Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

3WD Interview–Cheryl Bisera & Judy Capko October 2, 2013

Practice Marketing

Patient-Centered Payoff by Cheryl Bisera and Judy Capko

I had the good fortune of meeting Cheryl Bisera because of her work with a shared client/customer—Dr. Simoni. The first time we spoke, I knew she was as passionate about practice marketing and physician reputation management as I am. I was honored when she asked me to preview her new book with Judy Capko. The case studies are absolutely a highlight and bring to life the best-practice concepts presented in “The Patient-Centered Payoff.”

  • How did you arrive in your current role?

Judy: After working in medical offices for years, I realized how little physician owners knew about business and efficient operations. I decided I could be a resource to improve the efficiency and financial success for medical practices. My medical management consulting firm grew to include marketing, team building and strategic planning. I became a sought-after speaker and author throughout the healthcare industry and then decided to write my first book, “Secrets of the Best Run Practices” and demand for my services skyrocketed. I’m proud to be rolling   out my fourth book, “The Patient-Centered Payoff”, with co-author, Cheryl Bisera.

Cheryl: I discovered my passion for marketing and customer service during my college years when working for a promotional product company. I then joined a healthcare consulting firm where I developed my skills as a patient experience and marketing consultant. Cheryl Bisera Consulting partners with healthcare professionals to grow their business through innovative connections with referral sources, marketing and   increased visibility in their communities and delivering a stellar patient experience.

  • What do you love most about the work you do?

    Judy Capko

    Judy Capko

Judy:  I am a people motivator at heart, I love to get physician owners, organization leaders and staff enthusiastic about a vision of success that they couldn’t grasp before. When I can get everyone on-board and moving in the same direction, the energy is dynamic and the momentum is unstoppably positive. Success always follows and that is deeply rewarding.

Cheryl: When a physician or organization brings me in, there is some faith involved. They have to trust me and take certain steps without necessarily understanding how everything will come together. When they begin to see results and see the payoffs of all our efforts working together, it’s extremely   gratifying. Turning things around for a practice is an incredible experience.

  • Where is the most exotic place in the world that you’ve eaten?

    Cheryl Bisera

    Cheryl Bisera

Judy: I’ve had the good fortune to be able to travel throughout the world with my husband. Besides cruise ships that sometimes feature local fare such as escargot and turtle soup, the most exotic fare I’ve enjoyed was in Thailand. The spices are delicate and provide an indescribable influence on the flavors! I must say, I have had chocolate covered ants too – quite crunchy!

Cheryl: I have not had the same good fortune as Judy, but I do wish to do more travel in the future. I would have to say the most exotic place I’ve eaten is off my kitchen floor, because when you have three children, you pretty much just get what you can – and sometimes that means rescuing a rogue meatball or other hand-crafted goody that took too much work to let go to the dog.

(C) 2013 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

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Blessings to my Healthcare Social Media Gurus September 26, 2012

Filed under: Debbie,DTC,marketing,Programs,Social media,strategy — Debbie Donovan @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , ,

[I’ve updated this post from July 2010 because in the past 2-1/2 years a few things have changed.]

I am frequently asked to explain how “social media” works for health care companies and providers. After I answer specific questions and cite examples, the next question I get is a variation of, “How did you figure all this stuff out?”

The answer is pretty simple. Early in my self-guided study I stumbled upon what I can only describe as gurus. They provide a steady stream of examples of creative execution, critical insights on legal and regulatory issues and infinite enthusiasm for this communication revolution.

The big news is that gurus Ed and Lee have gotten together to make sure that Ed’s Hospital social media list has a new home at the Center for Social Media at the Mayo Clinic and title: Health Care Social Media List . It’s a critical resource for anyone selling products or programs to hospital administration.

I’ve learned that the best karma I can give is a shout out to those whose activity I can’t miss:

Namaste!

(C) 2012 eGold Solutions all rights reserved.

 

Charge Nurse December 2, 2011

Filed under: Leadership,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 8:33 am
Tags: ,

My career started in nursing, when career choices were essentially clinical or management of clinical departments. Less than ten percent of my graduation class was men. They stood out among the sea of capped female classmates. A man choosing a career in nursing was a rarity then. A lot has changed in nursing and in opportunities for nurses.

President Obama is nominating Marilyn Tavenner, a nurse, for the administrator of Centers of Medicare and Medicaid.  She has been the principal deputy administrator under Dr. Berwick, who resigns his role as acting administrator this month.

Ms. Tavenner’s career includes staff nursing, hospital administration and secretary of Health and Human Services for the state of Virginia. Ms. Tavenner is not the first woman or nurse to be the administrator of CMS. Carolyne Davis, also a nurse, served in this capacity in the early 80’s, when CMS was known as the Health Care Financing Administration

In the midst of the current hot debate about balancing the budget by reducing the budget associated with Medicare and Medicaid, test your knowledge of the history of CMS.  http://www.cms.gov/History/Downloads/QUIZ08.pdf

While the number of men entering nursing has increased substantially over the years, the number of women in healthcare management and leadership roles continues to lag. Assuming the senate confirms Ms. Tavenner, women and the nursing profession will have one more role model, thus increasing the percentage of women taking charge.

(C) 2011 pH Consulting.  All rights reserved.

 

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should November 29, 2011

I saw the results of a study recently that supports the practice of doing colonoscopies without sedation.  Now, I know one person who, for reasons that are still a mystery to him, had a colonoscopy without sedation, and I can tell you he wouldn’t recommend it.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

I find myself saying the same thing with so many marketing and communications practices today, especially those are easy to do it yourself.  Just because you can blog, Tweet, send out a press release or whatever, doesn’t mean you should.  What sometimes gets lost and forgotten is that strategic fundamentals haven’t changed, despite the excitement around new channels and ways to reach target audiences.

I once had a client suggest that we should send out a press release every week so that we could then Tweet it.    While I’ll be the first person to agree that press releases are valuable beyond communicating with the press, I believe you should issue a press release to announce news that supports your communications objectives, and you should Tweet things that would be of value to your followers. It isn’t about making noise.  It’s about building your credibility, brand and/or reputation.

Strategic fundamentals include asking yourself at the outset, among other things:

  • What you are trying to achieve and does it help you achieve your business objectives?
  • Who is your target audience and why should they care?
  • What do you want them to do with your information?
  • Is this channel the best way to reach and influence your target audience in these ways?
  • And does it further your overall product brand and company reputation?

The bottom line is that tactics shouldn’t drive solid marketing and communications.  Strategic fundamentals should.  And just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should if it doesn’t fit strategically.

As for me, sign me up for sedation with my colonoscopy.  How about you?

(C) 2011 Merryman Communications, Inc.; all rights reserved.

 

In the beginning… July 14, 2010

PSB Church

During a recent discussion about when to hire marketing personnel, my client responded with ‘we’re not really ready for marketing’. This comment struck me odd, as I had been working with them on market development and marketing strategy. So I probed the thinking behind the comment. The client replied ‘we are not ready to roll out the product yet, so we don’t need advertising’.

In discussion with colleagues I’ve found that this thinking is not uncommon, and that many companies associate the term marketing with advertising and little else. It seems that what marketing is – is bewildering to some; sales and marketing are often used interchangeably when discussing customer interaction.

Peter Drucker is credited with the following quote; “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation create value, all the rest are costs.”

That quote perfectly defines my belief about business and marketing. I have long worked in marketing, the world of art and science blended to connect with and serve a customer.  I love that marketing consists of a wide breadth of functions and is core to a business.

The very definition of marketing through the four P’s defines the necessity of marketing early on and throughout the course of the product life.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

While promotion is very important to the mix, it is the last in the list to master – and so much more successful if the other three are well attended to with hard core professional marketing.

Marketing happens in the earliest stages of a company.  An idea, a product concept or a service is presented to investors for early stage financing support, this is concept marketing.  Demographics, profiles and current practices provide a backdrop against which a new product or service is contrast; this is market definition.  Investigation into customer needs, behaviors, and loyalties is market research.

Marketing continues throughout the development phase of products and services, with a product requirements document, this is product marketing. Branding, product naming, product promotion, product training and service are all marketing functions.  All customer support and engagement are marketing. Public relations, education and training, pricing and promotion and market development are all marketing functions.  Even the discontinuation of a product or service is a marketing function.

Eric Brody, author of the blog Healthy Conversations, recapped the July Fast Company story about 10 lessons from Apple.  Among these key lessons is that ‘Everything is marketing’.  The recap and post can be read here.

It is true that my client is not yet ready to do advertising and should thoughtfully consider which marketing talent to hire. The best hire is someone who can do the marketing that is essential to the business at this point.  However, they have begun marketing, and if they are to be successful they must continue to do so.  Marketing starts in the beginning.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

Yes, Doctor, This IS a Business April 27, 2010

“Thank you for calling. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  We’re closed from noon to 2 p.m. for lunch. If you have reached this recording during normal business hours, please leave a message. We will get back to you by the next business day.”

That’s the message I keep getting when I try to schedule an appointment with one particular physician.  And I have left several messages with no response.

Under normal circumstances, I would have zero tolerance for this total lack of responsiveness and would simply have called another doctor. But in this case, I have already seen the physician for a particular injury, went through the trouble of getting an MRI and would really like to get the results.

Where’s the Disconnect?

Given the practice’s troubling habit of not responding, I should not have been surprised when I called again this morning only to learn that the phone number had been disconnected.

When will physicians really grasp that they are in business and that to stay in business, they need to start treating patients as their customers?  Ok, I understand that doctors went to medical school, not business school.  Still, somewhere in between anatomy and pharmaceuticals 101, were they not taught that private practice requires more than office space and a listing in the phone book?

Running a successful physician’s practice takes the skills and talents of multiple staff members, from the front desk person who answer the phones to the physicians and nurses who provide the clinical expertise.  The one thing each of these people has in common is their interaction with customers—the practice’s patients.

Basic Customer Service

There is much a physician can learn from studying the successful marketing and customer service standards of other businesses:

  • Return phone calls and emails promptly, and always within 24 hours
  • Provide continual staff training on customer service excellence and how to handle difficult customers in a professional and effective way
  • Provide multiple ways for customers to contact you including phone, email and website

These are a few of the simple fundamentals that physician practices must take seriously, especially in today’s tough economic climate where consumers are judicious in how they spend their money. Mastering the basics is also a prerequisite before a practice can effectively implement a marketing or public relations campaign.

For more information on practice marketing, refer to Lisa’s most recent post and Debbie’s post on ‘Practice Marketing is Not Rocket Science’.

 

It’s Not About What You Say April 8, 2010

The recent explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia is bringing renewed attention to the mine’s owner, Massey Energy.  Like most people, I realize that coal mining is an inherently dangerous job, and unfortunately, accidents happen.  If that were only the story here, it would be sad enough.

Instead much of the attention has focused on the 3,000 plus safety violations Massey has racked up since 1995. Yet, as of April 7, the home page on the company’s Web site still proudly proclaimed that 2009 was “another record-setting year for safety.”  Hard to believe. (As of today, they finally removed that article from the home page.)

In fact, the company’s statements declaring the importance of safety are in direct contrast to its record of egregious safety violations and the reports that Massey’s chairman and chief executive, Don Blankenship, allegedly told workers to ignore the orders of those who instructed them to construct support beams and ventilation shafts for safety purposes and just “run coal.” It is companies like this that give capitalism a bad name.

The Lesson To Learn

What can healthcare companies learn from this tragic incident?  It’s simple. Always remember that actions speak louder than words.

No matter how many times your top executives express concerns for patient safety or piously proclaim that their mission is finding better treatments or cures for disease, if the company is rushing a drug to market before its full side effects are known, it’s a lie. If they are pushing a device through trials and suppressing negative evidence that would keep it from FDA clearance, it’s a lie. If your hospital touts patient safety, but every staff member isn’t following strict protocols to combat healthcare acquired infections, it’s a lie.

Words vs. Action

Communicators use words.  Lots of words.  We draft mission statements, company vision statements, key messages and yes, even positioning statements.  But no amount of words can take the place of action.

Action is key to reputation.  Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason—even at the expense of short-term profits—builds positive reputations.  And reputations are valuable.  A good reputation adds to the bottom line and helps companies weather the storms of crisis.  Just ask Massey Energy, whose stock has dropped nearly 12 percent and whose credit rating was downgraded below junk.  If that’s not enough to convince you, then just ask the families of those miners in West Virginia.

 

 
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