One of the consistent themes at the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference is that the healthcare sales cycle is a long, complicated process and the process usually involves a large number of different stakeholders. There are no “impulse buys” in healthcare. It’s usually a longer, drawn out process.
With this concept in mind, it’s no surprise that we often talk about the importance of content marketing as part of a healthcare IT company’s strategy. The beauty of content marketing is that you can influence a wide group of stakeholders with your content as opposed to a salesperson who likely only builds a 1 to 1 relationship with only one person in the decision-making tree.
I recently came across this great article by Aloft Group on inbound marketing for healthcare that provided added insight into why inbound content marketing really matters in healthcare:
I recently asked a CIO at a large hospital system in the US what she finds most important in firms that she chooses to work with. I can tell you that none of the items in the above list [better patient outcomes, efficiencies, cost savings, patient safety, etc.] even came to her mind. She assumes you better be able to do those things. Her answers were interesting—and much “softer” than marketing people like to hear. She cited attributes like integrity, honesty, being proactive, intelligent and a strong listener. Not exactly something you’ll see in the standard feature/benefit column.
There’s an important lesson to be learned here. The companies that are most successful in marketing to providers are the ones that certainly solve problems, but also bring strong human qualities into their product and service mix.
But this is tricky, right? “Human qualities” aren’t something you necessarily talk about; it’s something you do. But how do you demonstrate this when you aren’t even working together yet?
How are you making sure that you position your company as one that is full of “integrity, honesty, being proactive, intelligent and a strong listener”? Are your salespeople doing that for you?
From my experience, creating the right content will illustrate your company’s intelligence and ability to listen and understand the market. It will demonstrate how you’re proactively moving the market forward in an honest and effective manner. That’s a high bar for content, but that’s what’s possible.
Of course, it’s worth noting that displaying the “human qualities” of your company isn’t something that happens overnight. Things like integrity and honesty are proven over time. However, once it’s built, it’s a powerful and unique attribute that’s hard to replicate by other companies.
It’s worth mentioning that displaying these attributes through your content is one thing. Making sure the right people are reading that content is another, but that’s a topic for a future post. Start by making sure you’re sharing the right messages and then you can start working on distribution of that content.