5 Success Qualities of Exceptional Hospital Marketing Consultants There’s an element of risk attached to any hiring decision. And when a hospital turns to marketing consultants—to strengthen existing resources and help generate new business—it is often a step outside of the comfort zone. Hospital marketing consultants can be found in various types, sizes and skill sets, but the risks—in addition to the expense—involved include misdirecting scarce resources and, worse, failing to achieve meaningful goals and objectives. So the question becomes: “How to minimize the risk?” Which service company brings the right capabilities and cultural fit to enhance your marketing team? Which consultants have the requisite hospital and medical marketing track record? To start, let’s assume that your due diligence has already asked and answered the elementary considerations. Let’s also assume that a qualified contender has met your tests for reputation, business integrity and initiative. Plus, they have verifiable business and industry experience. There are still several individual and collective traits that distinguish exceptional marketing consultants from others. Here are a few things to look for as you narrow your choices: They deliver bottom-line results. Corporate CEOs are often unimpressed by the work of their own marketing team because the department is disconnected from financial realities. CEOs feel that marketers can lose sight of their real job, which is generating measurable customer demand. Business-driven marketing consultants tune performance objectives to support defined business objectives. They focus on customers. The target audience in hospital marketing is seldom singular. There are patients and prospective patients, plus friends and family members, and many others. Then there’s the general public, who may have no particular need for a hospital today but could be in the market an hour from now, tomorrow or next month. Consultants understand that it’s not what you’re selling that counts the most. They are passionate about meeting the needs and wants of the customer. They are in touch with what’s ahead. The nation’s healthcare delivery system will continue to evolve. Hospital marketing consultants are flexible and attentive to change, give leadership to innovative solutions, and avoid pitfalls. They listen carefully. Solutions are only effective when they reflect a deep understanding of the problem or need. Consultants ask questions, challenge assumptions and realistically identify strengths and weaknesses. Exceptional hospital marketing consultants produce tangible results. There’s a world of difference between a list of activities and a scorecard of measurable and quantifiable results, such as Return on Investment (ROI). Awards, industry accolades and creative advertising design are not a reflection of marketing effectiveness without hard-dollar results. There’s more to this list… Locating and retaining quality talent—hospital marketing consultants that can truly make a difference—is a challenging task. These and other hallmarks of an exceptional consultant enhance marketing and help reduce risk. What would you add to this list? For related reading, see our Hospital Marketing page: Delivering Patients to Your Hospital’s High Priority Service Lines.