Healthcare Marketing Manager – A Day in the Life

Consider the following scenarios. A dentist opens a clinic and needs to grow a client base. A health insurance company rolls out new features and wants to inform their beneficiaries. A hospital deploys a new public health program for an at-risk segment of the population. In each of these varied instances, a healthcare marketing manager is relied upon to achieve the final goal.

Healthcare is a business and businesses need marketing to put their products into the public’s hands. The US healthcare industry spends over $30 billion a year on marketing (Reuters Jan. 2019). But getting people to do what’s in their best interest isn’t as easy as it sounds. Welcome to the complex world of healthcare marketing management.

Healthcare marketing managers utilize many of the foundations of general marketing to achieve their goals: market segmentation, targeting, positioning, and branding. Data analysis plays a key role in both developing a marketing campaign and measuring its efficacy. But the particulars of the healthcare landscape also necessitate a personable and creative approach that takes industry-specific factors into account.

To call healthcare marketing management a position defined simply by the three words that make up the title is skirting the issue. This is a context-dependent position that comes with its own unique nuances. Examine the details of a day in the life of a healthcare marketing manager below.

Work Environment

Healthcare marketing managers can work in a number of different environments: private clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. In each instance, they are probably working out of an office, but don’t expect them to be staring into a screen all day. This is a job that demands interpersonal skills and the constant management of relationships.

Clinical Team

No matter where they work, a healthcare marketing manager has to coordinate between several different individuals and departments. Primarily, they are tasked with leading the marketing division. But they also need to collaborate closely with top leadership to design marketing campaigns that meet the organization’s overall strategic goals. Finally, there is collaboration that needs to take place with the wider community: the media, subject matter experts, and possible sponsoring partners.

Typical Daily Responsibilities of Healthcare Marketing Managers

A healthcare marketing manager’s daily responsibilities are going to depend on the priorities of their employer. A private practice may want to focus on growing its client base, while a pharmaceutical company may be more concerned with migrating towards a digital marketing strategy. In both cases, however, there will be an overlap in the typical daily responsibilities of a healthcare marketing manager.

Some typical daily responsibilities include:

  • Implementing marketing strategies that meet overall organizational goals
  • Assessing strategic partnership opportunities for marketing initiatives
  • Overseeing the marketing department’s individual projects
  • Liaising between the marketing department and upper leadership
  • Managing relationships with the media and the wider community
  • Creating a communication plan to be used across all marketing and PR
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of old marketing programs and the viability of new ones

It’s not all data, branding, and reports, however. Healthcare marketing management is about fostering relationships both within the organization and outside of it. In the end, they are selling a product, but, ideally, that product is a healthier, happier life.

Required Skills & Knowledge in Healthcare Marketing Management

Healthcare marketing managers will have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a field such as marketing, business, or public relations. While these degree programs provide a strong foundation, they don’t go deeply into the nuances of healthcare as a business. As such, an increasing number of healthcare marketing managers are pursuing graduate degrees: either a master of health administration (MHA) or a master of business administration (MBA) with a focus in healthcare. At this level, electives and specializations can provide graduates with niche expertise to help them lead an organization’s specific marketing needs.

Interpersonal communication, proactive decision making, and leadership abilities are necessary for a healthcare marketing manager to select the right marketing campaign and shepherd it to completion. Creativity and deadline-based time-management are other must-haves.

Sector-specific knowledge in areas like digital marketing, the pharmaceutical landscape, or public health issues can further shape one’s success on a particular project. At the core of each healthcare marketing manager position is the need to understand a healthcare product, and effectively put it into the hands of the people who need it most.

Certification for Healthcare Marketing Managers

It would be extremely unusual for an employer to demand that a healthcare marketing manager be professionally certified. But in a stack of similar resumes, a candidate who is professionally certified stands out.

Certification can verify one’s expertise and commitment to ongoing professional development. While there aren’t any major certifications specifically tailored to the healthcare side of the profession, there are some that focus on the fundamentals and best practices of marketing management in general.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) offers certification as a Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) with a specialization in marketing management. While there are no steadfast eligibility requirements, most PCM candidates have either a bachelor’s degree and four years of marketing experience, or a master’s degree and two years of marketing experience. In order to earn the certification, candidates will need to pass an online, three-hour, 150-question exam. Exam fees are $249 for AMA members and $349 for non-members. Recertification is required every three years through the completion of 30 continuing education units (CEUs).

The Institute of International Marketing Professionals (IIMP) provides the Certified Marketing Management Professional (CMMP) designation at four tiered levels: associate, manager, executive, and chartered. The Manager CMMP title is ideal for healthcare marketing managers. Eligible candidates will need to have completed an undergraduate degree, relevant marketing coursework, and two years of relevant experience in a management or consulting role. Furthermore, they’ll need to complete the Manager CMMP’s Handbook Training Program, which culminates in a final exam. Total tuition and fees come to approximately $920.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging issues in healthcare administration and public health, with a particular focus on progressive policies that empower communities and reduce health disparities. His work centers around detailed interviews with researchers, professors, and practitioners, as well as with subject matter experts from professional associations such as the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHCA).

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