Why Patient Experience Needs To Be More Than A Catchphrase


The following is a guest blog post by Yolanda Hernandez, Senior Marketing Strategist at StudioNorth.

How are Amazon and Yelp conditioning consumers to expect the same experience when they become patients?

People don’t stop acting like customers when they need medical treatment. They expect the same comfort, speed, accuracy and satisfaction they get from their favorite stores and online vendors.

But healthcare isn’t a new pair of shoes. The stakes are much higher. Patients may want the same experience as retail customers, but their expectations for security, privacy and outcomes are much higher.

That’s why patient experience (PX) is more than just a catchphrase—it’s the critical factor healthcare marketers must embrace to succeed.

Patient Expectations Forged by Customer Experience

How demanding will our patients/customers become? Today, even in a strange city, you can easily find the exact restaurant you want based on price, style and peer reviews. Why can’t patients expect the same when they’re looking for healthcare?

Most healthcare providers offer no great navigation tools, no price transparency, and no tools to answer the question, “Where do I go for what?”

The difference between what patients wish they could have and what they expect to get could narrow in the next few years. Consider these comparisons patients may soon make between the retail and the healthcare consumer experiences:

Retail Consumer Expectations Potential Patient Expectations
Easy comparison shopping Easy healthcare provider comparison
Easily accessible peer reviews Easily accessible patient reviews
Easy store website navigation Easy provider website navigation
Complete product selection Complete selection of services and specialties
Online purchases Online appointments, scheduling and test results
Instant access to billing data and automatic payments EHR and on-line billing
Interfaces that predict next purchases Predictive analytics
Cost transparency and predictability Insurance and co-pay transparency and predictability
Credit card chip readers Inpatient barcode wrist bands

For some patients, a great experience is being able to access and transfer health records online, schedule appointments with doctors quickly and easily, or check in to the hospital as if they’re checking in to a hotel with concierge services.

For others, it may involve real-time biofeedback data helping them regulate medications, for improved quality of life with fewer doctor’s visits.

For healthcare providers, all of the above will mean giant upgrades in how they gather, store, process and share data. Superior PX will require superior IT.

Winning PX Requires a 360-Degree View

When consumers shop for health services like they do for other products and services, they’ll grow to expect a high level of personalization from the companies they solicit. Providers need to have a 360-degree view of all their healthcare touchpoints and needs to win, serve, and retain them.

Forrester: Vendor Landscape: Healthcare Analytics, Q1 2017.

Yet most healthcare providers are focused on predictable outcomes, not on patient experience. That’s understandable—without predictable outcomes, it’s hard to have a product to sell—but patients aren’t interested in predictable outcomes. They’re interested in individual outcomes that affect themselves and their families.

This is where healthcare IT marketers have an opportunity to create PX breakthroughs.

The Needle a Patient Needs

Take wearables. Consumers already trust wearable fitness devices, and many healthcare organizations have made mobile monitoring a useful reality. From providing IoT data for medical supplies to monitoring how often homecare patients are taking their meds, the use cases are nearly endless.

Will patients figure all this data out before providers do?  They may have to—because there’s still a big gap within many providers’ systems.

Doctors already feel like they have too much data to deal with, and without a data strategy, most healthcare organizations simply can’t process all of their data. Finding value in all that data is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack—but if that’s the needle a patient needs, delivering it is a huge PX victory.

Healthcare IT marketers who can translate haystacks of data into needles of PX insight will dominate the new landscape of consumer-based patient expectations.

About StudioNorth
Whether it’s influencing a purchase decision, supporting your cause or building a brand people care about, StudioNorth has the depth of experience—and the resources—to make it happen.

Our campaigns integrate a strategic mix that includes traditional print advertising and marketing collateral, video production, integrated social media campaigns, digital advertising strategies, and advanced website/app development to help our clients grow and realize their goals.

HITMC Sneak Peek: Brand Building in a Time Crunch

The following is a guest post by Kelcie Chambers, Account Director at Dodge Communications.

It takes time to successfully rebrand a company, but in the world of healthcare marketing, time can often be a luxury – not a guarantee. Though many marketers are familiar with the various components that make up a successful rebranding campaign, a short time frame can impact the rules of the game.

Here are 5 ways to ensure a smooth rebranding effort when you are up against the clock.

  1. Discuss business goals and limitations openly. Transparency is crucial during every step of the rebranding process, and this is especially heightened during a tight turnaround. There’s simply no time to go down one road, only to land back at square one because of unspoken legal parameters or business conflicts. Discuss the company’s business goals openly and don’t hold anything back. This drives the purpose of the project, brings people together around a collective goal and helps avoid one-off tactics. When stakeholders are on the same page, you can be sure the end result will resonate with everyone – most importantly, your target audiences.
  2. Make research a priority. When facing an impending deadline, it can be overwhelming to consider the long list of to-dos and be tempting to cut corners. It’s important to know how and what to prioritize before you begin. Often, research and planning get the boot while marketers jump straight into tactical execution. Invest time in competitive research. Conduct focus groups. Engage detractors, not just advocates. If you don’t prioritize market research, you may set yourself up for failure.
  3. Establish milestone markers – down to the hour. If you’re up against a tight timeframe, chances are your final deadline is engrained in your mind. While it’s important to keep this date at the forefront, you must mark milestones along the way to ensure the project stays on track. When the clock is ticking, every minute counts. Set deadlines down to the hour, so deliverables and feedback are in hand when you need them. Take the time to understand how everyone on your team works, so you can cater to different project management styles for maximum efficiency and better results. Try letting go of sticky note murals, and upgrade to a digital project management tool that will allow your entire team to view project activities, deadlines, and updates.
  4. Set expectations with decision makers. Timelines and assignments aren’t just for marketers. Educate the executive team on exactly what you will need from them and when you will need it by. Bring the right decision makers into the conversation mix from the beginning, and set aside ample time to collaborate as a group. It is important to hold everyone accountable and communicate that missed deadlines can derail the entire effort.
  5. Don’t set the finish line prematurely. When thinking about a rebrand, typically a new name, logo, tagline, and look and feel come to mind. Be careful not to declare victory too early. While these components are a critical piece of the overall effort, what follows is as important as establishing the visual elements. Launching the brand is exceptionally important, from internal communications to the external rollout. Make sure that messages are reinforced regularly with PR, email automation, newsletters and other communications support.

Kelcie Chambers, account director at Dodge Communications and Betsy Martinelli, senior manager, corporate marketing at Omnicell learned these lessons firsthand when undergoing an entire rebrand and launch within just 3 months. Be sure to catch the pair’s session coming up at the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC), “Building a Solid Brand When the Clock is Ticking.”

During the presentation, you’ll receive practical advice on how to drive a rebranding initiative on a tight timeline, including what elements need more attention than others, what deadlines are realistic and how to get all members of the team working together toward the same goals. The presenters will also describe the essential components of an effective rebranding strategy, including corporate identity development, advertising, web, social media, and public relations.

After their successful rebranding effort several years ago, these marketers continue to work together today. Hear directly from Kelcie and Betsy as they share their firsthand insights on Thursday, April 6 at 3:15 pm at HITMC.

About Kelcie Chambers
Kelcie Chambers combines years of agency experience with a thorough understanding of the healthcare and technology spaces to strategically oversee a wide variety of Dodge’s public relations and marketing accounts. Committed to helping clients strengthen their market share, she has successfully created and executed powerful integrated campaigns to enable some of the world’s most recognized brands enhance awareness, advance thought leadership and nurture demand. A news junkie at heart, Chambers’ passion for storytelling is the catalyst driving her to help companies discover the unique messaging and communications vehicles that foster relationships with target audiences and set them apart from the competition.

Customer Stories: The Holy Grail of HealthIT Marketing

The following is a guest blog post by Colleen Pinto.

With the end of the year upon us, many healthIT businesses are evaluating their 2016 marketing ROI and goal setting for 2017. Tis the season for lessons learned. According to HealthcareIT News one of the biggest mistakes healthIT companies make is focusing their marketing efforts solely on their specific solution rather than their customers’ pain points. Whether a company’s tech streamlines patient check-in or helps maximize revenue cycles, the solutions themselves are sterile – simply software or equipment. Companies need to remember that on the other end of the solution there is a physician – who is having to spend hours of his day importing data into a computer; a patient – who needs a second opinion as soon as possible; or even a loved one that is impacted.

That’s why in my role as a healthIT marketer, I am constantly drawn to the powerful role that customer stories play in healthcare. By putting a face to the product, they humanize the technology and clearly demonstrate outcomes – which is critical in the era of value-based care. As you craft your 2017 marketing programs, here are the top three ways to make the most out of customer stories in healthIT.

  1. Case Studies

Case studies are probably the top piece of content healthIT companies think of completing after obtaining a customer story – and for good reason. These pieces tell stories, make brands and technology come to life, and demonstrate momentum. According to Gartner, peer reviews also continue to be one of the more significant buying influences for tech buyers. Since case studies are written from the client point of view, it is easy for prospective customers to see how a product or service can also benefit them.

For example, say a hospital is experiencing inefficient workflows because its physicians are constantly dealing with corrupt or lost CDs containing patient images. The hospital then does a search for a cloud-based imaging solution. It comes across a case study showcasing a system that has helped another hospital not only reduce CDs by 90 percent, but has also enabled physicians to receive images before a patient even arrives through the hospital doors. Chances are that one piece of content is going to have a strong influence in the hospital’s vendor selection process.

Once a case study is complete, you can then leverage the content in inbound marketing and lead generation efforts. This includes hosting the content on your website, adding it to appropriate lead nurture streams, and ensuring it’s seen by the right buyers by distributing it via LinkedIn ads. If you have the resources, consider embedding video testimonials in corresponding case studies to make them interactive.

(Have a customer that’s not referenceable? Determine if the opportunity can provide enough detail to tell a strong story, with measurable results. If so, an anonymous case study can still be of value.)

  1. Media Relations

Case studies are just the beginning when it comes to leveraging customer stories. Next, it’s time for companies to expand the customer story’s reach even further through strategic media relations initiatives.

Imagine that a healthIT company is about to make a press announcement surrounding the latest version of its product, or wants to insert itself into a healthcare conversation that is making national headlines. Simply including a customer quote in a press release or having a customer available for media interviews will greatly increase a company’s ability to garner top media coverage. (INSIDE TIP: Bring customers along to industry tradeshows as a secret sauce to garner more media briefings and interest.)

Why? Because validation is a powerful tool. While a company’s technology itself may be fascinating, Joseph Goedert, news editor of Health Data Management notes, “What reporters want is to know what the real news is and to talk with a user about their experiences–including what went well and what didn’t go so well–to inform their peers about how best to optimize the technology.”

  1. Social Media

Social media is one of the most affordable ways to reach large and/or targeted audiences. LinkedIn’s latest report indicates that at the end of 2013, there were over 4.4 million healthcare practitioners, executives, channel followers, and opinion leaders on LinkedIn. Further, in 2014, more than 75,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and consultants posted 152,000 tweets a day.

With decision makers and potential customers right at your fingertips, it’s crucial for marketers to continuously leverage customer stories every day via your corporate social media channels. For example, companies can utilize customer quotes, images and videos in tweets and LinkedIn posts that link back to case studies, media articles and more. As you plan your customer engagement strategy on social media, ask yourself:

  • Does my company have a public Twitter list of referenceable customers?
  • Are case studies, testimonials, etc. in a regular rotation in our social editorial calendar?
  • Are my leadership and sales teams connected via LinkedIn to all customers and prospects?
  • Does my company welcome new customers publicly on Twitter to show momentum?
  • Does my social media manager actively engage with our customers on all channels?

Ultimately, through these collaborative initiatives, healthIT organizations will be able to effortlessly increase the reach of their customer stories more than they ever thought possible.

About Colleen Pinto
Colleen Pinto is the savvy storyteller and integrated comms catalyst at AR|PR specializing in leading and servicing a growing roster of tech clients in the healthIT and mobile sectors. Follow AR|PR: @AR__PR

Marketing Automation Software: Are You Using it Right?

The following is a guest blog post by Jennifer Michelle, Founder of Michelle Marketing Strategies.

Marketing Automation

You fought to get it, you worked hard to set it up. Now you need to justify that investment.

The question is, can you?

Too often, companies wind up using only a small portion of the features their software offers them. Maybe they focus only on email marketing. Maybe they never got around to adding progressive profiling on their forms. Scarier still is when features are being used incorrectly and no one on the team is aware of it.

Here are the questions you should be asking to make sure you are getting the best out of your marketing automation software.

Visitor Behavior

The actions people take on your website are the first area of focus. Are people successfully downloading your white papers? Are they responding to the follow-up emails you set up? Are they requesting demos?

Problems in this area are the most obvious and are easily prevented by testing during program set-up. However, sometimes problems arise down the line when changes in one part of the software inadvertently impact your programs. For instance, you may not have realized that you need to flag emails in trigger campaigns so they are not affected by weekly email limits. This kind of beginner error can lead to people downloading reports but receiving nothing. Luckily, it is easily remedied by regular reviews of your programs and communication limits.

Your Sales Team

Think about how your team – marketing and sales – uses your software. Are the right people being notified when someone downloads a report or watches a video? Is the notification somewhere they will be sure to see it? (It’s no good showing an alert in your CRM if your sales team just focuses on their email.)

Go beyond simple alerts – find out if your team really understands your workflows and what kinds of nurture programs you have set up. Yours would not be the first marketing team to discover sales representatives are building emails by hand when you have already designed templates. Or, worse, that they are sending emails off manually on the same days you are sending automated ones.

This goes hand in hand with lead scoring. Does your team understand how your lead scoring system works? More importantly, is it working the way it should? Review your top scorers and see if they truly are your best prospects. Review your low scorers, too, and see if any good leads are being missed.

Have a Strategy

You cannot get the most out of your software if you have no roadmap. Plot out your workflows and regularly review them to make sure they still match your goals. Then compare them with your automated programs and look for discrepancies. Do you have redundant workflows? If so, is that intentional?

Take a peek at your content strategy. Does new content get added to your ongoing nurture programs? Is your sales team aware of your new content or your thought messaging goals? Your content is designed to help your sales team close deals; make sure they are in the loop.

Look for Gaps

Think about your audience segments – both prospects and customers. Are there nurture or re-engagement programs targeted to each segment?

Review the capabilities your software  offers – are you using all of them? If not, is that by design? If you are using them, can you see ways to use them more effectively? For instance, If you use forms, have you set up progressive profiling?

Can you measure results by individual program as well as by marketing channel? If so, are you making use of that information? Are you able to track not just Clicks and Downloads but also Customer Acquisition Cost, Lifetime Value and Return on Investment?

Best Practices

Most marketing automation companies offer a thorough knowledge base of videos and articles on every feature. Use it. Even if all you do is browse through the topic areas, you may discover features you need but didn’t realize you could access.

Some companies also have communities or user groups that can help answer questions or show you new ways to use their software.

Whenever possible, have your Account Executive set up templates for workflows and reports so you have something to refer to. (Be careful not to overwrite these!) You may also be able to arrange a time with them to review your programs.

Most of all, set up a schedule to regularly assess your marketing automation programs. As these are central to your lead generation and analytics activities, you need to know how they are performing. Review visitor behavior and see how your sales team is interacting with your leads. Find out how well the sales team understands your content strategy and workflows. Look for aspects of the software you could utilize more fully.

Regular reviews help you stay on top of the details and ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing automation.

And that’s how you justify your investment.

So busy you can’t see the forest for the trees? Let Michelle Marketing Strategies conduct a thorough assessment and make sure your marketing is working the way you planned. Assessment packages address marketing automation and are available for Lead Generation, Marketing Analytics and Adwords.

Is Ignoring Glassdoor Hurting Your Company’s Brand and Impacting Sales?

The following is a guest blog post by Patty Dickerson.
patty-dickerson-healthcare-it-marketing
As a B2B marketer primarily focused in the healthcare tech industry, when I think of social media networks, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook naturally come to mind. For many of us, these are the key social networks we use as we try to engage with prospects, customers, and employees. Depending on the type of product you are trying to market, there may be other networks that you also focus on (Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc), but there’s a good change that you use at least two of the three key networks on a regular basis. I’d like you to consider adding another network to your key marketing social networks list: Glassdoor.

Is Glassdoor a Social Network?

I bet you are asking “Glassdoor? Isn’t that a recruiting tool, not a social network?”  Well… yes and no. Glassdoor is a great recruiting tool, but it has also evolved into network that allows companies to engage with past, present, and prospective employees. Glassdoor has enabled companies to connect with employees and prospective employees anonymously in a way that hasn’t been done before: Not only can Glassdoor members review and provide feedback on a company, the company can respond back and proactively engage with members through the company updates.

Why Should Marketers Care About Glassdoor?

“Isn’t Glassdoor the responsibility of human resources?” is probably your next question. Yes, but the marketing team should also take note and even get involved. Employees are one of the greatest assets that a company, and its marketing team, has. According to Brandon Chesnutt in this LinkedIn Pulse post, employees are “a key audience that cannot be ignored.” Why? Bottom line, employees make great brand advocates. One of the very first ways for companies to start building followers and engagement on social media is to utilize employees, and Glassdoor is another great opportunity to do this. A good employee review on Glassdoor doesn’t just help attract good job candidates; it helps build the company brand by giving a glimpse into the company culture.
glassdoor-reviews-google-search
In addition, Glassdoor has great SEO. Glassdoor company reviews can, and often do, come up in coveted search positions. As with other social networks, linking Glassdoor to your company’s website and sharing links back to your site on Glassdoor can help your own sites SEO ranking. And, like your website and other social accounts, the strength of your Glassdoor profile, and likely search results, is tied to how accurate your profile information is, how often you update the profile, and consistent engagement with Glassdoor members.

Glassdoor’s Application Beyond Marketing and HR

Back in 2012, Gordon Andrew aptly stated on his blog Marketing Craftsman that, “Glassdoor has become an important research tool for job hunters, corporate recruiters, and anyone looking for unvarnished behind-the-scenes insight into what really goes on behind corporate doors.” The key thing that stands out to me here is the “anyone.” Since Glassdoor profiles, reviews, and CEO ratings can turn up in search results, “anyone”, including prospects, customers, partners, and investors, has the potential to come across a good or bad review. With that in mind, Glassdoor has the potential to impact sales, partnerships, and investor relationships.

To start, let’s take a look at the company reviews. With the anonymity that Glassdoor provides, employee reviews are pretty revealing and can give a glimpse into management across the company or even provide insight into how well a product is developed. Yes, some reviews are rants, but like Yelp or other review sites, readers take note when the reviews are consistent. The same goes for the CEO ratings, and when combined with company reviews, can give prospects, partners, and investors, an idea of not only who is leading the company, but his/her management style and the level of respect employees have for the leader of the company.

If you work for a large healthcare organization that’s looking make a big purchase of a healthcare IT product, partner with a healthcare IT vendor, or even invest in the company itself, wouldn’t you want to know how the company is being led and if employees believe in the product? I’m not sure healthcare organizations are aware of the power of these reviews and ratings yet, but the potential is there for Glassdoor to evolve into vetting resource for prospects, partners, and investors.

In my next post, I’ll look at suggestions on how your company can tackle Glassdoor.

About Patty Dickerson
With a background in healthcare program management and editing, Patty Dickerson’s passion for content and digital marketing helps keep the HIT companies where she works on the pulse of what’s happening across the healthcare and technology industries. Patty has worked at a range of healthcare tech companies including NaviNet (now part of NantHealth), Curaspan, and MedAptus. Prior to working in healthcare IT, she managed a variety of Continuing Medical Education programs at Boston University School of Medicine. She has a MBA in marketing with a health sector focus from Boston University and BS in psychology and communications from Fordham University, where she was also a member of the NCAA Division I swim team. An active #HITMC and #HealthITChick twitter chat participant, Patty can be found on twitter at @PattyLDickerson or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/patricialdickerson

Marketing Automation for Healthcare IT

The following is a guest blog post by Jennifer Michelle, Founder of Michelle Marketing Strategies.

Preparation is Everything

If your company is venturing into the world of marketing automation, the first step is to make sure you are clear about what features you need and how you intend to use them. A little preparation before you start reviewing vendors can save you a lot of hassle – and a lot of money.

First and foremost, sit down and plot out your lead flows and your funnel. Think about how you reach out to people and what triggers you will use to shift people into different levels of nurture. Do this for all your audience segments, as well as all stages of your funnel.

Think also on how you want to notify your sales team about new leads or upsells. Are there specific triggers you will want to signal a transition from MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) to SQL (Sales Qualified Lead)?

Then look at the bigger picture: what capabilities will you need beyond email automation and lead scoring? Do you need the ability to track marketing costs? Do you want to create reports on program outreach and success? Do you need help tracking search engine rank and links? Do you want to replace your CRM or integrate the one you currently have? Do you need web design or landing page design capabilities?

A Note about Demos

When you start scheduling demos, don’t get stuck considering only the big names, like Hubspot, Marketo or Pardot. These are all good products but, in the last couple of years, several new vendors have appeared on the scene that offer tremendous capabilities for far less money. Before you make any decisions, see demos of Drip, Active Campaign and SharpSpring, too.

To get the most out of your demos, include people from a variety of your teams. Including people from your IT and sales teams can bring in new perspectives and give you critical information before you have signed a contract.

Above all, ask a lot of questions. If they say they can do something, ask them to show you. This is especially important if you are switching vendors due to problems with your existing automation software. If that is the situation you are in, be clear about the problem you are experiencing and make sure they can show you exactly how their system can handle it.

What Do You Get?

Once you know what you need, find out what each vendor has to offer. Make sure they do full-on marketing automation and not just email automation. See how they structure funnels and workflows – does their approach make sense to you?

See if they sort leads via lists or tags. Does their system have the flexibility you are looking for?

Make sure they can create triggered campaigns (such as you would use when someone downloads a white paper) and scheduled/manual  campaigns (such as newsletters or trade show invitations).

Find out if their emails, forms and landing pages are responsive. See if they offer reporting functions or financial tracking. Ask how their lead scoring system works. What options do you have for notifying your sales team of new leads or lead behaviors? Do they offer a shared calendar so your whole team can see what outreach is occurring?

If you are looking for a replacement for your website, does the vendor offer that? Do you like the way they set up blogging and web pages?

Consider also whether they give you data on web traffic or SEO. Do they integrate with Google Analytics? What about social media? Can they help you schedule posts or track visitors from your social media accounts?

Also check out their CRM features. Can they integrate with the one you have? Do they offer their own built-in CRM?

Look up online reviews and ask for customer references. These are a smart way to ensure you are getting full information on the product. These are also the best places to get information on customer service.

Ask about Service

No matter how great the features, it all gets thrown out the window if the customer service is awful. Find out what you get ahead of time, including whether there is a user community or knowledge base.

See if they will set up program templates for you or if they will work with you one-on-one while you learn. Find out what templates you get out-of-the-box and whether they can be branded. Do they offer templates for emails, landing pages, forms and workflows?

Get Technical

Great features mean nothing if the system is always down, so get clear data from the vendor on system uptime and email deliverability rates. Find out what kind of technical requirements are needed to run the product and integrate it with your website. See what kind of support the vendor provides if you are ever flagged for spam or blacklisted.

Price

Price is always a big factor in the equation. Find out exactly what you are getting for your money. Some vendors offer a free trial or money-back guarantee, which is always a plus. Also consider how many users you get and what adding more would cost.

Ask if training and ongoing support are included. If not, what do they cost? Are they offering support by phone, email, chat or an online database? Are there obligatory launch or kickstarter fees?

See if programmatic support is billed differently from technical support. For instance, does your fee cover a question about why an email was not delivered but not cover a question on best practices in setting up a campaign?

Could you get what you want from a less-inclusive vendor if you supplement with less expensive apps? For instance, if a less expensive vendor has everything you need except landing page design, would it still save you money to get them plus LeadPages? If they don’t offer a shared calendar, can you make do with Google Calendar? If they don’t provide search engine optimization tracking, can you get what you need from Google Analytics?

As with any sale, you can often get a better deal if it is getting to the end of the quarter. If you are switching from a competing vendor, they may also be willing to cut you a deal. Above all, make sure you are protected from big increases when your first contract expires.

Confidence

When shopping for marketing automation, due diligence is the key to a good outcome. Plot out what you need ahead of time and go into your demos prepared. Ask questions and be sure each vendor shows you exactly how their product works.

When you do all that, you are already 95% of the way to a successful implementation – so you can make your choice with confidence!

New to marketing automation? Let Michelle Marketing Strategies conduct a thorough assessment of your needs and help you select the right marketing automation vendor for your company. Campaign, lead scoring and reporting help is also available.

How to Beat the Odds in a New Era of Health IT Marketing

The following is a guest blog post by Mary Tobin (@mhtobin) and Nicole Burdette (@nburdette) from 300Brand.
Mary-Tobin nicole-burdette
Last week, the healthcare IT marketing and PR community gathered in Atlanta at the Healthcare IT Marketing & PR Conference.  One message was clear – change is afoot – and this group is working hard to contribute to positive change for their organizations, and most importantly, for patients.

Health providers face new expectations for the patient care process and must transition from fee-for-service to value-based care models.  As they search for new ways to decrease risks/costs and improve quality, health IT marketers must also acquaint themselves with the new landscape.

Several trends bubbled up from the sessions and conversations, also supported by new research launched at the conference from 300Brand.

#1 Patients First

Improving the patient experience is a top priority.  Both IT and non-IT healthcare provider decision makers surveyed said improving the patient experience is a top tech goal for 2016.  And, almost a quarter (23 percent) said they have a Chief Experience Officer today.  As that number grows, these leaders will bring different perspectives, many coming from consumer-focused industries outside of healthcare, such as hospitality.  New applications, ranging from integrated analytics that identify patients most at risk for medication non-compliance to tools that alert patients when doctors run behind schedule, will help providers of all sizes improve the patient experience.  (No more waiting rooms – very exciting!)

#2 New Players

The health IT decision making process is changing and there are more players at the table than ever before.  The IT executives we surveyed said they are involved in IT decisions 92% of the time.  But, the non-IT execs disagreed, reporting IT is involved 78% of the time.  More than half agreed that IT purchasing is influenced by more stakeholder groups than two years ago.  In addition to clinicians, these new decision makers include legal/compliance teams, risk managers, and the C-suite.  Attendees in Atlanta confirmed the research – they are seeing purchasing decisions and influence outside of the IT department.

#3 Keep It Personal

New players and personas mean that marketers must become fluent in new “business languages.”  Each decision maker has a slightly different business priority and perspective, driving the need for even greater micro-targeting.  The Customer Experience Officer and the Chief Data Officer have very different perspectives and requirements, yet might be weighing in on the decision process for a new CRM solution.  IT marketers have to adept at speaking both languages at the same time – no easy task!

For marketers, this means new opportunities as we rethink messaging and tactics to ensure we are addressing this broader community.  As the roles are in flux and responsibilities in transition (Chief Data Officers, Chief Experience Officers, Chief Digital Officers, etc.), it’s more important than ever to listen to our customers and understand their unique needs and priorities.  Interestingly, when we asked healthcare providers what IT vendors/marketers are doing wrong and how we can improve, their response was to listen better so we understand their goals.

What we once thought was the “future” of healthcare is here now, and there is enormous opportunity ahead – exciting possibilities for providers and the patients they serve.

It was great to be with the health IT marketing community in Atlanta.  If you didn’t make it, plan for next time – it’s a five-star opportunity to connect and learn.

And, to learn more about how healthcare IT decisions and decision makers are changing, download our full report:  Time to Double Down:  How to Beat the Odds in a New Era of Health IT Marketing – http://www.healthitinsights.com/double-down.

300Brand was a proud sponsor of the 2016 Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference.

3 Years, 3 Takeaways: Major Themes at HITMC 2016

The following is a guest blog post by Brian Shilling, Marketing Consultant at Clarity Quest Marketing.
Brian Shilling Healthcare Marketing Pro
Can you believe the third annual Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference is already a wrap? It was a fun-filled, information-packed few days in Atlanta! The growing number or first-timers and the strong core of returning attendees are a testament to the engagement in this community and the commitment to growing our field. It’s truly amazing to see.

Before you get too carried away in the post-HITMC daily grind, it’s important to reflect on what we learned and implement some of the insights to improve our own efforts. Don’t let your HITMC ideas sit in your notebook! Make a plan to put your thoughts into action this year.

While the HITMC experience is different for each attendee, I identified three major themes of the presentations I saw and conversations I had. If your experience brought to light other main themes or takeaways, leave them in the comments!

1. Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment emerged as a major theme of the conference this year. I’m not just plugging sales and marketing alignment because my agency presented on the topic. We also heard stories of alignment (and misalignment) from several other presenters.

Steve Giovinazzo and company discussed the importance of aligning sales and marketing teams as one of the steps to overcoming the most common marketing automation pain points. And who better to give advice on sales and marketing alignment than the Regional VP from Salesforce’s Pardot? Steve suggests engaging sales in the content creation process, developing a comprehensive content database, and training sales how to leverage content effectively.

Jennifer Russo’s session on Best Practices in Marketing Measurement sparked a conversation about how MQLs and SQLs are defined and how leads are transitioned from marketing to sales. There is definitely tension in the air when it comes to lead handoff. Sales teams tend to want every lead that comes in the door, but we must stick to our shared definitions if we want nurture programs to successfully run their course.

And Erin Wold’s presentation on Account-Based Marketing (ABM) highlighted how targeting just a few key accounts give sales a seat at the marketing table. Effective ABM requires sales and marketing teams to hyper-personalize and customize campaigns.

Increased adoption of marketing automation tools has magnified the need for synergy between sales and marketing teams. It’s time to nurture those relationships to make the most of our leads and opportunities.

2. Storytelling

Our first job as marketers is to tell great stories. It’s easy to lose sight of this goal as we get caught in the content generation cycle. This year we were reminded to get back to basics by sharing real, honest, entertaining stories.

Stacy Goebel kicked off HITMC 2016 with a motivating keynote reminding us to take risks and tell better stories. The solo rap was a great performance, Stacy, but I think a full HITMC Rap Battle is a must for 2017. You’re the odds-on front-runner in Vegas!

Christoph Trappe headlined day two with an engaging session on authentic storytelling in digital media. In an industry filled with change and uncertainty, Christoph reminds us to let our brand and message be the constant voice. Make a habit of relevant, authentic and compelling storytelling to connect with your customers.

Christoph Trappe - Storytelling at Healthcare IT Marketing Conference

HITMC also featured a storytelling workshop where we learned how to make the most of our success stories and customer endorsements, multiple discussions on telling your story through branding, and sessions on using internal and external champions to tell stories on social media, in podcasts, on video, and in collateral. We also had some great unconference chats on content marketing and strategy.

3. Trust

The third major theme I picked up at HITMC this year was trust. Conference programs, unconference sessions, and informal conversations had many of us discussing trust in healthcare marketing – trust between sales and marketing, agencies and clients, developers and marketers, media and audiences, buyers and vendors, providers and patients.
Healthcare IT Trust
So how do we earn and keep this trust? Through paid or earned media? With authentic storytelling? Through honesty and understanding?

In my unconference session, someone mentioned how low hospital margins are, and how hospitals simply cannot afford to be burned by another solution that doesn’t deliver or takes too long to implement. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations with budget constraints have a natural disposition to distrust vendors. Overcome this issue by starting every engagement with an understanding pain points, being honest, and giving great advice to build trust over time.

Trust can be hard to gain in healthcare. Set out every day to build it and earn it in all that you do.

Thanks again to John and Shahid for hosting another successful HITMC. I can’t wait to learn, network, and be inspired again at HITMC 2017!

Clarity Quest Marketing is a leading healthcare and technology marketing agency and proud Gold sponsor of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference. Clarity Quest is a full-service provider of marketing strategy, branding, public relations, digital marketing, graphic design, and more to companies in the healthcare, technology and biotech industries. For more information on our marketing services, visit www.clarityqst.com or call (877) 887-7611.

Your Audience’s Audience

The following is a guest blog post by Matt Schuchardt, Director of Market Intelligence Solutions Sales at HIMSS Analytics.
Schuchardt-headshot
B2B marketers reaching a B2C market are in a unique position. Knowing where your audience’s audience is focused can help your messaging cut through the noise in the market place.

The timeliness of your message can make or break its impact. Oreo moments aren’t exclusive to foodstuffs and consumer packaged goods anymore. There is a massive amount of opportunity to cut through the noise of everyday life by identifying what people are talking about and bringing some insight to the conversation based on your organization’s knowledge, skill set, or expertise.

Take security, for example. With a major health system in the nation’s capital crippled by malicious hacking and health system data being held for ransom in the very recent past, your audience, and their audience, are increasingly focused on this hot button issue.

Using big data tools and insights like those powered by HIMSS Analytics® LOGIC™, providing valuable information to people can position you as the most valuable voice in the room on a multitude of topics. For example, did you know that more than 10% of health systems with 50+ hospitals have no security technology in place at 1/3 of their hospitals? The chart below outlines current gaps in hospital security technology. Given the current state of affairs this information is incredibly relevant and impactful.
US Hospitals with No Plans to Deploy Cyber Security Technologies
Digging further into the topic, Are you aware that healthcare organizations were the target of 19% of cyberattacks in 2015 and 25% of cyberattacks in the first 60 days of 2016. With prominent security gaps in healthcare and Personal Health Information 50 times more valuable than banking information we can only expect the volume and intensity of these attacks to increase. The chart below looks at the growth in hacking incidents this decade.
Healthcare - Increasing Risk from Hackers
More than 2.2 million patient records were compromised by hacking incidents at healthcare providers in March of this year alone. The cost to healthcare organizations per compromised record is double that of retail and finance.

Pretty eye opening stuff!

This is just one example of the type of opportunity that healthcare delivery and solutions marketers have to position themselves as thought leaders in the industry. You know your audience and you know your audience’s audience. Be timely, be helpful, and provide a value to the conversations that are going on around you.

There is a need for education and transformation in healthcare and your content will engage your audience if you focus on where their audience is focused.

Matt Schuchardt is the Director of Market Intelligence Solutions Sales at HIMSS Analytics. Matt began his career in market intelligence working with Sheldon Dorenfest at Dorenfest & Associates, the original healthcare technology research firm. He joined HIMSS as part of the Dorenfest acquisition in 2004. With 15 years of experience unlocking the value of data, Matt understands data capture, knows data usage and sees a brighter data-driven future. Prior to entering the healthcare IT field, Matt worked in in the field as a social worker at the Jane Addams Hull House. Matt has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago where he worked as a researcher at the National Opinion Research Center.

Pay vs. Pitch: Three Considerations for a Kick-Ass Content Strategy

The following is a guest blog post by Beth Friedman, Founder and Chief Content Officer of Agency Ten22.
Beth-Friedman-Healthcare-IT-PR-Professional
Agency Ten22 frequently meets with healthcare IT software and service companies. From CEOs to marketing managers, the same question always comes up: “Is it better to pay for content placement or earn opportunities through media relationships?” The answer is both!

Paid placement of your content is a critical component for successful lead generation campaigns. Downloads are tracked and leads are received for long-term nurturing and sales follow-up.

However, research shows that earned interviews and article placements carry more weight with your company’s target audience—healthcare executives and departmental directors. Social sharing and summary blog posts magnify the impact of these earned efforts, typically at less cost than paid placements.

During the upcoming Health IT Marketing Conference, a panel of experts plan to debate this age-old question. I invite you to attend our Sponsored Content Panel session at HITMC16. And in the interim, consider these three steps for building a solid, lasting content strategy.

Step One:  Build Relationships

Healthcare is a people business. Everyone from top industry editors to niche reporters and channel salespeople appreciate time spent building partnerships and trust. These in-person meetings generate a wealth of content ideas and media opportunities. Here are three proven tips:

  • Pitch your targeted editors and sales staff separately. Meet in their offices versus crowded conventions. Food and drink are highly recommended.
  • Suggest new types of paid placement opportunities—get creative.
  • Make meetings perennial. Building trust takes time and repetition.

Step Two: Be Prepared

Both sides of the content house—sales staff and editors—respect industry knowledge. Do your homework. For every publication, know the last article written or piece of downloadable content posted by a competitor. Be fully aware of industry issues and upcoming regulatory changes that impact your key buyers. And finally, spend time reviewing the publication’s website for relevant niche channels, guest blogs or contributed content. Their subpages are important landing pads for content too!

  • Review editorial calendars and sync up your strongest subject matter experts and provider customers. Push for contributed articles or confirmations as an interview source.
  • Include color pictures and brief bios of your experts—remember, we are a people business!
  • Don’t see a fit for your product or service on the editorial schedule? Don’t worry. Schedules are only a guideline, not the final word.

Step Three:  Close the Deal

Finally, focus on follow-up! As healthcare marketers are all aware—the devil is in the details. Quickly secure all editorial ideas and subject matter sources before your competitor steals the opportunity.

  • Provide a detailed summary of ideas discussed and ask the editor to confirm in writing, with exact deadlines and word counts.
  • Confirm opportunities with your subject matter experts and provider customers. Obtain all prior approvals and authorizations to participate.
  • Send a thank-you note—always.

Both types of content, sponsored and earned, play an important role in demonstrating your brand’s thought leadership within the healthcare industry. The three steps above provide a practical roadmap for getting started. Agency Ten22 wishes you all the best on your content journey and looks forward to seeing you in our hometown of Atlanta for HITMC16!

Agency Ten22 is a sponsor of the 2016 Health IT Marketing and PR Conference.

Welcome to HITMC!

We're glad you found the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community (or as we affectionately call it...HITMC). This blog is a place for healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals to come together and share their insights, skills, expertise with other people trying to make healthcare better through the use of technology. This blog grew out of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference which is held annually. We look forward to connecting and learning from you. Please feel free to reach out to us on our contact us page if you have any questions.

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