Marketing Best Practices from BrandHIT

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I had the opportunity to attend BrandHIT last week in Las Vegas. BrandHIT is a new conference hosted by industry leader HIMSS that offers marketing best practices specific to the health information technology (HIT) community. My colleague, Christopher Penn, also spoke at BrandHIT about how to build your customer journey with Google Analytics.

There are a myriad of learnings and musings from the event that stood out to me. More specifically, below is a collection of para-phrased statements that stuck with me after BrandHIT wrapped:

Think of your product as the hero of the story Allan Hamilton, medical consultant, Grey’s Anatomy, University of Arizona

Focus on your what and why positioningCindy Dullea, Chief Marketing Officer, Experian Health

Think beyond the sale and leverage the loyalty loop to expand, renew and utilize customers as advocateScott Lundstrom, Group VP/GM, Software, Health and the Public Sector, IDC

Pitch me something that works – don’t tell me about theories and don’t play-up the hype around technologies that are not ready for the marketDavid Choo as part of a CIO Panel

A recent quote from Dr. Martin Harris, CIO of the Cleveland Clinic, builds on the last statement from the CIO panel at BrandHIT. Dr. Harris recently said the following: “Bringing me a piece of technology is becoming less and less interesting. Bringing me a solution that I can describe to my colleagues is becoming far more important, and bringing me a solution that is meaningful to patients and consumers is of the highest value to me.”

This statement also reflects one of the most interesting conversations from BrandHIT that was spurred by IDC’s Scott Lundstrom: is healthcare marketing all that different than marketing in other industries? After all, industry shifts are forcing more and more healthcare vendor organizations to think not just of their direct buyer but also the end impact and value as it relates to the patient – even if the patient might not touch the enterprise technology at-hand.

While there is sure to be debate on this topic, one point is clear: as healthcare moves toward a model based on patient engagement and empowerment, the ability to market, reach and speak to an array of audiences – from CIO to clinician to consumer – is becoming increasingly important. Whether marketing to a consumer or a CIO, both B2B and B2C marketers can offer useful advice, insights and best practices that each can learn from. And while the best practices shared may not be apples to apples per se across industries, they are sure to spark creative thinking that may take your current marketing practices and programs in a new direction. 

As a healthcare communications expert with deep roots in healthcare and health IT, I often find learnings outside of my industry to be highly thought provoking and more apt to encourage me to push the envelope. Take for example the work of SHIFT’s consumer team in launching the Big Mac ATM as a lesson to be learned when it comes to viral marketing. Or the recent eBook from Contently on how finance brands are using content to engage and provide value to consumers. Clearly, there is value in looking both to experts within your industry and outside of healthcare and health IT for creative flare and practical insights aimed at up-leveling your marketing game.

Katie McGraw
Vice President, Healthcare


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