Marketing and IT: Time to Merge Tribes

I’m a huge Survivor fan. The show is the grandfather of reality TV and is still running after 15 years and 29 seasons.

For those unfamiliar with the show’s premise, contestants live in the remote wilderness for several weeks and are voted off one at a time. There is an individual winner, but they are initially divided into tribes. This becomes their new family. They camp, cook, eat, compete and endure the elements together. Their tribes are their teams during challenges, and the winning contestants are frequently those who gain their tribemates’ favor most quickly. As long as a team keeps winning challenges, no one gets voted out at tribal council, so they have a huge incentive to work together.

The Merge

When both tribes have been sufficiently depleted from too many vote-offs, they reach what’s called the merge. They combine and create a new name. Contestants who rock the boat too hard or make enemies at this stage often get voted out without a further thought. In a twist, a group of the final contestants who have been voted out become the jury that eventually selects the winner. You can imagine the incentive to play well with others throughout the entire game.

Historically, health care IT and Marketing have been able to remain as two separate tribes, living in separate camps. But digital marketing is bringing them to the merge whether they want to or not. The Web, social media and mobile have each come around and slowly forced the two tribes to set up camp together. There are countless examples of how they interact and need one another. Marketing may craft the content of a website, but they typically require partnering with IT to implement the CMS that publishes those contents. IT may have the developer resources to code a native app, but they may need Marketing to advise on the user experience to ensure that buttons, menus and swipes function as expected.

The degree to which the Marketing and IT tribes collaborate is one of the greatest indicators of how well health care organizations will succeed in this age. Forrester Research recently identified the need to create a list of shared objectives:

To deliver smarter experiences … marketing leaders must break away from the pack by working with their counterparts in the CIO’s organization to accelerate what Forrester calls the business technology (BT) agenda, a shared to-do list across roles for applying technology systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.

Thomas Husson and Julie A. Ask. “Predictions 2015: Most Brands Will Underinvest in Mobile.” Forrester Research. November 11, 2014.

Beyond “Breaking Down Silos”

Creating a shared agenda is easier said than done. How often have you heard Marketing concerned about uptime, bandwidth or scalability, or IT worried about cost-per-lead or font faces? Some days, do we wonder if Marketers come from Mars and IT pros come from Venus?

So what does it take to bring together two camps that, by nature, don’t have a lot in common? I believe it requires a fundamental culture shift. We have to go beyond the buzz phrase of “breaking down silos.” To start, it requires mutual respect for members of the other tribe and acknowledgement of their contributions to the mission. A mix of in-person tactics and communications materials, particularly when upper management is involved, can send the right message. This can be done in several ways such as departmental Lunch ‘N’ Learns, Intranet content, social mixers and newsletters. Communication, as usual, is key.

Collaboration also requires empathy – putting yourself in the other tribe’s shoes. Do you view one another as equal contributors to the organization’s success? Is your digital strategy held together by a string of “band-aid” fixes? Does Marketing have a standardized process to intake new project requests and communicate the technical business requirements to the appropriate IT teams? Do you involve one another early in project planning and consider their input valuable rather than ignore it? Marketing may not consider it an issue to have microsites floating around on multiple servers on different platforms, but it may drive IT out of their minds.

Impact on Patient Care

The greatest impact of merging the Marketing and IT tribes may be the innovative solutions to patient care that have yet to come. Joint brainstorming sessions and shared objectives on an industry-wide scale will revolutionize the ways we use EHRs, clinical applications, mobile devices, remote monitoring, content management systems, patient portals, marketing automation and other data sources.

It’s the way we will not only survive, but thrive, in today’s health care marketplace.

Jared Johnson is a speaker at HITMC 2015. He is founder and principal of Ultera Digital, a Phoenix-based digital marketing consulting firm specializing in health care.

Content Creation and Distribution Techniques – #HITMC Twitter Chat Topics

We’re excited to share with you the 5 topics we’ll be discussing at our next Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community (HITMC) Twitter chat. The chat will be held on Tuesday, March 10th at Noon ET (9 AM PT). To participate, follow the #HITMC Twitter stream on your favorite Twitter tool and add #HITMC to all of your tweets.

This chat will focus on the topic of healthcare IT content creation and distribution and is hosted by Agency Ten22. See more information about our chat host at the bottom of this post.

Now for the 5 topics we’ll be discussing:
1. How do you learn more about your audience to enable content creation they will find valuable?

2. What is your personal experience with white papers in HIT? Getting downloaded, read? Pay for play?

3. Let’s assume your content is ready. Why use paid promotion if free options are available?

4. What are your favorite or most successful channels for content distribution?

5. How do you strategically plan to distribute content across multiple channels?

About Agency Ten22
Agency Ten22 is a boutique public relations firm with focused healthcare expertise and a personal approach. They help healthcare IT companies move into the limelight through content creation and thought leadership. Read more…

Agency Ten22

We hope you’ll be able to join us for the Health IT Marketing and PR community chat. You can see our list of past and future #HITMC chats here.

If you haven’t already registered for the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference, there’s still time. Don’t miss out learning from hundreds of your Healthcare IT Marketing and PR colleagues.

Hospital Marketing, PR, and Social Media at HITMC

In the second year of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC), we’ve been working hard to expand the content we provide attendees to the conference. While we’ve always made a deliberate focus on healthcare B2B marketing (and will continue to do so), we also saw a lot of overlap with other areas of healthcare such as hospital marketing, medical device marketing, pharma marketing, and more.

While we’re still generally staying away from pharma marketing, this year’s conference will include a number of sessions focused specifically on the challenges of hospital marketing and medical device marketing. We’ll highlight some of the med device marketing sessions in a future post. In this post I thought I’d highlight some of the hospital marketing and PR focused sessions we’ll be having at HITMC 2015.

Makin’ It Personal
Speakers: Nicole Reither and Retta Byron
As the trend toward consumer choice in healthcare explodes, the importance of creating an engaging and meaningful content marketing strategy is no longer optional. The ability to adapt to the influx of accessible information on the web, mobile and social media and the change in way consumers purchase and choose product is critical to the success of your organization. How can digital tools, such as a healthcare blogs assist in brand building and creating brand advocates?

Join this workshop to learn effective and measurable blog content marketing strategies in the healthcare industry and how Banner Health is transforming the way health information is delivered to consumers.

Digital Strategies for Patient Engagement in 2015 and Beyond
Speaker: Jared Johnson
Consumers have more choices than ever for their care, but there are still large gaps in patient engagement. At least 68% of patients do not know the name of the physician in charge of their care. At least 43% of patients do not know the reason for their hospital admission.

In this interactive session, Jared will discuss three significant emerging trends in patient engagement: (1) the advancement of consumerism, (2) the impact of regulations on value-based care, and (3) new care models and partners entering the space. See real-world case studies of digital marketing tools and strategies that are helping organizations seize new opportunities to differentiate themselves. Gain practical tips on how IT, Marketing and PR can work together to drive innovation in patient care.

How to Uncover your Brand Truth in 60 Minutes
Speakers: Mark Shipley and Dave Vener
The healthcare industry has become more competitive than ever, and healthcare organizations need to differentiate themselves with a strong and consistent brand to attract the new healthcare consumer. It’s never been more important for healthcare leaders to understand the positioning and branding process.

In this presentation, Mark Shipley, author of In Search of Good Medicine will take attendees through his tried-and-true process for brand development and competitive positioning developed over 25 years for hospitals and healthcare organizations. Rather than droning on through case studies, Shipley and his team will rely on the luck of the draw and audience participation to rebrand a fictional healthcare organization including brand insights, a positioning statement and brand pillars in a lively, real time brainstorming session.

Of course, along with these sessions that cater to the hospital marketing and PR crowd, we also have a wide variety of topics which apply across the wide spectrum of healthcare marketing. For example, here are some of the sessions that are valuable to hospital marketing and PR professionals:

      *Creating Customer Personas
      *High Stakes Content Marketing
      *Guerrilla Marketing
      *Demand Generation
      *Lead Generation
      *Twitter Chats
      *Trends in PR
      *Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
      *Marketing Automation

Along with providing some hospital marketing focused sessions at this year’s conference, I’m excited for the cross pollination that will occur between hospital marketing and PR processionals and the healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. We can learn a lot from each other since we both have a view of healthcare, but often approach things from a different perspective. This is something we absolutely encourage at HITMC.

I look forward to meeting many of the hospital marketing and PR professionals at this year’s event. If you haven’t registered already, there’s still time.

Making the Most of Your HIMSS 2015 Experience – #HITMC Twitter Chat Transcript and Stats

Thanks everyone who participated in this week’s Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community (#HITMC) Twitter chat covering how to make the most of your #HIMSS15 experience. We had a great turnout with 63 participants, 596 tweets, and 2,481,980 impressions. The last number is a vanity metric, but it’s fun to see just the same.

Be sure to check out the full list of Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community chats. We have some great topics coming over the next few months.

If you couldn’t make it to this week’s chat, we have good news. Here’s a link to the transcript of the chat:

Future #HITMC Chat Schedule

We’re excited to announce the topics and dates for the next seven #HITMC (Healthcare IT Marketing Community) Twitter Chats. Each chat will be held every other Tuesday at at Noon ET (9 AM PT). Just add #HITMC to your tweets and follow the #HITMC hashtag on Twitter to participate. We’ll post the questions for each Twitter chat here on the HITMC Blog so keep an eye out for those questions.

Check out the schedule of HITMC Chats:
2/24Making the Most of Your #HIMSS15 Experience – Hosted by HIMSS Media and Healthcare Scene (Get Full Transcript and Stats)

3/10Content Creation and Distribution Techniques – Hosted by Agency Ten22 (Get Full Transcript and Stats)

3/24Cutting Thru Clutter: Healthcare Marketing to the C-Level – Hosted by Clarity Quest Marketing (Get Full Transcript and Stats)

4/7Five Burning Questions for B2B Companies Using Marketing Automation – Hosted by Dodge Communications (Get Full Transcript and Stats)

4/21Cultivating Credibility in Healthcare B2B Marketing – Hosted by Billian (Get Full Transcript and Stats)

5/5Getting the Most Out of the HITMC Show – Hosted by Aria Marketing

5/19Post Conference Wrap Up – Hosted by Netspective Media

7/7Getting the Most Out of Videos in Your Healthcare IT Marketing

8/4How can you tell if your company is good at marketing?

9/1Where Do You Find Health IT Customers?

10/6What Can Healthcare Marketing Learn from Other Industries?

11/3Periscope And Blab For Health Care IT Marketing & Public Relations

12/8Outsourcing Healthcare Content Creation

We’ll be seeing how these chats go and talk with attendees of the conference to decide how often we should do these chats. If you want to follow us on Twitter, you can find us @HITMarketingPR.

How to Design Effective Patient User Experiences in 2015

Patient User Experience - Wearbles

How are patient’s user experiences evolving, and are we prepared to evolve with them? Just as we were getting used to larger phones, wearables such as the soon-to-be-available Apple Watch are cutting our expectations back down to size. A very small size, in fact.

Think for a moment of the myriad ways in which we are able to interact with digital devices for health-related purposes.

  • Video conferencing with a doctor
  • Accessing personal health information via a patient portal
  • Wayfinding beacons inside a hospital
  • Emailing customer service for billing information
  • Accessing EHRs
  • Posting a comment to a cancer patients’ support group blog
  • Tracking a morning run
  • Many, many more

One way we can craft effective user experiences is by keeping an eye on factors that are influencing consumers’ expectations. Here are three trends and what you can do to take advantage of them:

1. Consumers are becoming accustomed to smaller, shorter interactions thanks to the advent of wearables, including the Apple Watch.

Apple has slowly released information about the Apple Watch over the last few months. In November, they documented some of the new types of interactions. Aptly named “glances” and “short look” notifications, these are abbreviated user interactions, some of which can be activated with the raise of the wrist.

The Apple Watch won’t be the first wearable with these types of shorter user experiences, but its imminent launch is thrusting them into the mainstream. While many wearables remain in their infancy, we should be aware of how quickly they are developing into next-generation devices that will be more sophisticated.

What you can do: Be aware of what types of user interactions are most beneficial to patients. Brainstorm data that could be useful to patients in these shorter types of notifications. Marketing and IT should both be involved in these decisions.

2. Consumers expect digital interactions to be convenient because of retail health offerings.

Retail health is changing the way we experience patient care, and providers that pay attention will give themselves the best chance to compete.

I’ll give you two recent examples. Earlier this month, I needed to see a doctor late on a Friday night. Rather than attempt the tangled web of phone tag to reach my primary care physician after hours, I Googled the local NextCare urgent care clinic on my phone. Not only was their site mobile friendly, but (with my permission) it asked for my location and identified the nearest clinic less than a mile from my home. I checked in and set up an appointment from my phone within minutes.

My other example is more simple, but just as convenient. I get a text message when my prescription refill is ready at CVS pharmacy. For me, NextCare and CVS are winning my loyalty because they make my life easier. When we don’t feel our best, the last thing we want is an inconvenient user experience.

What you can do: Don’t assume that you know how your target users will navigate your sites and apps. Their expectations are changing rapidly. Involve users in creating and testing. Also, test your assumptions. This can be through traditional usability testing, more sophisticated A/B testing, or other means. Recognize that consumers are rewarding organizations that provide them with convenient, useful interactions.

3. Multi-screen experiences are the rule, not the exception.

According to a study by Marketo in 2014, a staggering 90% of consumers start a task on one device and complete it on a different device. This has far-reaching implications for health care organizations, and it begs the question of how to structure user design for a variety of screen sizes.

Note that user design (UI) is not synonymous with user experience (UX). UI is the set of visual elements such as fonts, colors and buttons, while UX is the overall delivery of a positive user interaction.

Visual brand consistency is essential for multi-screen experiences to be effective. After years of Web designers perfecting the art of fitting as much content as possible “above the fold,” we should now be asking questions such as, “What can I remove from the screen to help the user focus on what I want them to do?”

What you can do: This may be a good time to review your user design and make sure you are following the basics. Use buttons rather than text links when possible, and make the buttons tall enough for a finger to tap. Limit the number of items on a single screen. Draw the user’s eyes to the Call to Action (CTA) using white space. Incorporate swiping gestures when appropriate. Design for the smallest screen first.


Patients expect a lot from mobile apps and sites. Brian Holak related it in home improvement terms: “A poor user interface is like a newly constructed home filled with ugly wallpaper and mismatched furniture.” The more that health providers pay attention to trends that are influencing consumers’ expectations, the better they can provide valuable user experiences that will last.

Jared Johnson is a speaker at HITMC 2015. He is founder and principal of Ultera Digital, a Phoenix-based digital marketing consulting firm specializing in health care.

Making the Most of Your #HIMSS15 Experience – #HITMC Twitter Chat Topics

After an extremely successful first #HITMC Twitter chat (see the full details of the first HITMC chat on EMR and HIPAA), we’re excited to announce the topics for the next Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community (#HITMC) Twitter chat happening Tuesday, 2/24 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). To participate, follow the #HITMC Twitter stream on your favorite Twitter tool and add #HITMC to all of your tweets.

The topic for the next chat is Making the Most of Your #HIMSS15 Experience. While this chat is focused on the large Healthcare IT conference, HIMSS, no doubt many of the things discussed will apply to any healthcare IT conference. Here are the 5 topics we’ll be discussing:

1. What are your keys to a successful #HIMSS15 as a vendor? Are these different than other conferences? #HITMC

2. How should you approach social media before, during and after #HIMSS15? #HITMC

3. What techniques are most effective at getting value from your booth at HIMSS? #HISS15 #HITMC

4. Will content play a role in your #HIMSS15 marketing efforts? Why or why not? And how? #HITMC

5. What’s the most valuable part of #HIMSS15 to you and your organization? #HITMC

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, 2/24 at Noon ET (9 AM PT).

We’re working on scheduling the #HITMC twitter chat every other week starting with this chat until the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference on May 7-8. Put it on your calendars and we’ll be posting the full schedule of #HITMC chats soon.

If you haven’t already registered for the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference, there’s still time. Don’t miss out learning from hundreds of your Healthcare IT Marketing and PR colleagues.

HITMC Awards Nomination Details

A big thanks to everyone for the great response we’ve already received for the first HITMC (Health IT Marketing and PR Community) Awards. We’ve gotten a number of great nominations already. Plus, thanks to everyone who tweeted and shared the HITMC awards on social media. There’s still time to submit your nominations.

Someone recently asked us for the list of questions that need to be answered for each award so they could prepare the answers before going to submit the nomination. With that in mind, here’s the list of questions you’ll need to nominate a marketing or PR campaign or person for the various HITMC awards:

These 3 fields are required for each entry and then based on the HITMC Award Category you’ll get one more set of questions:
Nominator’s Full Name:
Nominator’s Email:
HITMC Award Category:

Best Trade Show Theme or Campaign/Best Content Marketing Program/Best Social Media Program/Best Creative
Name of Company or Organization Being Promoted:
People Behind the Campaign/Program/Creative (Please include the email for the main person):
Describe in Detail the Campaign/Program/Creative (Please include links to work where appropriate):
Why Should This Win an HITMC Award?
Other Comments:

Agency or Marketing Department of the Year
Name of Agency or Marketing Department Being Nominated:
Email for Person at Agency or Department Being Nominated:
Describe the Work this Agency or Marketing Department has Done:
Why Should They Win this HITMC Award?
Other Comments:

Marketing or PR Professional of the Year (an individual)
Name of Marketing or PR Professional Being Nominated:
Email of Marketing or PR Professional Being Nominated:
Describe the Work of this HITMC Pro:
Why Should They Win This HITMC Award?
Other Comments:

Of course, if this doesn’t make sense, then go and check out the nomination form. Nothing will really be submitted on the form until you get to the end. If you still have questions, we’re happy to answer them on our contact us page.

5 Stages of Data-Driven Marketing Cartoon

I love this cartoon that @healthcarewen shared on Twitter today. I’m sure that many attendees to HITMC 2015 will relate to this cartoon. You can be sure this evolution and how to change it at your company will be talked about at the conference. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time.

Announcing the HITMC Awards – Submit Your Nominations

As we’ve brought together the health IT Marketing and PR Community, part of our goal was to highlight some of the exciting, interesting, unique and high quality marketing and PR campaigns we saw happening across healthcare IT. This year, we want to take that to the next level as we launch the HITMC Awards.

If you have a campaign, a social media marketing effort, an exhibit hall booth or an exemplary healthcare marketing and PR effort you think was great, we’d love to have your submissions. Feel free to submit your own campaigns or recognize your colleagues. We want to hear about the best, most interesting, most effective, most creative campaigns we can find. Since this is the first HITMC Awards, feel free to include any campaigns that were done in 2014 or 2015.

Here’s a list of the HITMC award categories:

  • Best Trade Show Theme or Campaign
  • Best Content Marketing Program
  • Best Social Media Program
  • Best Creative
  • Agency or Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing or PR Professional of the Year (an individual)

We don’t like long lengthy submission forms that discourage people from sharing a great campaign, so we’ve made the HITMC Award nomination form as simple as possible. We’ll be closing the nomination period at the end of February 2015.

The winners will be selected by a panel of expert judges and each HITMC Award category winner will be recognized during the 2015 Health IT Marketing and PR Conference in Las Vegas. We’re excited to see all the creative things that are happening in healthcare marketing and PR.

If you have any questions about the HITMC Awards, please reach out to us on our contact us page. We look forward to seeing the very best in healthcare IT marketing and PR!

Submit Your Nominations Now!

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.

Style Selector


Layout Style

Patterns for Boxed Version

Images for Boxed Version