The Chicago-based American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. As exec VP-COO, Deborah Bowen has unique insight into the challenges and opportunities facing hospital executives. BtoB recently spoke with Bowen about the best ways to market to this audience.
BtoB: What marketing messages are hospital executives most receptive to now?
Bowen: Everyone's interested in how to reduce labor costs; that's a big part of costs in hospitals. They're looking for solution-based systems, [such as] Six Sigma and Lean modeling—solutions that can help reduce waste in processes. They're looking for anything that can really benefit coordination and streamlining within hospital systems. The industry has embraced [such solutions] a great deal; but those are still things that need to get applied judiciously, so there's room to grow in that way. Many technology vendors [for example] are sending the message that budgets are tight, reimbursements are down, costs are up and you need a better way to see the future—to survive and thrive. It's about making sure your hospital operations are embracing these Lean and Six Sigma methods.
BtoB: What advice would you offer to marketers trying to reach this audience?
Bowen: People like to follow leaders—best-practice kinds of organizations—so it's about showcasing through case studies how your product solves a problem. I don't think you can rely on the executive or whomever you're dealing with to understand how your product is going to solve their problem. It's up to the vendor or the supplier to figure that out. So that connection has to be made. Case studies, testimonials—all of those kinds of things—help bring that to life for people. Executives are busy people, so it's a matter of making sure you're clear on how your product is going to solve a problem, or enhance a service or enhance quality. —M.E.M.