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E-Marketing, the New Thing - Peggy Frank Lyle
E-Marketing, the New Thing -  Peggy Frank Lyle
Peggy Frank Lyle has 24 years of experience in all facets of health care public relations and marketing. She is President and owner of Frank Public Relations, a strategic healthcare public relations and marketing agency specializing in managed care, e-healthcare and B2B organizations nationwide. She serves as Vice President of Public Relations for Managed Care On-Line (, the Internet's managed care knowledge resource company, where she directs the strategic public relations and business communications of this five-year-old Internet site. She also provides public relations services to Douglas E. Goldstein, a well-known e-healthcare expert, visionary, and author.

She garnered her considerable knowledge, expertise and passion for the health care industry through long-term tenures with nationally known hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Health Systems in Los Angeles, CA. There she developed and launched the hospital's first-ever public relations and marketing communications program as Assistant Director of Public Relations and Manager of Media Relations. Her other healthcare public relations experience includes Saint John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, and Medical Center of Encino, Encino, CA. Early in her career, Ms. Lyle was the Southern California Director of Communications and Advertising for Weight Watchers, International, a Heinz Company.

Prior to her entry into e-healthcare, Ms. Lyle spent more than four years spearheading managed care public relations for Prudential HealthCare, where she served as Director of Public Relations for the Western Division. She is considered an expert in crisis communication management and media relations.

Ms. Lyle is a well-known speaker on health care and public relations issues receiving numerous national and local awards acknowledging her commitment to the field. She received her MBA, with an emphasis in Health Care Management, from California Lutheran University, and her B.A. in Journalism from California State University Northridge. Ms. Lyle is on the advisory board of a NY-based Internet startup. She is on the Board of Directors for several health care-related organizations, including Teen Line, a peer to peer counseling hotline, based in Los Angeles, and the Human Growth Foundation, which provides outreach to parents and allied health care professionals concerned about children's growth disorders. Ms. Lyle is also an advisory board member of a NY-based Internet startup.

Peggy Frank Lyle, President
490 Fairmont Lane
Weston, FL 33326
(954) 217-8445

Question 1 - Good Morning Peggy,

Your topic of E-Marketing is certainly a timely topic in light of healthcares ever increasing online presence.

Would start out our forum by explaining to our members whatE-Marketing is or what it isn't? by HBInterview on January 15, 2001

Answer 1 - The term "e" refers to using digital, wired, and wireless technology to advance the marketing value proposition. It is as simple as that. It is just a relatively new tool to embrace and add to the "bag of tools" marketers have used for decades. Using e-Marketing greatly expands the ability to target market, segment the market, and provide specific messages to those identified through traditional marketing tactics. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 2 - How do you decide how much of your marketing plan should be conducted using the internet vs. conventional techniques? by HBInterview on January 15, 2001

Answer 2 - The traditional discipline of marketing teaches using a "marketing mix" to reach your stakeholders. Marketing therefore includes three components: (l) Advertising, (2) Marketing Promotion (eg. brochures), and Public Relations. So when you think of Marketing and the use of the Internet, you need to understand your audience and how they like to be "communicated to." This will influence how your marketing plan is developed, and the percentage of effort and resources dedicated to each element of the mix.It is important to remember that the use of the Internet is only a tool; therefore, it should be part of the "bag of tools" used to reach your targeted audience. Evaluting the percentage of Internet use as a tactic greatly depends on your targeted audience and their access, acceptance, and proficiency with the Internet. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 3 - How do you measure ROI (tangible and intangible) for an e-marketing campaign or branding effort? by HBInterview on January 15, 2001

Answer 3 - The leading proponent of the ROI movement for ehealthcare is Douglas E. Goldstein ( He says, "As the glamour of 'we've got a Web site' fades into ancient Internet hisotry, it's time to get down to real eBusiness and begin evevaluating the impact of transaction-based e-services in your healthcare organizations." In a nut-shell a sound ROI model includes three components, according to Goldstein,

(1) Understand operational processes--develop a realistic model and refine the quantiative and qualitiative ROI elements as your Web e-services evolve.

(2) Collect data that can identify patients or customers --this is essential to closing the transaction. As a first step, you might want to collect patient email addresses.

(3) Quantify the financial impact of e-services --but don't forget to factor in the added "gravy" of qualitiative benefits --use your knowledge and know-how to quantify the benefit of greater convenience for patienys and customers.

And finally, doing it right --the first time hopefully -- by THINKING IT THROUGH -- is the key to overall ROI success.

I urge you to contact Goldstein for information on this. He can be reached via email at and can provide a backgrounder on this subject. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 4 - Look Your Best Plan, the nation's first elective cosmetic benefits plans making such things as cosmetic: medical, surgical, dental and optical laser surgery affordable for the entire family launches this month. What suggestions do you have in marketing a unique product such as this? by mjcasanova on January 15, 2001

Answer 4 - Mike, Congratulations on our upcoming launch. I am sure with the right marketing plan, your offering will be quickly embraced! My first thought is to reexamine your business plan. Did you put thought and dedicate resources (time, people, dollars) to marketing your product? Please, take a look at what your initial thoughts were in regards to marketing, and scrutinize in light of the ever-changing marketplace to ensure that your original thoughts, when you created your business plan, are still valid. I imagine that in your plan you did a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Is your original thesis still correct and on target? Have new players (competition entered your marketspace? It is pivotol that you reexamine this now, and continually.

This is a good place to start your marketing plan tactical development. I imagine you have segmented the marketplace for each individual product offering. Each product offering, eg. laser vision or breast augmentation, should be marketed as its own individual product -- targets are different for each of your product offerings. Your next step is to decide on marketing mix you will use to forward your agenda to create mass penetration, acceptance, and loyalty (to generate friend-to-friend interest).

Finally, what is your USP -- your unique selling proposition. Be sure this is clear in all of your communications. Ask the following questions each time you speak about or write about your product offering so it targets your stakeholders -- from the perspective of the potential member: (l) so what?; (2) who cares?, and (3) the most important question, "WIFM" -- what's in it for me?
Using these questions as your guide, it should become clear what your next steps should be. And, of course, contract with the best marketing/public relations agency you can find, that clearly understands your mission, objectives, and goals. Good luck. Peg by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 5 - To launch a new e-healthcare business what amount of money should be budgeted to public relations and marketing? Is it important to hire an outside public relations expert as compared to an inhouse person? What are the advantages of each type? by bgflorence on January 15, 2001

Answer 5 - The US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlok Handbook puts it this way,"An organization's reputation, profitability, and even its contiued existence can depend on the degree to which its targeted publics' support its goals and policies"-that public relations is key to both the growing economy and to key institutions. The amount of resources dedicated to public relations should be aligned with this significant piece of information. Whether you should hire an inhouse public relations professional or a consultant is strickly a business decision. Many start-up companies have restricted revenues, and find it more economical to retain a qualified public relations agency to handle their account. These public relations consultants are very attractive in that they work in the "ehealthcare" space, and have the ability to leverage their media contacts with their various clients. Inhouse PR counsel is strickly dedicated to YOU, your company and its products. Hopefully, they are part of your strategic executive management team, and partipate regularly in all meetings involving strategy and tactics. Sometimes, PR agency representatives are left out of this loop -- which is really not affording the organization the full complement of skills which today's PR pro brings to the table.
Public relations is a strategic business tool which should be respected by all members of the organization. When looking for a PR professional, inhouse or agency, look for professionals who provide the following skills: problem solving, sociability, a sense of urgency, tenacity, persuasiveness, assertiveness, self-confidence, empathy, aggressiveness and stamina, according to the Council of Public Relations Firms ( Peg by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 6 - How big a part of your marketing efforts is web-based, and how do you make sure you have effectively coordinated and integrated your online
and offline initiatives so they complement, rather than diffuse, each other? by HBInterview on January 15, 2001

Answer 6 - Please look at your business plan. Your marketing effort should be defined within the realm of your plans to reach out to the stakeholders. Depending on product/service, I strongly recommend a marketing mix, that is, use of both online and offline marketing tactics where various tools are drawn on to reach your audience. For a consistent message, whether on- or offline, you should adopt a consistent look, often referred to as "a family of graphics" whereby every effort builds on the last and the next. And, don't forget -- keep assessing monthly your efforts, feedback, results. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 15, 2001
Question 7 - Are there any aspects of healthcare E-Marketing that are unique to healthcare? If so, what are they and how do you accomodate them in your marketing plan? by HBInterview on January 15, 2001

Answer 7 - This is a Pandora's Box question. When you build your marketing plan, provide for lots of flexibility to change with the ever-changing Internet offerings. Think about this as an architect would in building a new complex. Depend on your SWOT analyzis (strengths, weaknness, opportunities and threats) and plan to revisit and reaffirm your SWOT grid often. There needs to be much insight into the future, some educated guessing, some sound decisions based on today's facts, and lots of room for ongoing adaptation as the building is constructed. E-Healthcare is transforming rapidly and in direct response to meeting customer needs and expectations. Consumers are taking more responsibility for their health now than ever before. They're using the Internet to find new treatment options, (see, to find alternative treatments and medications, for basic medical advice, to seek providers (see, and even to manage their health records. According to Cyber Dialogue, an Internet customer relationship management company, more than 25 million Americans -- or nearly half of all US adults currently online, use the Internet to access medical information. That number is expected to grow to 88.5 million by 2005. And web health sites are currently undergoing rapid transformation.According to Douglas E. Goldsten, ( globally recognized ehealthcare visionary, author, and keynote speaker, “Passive Web sites are history. By 2005 the majority of doctors and hospitals will be operating robust Web e-service channels for health knowledge, product sales, and actual medical delivery." He predicts that the 25,000 current web health sites will become 500,000 robust medical web e-service channels run by doctors and hospitals by 2005. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 17, 2001
Question 8 - Do you benchmark other industries to see what techniques and strategies can be applied to healthcaremarketing, especially e-marketing and
branding? by HBInterview on January 16, 2001

Answer 8 - Every industry should be looking to see what other industries are doing, both successfully and unsuccessfully.Healthcare is a service business, therefore, for benchmarking purposes, look at what service industries have accomplished, both the how and why. Don't limit the word "service industry" to performing a service--this translates well into the retail industry, where service should be their hallmark of success. My favorite example is Nordstroms. They have a national reputation for always putting the customer first. The customer is always right. In fact, this was an example from my MBA program in Health Care Management. What if the patient's first contact with the physician's office, the hospital admitting office, etc. was "customer centrix?" What if every single person's experience was always the same, that is, "patient first?" Because Nordstroms is known for putting their customer's first, each and every time, by every Nordstron's employee, they have successfully used this for marketing purposes. It has become their brand, their image, their reputation. Not bad for a company that started out as a small shoe store chain! by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 17, 2001
Question 9 - What is a consumer-centric approach to marketing, and how does it translate in practical terms to a marketing / e-marketing campaign? by HBInterview on January 16, 2001

Answer 9 - Consumer-centric is just that ... targeting your marketing efforts to the consumer. This is a very direct approach to reach the targeted audience. And, the Internet is very much a tool being used to reach consumers. For example, spending on e-mail marketing is expected to reach $2.7 million in 2001, up 91% from last year, according to a report by eMarketer. Why so high? Direct marketers have begun to embrace a tool that lets them reach customers in a more targeted and measureable way than ever before. Use caution however, because this tactic carries with it risks. To balance these risks, plan out an approach that combines state-of-the-art technology with the best of marketing fundamentals. Learn, embrace, and execute a respectful campaign which takes into account legal and privacy issues, don't spam, encourage ongoing dialog, increase customer retention by crafting e-mail messages that encourages interactivity. It's a marketing fundamental: ask your customer what they want..and give them more of it; ask your customer what they don't want...and give them less of it. Just because you are using the Internet as a tool to reach your customer, don't toss away Marketing 101 basics. Please remember that the Internet is a tool, to further specific tactics of your marketing plan -- it should not be a substitute for the time-honored successful marketing approaches to reach consumers. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 17, 2001
Question 10 - You have mentioned PR campaigns in some of your answers. How does a sound, strategic public relations campaign come into play with a strategic marketing action plan? by HBInterview on January 17, 2001

Answer 10 - Let's have a little fun with this question.

Because PT Barnum is considered the father of PR, I will provide a visual response, based on the circus. Picture the circus tent on the ground (the business plan), and picture the poles holding up the tent (the strategic marketing campaign to give rise to the plan). Now, assign a name to each pole: marketing promotion, advertising (on and offline), and public relations--a sound strategic public relations campaign is a part of the total marketing campaign. These poles are components keeping the tent up and ready for action. Underneath the tent are all the organization's team players who are onboard with the strategic marketing campaign and through all of their efforts, whether they are accountants, sales representatives, customer service representatives, etc, they further the goals of the organization by the very virtue of "the best PR is that which is advanced by your own team-- your own employees." A good strategic marketing plan, with the PR component, includes all employees. Be sure they know the direction of the organization so they can serve as individal ambassadors for the organization.
Bottom line, PR is part of the marketing plan--not a substitute. Make sure that all your employees are onboard, that they embrace your marketing objectives, so that they can further the value proposition of your organization. And, please do not leave out the strategic partners, alliance members, consortium partners, vendors, and others who are playing a vital role to advance your organization. They, too, are excellent PR ambassadors, not just of good will, but they can spread substantive value-added information which may help you retain current and garner new clients.

Now, why is PT Barnum considered the father of PR? His circus was not very popular and he invited "staged events" to seek attendees. Thus was born the sideshows -- the bearded lady, the fire enhanced sword swallowed by a "freak", etc. All of this was a draw to get attention for the circus to increase interest in attendance. Many times you will notice that PR coverage is attracted through "staged events," although naturally occuring events are more credible, timely, and more easily embraced by the public. by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 18, 2001
Question 11 - Before we go to our last question I would like to thank you for hosting this week's forum. Online marketing is certainly a tool many are learning how to use within their organization.

Which leads me to my next question. Do you have any suggestions for choosing an organization to assist with your online marketing strategies? Should this organization specialize in E-Marketing? Are there any leaders in this area? by HBInterview on January 18, 2001

Answer 11 - Anytime you choose a partner to further the agenda of your organization, you must examine several issues. These include, but are not limited to, your budget, your expectations, your "affinity" needs -- is a big name marketing firm important to you?, proven track record, etc.

Choosing an organization already in the "e" space would benefit your organization. Although still a relatively new discipline, "e" marketers have already lived through several waves of change, and if they are still in business, then they must be doing something right! They most probably have learned to leverage relationships, with both bricks and mortar organizations, and pure play clicks. They know how to effortlessly arrange for strategic alliances, partnerships, and other value added relationships where actual dollars never exchange hands. And, they LOVE what they do, or they wouldn't be in the game. With that said, I can't advise as to the leaders in this field. It really depends on what you are looking for. Some organizations have more expertise at online advertising, direct mail, or other marketing tactics. The best way to find someone good is usually by word of mouth. Also, check with the National Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America, or other trade organizations. Regardless of who you choose, a strong background in healthcare is very helpful, and a meeting of the minds regarding expectations, deliverables, and business ethic. Good luck! by Peggy Frank Lyle on January 18, 2001

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