Health Providers

HCIC@Home Recap: Healthcare Marketing as a Change Agent

BY: Wyatt Avison | Associate Director, Marketing

PUBLISHED: 12/4/2020

Healthcare is facing a rapid evolution. Changing consumer behaviors and demands coupled with a global pandemic have impacted the entire care ecosystem, with healthcare marketers experiencing some of the biggest shifts in roles and responsibilities. 


Our team recently attended the annual Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC), where we explored how modern marketing teams are embracing these changes — and elevating the traditional role to that of a true thought leader and change agent. Our own Jess Beard, Account Director, in partnership with VCU Health’s Jennifer Vazales, Digital Strategy & Marketing Manager, offered a first-hand perspective on how the health system’s digital marketing team became a driving force in their organizational transformation — and how today’s marketers can get a seat at the table. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from their HCIC@Home presentation, “Propelling Digital and Cultural Transformation: How the VCU Health Digital Marketing Team Acted as a Change Agent in Patient Acquisition and Retention.”


Demonstrate how marketing’s role can serve as an operations influencer. Increasingly, healthcare marketers are expanding beyond conventional areas like lead generation to understand how they can impact the end-to-end consumer experience. By showcasing this shift from a narrow service-line approach to one that’s broader, marketing can help prove the strategic value it brings to the table, while transitioning the viewpoint of marketing costs from expense to investment. 


Recognize how technology can be leveraged and integrated in strategic, non-traditional ways. Digital marketing is often the first and last communication in the patient journey, yet seamlessly integrating those touch points with all other patient touch points and interactions in between is a significant challenge. By simplifying organizational complexity and understanding what platforms and systems are in place, marketers can help empower in-house capabilities, improve data access and drive cost savings for the organization. 


Identify collaboration and integration opportunities. Assessing the marketing technology stack through a different lens can help reveal opportunities for new partnerships and integrations that support stronger tracking and reporting, and ultimately better attribution of value. Through collaborative discovery and an iterative process, marketing can play a pivotal role in bringing the right stakeholders together to innovate new solutions and push large-scale initiatives forward. 


Through a strong partnership, ultimately VCU Health’s digital marketing team was able to take full ownership of custom campaigns, implement efficient integrations to improve workflows, and unveil attribution in an important area: patient acquisition and retention. As marketers, we can learn that despite the long-term journey, taking an iterative process under strategic guidelines and in alignment with an organizational goal can help healthcare organizations realize true change.