By John Lavey

Some people think about content marketing campaigns in healthcare as providing thought leadership, then pushing engaged leads into a call to action where they are entering the sales process. But sometimes that formula isn’t helpful enough, or you may want more tools to try when you are rolling out campaigns. 

One option that some healthcare marketers are succeeding with includes deploying more collaborative content tools, where the call to action might be an interactive calculator tool or worksheets to help guide a collaborative session. That session might help a customer work through an approach to a problem. 

This is a smart way to think about engaging your audience, as an alternative or supplement to e-books and webinars. 

Developing interactive calculator tools is a terrific option if you can do it in a meaningful way that your customer will trust. There are lots of options for how to build calculators, or you can select an off-the-shelf option. If building out a tool is too big a lift, offering to take your customer’s data and come back with a savings estimate provides you an opportunity to maintain a consultative role. 

One of our clients uses worksheets to facilitate a conversation with prospects. Given the complexity of the problems faced by some of your customers, this is a wise way to think about building a relationship. When you roll up your sleeves and sit down to help a prospective customer, it really changes the dynamic and builds trust.

If you want to be a truly consultative seller, then supporting your efforts with collaborative content marketing tools is something you should consider. It supports our highest aspirations: content that works!

Image: Getty Images

 


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.

 

 

WhatWorks

By John Lavey

By far, the most common question I receive from healthcare clients and prospective clients, or even friends when we talk about healthcare marketing, is: “What works?”

That question is really an umbrella for more specific questions, such as:

  1. What is effective right now at helping me get my message across or growing my business?

  2. What is the best way to spend my marketing dollars, and how can I be sure they are being spent wisely?

  3. How can I partner with someone outside, and what marketing staffing should I have internally to be successful?

These are the essential questions any organization will have about its marketing, particularly for healthcare companies that are trying to market to hard-to-reach buyers in provider, payer and pharma organizations. So, what works? Here are three key places to start, based on your answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you have a clear picture of what your customer journey looks like? When we dig into a company’s marketing, we take a look at all aspects of what it looks like, from thought leadership to sales support, event marketing, even onboarding and customer retention. If you have a clear idea of what that journey looks like, and then, where you are weaker or stronger, you have an idea of what needs attention. Invest to address gaps in content that supports that customer journey.

  2. Are you committed to more closely linking marketing to sales? Many organizations have embraced account-based marketing. All organizations have content management systems. Most have marketing investments. Rarely are all of these investments as interoperable as they could be, or should be. If you don’t have connective tissue between sales and marketing, you should fix that first.

  3. Are you ready for lead generation, or do you really need to generate demand? We all want to drive leads, and create opportunities for conversations about our solutions. But the reality is that some companies aren’t well known enough to be the “go to” for when a customer is ready to evaluate options for solutions. Those companies need to invest in thought leadership, and meeting demand for solutions to problems, even shaping conversations at the awareness stage, before it comes to consideration and decision making

Give us a call if you’d like to talk more about what isn’t working for you, and where you might start. 

Image: Getty Images

 


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.

 

 

comedyclub

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

I spend most of my professional life helping clients tell stories across all forms of media to accomplish a business objective. But in my personal life for the past eight years, I’ve also been part of a few storytelling groups in Nashville and have gotten up on stage in bars and comedy clubs to tell comic stories. 

Telling a story in front of a crowd has informed my perspective on marketing, and I’ve learned through great nights where I was killing it (and one or two nights where I’ve bombed) three truths about what it takes to engage an audience. I think those three truths are just as relevant for engaging your audience at a healthcare conference as they are in a club.

  1. Show, Don’t Tell—Any writer will tell you this, but you have to make people feel the details and concrete nature of a problem or challenge you face. When you are telling a story about a bad date, it matters to share details about how bad the calamari was, or how you were both glancing at your phones, and some of the specific and terribly awkward words shared. When it comes to talking about industry issues (say physician burnout), we tend to focus a lot on data-supported points (which are necessary for making a decision) but don’t engage our hearts and minds like the stories of men and women logging into an EHR at 1 a.m. after days and days of treating patients.

     

  2. Create a Story With an Arc—Most of us prefer to deliver a resolution, and when you are telling a funny story, that means to deliver a laugh line. But if you don’t take someone on a journey that shares the ups and downs to demonstrate the depth of a problem, then you won’t get the payoff of a great laugh. In talking about solutions in our work, it’s a similar dynamic. The great CEO, writer and speaker Nancy Duarte talks about the principles of good storytelling when presenting, and the importance of creating an arc, with distance between “what is and what could be.” If you don’t create the arc of a story, you are delivering a boring corporate presentation.

     

  3. Resolve With Truth—I’m convinced that what is magical about laughter is that it is a spontaneous reaction to something that we believe to be true (however unexpected). And a group of people laughing is shared recognition of something resolved, and the relief of resolving the situation you’ve shared in a way that they didn’t expect but that they believe. With your presentation, you have the ability to deliver the same resolution by accurately telling a story of a situation faced in their work and resolving the situation with something they believe. 

Storytelling and creating engagement with your ideas and solutions can be enhanced with attention to these tips, in my experience with clients, too, not just strangers in a comedy club. And that’s no joke.

Image: Getty Images

 


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

It used to be in the marketing agency world that you wanted to be all things to all people, and have everything under one roof. The problem with that model is that it may not enable you to match client needs with the best solution. You are able only to match client needs with the best solution you have in-house. It often results in generalists tasked with meeting highly specific needs.

That is a particular problem for healthcare. The breadth and depth of this industry require a keen understanding of the challenges at all levels—in particular where the topics are clinical, financial and technical. A writer who understands how to write an article about heart health for a consumer audience isn’t always the same fit for content about pharma technology aimed at a financial decision maker. 

As rapidly as the world of marketing is evolving and changing, at Hammock we see the need to find the best-in-class provider of services every single time: writers who are specialists in their field; photographers and videographers able to be deployed on a moment’s notice where they live; experts in preferred marketing automation platforms used by clients; paid push specialists with experience in the client’s industry.

We’ve made a business out of ensuring core competencies are in-house and then working with the best people in their respective disciplines, who are contractors to us on projects and recurring contracted work, and utilizing tried-and-true processes and platforms to ensure our control over workflows and our ability to provide the best client experience and deliver the best results.

We’ve used this method of delivering award-winning marketing media for 30 years, and worked with hundreds of team members outside our walls along the way. In a recent get-to-know-you call, while I was explaining what we do, the prospective client beat me to the punch line: “So, your company has ‘The Hollywood Model?’” Yes, indeed.

Movies and TVs have been made for decades by companies that gather subspecialties to serve on teams to execute the most entertaining content we all enjoy. In our view, it’s the most successful and efficient way to meet our clients’ needs.

Do you want specialists or generalists serving your marketing needs? Welcome to Hollywood.

Image: Getty Images

 


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.

 

 

HollywoodHills

By: John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

It used to be in the marketing agency world that you wanted to be all things to all people, and have everything under one roof. The problem with that model is that it may not enable you to match client needs with the best solution. You are able only to match client needs with the best solution you have in-house. It often results in generalists tasked with meeting highly specific needs.

As rapidly as the world of marketing is evolving and changing, at Hammock we see the need to find the best-in-class provider of services every single time: writers who are specialists in their field; photographers and videographers able to be deployed on a moment’s notice where they live; experts in preferred marketing automation platforms used by clients; paid push specialists with experience in the client’s industry.

We’ve made a business out of ensuring core competencies are in-house and then working with the best people in their respective disciplines, who are contractors to us on projects and recurring contracted work, and utilizing tried-and-true processes and platforms to ensure our control over workflows and our ability to provide the best client experience and deliver the best results.

We’ve used this method of delivering award-winning marketing media for 30 years, and worked with hundreds of team members outside our walls along the way. In a get-to-know-you call last week, while I was explaining what we do, the prospective client beat me to the punch line: “So, your company has ‘The Hollywood Model?’” Yes, indeed.

Movies and TVs have been made for decades by companies that gather subspecialties to serve on teams to execute the most entertaining content we all enjoy. In our view, it’s the most successful and efficient way to meet our clients’ needs.

Do you want specialists or generalists serving your marketing needs? Welcome to Hollywood.

Photo: Getty Images



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.


bridgecommunication

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

My conversations with healthcare organizations—providers, payers, pharma companies, technology or service solutions—show me that the marketers within those organizations need more help understanding the industry that is there to support their efforts. 

When Hammock was founded 30 years ago, we were not known as a marketing company. We were known as a custom publishing company. At the time, it was appropriate for describing what we did: creating recurring custom-published marketing media for clients (which they owned) to accomplish a business objective.

It also helped explain how we were different from advertising agencies or public relations (PR) firms. Our work went directly to customers and prospects. Advertising and PR were piggybacking on someone else’s published media to reach customers and prospects. 

During the Great Recession (2007–2009) many print newspapers and magazines collapsed. Traditional advertising agencies and PR firms also took a hit when those media failed. 

The vocabulary to describe what we do to help clients communicate and grow started changing. For example, the industry organization Rex Hammock co-founded in 1998, the Custom Publishing Council, became the Custom Content Council. 

Advertising and PR functions are still critical, of course. One consideration is who has expertise in going direct to audiences, and who is there to help efforts using someone else’s media? 

We’ve evolved new capabilities and embraced new media, from digital to video to social. But where we add value is the same today as it was in 1991. We help support and nurture the customer journey, before they are a customer, and afterward. We deliver strategy and implementation, as well as measurement of key performance indicators, and we help our clients establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields.

Everybody has a story to tell, a message to deliver, and we specialize in helping you take yours directly to the people who need to hear, read or view it so that you can continue to grow.

Image: Getty Images

 


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.

 

 

tools

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

It’s no secret that healthcare marketers had to shift gears in 2020. According to the inaugural HIMSS Healthcare Technology Marketing Survey, more than 85% of marketing decision-makers at healthcare or healthcare technology organizations reported using content marketing, social media, webinars, email marketing and virtual events as part of their 2020 marketing strategy—and more than 75% of marketing decision-makers expect to continue using these tactics throughout 2021.

When marketers were asked what marketing tools were most effective, the top five answers were: 
  1. Webinars
 (At Hammock, we think of webinars as a type of content marketing.)
  2. Account-based marketing

  3. Virtual events

  4. Content marketing

  5. Social media

It’s no surprise in a year when in-person events were so limited that webinars and virtual events were so highly rated by marketers. Notable as a rising investment by marketers was an uptick in the spend on account-based marketing (ABM)—61% of respondents reported using ABM during 2020, while 67% said they intend to use the tactic in 2021. ABM is the practice of marketing to individual prospects or customers, and tracking the interactions with those targets.

In healthcare, particularly, ABM makes sense because of the relatively small universe of buyers compared with, say, marketing to millions of consumers or small-business owners, where casting a large net is required. When marketing to healthcare providers or payers, the targets are known. The survey results suggest we’ll see a rise in ABM moving forward—39% of survey respondents reported that ABM will be in their top five marketing spending areas in 2021.

The top three areas that healthcare technology marketers indicated a desire to learn more about from a subject matter expert are: 
  1. Marketing optimization

  2. Account-based marketing

  3. Content marketing

If you would like to connect to resources we’ve developed around these topics or if you would like a subject matter expert from Hammock to present to your marketing team or leadership about best practices in these areas, please let us know

Image: Getty Images

 


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.

 

 

 communicating through tin-can phones

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

The children’s game of telephone continues to be an apt analogy for how misinformation can be spread widely. Humans are great at many things, but we aren’t always reliable at recollection. Real information, when passed down and shared widely and inaccurately, becomes conventional wisdom.

In healthcare marketing, for example, we often hear that women make 80% of healthcare decisions. This is based, probably, on a 2014 report that indicates 80% of healthcare decisions about kids are made by women. 

Is that being picky? I’d argue it’s critical. You wouldn’t want to build a healthcare marketing strategy around the idea that your market is 80% women, if it’s not.  

In healthcare content marketing, this “game of telephone” dynamic can be particularly damaging for organizations seeking to position themselves as thought leaders. You don’t want to be trafficking warmed-over conventional wisdom for three reasons:

  1. It’s not accurate.
  2. It looks bad.
  3. It prevents you from sharing unique insights.

When you work with an outside content partner, you can expect them to help provide additional research to support the content you create. But that research should be carefully done and rely on authoritative sources. It should be accurate.

That outside partner should also understand your unique value and your unique voice. When research means warming over conventional wisdom, you are delivering poor insights and risk looking bad. 

Are you playing a game of telephone with your content?

Image: Getty Images

 


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

Healthcare organizations’ returning to in-person events and conferences is a welcome sight. We have held the opinion that there is a lot you can do virtually, but nothing replaces being with one another for sharing knowledge, building relationships and developing business.

At the same time, there were some savings that groups realized during the pandemic, and the cost structure of virtual events was a line item that was mighty appealing to some. Airfare, hotels, meals and entertainment are all event costs that will come roaring back, along with the benefits of the in-person environment. 

Some healthcare organizations, prior to the pandemic and now, saw the opportunity to continue the conversation with attendees year round through the development of content that was shared long after the booths were taken down. 

Content can be developed during a conference, such as video content from interviews with attendees, speakers and other key persons. Proprietary research can be developed prior to a conference and shared with attendees as part of the programming for the event. Post-event wrap-ups can synthesize the theme of a whole event. South by Southwest spawned a magazine to share the vibe of its event all year. 

When large investments are made into your events, what other ways can you leverage those investments to continue the value of the event?

Image: Getty Images

 


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

This week 26 years ago, I moved to Nashville. My first job here in town was as a healthcare reporter. Let me say that healthcare as a beat is a massive undertaking for anyone to cover adequately, but particularly someone without experience in the industry. I moved from covering school board meetings to covering the most dynamic industry in our city. 

In those early days, I would read about some specialized segment of the industry, say physician practice management, then go and conduct an interview with a CEO of the leading company in that space. To say I was outmatched and outgunned is an understatement. Like a lot of young people, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

After a few years, I went to business school at night to understand more about the business of healthcare. More than 20 years later, the experience I’ve gained and the schooling I’ve had make healthcare more comprehensible, but healthcare remains a dynamic and complex business. At least now, I know what I don’t know.

Building a content company that serves the healthcare market is fueled by the fact that we know what we don’t know. Our team of experienced healthcare content professionals possesses a great deal of domain expertise. The value we deliver to clients is based on the acquisition of expertise in the areas where more specialized knowledge is required. For Hammock, that means we work with a whole host of contractors and specialists. 

People come to us because we understand their space. But our clients remain the experts in what they do. We assist them in developing content to support their business objectives. Our best relationships are based on this mutual understanding and respect for each other’s specialized knowledge and expertise. 

Do you know what you don’t know about how to maximize your healthcare business with content marketing? Let us know. 

Image: Getty Images

 


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.