Market Focus: Hospital Administrators: Reach the Wellness Pros
Is your marketing campaign in need of a healthy dose of responsive prospects? Targeting hospital and health care administrators, with their impressive corporate budgets and high personal incomes, may be just the elixir.
Hospital administrators and executives plan, direct, coordinate and supervise health care delivery. This market breaks down into two groups: Generalists manage (or help manage) entire facilities or health care systems. Specialists are in charge of specific clinical departments or services, such as nursing care, surgery, information technology, medical records or supply chain management.
These professionals often are responsible for dozens—even hundreds—of employees and millions of dollars’ worth of facilities and equipment, which makes them a particularly important market for products such as uniforms, office supplies, technology, medical supplies and equipment, and myriad other offers.
A Learned Group in a Growing Field
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calls hospital administration a rapidly growing profession. In 2004 (the latest year available for the statistics), 248,000 jobs were in medical and health services management, about 30 percent of which were in hospitals. Employment in this field is expected to increase faster than the average for other occupations through 2014. That said, however, the number of new hospital administration jobs is expected to grow at a slightly slower pace than those in clinics and other outpatient care settings, notes the Department of Labor.
Health care administrators in general are an educated group, with most holding at least a master’s degree. Generalists hold degrees in fields such as health services administration, health sciences, public health, public administration or business administration. Ph.D.s and medical degrees are common among both generalists and specialists.
With that high educational status comes high earnings. Median annual earnings for health care administrators in 2004 were $67,430. Health care administrators for the federal government reported the highest median earnings at $87,200, while those in general medical and surgical hospitals recorded $71,280. As in other professions, the type and size of facility managed, as well as the level of responsibility, dictate wage levels.
Direct Mail and E-mail Responders
Hospital executives are known for working long hours, and as such, it’s best to be efficient and concise when targeting messages to them. Moreover, they spend a good deal of time interacting with others, which necessitates exceptional skills in diplomacy, flexibility and communication, notes the Labor Department when describing this profession. This suggests that a tactful and respectful tone may be a good strategy to use in your promotional campaigns.
Interestingly, list company executives who manage files of health care executives note that marketers are seeing good response rates from both postal and e-mail campaigns. Susan Levinson, a senior account manager at Direct Media, which manages the Modern Healthcare magazine file, notes: “There’s a lot of continuation on both the magazine’s postal and e-mail lists, and some mailers are using both.” She thinks that’s because health care executives are so busy that perusing promotions online may be one way they can save time and improve their own efficiency.
Many B-to-B mailers, Levinson continues, have rented names from the Modern Healthcare file, a controlled-circulation newsweekly for health care executives. Those renting the postal file include, for example, industrial, safety and office supply merchants; education, seminar and training companies; advertising specialty and promotional product suppliers; and corporate gift marketers. Those using Modern Healthcare’s e-mail file include consultative services, software suppliers and other marketers tightly focused on the hospital administrative market, she notes. Almost 80 percent of the magazine’s subscribers hold management positions in hospitals and multi-hospital systems.
Michael Costantino of Edith Roman Associates, list manager for Ingenix, which publishes medical coding books and other tools for health care professionals, also notes that most list rentals for this market are done by B-to-B mailers. Those touting uniforms, office supplies, corporate gifts, waiting room materials and credit cards use the Ingenix lists, he says.
Usage on the Healthcare Executives list from medical publisher Ascend Media includes uniform merchants, office supply companies, publishers and seminar producers. Other marketers mailing the list include medical equipment and supply companies, medical reference book publishers, and shoe manufacturers.
Jennifer Felling, account executive at Statlistics, which manages several health care executive lists, including Ascend Media’s, notes, “We’ve seen a real spike in the number of universities using health care lists, mostly to tout their online continuing education courses.”
Felling says continuations on Statlistics’ health care files are slightly higher than those recorded on its other managed files. “So this is a responsive audience,” she reasons.
Mailers in other industries, such as travel, time shares and real estate, also should consider targeting hospital administrators, she says, “because this is a profession that enjoys high levels of discretionary income.”
Study the Files Available
In general, there’s a good deal of segmentation available on the lists for this market. “Marketers can select, for example, C-level administrators, as well as managers of materials, IT, finance or clinical,” says Levinson.
The Ingenix Medical Reference Buyers list offers names within specific types of health care organizations, such as hospital/medical centers, insurance companies, physicians’ offices/clinics and billing services, as well as in specialties such as cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine and home health care.
When shopping through datacards, take a hard look at the source for the names, says Felling. Is it a compiled list, a subscription file, a list of people who responded to direct mail ore-mail offers—and how does that relate to your offer? Also, Felling suggests, ask when the list was last updated, as you want the freshest names you can gather. Are selects available? Most files can be segmented by job title, SIC code and employee size. Lastly, look at usage. “Are your competitors having success with the file, and if so, that’s a pretty good indication that you would, too,” says Felling.
Because America’s population continues to age, the relevance, status and budgetary power of hospital and health care administrators are assured. Use the steps and tools outlined here to effectively market your offerings to these important buyers.
Donna Loyle is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She is the former editor-in-chief of Catalog Success magazine, a sister publication to Target Marketing.