Late last year, the Vice President of Marketing for one of the most prestigious health systems in the U.S. told me she viewed the Web as just another tool for her team. “Every project includes an online component, so all of my marketing team is trained on our Web tools,” she said.
How many organizations have integrated the Web into their marketing and communications to this degree? In my conversations with health systems, the majority look at online communications in all of its forms – the corporate website, social media, blogs and digital marketing – as a discipline separate from the rest of marketing communications.
Few organizations have taken the steps to develop online expertise in all of their marketing team members, and the majority of organizations have not developed processes to connect the Web to their full range of communications initiatives.
I don’t mean to suggest that the Web isn’t an area of specialization. In truth, the days of the lone webmaster running a Web property are gone due to the specialization of many different Web-related disciplines. This is really no different from TV, for example. A staff member’s skills in public relations or print design do not qualify them to write or direct for TV. We should have no more expectation for their skills to manage a website or design online ad campaigns.
What we should be doing as healthcare organizations is to set up our planning process to ensure every communication or marketing project considers the opportunities of the Web. Outdoor and transit advertisements should point consumers to a landing page for more information, postcards should contain QR codes that send recipients to online risk assessments and Facebook ads should promote community wellness events.
Even if you simply include a URL on your mailers, campaigns and billboards, it’s a start toward the ultimate goal of including Web elements in all of your communications.
To learn more about building the Web into your marketing plans, check out our webinar: Bridge the Gap Between Online and Offline. We outline how to incorporate your website, social media channels and microsites into your goals, strategies and tactics for the year.