Do these circumstances describe your organization?
You have a very large, unrestricted endowment
You have guaranteed sources of future funding for what you do
You have no competition for your current sources of revenue
You are in a market with little change in either financing or service delivery
If not, you need a CMO. Chief marketing officer? This is the person in your organization responsible for “top line” – the organization’s revenues and income.
As health and human services move from a “utility” model to a “competitive market model,” marketing becomes a key ingredient in success. The CMO is the chief executor of “marketing strategy” – however big or small. This is all the business activities involved in directing the flow of services from the provider to the customer, including the business function responsible for organizational revenues, understanding the needs of customers, and promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. In short, it is addressing the elements in the environment that you can control (see Marketing. How Much Should You Spend? Who Should You Hire? all members). And, accountability is the key – if everyone is responsible for revenue, no one is responsible.
Accountability means establishing a new set of relationships between the function of marketing, and the rest of the organization. The whole organization needs to become the customer-engagement engine – distribution of marketing tasks, alliances that coordinate marketing activities across the company, deeper partnerships with external vendors, customers (and perhaps even competitors), and a bigger role for data-driven insights are all ways to achieve this.
A recent piece by David Cooperstain in Forbes, Connecting the Dots Around The Customer: It’s The CMO’s Responsibility, offered some interesting insights into the CMO role. He noted:
…Chief marketing officers today must go beyond overseeing marketing programs…The CMO is the one who must connect the dots—the touch points with the customer—to make every experience with the brand consistent and positive.
The article goes on to explain the four pillars that the CMO must use to realize this goal:
1. Align the company by customer group – No more one-size-fits-all marketing. Understanding each payer, referral sources, and customer group is key (see Strategic Positioning & Strategic Planning: Integrating Critical Marketing, Operations, and Finance Functions For Success and Who Is My Customer Anyway?: Recognizing Distinct Customer Groups & Tailoring Marketing Efforts Effectively).
2. Synchronize customer communication – Integrated marketing communications, or IMC, is the new best practice and a strategy for reinforcing a consistent positioning image (how you are viewed by your customers when compared to the competition) through all of your communication tools (see Marketing Is Dead! Long Live Marketing! all members and How Do I Know if My Marketing is Working? all members).
3. Offer visible value to the customer – If customers (payer, consumers, etc.) have a choice, will they choose you? The only way “get a yes”, is to understand what is valuable to customers and demonstrate that you can provide it (better than your competition) (see ‘By The Numbers’ Competitive Advantage all members and The New Health Care Market: Consumers Spend More & Consumers Want More).
4. Use customer insights to direct company efforts – The key to better positioning is better understanding of the customer experience and what customers want. CMOs need to lead the gathering of customer experience data – and integrate this into service management and marketing plans (see Good Customer Service? Take A Walk In Your Consumers’ Shoes all members and The Secrets To Customer Relationship Success: Four Skills You Need To Master In 2013).
For more on success through best practice marketing, check out my presentation from the 2013 OPEN MINDS Planning & Innovation Institute, Marketing Your Organization For Success: Essential Elements For Every Marketing Plan or my presentation, Creating Your Vision Of Success: Behavioral Health Transformation In The Health & Human Service Market from the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Service Providers 2012 Annual Conference.
For another free resource, see: Measuring the Performance of Your Marketing Investments all members