working in hospital marketing and someone I know is very Web savvy. Isn’t this obvious? Isn’t this what we’re all working for?
The Web is a great channel for engaging health consumers, making connections and converting them into patients. It’s natural, therefore, that we’d want to tailor the digital experience based on their individual interests – an approach that’s becoming more and more popular on retail websites.
But what works well for retail isn’t necessarily useful for healthcare. People use our sites differently. Failing to recognize this can lead to a site that’s awkward, creepy or even risks HIPAA violations. So how do you know if using dynamic content is right for your hospital’s website? Let’s explore.
What makes a site dynamic?
Dynamic websites are based on content management tools where the content lives in a database rather than static files. Pages are assembled as users access them, pulling the most relevant and up-to-date information together at that moment.
Last week our engineering team released VitalSite 6.7. It contains a slew of new features, fixes and enhancements focused on helping consumers find your site and the content within it. This release includes enhancement to site search, schema.org support, and a range of tools for webmasters.
Site Search Enhancements and Schema.org Support
Marketing channels and audience behaviors are evolving rapidly. Traditional marketing campaigns take months to implement and even longer to see tangible value. And they’re much too rigid to work in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.
Geonetric approaches marketing differently. We launch Responsive Campaigns ― campaigns that not only help healthcare marketers prove their value, but also solve many of the flaws inherent in traditional campaigns.
At first I thought it was a joke. But no. As part of the re-branding effort of Gaston Memorial Hospital to CaroMont Regional Medical Center, they also launched an edgy new tag line:
The re-branding was done by local ad agency Immortology which did nothing to convince me that the announcement in early April wasn’t just a big April fool’s joke. In fact the announcement included employees unveiling “Cheat Death” t-shirts and signing a pledge to help local residents lead healthier lives.
The backlash from the campaign was severe and the campaign was taken down within a few days — ultimately leading to the dismissal of the CEO two weeks later.
Honestly, I feel bad for the CaroMont team here. They were trying to be bold and a little controversial to get attention. Something that, quite frankly, we see too little of in healthcare marketing. Furthermore, the slogan overshadowed what appears to be a serious program intended to promote wellness and stave off disease. Again, a step that many healthcare organizations know that we need to be committing ourselves to and one that more than a few organizations give little more than lip service.
But it all went bad over two words: “Cheat Death.”
What can we learn from this?
Marketing is a fast-paced discipline. Every day, new tactics and opportunities for getting your message out to your target audience are uncovered and vying for budget. Which tactics are best? How do you know if you should put your eggs in the billboard basket or the PPC basket? And how do you measure these tactics in a meaningful way, tying clicks and passerby’s back to actual procedures and service line volume?
No amount of gut instinct can tell you for sure.
A New Approach
That’s why we take a different approach at Geonetric. We launch Responsive Campaigns — campaigns that are flexible, nimble and easy to adjust.
There is a misunderstanding with some online marketers that simply believe looking at your website’s visits and pageviews is indicative of the successes or failures of your site. Really? Come on, you can do better… a lot better.
I challenge everyone to dig deeper, but not so deep that you generate data puke. Data puke is the difference between ‘Web Reporting’ and ‘Web Analysis.’ It’s a term that Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, uses heavily and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since first reading about it. In essence, most of the time Web reporting generates data puke, where Web analysis generates actionable data.
In Avinash’s blog post, The Difference Between Web Reporting And Web Analysis, he gives readers a list of 10 signs you’re doing Web analysis in hopes that you can identify data puke when you see it. While I agree with what Avinash has to say, I would like to put my own spin on this list and share with you 5 signs you are generating data puke and then give you 5 signs you are generating actionable data through performing Web analysis.
Healthcare marketers track consumers, communicate with them, engage with them, build relationships with them, and then convert them. That’s the true goal of marketing success.
So how is it that so many of us have come to focus on awareness as our key success measurement? Look at our marketing today. Campaigns that say little more than “look at me, look at me!” Billboards and TV ads with no call to action. Web efforts measured by the number of visits.
Does any of that really matter? Does it move the needle of success for your organization? Does your CFO care?
The answer, of course, is “No.”
“You can only manage what you can measure.”
– Peter Drucker
It’s easy to get obsessed with numbers and metrics when you’re working with the Web. There’s no shortage of information about what’s happening with your website, app or campaign. The cup of data overfloweth.
For a certain set of people, and I count myself in this category, data is just fascinating. I find myself getting lost in spreadsheets and databases while attempting to tease out just one more insight.
But the point of data isn’t in the data. It’s often not even in the insights that come from the data. The point is the act of measurement itself.
Measurement creates focus. This is really the reason why we do it. This is really why it matters.
If you’re doing your metrics properly the process starts with defining goals. Aiming only matters if you know what your target looks like. So you start with goals and the goals lead to metrics.