5 Keys to Building Stronger Relationships Between Marketing and Finance

Increased economic pressures caused by the pandemic and other factors are making it more important than ever for marketers to partner with their chief financial officers to develop a deeper understanding of finance and demonstrate return on investment for marketing spending.

A new Strategic Health Care Marketing webinar for health care marketers and strategists

Presented on January 12, 2022 

About Your Presenters:

Amy Stevens
Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Tidelands Health

Amy Stevens is vice president and chief marketing officer for Tidelands Health based in South Carolina. An Emmy-nominated writer and producer, Stevens serves as the health system’s chief marketing officer, providing oversight for strategic marketing, communications, provider relations, community relations, advocacy, and consumer engagement.

She previously was vice president of marketing and communications for Louisiana-based LHC Group. Prior to that, she was director of marketing and communications for Wellmont Health System in Tennessee.

Stevens holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from East Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College, and a master’s degree in business administration from King University.

She serves in leadership positions for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of several health care professional organizations.

Amy Stevens, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Tidelands Health

Beth Ward
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Tidelands Health

Beth Ward is executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) for Tidelands Health based in South Caroliina. In that role, she maintains fiscal responsibility for the organization and its associated facilities. Ward, who joined the organization in 2017, is a certified public accountant with more than 30 years of experience in health care finance.

She was previously CFO of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center University Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to that, Ward was executive vice president and CFO of Wellmont Health System in Tennessee and CFO and treasurer of Moses Cone Health System in North Carolina.

She also held financial management positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Division of Health Affairs and the University of North Carolina Hospitals.

Beth Ward, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Tidelands Health

Melissa Fors
Vice President of Marketing Strategy
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Melissa Fors is vice president of marketing strategy for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (HBFF). She joined HBFF in 2013 and leads strategic marketing functions, which includes brand strategy, B2B and B2C marketing campaigns, digital strategy, thought leadership, marketing operations, and customer relationship management.

Prior to joining Hazelden Betty Ford, Fors was at UnitedHealth Group's Optum in a number of marketing leadership roles for five years.

She has an MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a BA from the University of Minnesota. Melissa is a board member of the American Lung Association in Minnesota and the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST.

Melissa Fors, Vice President of Marketing Strategy, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

James A. Blaha
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

James A. Blaha is vice president and chief financial officer for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (HBFF). In this role he serves as principal financial strategist for HBFF, overseeing the organization's financial and operational areas.

Prior to HBFF, he served as CFO of a senior health care organization for 17 years. Blaha also spent 16 years working in public accounting and management consulting as a designated healthcare industry specialist.

His educational background includes a BA in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and Financial Executives International.

James A. Blaha, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation


Good afternoon, everyone.
and welcome to Strategic Health Care Marketing's webinar on five Keys to Building Stronger Relationships Between Marketing and Finance.
This is a member only benefit.
Webinars are so we're delighted to have you all here today.
And especially delighted to have this wonderful panel to present to you.
My name is Susan Dubuque and I'm a Health Care Marketing Strategist and a former former hospital Law Marketing Director and I'll be your host today. But it's my pleasure to introduce our panel.
So first of all, we have Melissa Fors, from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
And Melissa is vice president of marketing, and also from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is Jim Blaha.
And Jim is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and joining us today from Tidelands Health.
We have Amy Stevens, and Amy is vice President and Chief Marketing officer, and also from Tidelands Health, we have Beth Ward and Beth Ward is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officers.
So we have two wonderful pairs of marketing and finance people to share their experience and really help guide us all and how to improve relations between our two departments and our two functions.
So I'm going to kick us off today for just a second, sort of lay the groundwork, if you will.
I think we all are very, very well aware that having this dynamic relationship between marketing and finance is increasingly important.
When I got started in the industry many years ago, marketing was really very much working in a silo.
Our metrics were very soft, and, over the years, and especially now, with the increasing financial pressure, is being brought about, by ... and by every other financial pressure that's happening in our healthcare institutions.
As marketers, we're really finding it increasingly important to provide hard metrics, to, really, be more strategic in our spends, and working with finance is certainly one way of making that happen.
So, our focus for our webinar today is really going to be these five pillars, if you will, And, they are, first of all, the importance of partnering with the CFO and building a strong relationship.
Collaborating with finance, Um, in focusing on organizational strategic initiatives.
Learning the language of finance. And I think that also goes the other way to finance learning. The language of marketing. I think that's equally as important.
Making use of marketing and financial technology tools, and data analytics to really make that ROI, Reporting very significant and very real. And then, lastly, the importance of transparency.
And this will be our focus for our Webinar.
Our session today will one, about 45 minutes of presenting by our panel, and then we will leave time at the end for question and answers. There is a question box.
On that you will see on your platform. Please, at any time, feel free to submit questions, We will have time at the end to answer them, we will get to as many as we can.
And lastly, we will be recording our session today, and after the session is over and everything is put together, we will be sending you a link, so you will have access to this session on an ongoing basis.
So with all of that housekeeping taking care of and laying the groundwork for what we will be covering and talking about today, let's kick things off and let's hear from our panelist.
So first of all, thinking about this importance of partnering and building relationships, we'll start off with Beth and Amy from Tied Lens and sharing your perspective on how do we go about establishing these relationships and why are they important to you?
Well thank you Susan and hi everybody. This is Amy Stevens, and I apologize we're having some internet issues in our area, apparently so I am not really frozen I just appear that way SEC just bear with me. But, I will. Hopefully you can hear me, and we can still have a great discussion.
So, great. So, you know, better than I have a, just a really fantastic partnership and relationship, and I think that's, that's really important is, you know, trying to establish a personal relationship between the marketer and the financial officer. And really get to know each other and to to see how you can be an asset to each other.
You know, I think we sometimes are, there's a disservice that's done, that there's this perception that these two functions have to be at odds in an organization. And that's absolutely not the case. I mean, Beth says, all the time, and I'll and I'll let her say it again, is, you know that we are working towards the same goal here. And we both, both bring a valuable perspective to that. And so, you know, but like any relationship, whether it's with your spouse or a friend or whatever, you have to work at that and you have to invest in it and, and, and maintain it and be willing to compromise in it. And so, I think it's the, just the human nature of a fan of creating a real relationship is important.
Thank you, Amy.
Yeah, I couldn't echo what Amy says more about establishing that personal rapport. I mean, we're a team.
We're here to serve our community, and the patients in that community that depend on us, day in and day out, and as long as our team keeps that vision and that purpose alive, We're also here to support each other.
This is a hard business, and, you know, it gets harder, seems like every day.
You know, you spend sometimes more time with your team members at work than you do anyone else, um, and if it's not enjoyable, if it's not fun.
And you don't have that relationship, or, or, and, and the times when you can say, hey, just, I need a little pick me up here, Gimme a laugh, give me something that's owed.
Let's let's work toward that relationship where we're in the people business. And what better way to be in the people business.
Then, if we're not starting it with ourselves, and taking care of ourselves and each other, then, we're not doing, we maybe don't need to be OK, frankly.
And I can't tell you how many times I can go to Amy and say, I need this perspective, or that perspective. That customer service perspective, that's, that's what sets us apart.
And she's got the heart and soul for that. You know, I'm a numbers person now.
I'm all about the patient, too, and sometimes I'm told them different, but I think that works with us.
Excellent. Well, and I think you make a really good point, Beth, that it's reciprocal.
You know, you're supporting each other, It's not just marketing, looking to finance for information or support you are looking to marketing to, for that perspective. I think that's excellent.
Well, our second point is really, and this is an imperative for any marketing function at all.
And that is the imperative to really focus on the organizational strategic objectives. So, we'll hear now from Listen, Jim, talking a little bit about how finance and marketing works together to keep that focus.
Well, thanks.
I think it's, it's really critical for marketing to collaborate with finance.
First of all, to ensure that our spending is focused on accomplishing our organization's strategic plan.
Um, Marketing really needs to demonstrate how it's driving value in the organization, whether it be and growing market share, or optimizing our existing capacity and so on, but all of our organizational strategies are financially driven.
And so, naturally, me, as a CFO, and the other senior leaders, really want to know how those dollars allocated to marketing align with, with those key strategies. So, Melissa, and I know that we need to be aligned. What constitutes a judicious spend of our marketing dollars?
And it really, to me, it really starts with connecting the dots between marketing and key objectives and the enterprise wide objectives, and are those desired outcomes aligned.
We're an organization that has three disparate operations.
We, addiction treatment, of course, is our core and behavioral health. I count that as one.
Secondly, we have hazleton publishing, and that does publishing and consulting services.
And third, we have the hazleton, Graduate School of Addiction Studies, where we give Master's degrees to outsider for counseling.
And so, there's a lot of different, disparate operations there, and a lot of different marketing approaches, right?
So, when we can see, when finance can see the connection between marketing objectives, and the overall enterprise wide objectives, I think then we can proceed with confidence, knowing that we, we really share a common vision and we aren't working in silos, right?
So, Melissa, you live.
I agree. I agree, our organization's strategic plan has to drive my team's agenda.
We realize our financial resources are limited, and, and so it's really critical for the marketing spending.
Concentrate on a competition, those objectives.
I mean, when we think about the current environment for health care, it is so competitive. There's all the pressures of coven. It doesn't allow for marketing, for marketing sake.
We really have to focus on making a difference, on those strategic priorities, like growing patient revenue, increasing market share, boosting grab, brand preference, enhancing patient loyalty.
And like you said, Hazelden, Betty Ford, like many healthcare organizations, We're very diverse, we've got different types of operations and so we need to be judicious about how we're spending our marketing time and budget across those different pieces and parts of the organization.
And when I think about it, we also, from a covert perspective, we had to think about geography because we are a national organization.
We also had to bring that in, and I know that our organization is counting on marketing to prove our results.
So, I think when finance really understands marketing strategy, it really becomes a lot easier for us to reach agreement on why the marketing investments should be made, and, of course, the dollar amount. So, I think that's the way really to prove the marketing departments value to finance, not only to finance, but everyone else in the C suites and, and to really build that support for investment in marketing.
If Finance doesn't support the investment, nobody else will.
So, so that's another key reason why Melissa, and I have to really be joined in this effort, and, like Amy and Beth.
I think Melissa and I enjoy a really solid, wonderful relationship at the very floor.
The budgeting time is a little less than my hassle, right? Melissa?
Absolutely agree. I think it's not something that just comes up once a year. I feel like these conversations happen all year long between me and Jim and our teams. And because of that, the budgeting time isn't as adversarial as it is at a lot of organizations.
Excellent. Well, great. Thank you So much third point. I remember when I, again, got into health care, I felt like I had to learn an entire new language.
Well, our own disciplines of marketing and finance, they each have their language.
So how do you go about addressing, and we'll look to Amy and Beth to field this question. How do you go about tackling Teaching one another the verbiage and?
An understanding of being able, Amy, for you to talk the talk of Finance and Beth and you to talk the talk of marketing, How do you make that happen?
I think if it is a, it's a teaching and learning commitment, I mean, you know, you, again, it's really about your own willingness to say, it's not good enough that, that, I know that I know the terminology of marketing, and, you know, and I can do two things. I can either get defensive about that and say, Well, these are the words I know, and that's what I'm gonna stick with in terms I know, or I can be willing to.
two, as, you know, as Jim said, connect the dots a little bit, and, you know, learned the terminology, that, that's not finances. Terminology is the organization's terminology. I look at this, as, I look at best is a great resource for me personally, because she helps me speak the language of the organization, and so I learned from her. And I'm able, then, to, to connect the dots, and to, you know, to not. You know, I think as marketers historically, you know, you can get this, this reputation of being all about soft metrics and things that, you know, that don't translate to the bottom line.
And, you know, and you're just doing a disservice to yourself and to your cause into your organization.
If you're not, you know, willing to invest the time to, to educate yourself and be willing to, you know, I'm a liberal arts major, I'm very comfortable saying, here's what, I don't know. And I'm, you know, I'm very lucky to have Beth as table, to say, Well, let me help you and, you know, And And she'll tell you, I have no problem speaking up in meetings, saying, I don't know that acronym, somebody, help me. and let me catch up. And, you know, if you're in a room full of Operator: Sometimes you might be the only person in the room, who doesn't know, but, that's OK, because, then, they're, on the flip side of that. There are things that I can bring to that conversation, that, that's a perspective that they didn't have. And so it's just that, that, willingness to to get humble yourself enough to learn and say, help, me get better.
I love that.
That's such an important point Amy being willing to be vulnerable and say hey I know what I don't know how about from your I'm sure Amy uses a lot of vernacular and marketing terminology that's foreign to you as well it is and that marketing class, I took a business school, just didn't cover it, all, right? I'm not, I'm not a salesperson.
I'm by the numbers and, and uh, no about making sure that we can pay and and and finance and support what we want to do and that care we provide in aimee's.
Again, I think the word resource, the word teacher support to help.
And again, it's, you know, you said it so well both of you It's it's about willing to be open and a bit vulnerable sometimes I think the organization thinks of us as CFOs is the no people and the hard hearted folks, and all we care about is money.
And that, you know, couldn't be the furthest from the truth. We wouldn't be in this business.
I can tell you as a finance person We wouldn't be in this business.
If that's what we cared about and so you know I appreciate understanding and and the ability to take the time to say hey.
tell me what you're talking about? Tell me what you're driving for? tell me what people I mean what I love to hear from Amy's OK what's the public looking for?
And How did you arrive at that and and what?
You know what tools are you using to do that?
Help me understand your perspective, Um, and how I can better support the organization, um, in the holistic fashion, not just in that numbers and since fashion.
And one of the things that we've found you have, Beth, has business analytics that rolls up under her team. And, you know, and we, we have resources, you know, in our universe that are of value to the Business Analytics group, and likewise, they have tools that benefit us.
And so, it's, it's being willing to break down those walls and saying, you know, again, we're all here for the same cause. And, you know, Beth will say, I love it when she says, You know, she'll say, it's not my budget. You know, it's ours, it's not, there's not my decision. It's ours. And, you know, and I think CFOs sometimes get a bad rap of, you know, that they're the ones who are sitting there with checkbook and make the decisions.
But, you know, But, we all have to contribute to that, and so that, you know, we really try very hard to collaborate here so that, you know, And that doesn't mean, you know, Obviously, I don't get everything I want all the time. I wish I did, but, you know, that's not the reality that we live in, but we always get to a place where we understand that, the decisions that we've arrived at and we arrive at them together.
I mean, I don't mean that sincerely, I love it.
Could you talk about, You know, in both contexts that this is an organizational initiative, It's not a marketing thing, It's not a finance thing. It's about what's for the benefit of our patients or community. And our organization. And I think that's that's an amazing perspective. That's where you're going to add something.
I was just going to say that the data analytics and, you know, again, that's, that's the world that CFOs live in.
So to the extent that you, as marketers, can think of tools you use daily that have that information about our market information, about how you can better inform what the direction of the organization should be to serve the market, that that says that translating that into language, I can understand.
Um, and Amy's done a fabulous job with that, trying to look for what the customer wants.
And then many times, I think she sees me as her customer as well, and that's a great way.
To look at it, I see The whole organization is as my customer, or a teaching learning organization.
And, and we have to be learning everyday, seeking to understand.
We also have to be sharing our our talents and skill sets with our partners, and, and it's back and forth all the time.
I love it when, you know, when you think about the whole language, and, um, and vocabulary and terminology and so forth, even thinking from a marketing perspective. How consumers go through the funnel. How will you attract consumers, bring them into the service delivery system?
That can also really help finance understand that getting an immediate return on investment ISN.
There are leading indicators that, um, that may indicate that a positive changes coming, so, you mentioned, Amy, for example, employer or your patient satisfaction in patients, sentiment, and patient experience, all of those things, you can lead down the road to those increased volumes and increased revenue, So, it all ties together, and that brings us to our fourth point, which is really that that measurement of ROI, how do we, as Amy, you said, move away from those soft numbers? And into that bottom line, how we are, as marketers, supporting, measuring, documenting, and sharing out our results.
So, Jim and Melissa, I'd love to have you share your perspective on that.
Sure, I'll start, I would say, really based on the partnership that Melissa and I have formed, I understand Melissa's department needs funding, right, to execute on their marketing strategies and tactics.
But conversely, too, I know, Melissa really understands the need to demonstrate to me, and not just to me, but to the organization, trudi spending of those funds.
And she does that by using data, metrics, set address, the yield or the ROI that we'll get off of the effort.
Um, so right now and in this environment, anecdotes and personal opinion about results.
Just don't cut it anymore and they're no longer part of our conversation.
No, well, I think we would all agree that the marketing spend is really an essential component of the annual operating budget.
Um, you still need to acknowledge the fact that it is a discretionary cost, and I know you're all thinking, Oh, spoken like a true CFO, right?
But I would implore you not to take umbrage with that, My point really is because of the discretionary nature of the marketing spend.
It really requires strong stewardship of financial resources and really mutual agreement between marketing and finance as to how the dollars are allocated. All the marketing dollars are allocated in the expectation.
By finance, I think it's that, you know, the key marketing performance indicators will inform how the dollars will be allocated.
And with all of the technology tools that are available today, marketing has a wealth of data and analytics and that's what I look at, and that's what Melissa brings to me. So, Melissa, maybe you want to expound on that a little bit?
Yeah, it's a very different world today in marketing and then it was 8 or 10 years ago.
I remember having conversations with Jim years ago saying what were these huge line items in marketings budget? And what, what are you getting for it?
And back in the day, I struggled to be able to say, OK, this is the true ROI.
But because we've made investments in becoming really a data driven marketing organization.
And we've invested a lot in technology, I mean, these days, when Beth was talking about business analytics today, marketing is all about marketing, technology, and marketing analytics.
And so because we've made those investments, we are now able to show, kind of prove our worth in marketing. And so I don't have to have Jim calling and saying, what are these huge line items?
Now, I can say, OK, this is how we're spending every dollar. And this is what's coming out of every dollar.
We've truly shifted our or whole organization. I mean, I think about the advancements in all of marketing technology. And in recent years, it's just changed everything.
In the last several years, we've really focused on a lot of investment. And so, for example, just a couple examples.
We right now are spending a lot of time and budget on building on our CRM, and, and building out, I actually right now are in the midst of building a new website and both of those are multi-year, big ticket projects. But those are infrastructure that we need to invest in, and it's important for me as the marketer to show Jim what's the end game, and what are we going to be able to show him.
A couple other things we spend our time on is, is doing investments in technology, so that we can get to answer more of the questions that Jim and our CEO have.
Because they've, in the past asked these questions, and I couldn't answer them, because I couldn't say, yes.
You know, maybe there's a lot of activity happening around this marketing tactic, but I couldn't tell you, is that turning into patience?
And, or is that turning into market share?
These days, I can.
We've connected some of our marketing analytics tools tour to our CRM, which again, is a long term investment, but because of that, we're able to show disposition of the marketing spend from Initial Tactic two, to where the patient lands and the lifetime value of the patient.
Those were long term journeys and pretty big investments, and continuing to the investments, So, I'm really lucky to have someone like Jim, who has taken the time to understand what those long term plans are. And, so, he's a partner in that, and, so, I don't worry about, you know, funding for those long term investments anymore, because he understands they're getting us to a place where we can answer more questions.
And, by spending kind of money, there, will be able to spend vetter in the future.
We'll be able to spend those dollars on the tactics that work and spend less dollars on the tactics that don't work.
Know, more than I can learn from Melissa and are tactics and the relevance of the data and the tools, the technology tools that we have, ah.
The better armed I am when I go in to consider the dollars that should be allocated for capital every year, and the technology capital that's needed to drive our, our top line.
I would also add too, that maintaining dashboards of key indicators can really be helpful.
But I would be really careful not to overload senior leadership.
With a lot of minutiae. A lot of noise, things that really do not convert to what I call our currency, which is revenue.
And so, like the number you took to Melissa and her team, maybe the number of hits on the website is meaningful. And it should, Of course, it's meaningful, right?
But, but to other leaders in the organization, not so much. So we have to kind of distill the data to make sure, again, that it's relevant and it's interesting and meaningful to the other leadership so they don't kind of shove. all of that stuff aside and deem it to be an important.
I think that's really a strong point don't overload.
I think that is an excellent, excellent point. How many key performance indicators do you want to share and humbled me related to the organizational strategic objectives? So, you know, again, how all of our five points really do connect to one another.
I think that advice about keeping that dashboard, the lean and mean, is a, a really good one. So it doesn't look like the important things are berries, and smoke and mirrors, that's right, yeah, That lies to us as well in finance. We have to be careful about that as well.
Yes, you do, walesa, We're going to add something.
All right.
I heard someone want to contribute.
Yeah, that was me. That's, I mean, I would just like to add, I mean, I think it's, I think that's such an important point, and if, to me, one of the most important takeaways of this conversation is, you know, it's not to say, Don't track your marketing metrics. I mean, if they absolutely matter to me, you know, it, And there are things that are decisions that I make based off of. You know, those, those numbers about website traffic, and Taiwan side, and social metrics, and all of those things that we, you know, their pages and pages that were drilling into. But, you know, the obligation to us as marketers, is to then take that and translate it into something that matters in organizational term. So, it's not just, Here's what happened, but here's what happened. Here's the, here's the result of what happened in the terms of the organization's success, and so I think that's how you, you get from, you know, the 14 pages metrics to the, the one page overview that we prepare for our executive team.
that's just, here it is, one page. You can see, you know, the cumulative results of what we're doing and we're not talking to you about, you know, time on site. So, I'm picking on one side.
I know if I could pick one thing that I've heard thus far today, out of all, the amazing, great points you all have made, this is it, hone that data, and make your reporting as relevant.
And as specific to the operational, strategic objectives, and, as directly related to the bottom line, is, you can get it as close to what the C suite is really in need of, in the way of information.
Our fifth points: bring it on home now is the whole notion of transparency.
You know, It's very, I can easily see the relationship. Amy, between you and Beth and Melissa between you and Chat and Jam.
It's very, very clear.
You have a very honest, open relationship, and I'm sure you can disagree as well. You don't always agree.
But how do we, how do we really foster transparency and build trust? Because at the end of the day, that's what this relationship is. Really, it has to be the backbone.
Beth and Amy could do chat about that a little bit. How do we build transparency and trust?
Sure. I'll jump in, and then I'll yield to Beth, as well.
For me, it's just, it's first, it's mutual respect.
You know, it's understanding the, the value of the different perspectives that we bring to the conversation, and understanding that, you know, that neither of us sees the complete picture, you know?
But that, together, and with the other members of our leadership team, that that's how we get to a holistic view, and how we make decisions.
And that's, you know, we're very fortunate here to have a culture where that's, that's the environment that we operate in.
Is that, you know, and you know, and again, it comes back to, I think of say the word vulnerability now a couple of times, but it's that, you know, being willing to say to say here's I raking, self-aware enough to recognize where my insight into this ends, and so I'm gonna bring what I can bring to the table. Understanding that I need other people at the table to, so that we can collaboratively get to the place that's right for the organization, and for our patients and community. So it's, You know, it really does come down to just that that trust and and mutual respect for me. I mean, that's that's, You know, maybe those are soft terms, but there that. I can't think of how to say it better.
Yeah, I think you said it very well, Amy, and I'll bring it bring it back to the first topic we talked about It's that relationship When when when you have a relationship That is built on and you build that relationship on trust, It's easy to be transparent because you're not worried about, OK, What what's going to happen when we say? Well?
We've got, we've got a problem, we're got an issue, you know.
It's, it's that seeking to understand, it's that relationship, It's the support that we've got for each other as a team member.
And, to me, transparency becomes pretty easy, comes pretty easily when you have, um, that ability to know that everybody is on the same team.
Um, and there were about that patient, and about the best patient care, we can provide.
Um, I don't, I don't have a lot of other words to say, except that the patient, we're here for the patient, we're here for the community. And we're a team that's, that's meant to bring our talents, and our skills to do that.
And the more transparent we are with each other, the better we can help each other, the better we can support each other, and the more likelihood we will realize our goals, or achieve our goals.
We've recently been, uh, surveyed by Jacob at both our hospitals.
We were in a period of no surge and low coven, and in both our hospitals do the JK survey and heard quite often from our surveyors that taglines is a little hospital that punches above our weight.
And, and you know we're going to punch above our weight every day, because we're here to do that, provide that community service.
And Amy and I, and the rest of the team members, um, can achieve that if we're not truthful and honest and transparent with each other.
I'd like to add, I mean, this is, I think, the thing that, again, that an old marketing culture and old marketing culture would have been to say, OK. Here's my budget. Here's the dollars that I have, and I'm going to spin them. You know, what if I'm 11 months in? What can I go and spend money on? You know, and, and that's not helpful. That doesn't contribute anything of what we've all been talking about today. I mean, you have to view it from the broader perspective of understanding, you know, I'm just a piece of this, and so if there's a way that, you know, my plans have changed, the organization's needs have changed, the market has changed, and I need to adjust them, then that's my responsibility. It's not to sit over here in my corner and, you know, with my little pile of money and think that I get to spend it because it was allocated to me at some point. And so it really is just having that the broader view and that flexibility. And you don't get that without just being transparent and open and honest with each other.
And inversely, if I could say, say, conversely, from a finance perspective, if, if, I'm always making Amy here.
And when she comes and says, I have a need, and I can do this, this, and this, and it's gonna result in that if I don't give that opportunity back to her some way, somehow, then, you've lost, You're, you've lost her trust, and that's how we've built and have built over the years. Not just at this organization, but, I mean, I've worked with other organizations together. So, you know, it's, it's the given the take all the time.
It's what's, what's the end goal, Not what's current right now.
I can certainly tell you that there are many finance and marketing people who are going to view and listen to this webinar who will be very envious, both of the relationships that that are payers of presenters have today.
I think it's, it's incredibly admirable too and I think the reason Ty Blanton punches above its weight, which I love that expression, is the fact that you remain focused on your patients focused on your community.
And, and it's not a power grab, and it's not about me, me, me. It's about what can, what's right and what can we do That's in the best interest of the people we serve.
And I think that is incredibly admirable.
We've covered our five topics.
And we do have a couple of questions that have popped in here. So, first of all, I want to thank you. Thank you. Thank you all.
Thank you again at the end, but, um, wonderful information, and I enjoyed just hearing your perspectives and your wisdom, and, and I know that you didn't arrive at this place overnight.
It took a lot of work on all of your parts to get there over time.
But our first question, let's take a look at this and, and for this, I think we'll mix things up a little with our team players here, and we'll have Beth and Jim are our two CFOs.
We have a question.
For marketing leaders who never had a relationship with the CFO.
What would be a good way to reach out to them and start working toward the type of partnership that you have achieved?
So, Mike, to CFO, people, Beth, if you could maybe start us off. What do you think the best way you can advise marketing people to approach your counterparts in other facilities?
You know, I think we've touched on it already in our discussion that just to emphasize it, it's, it's about establishing that working, personal relationship and mutual understanding and trust.
So, seeking to understand, um, and, you know, a back and forth willingness to listen is the first step in reaching out Now, how can I, as a, marketer, help the organization achieve the margin target? We have this year, are help us grow?
What's your perspective on that, Beth, and in terms of being the CFO?
You know, sometimes you have to to offer the first olive branch, depending on the the tenor of the organization and the person that you're working with.
I think that's an excellent, excellent strategy.
Because, again, it's honing right in on what's important to that CFO and tapping into their expertise in a very positive way, Excellent. Do what can you add to that?
What do you think would be most appealing to your colleagues in building that? And then being approached by the marketing folks?
First of all, I agree, 100, 100% width with best approach here.
I like to do it in a way of reaching out in a spirit of wanting to learn, ah.
And then, I think, that gets the marketing folks excited that, oh, my gosh, finance is interested in what we're doing.
This is a good first start.
And to understand marketings philosophy and their approach and also to talk about their view of marketing spending.
And I think then, if we can get a respect and mutual respect, if I can get, for four, what marketing does, and what their yield is, or their outcomes, versus marketing.
Wanting to know what our objectives are in terms to your point, Beth about the margin, That's really where it is. And, and from finances perspective.
So, I think reaching out in a spirit of wanting to learn from marketing is a good first step.
It goes both ways. It does. Absolutely.
And, Jim, you know, that, the one thing, very early in my career, not so early in my career, but mid point my career, when the Schedule H, ... came out and Community Benefit Report. And, you know, making us look good with numbers, is not something funny. I mean, we can report to finances.
But that's something early on, that we partnered.
I partnered with my marketing team, and Amy and I really bonded over the Community Benefit Report early, early on because it was, uh, it was a labor that required both of us, and we wanted our organization to be in the best possible light, not just regulatory, but using something that's regulatory, leveraging that requirement to build our rapport in the community, and particularly the business community.
We found common ground and common projects to work on.
You know, that that is an excellent point, that the community benefit reporting and, and the research that goes into that, the understanding of the consumer need really is a point of intersection for finance and marketing. And it's great information for all strategic plan development and to looking at the findings of that, so, excellent, excellent point.
Have another question, and, and this one is, What's in this one, Melissa and Amy will talk to our marketing folks here.
And, the question is, When it comes to tracking metrics related to ROI for marketing, on board, as a marketing leader, what recommendations do you have for helping my team understand the need for more data?
And, to be more ROI driven?
How do we build a culture of metrics and measurement within our departments?
Amy, or Melissa. Either one, whoever would like to hop in here.
Aimee, why don't you go ahead and then we'll hop to Melissa.
Sure, I'll be glad to take that on. And, again, I think that our responsibility, as leaders in the organization now, as the leader to the marketing team, to make sure, just as, you know, it's important for me to understand that, I need my team to understand that and understand, again, that, you know, we have a responsibility. That we're all, again, it all comes back to what goal are we working toward here. And, you know, and the goal is to serve our community, serve our patients. And so, you know, every dollar that every dollar of the health systems is a precious resource. And so, you know, we need to make sure, and this is what I talk to my team.
About all the time, As, You know, We're not going to go ask for a dollar until we can make sure that we can build a good business case around that, and, and the value that, we're going to return to the organization, and, You know, and and so, again, I think that's just a, you know, it's painting that broader picture for your team and helping them understand and and you and I said this earlier, but I think it's important. It's not to, to discount the metrics that we measure as marketers, because they're very important.
But it's just, you know, putting them in the context of the, of the measures that matter to the organization. You know, we're, we're in the nation's second fastest growing market here, I mean, we're at a high growth market.
And so, you know, so it's important for my team to understand, no, the value of the acquisition of a new patient in this market, and, you know, and why it matters, and why that matters to the organization, short-term long-term, and how we can contribute to that. And so, I think it's, you know, and what I've found with folks, and I think this would be true of any marketing team, you know, they're, you know, naturally curious, creative people, They want to understand. You know, they, they want to understand the why, and so, just, you know.
I think just sort of, again, that transparency with your own team is important.
Yes, wonderful.
Molester, how do you go about building that data driven marketing force?
I agree with everything Amy said and I really our team, we shifted to being really data driven maybe 6 or 7 years ago.
And I think Marc, the marketing team themselves were really anxious to make that shift.
Because previously, they've just been doing lots of marketing but not knowing what was working.
And so as we shifted as we invested in more work, analytics talent, more technology tools, they were anxious to continue to do their marketing.
But they wanted to be doing the marketing that worked, I think where we struggled more was trying to convince business leaders that this shift in marketing was going to work.
We're no longer going to do these big, maybe visible billboards, radio, print ads. We weren't going to do these things. They could see nearly as much as we'd done in the past. We were going to shift to only tactics.
We could prove that worked, and because those are less visible to the general public, that was harder for us, too. And, in fact, it still comes up with some business leaders that they think, Oh, you're, you know, you're not doing any marketing, because I can't see you in this magazine. I read.
We're, you know, in marketing now, or we're trying to teach the business leaders why, why we are only doing marketing that we could prove works and we can prove that converts to patients.
And I think that whole philosophy, that wasn't a challenge with our finance centers with Jim, because Jim had been hungry for and asking these questions for years.
And so I think Jim is someone who is appreciative as we've made those shifts.
And granted, it was, no, not overnight. But as we've more and more over the years been able to show, OK, I know this is working or that is working. That's something that finance and our CEO appreciate.
But some business leaders, that was, that was more of my challenge. And I think over the years, they started to understand that everything we do, every precious dollar we have. We have to prove that it's working. We can't just, you know, throw a print ad and amazing, because you think it works. We have to be able to prove that it works.
And that's the beauty of the sort of modern marketing world that's all focused on technology and analytics.
You are, What a, what, a great comment.
The, the whole attribution of, from advertising to, to filling mountain bed or whatever.
I teach healthcare marketing, and, if I only in part one lesson, it's the fact that marketing and advertising are not the same thing.
Yeah, if you only learn one thing student, in the sense that, the marketing advertising, and you're so right, Melissa, it's those visible, tangible evidences, of promotion that people see. And they think that's what marketing is.
When in reality, it may be a pricing strategy or an access strategy or development of a product and maybe something quite different than an ad in the paper or a billboard on the highway.
Thank you for supporting my teaching thesis.
We are almost out of time.
I would just like to ask each of our presenters, is there one, in our last few minutes, one parting thought If you, you know everything you've heard today from your colleagues and, and there, I've heard tremendous agreement among our two teams, from two different very different types of facilities, but still, you're, the, um, the complimentary way you work is very similar and I'm hearing a lot of agreement, but let's start with you, What if you add a parting thought to give, what would that be, keep the patient at the center of everything you do and then it works out for the whole team.
I love that. Melissa. What is your big takeaway here?
Why would he said that, Beth? That's a great one. And we didn't have the patient at the center of everything.
And I think that's what that was, that's the goal of the finance leaders. That's the goal of the marketing layers.
But I would say, early on, someone said, I made a comment that our professional relationships take work, just like other relationships in your life.
And so that's where Jim and I, we have regular meetings on the books, and we include our CEO.
And most of those, and that gives us an opportunity every month, or every quarter, to sit down and make, build our relationship, but also to educate each other, enter review where we are, you know where we're at, so I think, making sure we understand that those relationships take work.
And, for us, it's putting it on the books, so that we have those, every single month, to be able to look at results.
It's, it's just been a great relationship builder, and a trust builder, and brilliant idea to also include the CEO. So, it's not only finance aligned with marketing, it's also right up to the very top.
Do you have something, the major takeaway, or final point, you'd like to share?
Sure. I would say just, you know, embrace this shift that's occurred in our industry.
I mean, it's So, you know, it's a great thing that we now are able to measure and show ROI in ways that we couldn't, even just a few years ago. And so, you know, be excited about that. I mean, it's very gratifying to to be able to demonstrate return on the money to the organizations that you're investing. And so, you know, and the CFO can be a great resource in helping you do that, and so, don't don't be intimidated by it, embrace it.
Ilana. And as you said, it's our Jim.
I think as you said very early on, it's showing that value, showing the value of marketing.
Jim, what is your takeaway?
I would say, you know, when finance can put itself, if I can put myself into Militia's mindset for what she does and she can put herself into my mindset, I think we have a much better appreciation and understanding of our roles.
Transparency's is what really allows us the opportunity for us to what I call these like thinkers and to walk in another shoes. And that really seals one another shoes and I think that really seals the deal.
I think to the marketing and finance partnership, if you will, is really solidified and proven when marketing can demonstrate to us in finance.
That the spend isn't just an annual operating cost, but really a strategic investment.
And if it's viewed that way, we've got, we've got to win.
Absolutely, well said, All of you, well, just to come full circle, and re-iterate, are five mantras, Or five pillars: the importance of partnering between? and it's not a one-way street, right?
A true partnership between finance and marketing, remaining focused on our organizational strategic plans, always with an eye to that patient.
Speaking the language, both of finance and marketing, embracing marketing and finance, technology, and data analytics to be able to truly demonstrate ROI and show that marketing is an investment, not an expense.
And then, lastly, really establishing a trusted, open, transparent relationship.
So, with that, I would very much like to thank all of you, Beth, Melissa, Amy, Jim.
I wish it would be a joy to work with any one of you.
And I can see why you enjoy working with each other so much.
It's, It's truly apparent that you have trusted relationships that you would work very, very hard to establish.
So, for our attendees, thank you so much for participating today.
Again, strategic healthcare marketing was wonderful to offer this as a member or only benefit to you.
This recording will be maintained in the archive as a resource and everyone who's attending today will receive a link to the tape. So, thank you all very much.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and I'll hopefully see you at another webinar soon.
Have a great day.