Health IT Marketing & PR Conference Highlights
The dotHealth team’s favorite takeaways and learnings from HITMC.
dotHealth just returned from HITMC, an action-packed, Vegas-style two and a half days discussing all things related to Health IT marketing. HITMC, Health IT Marketing & PR Conference, rallied 215+ health marketers from across the world (from as far away as Russia and Romania) to discuss the most relevant topics in health IT marketing. From content marketing strategies to optimizing your social media campaigns, HITMC presented tangible lessons for Health IT marketers. Missed it? Check out all the presentations here.
Forget the Haters
To kick off the conference, Gary Rhoads, the keynote speaker, shook things up by denouncing a common business practice: asking dissatisfied customers for feedback. As marketers, we are mostly trained to constantly ask for feedback from unhappy clients. HITMC’s keynote speaker flipped that notion and encouraged Health IT marketers to focus on the group of customers that love you. He emphasized you should spend more time on understanding what your organization and products are doing right and less time trying to please the dissatisfied crowd, “haters”. His philosophy encourages marketers to focus on what’s going right rather than getting bogged down with negative feedback. He concluded his message by recommending that marketers should continuously work toward ensuring ways to make your customers and employees feel like co-creators of your brand. He preached that developing a culture of co-creation is the ultimate way to establish brand champions.
Thought Leadership Reinvented
Thought leadership is an integral aspect of marketing in the health space; therefore, a recurring hot topic during the session of “Create Synergistic Relationships with Associations” was how to get an association to distribute your brand’s thought leadership. Most of the association panelists agreed that their organizations are in perpetual need of true thought leadership, but they are often pitched with content that is too sales-driven to get through their review committees. The panel explained that passing along jargon-filled, salesy “thought leadership” to their members is never an effective marketing strategy. They explained that their members want to synthesize the information and would rather digest it themselves than be told what’s best-in-class. A common theme throughout all sessions was the idea that physicians and health executives should already know that they want your product because it is the best in the markt. Health professionals are researchers and scientists at heart so prefer to do their own research and seek out products themselves. Finally, these panelists noted that traditional white papers on their own are on a decline. They explained that there are more creative and effective new methods to package and serve thought leadership: virtual Q&As, infographics, and webinars to name just a few.
RIP Press Releases?
Next up was another hot topic for Health IT marketers: understanding the best way to interact with the Health IT press. The panel agreed that there is nothing worse than receiving a cookie cutter press release. For them to run a story, the story first and foremost must provide significant value for their readership. John Lynn (co-organizer of HITMC) explained that it’s rare for Health IT news to ever be truly earth-shattering or newsworthy. In addition to relevancy for the readership, Dan Mouro, author of Casino Healthcare, explained that he is less focused on reporting reactionary news and more focused on story writing. He encouraged press-seeking organizations to do their research on the reporter before they even consider pitching their story. He explained how the health industry is so broad that many reporters will only consider stories that align with their special interests within the health industry. (Hint: Dan is interested in healthcare price transparency and rising premiums!)
Your Name Matters
We joined Kristen Saponaro from nThrive and Matt Bowen from the Aloft Group to discuss the “Anatomy of a Rebrand”. Matt explained that when taking clients through the rebrand process, one of the most difficult aspects is the renaming process considering the crowded .com space. As the team behind the new .health domain extension, it was great to hear how the health industry can benefit from a domainscape built for the industry. We can’t wait to help solve this problem when .health launches! In addition to selecting a new name, Kristen and Matt explained that naming and brand strategy transcends the marketing department; the strategy development process needs to be top-down. They explained how crucial it is to involve all departments and not just leave “branding” to the marketing team. The words “business” and “brand” should be interchangeable throughout your company – if not, you’re not building a strong enough brand.
Last but not least, it would not be a health industry conference without dotHealth’s Fun Run to kick off the day! On Thursday and Friday morning, dotHealth was joined by other health-conscious marketers for a brisk early morning jog around downtown Las Vegas! We had to take a quick break from the run to snap a Las Vegas-inspired #PinkSocks photo with a Pink Cadillac on the strip! If you weren’t able to join us for the Fun Run at HITMC, be sure to keep an eye out and join us for a Fun Run before one of the next conferences that dotHealth attends!
This year was the first time our team members have attended HITMC, and we are already excited for next year (Miami, anyone?). Overall, we were impressed by the tactical, Health IT-specific digital marketing-focused content at all the sessions. Were you at HITMC? Connect with us on Twitter and let us know your favorite takeaways and learnings from HITMC!