Case Study 1- Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC

A marketing audit can increase market share.  Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC

Opportunity: Audit a major medical center’s marketing function in order to help increase market share in a key SSA that has seen an increase of 23,000 new residents a year.

Process: A comprehensive audit was completed to include: a thorough environmental assessment; leadership and physician interviews; marketing staff interviews and shadowing; internal and external focus groups; key constituent interviews; a complete review of all marketing plans, strategies, tactics and related collateral; staffing skills reviews; organizational chart review and more.

Result: In short, the organization was selling itself short when it came to the resources and staffing needed. Once rectified, the numbers speak for themselves: a 139.8% increase in invasive cardiology discharges; a 5% oncology market share increase in the PSA and 1% in the SSA; a 400% increase in newborn discharges in the SSA; a 10.5% increase in neonatal discharges in the PSA and a 8.4% increase in the SSA; a 1.9% increase in OB discharges in the PSA; a 1.5% increase in discharges for all women’s services; a 2.6% GYN market share increase in the PSA; a 48.6% increase in discharges in the SSA for electrophysiology with a 33.3 % increase in the SSA.

The “AHA” Moment: One moment of revelation came in a focus group with community members when one adamant consumer said that the only way to change the image of the facility was to adopt its health system’s name. That was essentially an off limit topic going into the audit as it was perceived that county commissioners would have fits. We realized that this was an artificial barrier and resurfaced the issue in the final report. It took a while but they finally changed the name! That helped set the tone for everything to follow.

The Story: The function suffered from lack of commitment of resources with disparate “marketing” activities reporting to other functions and just one part time coordinator to make sense of it all. Based on audit recommendations, here is what was initiated. A full time Director of Marketing was hired. More importantly, that position reports to the CEO and has access to the people and data needed to develop a strategic marketing plan, something that was sorely missing.

The Marketing Coordinator position is being increased to a full-time position. An internal communications/PR coordinator was hired. Since that, they have introduced a new medical staff newsletter and will be redesigning the employee newsletter and other publications. Employee forums were initiated as well. A community newsletter is in the works.

A key women’s affinity program was brought under marketing and the scope of the position expanded to include outreach activities. Physician liaison work was being handled by many different people causing redundant duties and messaging. That effort is being consolidated.

A marketing presence is being established in a key competitive area, one of the fastest growing in the Charlotte, NC region. A strategic marketing plan continues to evolve.

After joining Carolinas Medical Center-Union as the new marketing director, I was quite impressed with the marketing and communications audit performed by Fast Forward Consulting, LLC (now The Aging Experience). It identified several issues, opportunities, and solutions that I used to develop a more strategic marketing plan for the organization. They do wonderful work and definitely made my first year in the position easier.”
Byron Pouges, Director of Marketing & Communications, Carolinas Medical Center – Union