Cleveland Clinic Turns to Marketing to Lead Culture Change

September 30, 2016

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

Cleveland Clinic LogoHow often does this happen? The CEO of your top-rated health system turns to your marketing team, and directs you to use marketing as a lever to change the culture of your organization. Marketers in many health systems may only dream of this level of support and confidence, but rarely experience it. For Paul Matsen, CMO of Cleveland Clinic, it’s not a dream. It’s a reality.

Several years ago, when Cleveland Clinic made the decision to improve patient access by offering same-day appointments, there were significant operational hurdles it needed to clear. “There wasn’t a single universal approach to doing it,” says Matsen. “Each institute and department within Cleveland Clinic had to experiment and develop its own method of making time available in daily schedules to accommodate same-day appointments.”

Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing Officer of Cleveland Clinic

Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing Officer of Cleveland Clinic

Early in the process, Matsen’s team began what he describes as “tactical marketing” to support the program, including limited print, outdoor, and radio. But CEO Toby Cosgrove felt that a full-blown marketing campaign was needed early on, not only to create awareness with prospective patients but to accelerate culture change internally.

“We developed a comprehensive marketing program that we called ‘The Power of Today,’” says Matsen. “We rolled that campaign out at a stage where the same-day appointment program was still experiencing some internal resistance.” The campaign featured Cleveland Clinic’s own doctors and caregivers delivering the message that they wanted to see patients and treat them today. The call to action was “Call Today for an Appointment Today.”

“We see over a million same-day appointments a year now at the Cleveland Clinic,” says Matsen. “That was how marketing worked with leadership to drive a bold idea and a cultural change through the organization, and we’re doing it again today.”

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