AMEC 2016: How Cleveland Clinic protected its comms budget through measurement

At the AMEC Summit 2016, Eileen Sheil, director of communications at Cleveland Clinic describes how she protected her budget when the organisation was in crisis.

Eileen Sheil, director of communications at Cleveland Clinic, faced a 70% reduction of her PR and comms office. When the academic medical centre faced falling revenues recently – largely due to policy changes – she was set with the challenge of proving why her team mattered.

Sheil, began by educating board leaders about the team – which she says is the key takeaway from her case study.

To prove the importance of the team and its impact on the business, she measured the success of the clinic’s ‘Colon Cancer Awareness Month’ campaign which drives awareness of colon cancer among men.

Sheil boosted the business’ leads and awareness of its services among patients by:

  • Using the Barcelona Principles
  • Bringing partners together to build a strategy
  • Focusing on the chairman’s business objectives
  • Looking at the scale and quality of its marketing and comms activity and ensuring it was making the most of its media assets (owned and earned)

In addition, the team developed a downloadable online risk assessment tool and pushed it through mainstream and social media. It took almost a year to collate all relevant data, but it showed patient leads and revenue rose over a 12 month period.

Sheil describes how she managed to attribute the leads to PR:”Internally, we worked with marketing counterparts to build a database which correlated, in real time, when advertising or PR ran with call volumes and tracking appointments, as well. A year later we went back and looked at that data and found that of those patient appointments, 396 could be identified as coming from PR.”

Sheil added: “We demonstrated our case by using analytics, showing our value to leadership and making sure we shared it with them, and we ended up not getting the cuts we were going to get.”




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