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Corporate Culture and Change

If I had a dime for every time I have heard the words toxic corporate culture in recent conversations, I would be the proverbial millionaire.

I work exclusively in health care. And health care is in a period of tremendous change, which causes anxiety for many. And for those who have not worked in a healthcare, it is a very strong and prescribed corporate culture. However, change is also a time for opportunity if you keep an open mind.

But far too often the looming change brings out the worst in people. Turf protection, personal image and perception of success are more important than the company’s mission or values. I have worked in such environments and everyone loses. The organization does not get the best from their people because they are either being micro-managed to death by insecure supervisors terrified of making a mistake or they are focused on getting out of the job.

These times call for those who embrace change and look, really look for the opportunities to be had. Leaders need to communicate that their organization will not only survive, but thrive in these changing time and ask for everyone’s best.

So while leaders can design the best operating plans, they need to be mindful of the culture of their organization. Culture kills strategy every time and during times of change, addressing your culture needs to be your first priority.

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Customer Service?

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments

Recently, I had two of the worse customer service interactions imaginable. No, let me take that back. I could not imagine customer service experiences as bad as these two.

One was with an international car rental company and the other was a national retailer; I do a lot of business with both firms.

After countless emails, photo documentation and phone calls, I took matters into my own hands, literally. I found the names of the entire executive leadership team and the chairman of the board. I then wrote a very nice letter with full documentation of my experience and mailed, yes, snail – mailed the letters to the companies.

In both cases, I received calls from the President’s office and both disputes were quickly resolved. But I couldn’t let it go. So I asked both of them why the rapid response? Both said that they NEVER get mail from customers, especially the entire executive team. They both asked me to provide some “learning moments” that could be shared with their customer service team and they apologized.

Never underestimate the power of the pen and the need to make customer service, personal. Not for the customer but for the company providing the service. I seriously doubt if their CFO or Legal Counsel get individually addressed customer complaints. Maybe they should.

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Benchmarks in Marketing and Communication

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments


Apples-ComparisonHow to establish benchmarks in marketing and communications is the most often asked question by peers in the industry.  Department assessments are the most often requested service of Hitchcock Marketing and Communications. Most MarCom executives need to review structure every 2-3 years given the convulsive change in healthcare. Everyone is looking for benchmarks to document that their department is right-sized, focused on the right areas and the budget is reasonable. How do you begin?

I suggest you take your cue from the firms who establish benchmarks by creating peer groups for executive compensation. They look at similar size  – market, budget, staff, physicians, governance, services.  Do you have an organized medical group?  Do you have a mature ambulatory program?

I would look at the same peer group and begin to reach out to your peers at those organizations. Make sure you are comparing apple to apples. Do they perform the same functions that you do? How robust is their digital marketing and do they have design services in-house or use an agency.

By doing this legwork:

1) You show your organization a concerted and consistent approach to developing benchmarks

2) Bring research on benchmarks by function in other industries

3) Are on firm ground when asking your supervisor for agreement on the benchmarks

4) Have an informed roadmap on how to organize resources

So get your department on the right footing by doing your own homework, create your own peer group and share with leadership. So the next time you are asked to do more with less, you have a framework and a built-in peer group who you can consult with.




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Healthcare trends – Is anyone reading the tea leaves?

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments

I recently attended the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development conference in San Diego. I purposely attended a senior level “think tank” session about healthcare trends and the future of hospitals.

I was struck by the comments from presenters about creating medical homes for patients. Really? Patients demanded access to their information and patient portals were mandated. Now, we have ZocDoc, health apps that come with all new phones, on line forums and social media.  Hospitals and health systems have lost the race in creating medical homes for patients.


Patients aren’t waiting for us; they are creating their own! We were surprised years ago when CVS and Walgreens got into healthcare – our business. Well, does anyone schedule an appointment with their PCP for a flu shot anymore? They changed the landscape. But it appears that those of us in healthcare still aren’t reading the tea leaves.

As marketers, we need to recognize the trends and bring the voice of the patient to internal discussions. We all need to get real about where healthcare is going and the hospital is not where patients are looking for their medical homes.

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Something else

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments

Quote from an EVP who oversees marketing for a large health system, “We have done enough branding. Now let’s do something else.”