Success Story: Good Bones: Building the Framework for a Successful Marcom Department


A 1,000-bed health system was on the verge of launching a new strategic plan and vision. But events over recent years — a six-month reduction in force (RIF) and frequent turnover in the C-Suite — had weakened its perception in the community.

The communications and marketing department had been on the defensive and lacked a strategic plan. What’s more, the competition was exploiting its disorganization. Leaders recognized that the need to tell the health system’s story was more critical than ever to the life of the health system and the communities it served.


We conducted an in-depth assessment of its marketing and communications functions. We analyzed allocation of resources, team composition, market share, competitors, use of different mediums and return on investment, and alignment with the organization’s strategic plan.

After the review, it was clear the communications and marketing department needed to make a seismic shift in its thinking from the traditional marketing tactics of 10 years ago, and become more consumer-minded and business-savvy. We helped the health system develop three areas of focus to support their strategic goals and values:

The right leadership: The administration needed communications representation at the leadership table. This individual(s) needed to have a commitment to transparency and two-way communication, and the skills to ensure the health system’s story was embraced internally and externally. They found the new department director right among their team members.

The right plan: After helping the system develop the first marketing plan in five years, we identified a new strategy for both the structure of the department and the work before them. Part of the change meant offering new roles to existing team members that best matched their skills while also searching for and hiring new talent. Another change called for more consistent collaboration with government relations, human resources and the health system’s foundation so that messages stayed consistent.

The right resources: We assisted the system in developing the appropriate budget for the department, adding funding for staff while at the same time, identifying how it could reduce expenses by taking advantage of its corporate parent’s resources for advertising campaigns, market plans and media buys.


Today, the health system enjoys a stronger market position – with a clear blueprint in place for staff, accountability, budgets and action. Whether it’s sharing its vision, better communicating the strategic plan or reminding patients of the critical care it offers, the health system is reaffirming its commitment to caring for the community today and tomorrow.


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