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Welcome to the birthplace and home of what we believe to be the first ever Hospital Industry Crowdsourced Survey of Digital, Integrated and Emerging Marketing!  If you are a marketer or technologist in the hospital industry, you understand the importance of benchmark data to your peers and executives.  Hospitals compare themselves on everything, using the data to stay abreast of their performance, competition and customer behavior, and to inform their investments.  In the emerging world of digital marketing and technology, benchmarks are often elusive, outdated, expensive or irrelevant to your specific needs.  We would like to work with you to change that.  

We’d like to invite you to participate in what we consider to be a landmark research event.  So what is so “landmark” about what we are doing…a few things:

1)    First of all, it is free to participate and free to receive results.  Once the findings are compiled, as a participant, you will have first access to the findings before they are available anywhere else.

2)    The questions we will ask are virtually guaranteed to be relevant to you…because we are going to let you determine what the questions should be!  To our knowledge, this will be the first digitally Crowdsourced survey in the history of the Hospital industry.  The questions that you help develop will be part of a comprehensive survey distributed to hospital marketers and technologists around the country.

3) The survey and resulting data will be structured, vetted and statistically significant, enabling analysis using parameters such bed size, type of organization, etc…  Respondents to the survey will be qualified to ensure they are employees of  hospitals and/or integrated health systems.

4)    The report will include a summary of findings, results for each question and relevant charts and graphs illustrating key points.

We have partnered with Equation Research , a next generation research company that has successfully implemented the first crowdsourced survey in the Marketing industry and who has been a wonderful partner with us on this initiative.

Here are some general guidelines to submit a question:

  • Submit your question (or idea) by leaving it through a comment to this post.  See the end of this post for sample questions.
  • Any question related to Digital, Integrated and/or Emerging Marketing in the Hospital Industry is welcome
  • Don’t concern yourself with the wording of your question. Equation will working with us to ensure that all questions are worded objectively so as to avoid survey bias and to yield statistically relevant findings.
  • Feel free to submit more than one question/idea for consideration, but please understand that not all of your questions may get asked this time.
  • Please check out the questions that others have submitted in the comments. If you really like any of those questions, please let us know through a comment as that will help us understand which questions and ideas are most favored overall by the community.

Please submit your questions and feedback on which ideas you liked from others in the comments by Wednesday, June 16, 2010.  After that, stayed tuned for notification of the availability of the survey itself and please take the survey when it is sent to you!
If you have any overall feedback or questions about this survey that you would like to discuss outside of this blog, please feel free to contact me directly at: or 860.404.3344.

Note:  If you are NOT part of the Hospital Industry, but like what is going on here wish this survey was happening for your vertical…please let us know as well.

Sample Questions (to spur your thinking):

  1. What functional areas in your organization are responsible for social marketing?
  2. Do you have a full time employee for social marketing?
  3. Do you engage in social media listening?
  4. Do you have a formal social media policy?
  5. Does your hospital have plans for mobile marketing?
  6. What percentage of your marketing budget is allocated for TV, Radio, Web, Social, Mobile, etc..?  How will this change in 2011?

The above questions are only a few to get your thoughts started.  We are far more interested in WHAT YOU WANT AND TO LEARN FROM YOUR PEERS.  Thanks very much for your participation.

Lastly, if you would like to make sure you are invited to participate in the survey when it is ready, please send your contact information to

Author: Mike Stutman

As SVP of Strategy at Primacy, Mike helps clients envision and plan for new ways to use digital channels to improve their marketing and customer experience efforts.

Published May 2010

Comments (33)

Great idea guys!

Ed Bennett


Great idea, here’s what I’d like to see as a baseline:

1. Treat this as a benchmarking survey. Gather information about the organization so responses can be grouped.

Type of org – medical center, community hospital, health system, specialty hospital, etc.
Size – bed count, admissions (in and out patient) revenue, number of doctors, etc.

2. Questions about their web / marketing effort effort
FTE’s & budget for all marketing
FTE’s & budget for web program
% of marketing effort devoted to Web

Data on web services run by the organization:
# of web sites managed by above
Total Page counts
Traffic (request a standardized count, for example Google Analytics numbers for visitors, views etc.)

# of videos / audio pod-casts offered, and consumption numbers

# of questions / feedback processed via the web

# of patient appointments generated by the web

3. Project priorities. What is the current level of effort (LOE) devoted to:
Web video
Social Media
Traditional web content (static pages)
Audio pod-casting
Ask the expert tools
Patient portals
Physician portals
Mobile devices / apps

4. What will be the LOE in three years? (use same list as above) I expect to see a change.

Get contact information – you should follow up on submissions that have unusual numbers, make sure there was no data entry error.

Deb Braidic

Agree with Ed’s post. I just got asked by my boss to find out what others are spending so she can go back to our board with baselines. So, for me, money, money, money…. at the moment, anyway!

Can’t wait to see what we find out and more importantly, thank you for doing this!

John Y.

An interesting and innovative concept.

I’m wondering how restrictive other hospitals are in allowing employee groups (e.g. ICU nurses, dietitians, pharmacists) to create their own Facebook pages.

Rob H.

I’d like you guys to ask if more hospital marketers are using social media platforms – especially Facebook – as the call to action for service line advertising campaigns. Are there advantages to driving consumers to Facebook verus a hospital’s website beyond simply driving up the number of followers?

Christopher P.

Excited to see this idea a reality now! Here is a question I have.

For healthcare organizations using different social media channels, what channel and channel objective/focus have they had the best response/success with?

Denise G.

What approaches have been most successful in healthcare organizations to introduce social media tools for employee communications? How have you overcome objections by IT and leadership who are fearful of using these new technologies?

Courtney Paige

So many questions – so little space! So here are a few…

1) a. What does the digital marketing landscape look like for their organization: web, online media, SEO/SEM, email marketing and social media tactics?
b. What portion of the overall marketing budget does the digital component recieve?
c. what type of ROI is measured or expected within the medium.

2) For those organizations engaging in social media I’d be interestd in their a)methology for building an engaged audience community of followers and b) how they define/measure engagement of that audience.

3) What has been a successful conversation equasion…meaning what ratio of questions, to content to selling has resonated?

Debbie Donovan

Are hospital marketing departments offering their providers opportunities to learn about basic web marketing activities?

Caroline M

Few questions that came to mind…

1) How do/did you entice a reluctant CEO and Administration of the value of Social Media?

2) How do/did you change the old school thinking of print being a valuable form of marketing when the web and social media is the new school approach?

3) Where do you see the biggest gain for what is spent in online marketing?

4) Is advertizing in social media worth the investment?

5) Which social media area is the best received in your community/area?

6) Do you have a mobile website? If so, is the usage increasing and by how much?

7) Do you have established policies pertaining to social media and your employees’ use of it?

Amy Sandoval

Love the questions already coming in – very much top of my mind as well. Here are a few more:

How are organizations encouraging (or are they) physicians to adopt social media tools? Are they seeing physicians already adopting the tools without any formal consent?

Are marketing departments shifting advertising dollars to social media marketing such as Facebook advertising, Google ads, Google content network, etc.? If so, what percentage of overall budget is being invested in these platforms?

Also interested in mobile web use and adoption – are hospitals launching mobile sites or focusing primarily on applications that might be used in a mobile environment?

Nancy Speroni

1) What is definition of “Hospital Industry”?
2) Will survey include only US Hospital/Healthcare facilities?

Great Idea! Looking forward to results.

Mike Stutman

Nancy, thanks for your interest and questions.

1) By ‘Hospital Industry’ we are referring to institutions ranging from Academic Medical Centers to small Community Hospitals to large, multi-state, integrated Health Systems

2) US hospitals are the focus of the survey

Thanks again for your interest!

Mike Stutman

Just wanted to thank everyone so far for some GREAT questions and topics!!! Please keep them coming!

Mike Dame

So many great questions here, you’ve really covered all the topics that came to my mind. I’m looking forward to participating.

Chris Swanson

What personality types are best (or required) for ‘social marketers?’

Valeria P.

What a great forward thinking idea. I’ve chatted on just these topics with colleagues at HIMS and HICK but never thought to reach out more distant than the assembled lunch table! My questions:

Is social media being used to reach out to the medically under served population in your service area?

Are you empowering your interpreter team to engage in their native languages – Spanish, Russian, Chinese, etc or are your social media efforts restricted only to English?

Do you use private communities to enable communication within selected groups or activities such as physicians / grand rounds?

Do you outsource your social media activities to freelancers or pr/interactive agencies?

What changes, if any, do you anticipate with your activities under the new national insurance plan?

Deb P

Survey sounds great and data specific to healthcare systems is so desperately needed! A few other metrics that I would find extremely helpful: avg open rate for email campaigns/enewsletters (both for existing patients and consumers/prospective patients); avg time spent on website per visit; avg click-through rate on Google Adwords; avg click-through rate on online/banner ads.

On the social media front, I’d be curious as to the avg number of Tweets and Facebook posts delivered per day; avg time visitors spent viewing video content. I’d also like to know if anyone has used Facebook ads and if so, what kind of results have they delivered?


Dana Cassell

Thank you for putting this together – really looking forward to results.

I’d love to hear more about how people are mobilizing their fanbase, and how they’re measuring the impact of their fanbase in social media.

I’d also like to know more about the future of healtcare websites, as more traffic is filtering through the social sites.

If there’s room to discuss patient portals, who owns them, how they interact with operational systems/programs, and how the Digital Marketing teams are involved – that would be great too.


Oscar M

I have a particular interest in web activity happening in hospitals. It has been very frustrating finding benchmark information for our industry to use it as a comparison base.

Hopefully this survey will bring some light to my quest.

Here are the questions I would like to see be part of the survey.

1) Type of entity (stand-alone, health system)
2) Type of hospital services provided (acute care, rehabilitation, psychiatric, children’s, other)
3) Number of beds (<101, 101-200, 201-400, 401+)
4) Location (Urban, suburban, rural)
5) Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West, International)
6) Average number of pages views per month
7) Average number of visits per month
8) Average number of unique visitors per month
9) Average number of returning visitors per month
10) Average time spent on site
11) Biggest source of page referrals (Search engines, typed/bookmarked, other sites)
12) Is your website configured to be accessed from a mobile device?
13) Do you already have or plan to have an app for a mobile device?

Please feel free to modify the first 5 questions as you see necessary.


BTW, how many institutions or participants do you think will receive the survey?

Mike Stutman


Thanks very much for your input. We will be sending the survey out broadly across the industry and will also be encouraging the ‘crowd’ to get the word out amongst peers. Thanks so much again and let us know if you have any further questions or feedback.



whats up with that shirt, Mike?


One question that has been holding me back from more SM participation: who are you empowering to be the tweeter when you twitter… on behalf of the hospital? The PR team? Others

Oscar M

Thanks Mike,

I have another question to be added to the survey in regards to web metrics:

What is the average page depth your users are willing to click to get to certain information?

I’ve heard about the 3 click rule and keeping that in mind when planning site architecture and navigation, but when it comes to online campaigns I feel the landing page should provide all the information and possibly just one click for the call to action.


Sandy D

Interesting stuff.

Social media feels like a “big city” idea to some. I’d like to know more about the popularity of social media outlets in more rural settings.

Is social media really effective in a small town setting?

One of many battles our marketing department often fights is the old “I didn’t know I you guys could help me with something like this” thing.

How do marketing departments market themselves while balancing all of the other emerging marketing issues?

How do hospital marketing departments track their productivity? Using home-grown tools or off-the-shelf solutions?


Online support groups: more interest is heading this way – as a hospital, who monitors? any HIPAA impact?


Have heightened privacy settings impacted organizations’ ability to interact with potential consumers via the social media marketplace?

Mike Stutman


Funny you bring that up. I had this shirt made especially for this post/project…I am glad you noticed! :)

Mike Stutman

Thank you all so much for your questions and ideas!!! The response was terrific.

We are now in the process of synthesizing your input, selecting those questions that best represent your collective feedback and formulating the survey questions along with our research partner, Equation research. We will be releasing the survey in the coming weeks…please keep your eyes open for it.

In addition to our appreciation to each of you who have posted…I’d like to pass along special thanks to Ed Bennett, Shel Holtz, Mark Gothberg and Lee Aase for their time, guidance and support thus far.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the interim.

Thanks again.


Julian Dirks

Thanks for your article! Honestly I have never read anything that great.