Health care is a calling for many, including marketers and communications professionals. But even as we work with the purpose and mission of creating a healthier world, our business lives are challenged by the daily tug-of-war of competing priorities, too many emails, too many meetings, and too many to-dos to ever feel like we’re making meaningful progress.

That’s why I wanted to write this post. I’ve worked with many of the brightest and most effective health care marketers in my 20+ year career. Here are seven habits I’ve identified that help health care marketers keep their edge and stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Highly effective health care marketers have a morning and evening routine

Checking emails and texts right after waking up means you’re working on someone else’s priorities and not your own. That’s why highly effective marketers refuse the impulse to check their phones first thing in the morning. Instead, they make themselves the priority. This may look like:

  • Drinking a large glass of water to hydrate themselves
  • Engaging in some form of exercise, whether it’s walking, jogging, lifting weights or stretching
  • Reflecting on their goals for the day
  • Doing a mental inventory of the day’s meetings and tasks and identifying the most essential tasks they want to accomplish
  • Spending a few minutes reflecting, praying or meditating


  1. Highly effective health care marketers make time for important work

It’s likely you’re overwhelmed with meetings and emails. If you’re in meetings all day and checking emails, how will you find the time to do the work that requires time and focus?

That’s why highly effective health care marketers schedule time to do their important work.

One of my former clients instituted a “No Meeting Fridays” rule: she declined meetings on Fridays and didn’t schedule meetings on that day. This gave her a blank slate one day out of the week to plan and do “deep work.”


  1. Highly effective health care marketers develop a consistent planning rhythm

It may feel hard to get ahead when it feels like you’re constantly putting out fires. That’s why highly effective health care marketers create a discipline for scheduling time to plan. This might look like a yearly planning retreat with your team and agencies, and quarterly check-ins with your teams on plans. Putting the planning time on the calendar is a big step forward to ensure you’re looking ahead and working on the right problems.  

  1. Highly effective health care marketers have an integrated dashboard

These days, most every marketing campaign has data points for tracking success. But trying to maintain different data points and dashboards defeats the purpose. That’s why highly effective health care marketers have one integrated dashboard that brings in metrics from multiple sources, such as Google Analytics, paid advertising, and revenue attribution.


  1. Highly effective health care marketers invest in experience to further the brand

Great branding starts with the experience that patients and clients receive from your organization. Highly effective health care marketers work in the trenches with colleagues to ensure the experience is on point. Journey mapping is a process of continuous refinement, and highly effective health care marketers are leading the charge.


  1. Highly effective health care marketers ask great questions

Asking great questions often leads to great insights—insights that have impact. Many marketers come into their profession through journalism backgrounds or simply by having an insatiable curiosity. That investigative, curious spirit leads to asking engaging, great questions. And great questions most often lead to breakthrough insights. Great questions can also challenge the status quo. Health care is a profession based on safety: first, do no harm. Unfortunately, the health care culture of safety can often lead to maintaining status quo. Highly effective health care marketers aren’t interested in doing things the same way just because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Great questions are disruptive and can lead to breakthroughs.


  1. Highly effective health care marketers look for ideas outside of health care

Compared to tech and other industries and categories, health care lags in marketing innovation. New strategies and technologies are most often adopted in other sectors other than health care. That’s why highly effective marketers look beyond health care for ideas and insights they can bring to their organizations.

I personally enjoy deconstructing why I love a marketing or brand strategy for a non-health-care company or why it is so compelling. The DNA of great strategies is most often in the insights it has in resonating with human wants and needs. Studying the rise of brands like Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club can give health care marketers inspiration for their brands.

Just looking outside your immediate business category can lead to breakthroughs. At Hailey Sault, we work with health care organizations across different verticals like providers and technology. This allows us to create new solutions by examining the differences in, say, a health system that wants to move visits away from the ER to urgent care clinics, and a health tech startup that wants early adoption of its Personalized Health Assessment technology.


Bonus Habit!

Here’s a final habit that highly effective health care marketers commit to practicing, which informs their success as much as anything.


  1. Highly effective health care marketers work on themselves as much as they work on their business

You’ve likely noticed a pattern among highly effective health care marketers: they work on their own development as much as their employers’. This is a victorious cycle: self-improvement leads to better vision, better ideas, better execution and better results. By improving your inner game, your outer game gets better.

Which habit are you going to focus on creating first? Let us know in the comments below.