By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Yesterday at emids’ Healthcare Summit—one of the few healthcare conferences to successfully deliver thought leadership, in my opinion—a few panelists started to get real about the idea of consumerism in healthcare. My takeaway? Marketers should be a lot less focused on patients and consumers and think more about how to solve problems for people.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Many healthcare marketers are trying to complete projects left on their plates for 2017, while others are trying to set the table for next year. With just two months left on the calendar, it’s prime time to launch critical projects now that will pay off dividends in the new year.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Is your content strategy strictly focused on generating leads and using social channels to push out content? One new study suggests that what may be successful in the short term may actually undermine your customer relationships in the long term.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

What are companies that are very successful with content marketing doing right? What about companies that are less successful?

The B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—a comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 companies of different sizes and across different industries—contains some useful data for healthcare marketers. It reveals the profile of B2B companies that are the most successful at using content marketing. The most successful companies view the following two qualities as most important:

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Building a patient-centered healthcare system means creating highly satisfactory experiences in addition to healthy outcomes.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

The Health:Further conference in Nashville this week has triggered many great discussions about how healthcare can embrace transformation. The conference has featured sessions on moving to a patient-centric, consumer-oriented system; breaking down information silos and creating interoperability; and focusing on wellness and population health to shift some of the high percentage of costs away from disease and end-of-life care.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Our work for healthcare companies that sell to providers—technology companies in particular—reveals that there is usually too little attention given to marketing the process of implementation.

By John Lavey

If you’re like me these days, you’re constantly refreshing Twitter for the very latest news updates on healthcare legislation. Trying to stay current on events I can’t control is making me crazy.

However, a Forbes article this week made me pause and take a bigger perspective of the challenges that face us as healthcare marketers in the days, months and years to come. I found the context helpful to orient me toward things I can change.

 

Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space. – Edward Tufte

By John Lavey

Whatever results come from the current legislative fight over the future of the Affordable Care Act, one thing is certain: This healthcare debate will be remembered for the sheer volume of visual graphics intended to translate dense data into charts and graphs that don’t require a degree in statistics to understand. Pioneered in the 1970s by graphic designers like Nigel Holmes and academic statisticians like Edward Tufte, this broad variety of data visualizations are now generally called “infographics.” (Except by Tufte and Holmes.)

Unfortunately, much of the healthcare debate infographics proliferating newspapers, magazines, blogs and email newsletters are less than informative. They are graphical, yes, but they aren’t necessarily informational.

What’s the difference? When I’ve sat with my phone and randomly started a text box full of emojis, I’ve created a meaningless graphic. But a text from my wife or daughter that uses an emoji to tell me they love me or the dog pooped in the house? That’s an infographic.

In healthcare marketing, I’ve witnessed amazing examples of simple infographics that help communicate highly complex information. They follow principles espoused by Tufte, the patron saint of graphical elegance that advances ideas. After seeing Edward Tufte speak in Nashville ten years ago, I’ve kept his two books, Visual Explanations and The Visual Display of Quantitative Graphics within easy reach in my office. Hammock’s team of designers are constantly studying ways to meet Tufte’s standards.

Here’s an example of a healthcare policy infographic from the news service Axios. It simply tells the story of the insured and uninsured in America, and clearly explains who is meant with the term, “people with pre-existing conditions.” It is smart story telling because the designer has, if you look closely, converted a bar chart into a recognizable healthcare symbol, the cross. It explains in a simple, yet creative way, the type of data that can easily overwhelm an audience.

Advice for improving your visualizations (infographics):

Here are three things to consider if you want graphics that simplify the story found in data and statistics.

  1. Infographics should start with the info, not the graphics. Make sure that your statistical story is correctly and accurately told with this short list of metaphor charts and graphs: pie, bar and line. Beyond statistics, limit your infographics’ role to explaining these four types of information: location, time, category and hierarchy.
  2. Ask a few people who have not been involved in creating the graphic, but who fit the profile of the intended audience, to look at the infographic and explain the story it tells. Do they explain it correctly? If not, your graphic needs more work.
  3. Follow the golden rule of visualizations (and joke telling): If you need to explain the graphic, it doesn’t work.

 

Image: Edward R. Tufte: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Photo Credit: Iwan Gabovitch/Flickr



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Ten years ago today, Rex Hammock stood in line at the Green Hills Apple store and bought a couple of the brand new iPhones. I received one.