7 Marketing Metrics That Matter to the Hospital C-Suite

More than ever, hospitals are investing in technology to support not only the clinical side, but also the business side. However, with the integration of technology comes increasing expectations for what’s possible, whether that’s enabling a cutting-edge surgical procedure, or delivering actionable intelligence to inform decision-making.

 Healthcare marketers are right in the middle of this challenge. C-suites recognize evolving customer expectations and many are investing in marketing technology, like healthcare CRM, to optimize growth through smarter patient acquisition and retention. However, in turn, executives are looking at the marketing department to prove – quantitatively – how marketing campaigns are impacting priority business objectives.

To meet C-suite expectations of reporting, the first step is to identify the metrics that matter to executives. There are metrics that marketing managers should monitor and track on a regular basis, but there’s a whole other set of metrics that inform business strategy and guide decisions at the executive level.

This post outlines seven types of marketing metrics that matter to the hospital C-suite and that modern healthcare marketers should be using in reporting. Let’s take a look:

  1. Rolling Performance

This type of metric answers one question for the C-suite: Are marketing efforts helping us progress toward our objectives? Typically presented in a dashboard, this may be month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter metrics depending on reporting frequency.

The shift here is the metrics are not channel-based; marketers should focus on quantitative results, showing cumulative growth and ROI. Based on the service line and objectives, the results of marketing campaigns may have a longer conversion time and not be immediately apparent. Rolling performance metrics provides context to the numbers by displaying a pattern over time.

An executive dashboard may include number of campaigns, physician liaison visits, leads, unique patient conversions, total payments (from new patients), media investment, and return on investment (ROI).

  1. Payer Mix by Patient Type

Developing a healthy payer mix is a priority for C-suite executives and this metric will demonstrate the quality of marketing’s targeting. It shows how many patients converted from campaigns, with a focus on commercially insured patients. Medicare and Medicaid insights should be included as well if applicable.  

  1. Ongoing Campaign Status

Executives want to know what campaigns are currently active in the market and where they stand in terms of completion. Demonstrate maturity growth – is the campaign in the acquisition, engagement, or conversion stage? Provide completion percentages and be clear about the size (in terms of media investment dollars) of campaigns. This is a high-level view of ongoing campaign efforts by service line that can set the stage for other important metrics.

  1. Leads and ROI

At the end of the day, marketing is responsible for bringing in leads and driving conversions – and doing so at the lowest cost possible. Present cumulative leads from campaigns and cumulative return on investment to convey the impact of marketing campaigns.

One of the data points often requested by executives is a lead breakdown by region so they have an understanding of where prospective customers are coming from. This is vital information that could guide decision-making and growth strategy (i.e. whether to open a new facility in a particular region).

Present ROI in terms of payments received vs. media investments. Put in context and show change over time to demonstrate improvements in campaign effectiveness and to ensure all conversions (even those with significant time-to-conversion) are captured.

  1. Cost Per Acquisition

This is a different take on ROI, but one that validates that marketing can “save” money for the organization by implementing effective campaigns. Show progress year over year (quarter to quarter) for average cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

New patients are acquired via various channels—digital, direct mail, paid ads, referrals, call center, and others—and specific campaigns, CPA should be broken out by channel and campaign. In other words: how much does your marketing department need to spend within a specific channel or on a particular campaign to acquire a new patient?

By breaking out CPA by campaign and channel, marketing teams (and the C-suite) gain visibility into which marketing activities are the most effective at patient acquisition. Data could be additionally broken down by channel or region to reflect any geographic differences in the cost to acquire patients.

Presenting CPA by campaign and geography is important as it’s normal for this metric to be vastly different depending on service lines and the specific market. Being able to understand these nuances will help you make more informed decisions about marketing budget allocation to align with service line and health system goals.

  1. Campaign Metrics / Investment vs. ROI

What is marketing doing to achieve business goals? These metrics show how much a hospital is getting in return for its media dollars and ongoing campaign activities. Show the average quarterly investment compared to the number of campaigns. Highlight the top campaigns as determined by return on investment.

For each campaign, consider showing the following metrics: total leads/target leads/percent to goal, clinical conversions from leads (as a percentage), new patient conversion, cost per acquisition, return on investment (in both dollars and percentage).

  1. Lead Generation Analysis

Most of the metrics we’ve discussed so far have conveyed results via campaigns, but equally important for executives is to understand how leads are coming in. In other words, what channel is acting as the first touch for prospective patients—digital channels (social, web, PPC, etc.) or call center? And what channel leads to conversion? This type of metric is powerful for showing how consumers are interacting with your organization, and offers insight on how to optimize further and direct budget to the most effective channels.

In addition to showing the top delivery channels, offer up hard numbers on lead conversions. Conversion rate is the top metric; be sure to convey (in numbers) the story of how leads become patients. As highlights, share the percentage of leads coming from the top channel and (if applicable) the percent change over the previous quarter.

Final Thoughts

These seven types of marketing metrics are a starting point – each hospital and leadership team may have different priorities and require additional metrics. The important thing is to open the lines of communication between marketing and the C-suite, since building these metrics is a collaborative effort. Leaders also need to promote cooperation between multiple departments, including IT, finance, call center, and CRM vendor, to develop these deeper insights and metrics.

As you’re building the data streams and systems to put together these metrics, emphasize the need for data cleanliness. Teams need to work backwards and integrate multiple systems and data points to uncover the insights that are truly valuable to the C-suite.


Gary Druckenmiller, Jr. is Vice President, Customer Success at Evariant. He functions as lead strategist, digital marketing thought leader, and C-level executive sponsor for all Evariant enterprise clients, primarily focused on advising health system leadership of opportunistic methods to improve their digital presence and interactive growth potential.


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