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healthcare marketing - budgeting for 2021

Key Thoughts to Consider When Budgeting for 2021

If you’re like most healthcare marketers, odds are that 2020 brought your organization chaos and may have thrown off your budget. The effects of the global pandemic are immense and nearly universal. But with 2021 quickly approaching, now’s the time to look ahead and begin planning your marketing efforts for next year.

There are numerous considerations that go into budgeting in even a normal year. 2020 was far from normal, and it’s presented some extra challenges. 

Whether you’re just beginning to sketch out your marketing budget for calendar year 2021 or you’ve settled on a budget but need to nail down priorities within that budget, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:


Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

This is, of course, easier said than done. But the best strategy for driving sales and revenue through your marketing efforts is to thoughtfully plan out your campaigns based on priorities.

Looking carefully through data and asking strategic questions, you should be able to determine the top revenue producers for your hospital or health organization. Based on those revenue drivers, you can plot out the bulk of what your marketing campaigns will promote.

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of shifting marketing dollars and emphasis to whatever department or service line leaders are making the most noise at a given time. But “noisy” isn’t necessarily indicative of a priority — and it can ultimately lead to you moving valuable assets away from what actually brings in patients and revenue.

Identify what’s truly impacting the bottom line, and allocate your resources accordingly.


Keep Current Priorities in Mind

While we naturally want to look ahead, it’s important to recognize that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Even once a vaccine is approved, it will take a while to be widely distributed, and large swathes of the population probably won’t choose to be vaccinated.

That means the coronavirus and its effects are likely to stick around. Think through the various changes you’ve put in place in 2020 in order to be a more strategic partner for your patients and others within your community.

One such change was likely the implementation of telemedicine — or at least placing greater emphasis on telemedicine as an offering. While you may have seen telemedicine usage spike during the early months of the pandemic and then settle, it’s likely your organization is still seeing higher-than-average levels of telemedicine use.

This trend will continue. People are going to need and want these services as we move forward in a changed environment. So you want to ensure that promoting your telemedicine offerings as a way to safely access healthcare remains a part of your marketing strategy moving forward.


Think Digital to Drive ROI

You may already have your budget in place, particularly if you’re working on a fiscal year that runs counter to the calendar year. While the overarching numbers may already be determined, there’s room within a marketing budget to make tweaks that make your dollars stretch further.

If you haven’t already placed an emphasis on digital marketing, now is an optimal time to do so for two key reasons: First, you’ll be truly meeting people where they are — online. And second, you’ll get more ROI for your buck, so to speak.

For years, American usage of social media and other digital platforms has been increasing. The pandemic has magnified that effect. More people than ever are spending time online and looking for information online. Many people simply aren’t out and about like they were before the pandemic, and they may not be for a while.

If they can’t or don’t find the information they’re looking for through your health organization, they’re likely to look for it elsewhere and take their loyalty with them. That makes it vitally important to ensure you’re spreading the word about the services you offer, how to access care, and even information about COVID-19 online.

Digital marketing offers other key benefits, too. One is the ability to tweak digital marketing campaigns as needed to accommodate a changed budget. You can invest a little or a lot and still get results. 

The other key benefit is that you can easily track and demonstrate ROI as needed to prove the efficacy of your campaigns. Digital marketing platforms often incorporate built-in analytic tools, allowing marketers to see how a specific piece of content is performing. This can show whether a campaign is driving revenue or whether you need to make adjustments that will.


Could your marketing campaigns benefit from an outside perspective and specialized expertise? As a HIPAA-compliant digital marketing agency, our team is here to help ensure your marketing efforts are both effective and secure. Ready to learn more? Contacting us is easy.


Rachael Sauceman
Rachael Sauceman
Head of Strategic Initiatives for Internet Marketing

Rachael develops and executes the strategic priorities and vision for Full Media’s Internet marketing department, serves as the in-house subject matter expert in healthcare Internet marketing, and identifies ongoing opportunities to add value to healthcare organizations through innovation and team member development.

A member of the team since 2013, Rachael began as an Internet Marketing Analyst, eventually becoming an Internet Marketing Team Leader before piloting her current role. She has a wide array of expertise in developing marketing strategies for healthcare clients and different medical specialties, with specific experience in developing strategies for MD referrals, YouTube TrueView campaigns and building reports to compare the effectiveness of traditional media to digital media.

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