Our No.1 Takeaway from SHSMD 2022: Make Marketing a Business Center


medical professionals with dialogue clouds above their heads

The 2022 SHSMD Connections annual conference was a buzz of activity, from the expo floor to the breakout sessions and keynote speeches. A few key takeaways emerged:

  • Hospitals are dealing with revenue losses, primarily due to the expense of COVID-19.
  • Growing revenue, especially self-referral business, is a priority.
  • Recruitment and retention continue to plague the industry. Burn-out is high.
  • Virtual care is here to stay.

But the biggest takeaway we are excited to see is a shift in how marketing departments are perceived, from a cost center to a business center. Is your team poised to capitalize on this change?

Cost Center vs. Business Center—What’s the Difference?

During one session a principal director at Accenture Song shared her battle cry: Marketing departments must become business centers, not cost centers. “Cost center” is an accounting term for an overhead department that can easily be trimmed. Business centers create growth. Marketers need to take credit for the growth they generate and get the attention of their C-suite.

As you plan for 2023, think about how your peers and C-suite would define your department and its purpose. Would they describe your function as nice to have or a must-have? Would they describe your contribution to volume growth as active or passive?

During a pre-conference workshop, one presenter noted that many C-suite execs don’t fully understand or appreciate marketing leaders’ roles and instead view them as tactical execution specialists—not growth and business strategists. Marketers need to raise their profile within healthcare organizations.

How to Make Marketing a Business Center

When your hospital or health system perceives the marketing function as a business center, it becomes essential. Prove this by filling capacity where the business is seeing dips or underutilization (i.e., well visits and health risk screenings after the pandemic). Prioritize growth strategies, and plan around your most profitable service lines and programs. When you can tie your efforts to volume growth, you can ask for a bigger budget to generate even more new business.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your marketing plans deliver is to root them in a content strategy. Your content strategy should be holistic, break down departmental silos and support service line goals and objectives. Measure and analyze the results, claim your revenue wins and retool any parts of the plan that didn’t pan out as a success.

Change the way your C-suite sees your marketing function. Check out our guide, “How to Make Your Content Work Harder for You—Not the Other Way Around,” for tips to increase your efficiency and prove your ROI.

Guide: How to Make Your Content Work Harder for You—Not the Other Way Around

A 5-step process to make your content work harder for you.
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