The following is a guest article by Sue Drew of FINN Partners.
When people use the phrase, “go big or go home,” it’s generally meant to say that if you are going to try to accomplish something, to pull out all the stops and really go for it.
In thinking about communications strategies for our healthcare clients, the idea to “go big” could be the right thing to do, but more often than not, the better approach is to “go broad” – but to do so strategically.
What does this mean? The current media landscape is so broad that no single outlet or communications approach is likely to be a difference maker in a company’s marketing campaign for their product or solution. Instead, crafting a combination of outlets, channels and messages from across the communications spectrum is the difference maker in unlocking next-level success.
In this sense, “going broad” is not casting a net a mile wide and an inch deep – quite the opposite. Developing a “broad” communications strategy requires carefully thinking through how you will reach your target audiences where they are, cherry-picking the best opportunities along the communications spectrum, and, ideally, finding a way to reach those audiences multiple times. After all, while the “Rule of Seven” (meaning that a person needs to hear something at least seven times before they remember it) is one of the oldest concepts in marketing, it is still just as relevant—if not more so—today.
With this in mind, below are three key principles to consider when developing a communications plan:
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Beyond B2B: For many health tech or medical device companies, B2B communications has been a focus, which makes sense given the need to directly reach customers and the fact that highly technical information is typically not of great interest to a consumer audience. However, COVID-19 is changing this. As news about the efforts to fight the pandemic have taken center stage, more and more people are getting a “behind the scenes” look at the many factors that come into play in managing Americans’ healthcare (as well as many more around the world). This heightened level of interest provides healthcare companies in markets such as diagnostics, drug discovery, or even supply chain logistics, a unique opportunity to elevate their thought leadership and tell their story to a broader audience.
Track Timely Conversations and Be Prepared to Act Fast: As we all know, the news cycle moves incredibly fast. In order to be part of the conversation on relevant topics, companies need to be prepared to move fast too. This can be a challenge in the highly regulated communications environment in which we work. However, by being forward thinking, preparing for anticipated opportunities as much as possible in advance, and gaining support of internal review teams to expedite the approval of time-sensitive communications, it is possible to work around these challenges while still being compliant.
Create Surround-Sound Awareness [or: Impact, Visibility] Through a Mix of Media: Going back to the “rule of seven,” plan to leverage a variety of communications channels to reach your target audiences in multiple ways, multiple times. For example, to support the launch of a new technology to a professional audience, a company may want to employ traditional media outreach activities to relevant trades, placement of thought-leadership content on owned channels (e.g., LinkedIn), and execution of paid social and digital advertising campaigns to amplify these earned and owned messages. However, to extend that reach even further, a company may also want to consider a sponsored content opportunity with a publication that reaches a broader audience but may not be a viable target for earned outreach. After all, even healthcare professionals read consumer publications, and by doing the research, you can look to target those broader outlets that are of particular interest to the professional audience you want to reach based on other demographics, such as age, gender, and other interests.
If you would like to learn a little more about how my agency, FINN Partners, can help you to “go broad or go home,” with your communications strategy, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.