Branding vs Acquisition: Why Health Care Marketers Should Rethink Growth Strategies

July 27, 2023
William G. “Bill” Robertson, CEO of MultiCare

William G. “Bill” Robertson, CEO of MultiCare

Health care marketers are sometimes on the defensive when proposing budgets to their CEOs and CFOs, feeling the pressure to justify the expense and project the expected return on investment — especially for “softer” initiatives like brand building.

So, it was refreshing to hear a different perspective from Bill Robertson, CEO of MultiCare, a 12-hospital health system in the Pacific Northwest. “Why spend the money if we’re not going to grow as an organization?” he said during a session at HMPS in Austin, Texas in April. “It didn’t make sense, the idea of building awareness. It didn’t seem to be about growth — at first.”

Robertson’s change of heart came about through wide-ranging monthly conversations with his friend and co-presenter Jerry Hobbs, president and chief strategy officer at Prairie Dog, a health care marketing agency. “Jerry brought up a couple of books that he thought I should know about,” Robertson says.

The two books were How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know by Byron Sharp, and The Long and the Short of it: Balancing Short- and Long-Term Marketing Strategies by Les Binet and Peter Field.

Hobbs says, “What these books do for us is they represent a new way of looking at growth and a new way of looking at marketing effectiveness.”

The title of their session, “The Long & Short of It: Brand-Building vs. Acquisition,” implies that there’s a binary choice — either one or the other. Robertson contends that doing “both-and” is the winning formula.

In our new article, you’ll gain critical insights from industry leaders on the ideal balance between brand-building and sales activation, and how it can create a sustainable competitive advantage in the health care sector.

Read the full article here: Should You Spend Your Media Budget on Branding or Acquisition?

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey