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.

 

 

Young man and woman positioning orange puzzle pieces while standing at the edge of cliff against white background

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

I heard a great question this week from a prospective client: Why do customers choose you and why do they stay with you? 

It’s a great question because the person who asked it recognized the fundamental value of how a relationship works. A good business partner offers more than what you sought them out for in the first place.

Developing recurring content, across a variety of media, to support a business objective typically requires skill sets that are too specific and too expensive to replicate in-house. 

Most healthcare companies that want to do content marketing need a partner with the subject matter expertise, team, processes and experience to help.

In many cases, they are looking for a partner because they’ve come to the conclusion that they can’t justify the investment in-house. So they see it as a replacement for a full-time equivalent (FTE) or FTEs. 

But long-term relationships are much more than a replacement for an FTE. 

Sure, with the right partner, clients find that they are able to focus on projects and other priorities that serve their core business. And the clients understand that a professional process makes it easier on their team. 

But there is deeper, more fundamental value when you find the right outside partner. You have an extension of your team that is focused on serving your customers and prospects, just like you are, with solutions that perfectly position your brand.

A good outside partner can serve as a sounding board, and constantly challenge you to focus on the audience’s concerns, and not corporate speak. 

The right outside partner’s access to domain expertise is valuable for helping you hone your message.

And the right outside partner starts to show you all the ways content plays a role in moving healthcare customers through their journey, such as building presentations for sales or investor groups, developing training videos, or helping improve their client conferences, to name a few.

Finding the right partner means looking at the reasons they are the right fit for right now, but also for next year and the years to come. 

 


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

In our last healthcare idea email, we discussed the need to make healthcare more continuous and less episodic and shared that we are interested in examples of companies delivering models that are truly customer-centered.
 
One example is Amazon Care. Much was made of the “failure” of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan’s joint venture, Haven. Haven, established by these three companies to transform healthcare, was disbanded earlier this year after three years. 
 
But what we discussed in a January idea email was how these companies would leverage their experience to develop innovations for their own employees. One of those innovations is Amazon Care. This app for Amazon employees serves as a “centralized hub where patients identify their problem or concern. Amazon Care then directs them to the right resources.”
 
Nothing could better describe helping a customer along their journey. That’s what customer-centered care should look like. Helpful content and platforms to aid us in our journey to navigate healthcare. 
 
Healthcare is confusing and, unlike other customer experiences, it’s usually not welcome or our first choice. Having clear help to get what we need is what should happen. As healthcare marketers, we should work to be part of the team building those experiences.
 
Takeaway: Is your approach helping or preventing customers from navigating their healthcare journey?
 


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

I have been struck in a few recent conversations by the idea of how “warm” and “cold” healthcare can be in terms of engaging us as customers. I was talking to someone whose wife has been undergoing cancer treatments and has a 20-minute meeting once a month with the doctor. In those 20 minutes, she feels exceptionally cared for. It’s a warm experience.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

For companies that are continuing to work from home, new employees are largely deprived of the ad hoc interactions from mentors and peers that help them learn how to do their job. That’s why some of the most crucial content being generated by healthcare companies right now is learning content.

Learning content is necessary for many companies so that employees can gain certifications and remain compliant with regulations.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

One of my goals for 2021 is to help people understand the full scope of content marketing and what it can do for an organization. Content marketing tends to get pigeonholed as “thought leadership” or “lead generation,” or “search engine optimization.”  While it is those things, it’s much more than that. 

Content marketing should sustain and nurture all the steps along your customer’s journey. And this doesn’t always mean it’s necessary to create a larger content marketing budget (although it probably should) but it does mean that content marketing should be thought of more holistically. 

QRcode

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

One important development from the pandemic for healthcare marketers has been the renaissance of Quick Response (QR) codes. 

While QR codes have been around since 1994, efforts to make QR codes and QR code readers ubiquitous had never been successful. One effort in particular, the CueCat, was launched in 2003 and burned through $250 million of investors’ money. According to one critic, the CueCat “fails to solve a problem which never existed.” Ouch.

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

As healthcare marketers, we often face complex problems. For many of us, our tendency is to see the solutions to those problems in terms of what we know or what has worked before. This is called the “Einstellung effect,” our predisposition to solve problems in a specific way, though better ways may exist. 

But our tendency to fall back on solution-centered approaches, even if they’ve served us well before, is a real limiting factor. Uri Levine, the co-founder of Waze, famously said, “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution, and the rest will follow.”

How do I keep track of the problems that face us as healthcare marketers? I usually start by thinking about the problems faced by our clients or our own company. I also do a lot of reading. I thought I’d share some of the resources I turn to regularly—resources that help deepen my understanding (if not love) of the problem. In addition to daily news sources and specific industry reporting, here are my sources that follow the problem of healthcare: