A Valuable Marketing Tool for Health Systems and Private Practices

Within content marketing, thought leadership is one strategy that can deliver big when it comes to return on investment (ROI). 

According to recent Harris Poll research, the “annual value of thought leadership research” is estimated to be a whopping $2.7 million a year, according to the executives who were surveyed. 

Among Fortune 100 executives, that number jumped to an eye-popping $3.6 million a year. 

However while 9 in 10 executives polled consider thought leadership to be “critical to building authority,” only 20% felt this strategy was being deployed effectively in their organizations. 

The ROI of Thought Leadership

The study—which surveyed 500 full-time business leaders—was conducted May 18-24, 2022, according to an August 2022 press release that announced the results. 

“Our research analyzes executive perceptions on thought leadership,” said Libby Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer at The Harris Poll. “This new study delves into the value of thought leadership and its role in promoting organizational credibility and authority.”

Noting that although “many executives recognize the value of thought leadership in driving business revenue and engagement, they indicated their company’s current efforts fall short,” according to the release. “Less than a third of respondents noted a robust thought leadership strategy within their organization, and just 20% considered the approach to be effective. Executives also expressed concern that their efforts lacked variety and innovation, citing a gap between thought leadership strategy and overall quality.”

While thought leadership is “critical in building authority,” it also helps to “build trust with stakeholders and employees,” the statement said. “The executives surveyed acknowledged their own reliance on thought leadership, indicating they often leveraged it for policy and investment conversations, as well as to drive sales and build client relationships.”

Additional findings include:

  • “The primary recipients of thought leadership are not customers and clients, but employees. From the sales team to research and development staff, or even members of the C-Suite, thought leadership is a useful mechanism for attracting and retaining top talent, as well as helping organizations select their best partners and vendors.”
  • “Respondents confirm executive thought leadership is an integral part of their organization’s growth strategy.”
  • “The results of the survey also emphasize the value of custom research, which makes thought leadership more effective, assures validity and builds long-term distinction in the marketplace.”
  • “Executives stated a desire to see more actionable thought leadership in the market and plan to invest 31% more than their current spend.”

The statement also noted that the study “highlights the importance of thought leadership, but for it to be effective, it must be distinct and reflect an organization’s specific needs. Getting noticed in a hybrid world post-pandemic adds another layer of complexity.”

The full report is available here: The Harris Poll Thought Leadership Practice study .

Thought Leadership and Healthcare Marketing

Effective thought leadership can be especially important for health systems and private practice providers seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition. 

However, this arena can be more challenging than others, since—as Senior Marketing Manager for HIMSS Media, Andrew Moravick puts it—the “professional standards and expectations for credibility in healthcare are just on a different level.” 

Even so, the opportunity is ripe for healthcare providers. 

In an opinion piece for Healthcare Dive, Donna Arbogast, principal at Donna Arbogast & Associates, and Nancy Hicks, communications, PR and thought leadership consultant described the potential.

“Today, consumers have opened a door for those in healthcare leadership,” they write. “They are paying attention as never before to their own health and the health of their families. Very significantly, they are concerned about what’s happening in their local communities… Thought leadership, then, is not just an opportunity for hospitals and health systems that have, or want to have, a national voice. The benefits can be close to home and regional in scope.”

Arbogast and Hicks list six benefits of effectively integrating thought leadership into marketing strategy:

  • “Builds brands”
  • “Differentiates you from your competitors”
  • “Advances your mission”
  • “Attracts workforce talent, particularly among millennials who respond positively to organizations that take a stand and focus on their purpose”
  • “Can increase employee engagement”
  • “Strengthens community relationships”

They also offer four steps to help organizations get started: 

  • “Identify the health-related issues that are most important in your own community.” 
  • “Choose the issue that ties to your mission and identify your internal experts.” 
  • “Integrate thought leadership into all aspects of communications.” 
  • “Secure a long-term commitment to this strategy from the top.”  

Referring to the last point as “perhaps the most important aspect of thought leadership,” Arbogast and Hicks differentiate thought leadership from a “direct-response approach to marketing communications.”

Instead, they say it’s “an approach that will see achievements over time, with great rewards for those hospitals and systems willing to make the commitment to their mission, communities, patients and staff.”

Contact us today to find out how we can help level up your healthcare marketing strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

Published On: January 31, 2023

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