HITMC 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.

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The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!