By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

The economic disruption that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic reminds me of the Great Recession (2007–2009). We endured that experience and came through wiser for it. But we also know, with the benefit of hindsight, that a confluence of content marketing forces happened in those years that shaped the way we work today.

Are there patterns for healthcare content marketers taking shape right now that we can start to see? 

First, let’s look back to 2007–2009. 

  1. The primary medium for consuming content changed. Our founder, Rex Hammock, was at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to attend Macworld on Monday, January 9, 2007—when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. The device had been rumored, and Rex is, well, obsessed with communication technology that you can fit in a pocket. He gave it a glowing review on his blog, but one thing he and millions of others knew was changing forever that day: All other forms of personal media would become secondary.
  2. Marketers lost the upper hand. The iPhone accelerated our ideas about customer-centered marketing. We focused all our marketing on the smallest screen, and we began to think about the customer journey now being mobile. We could no longer tee up information and control the consumer experience with slow-loading websites. Simultaneously, app development became more important, too.
  3. Marketing dollars contracted. Companies pulled back on spending money on marketing. When those dollars eventually returned, they came back primarily centered around digital marketing. Was this marketing more effective than print? Oftentimes, it was not.

So, what can we see now taking shape that might endure?

  1. Dollars and efforts shifting to content marketing. Misty Hathaway, chief marketing officer of Massachusetts General Hospital, noted that when COVID-19 hit the hospital “quickly became a content marketing shop, so we turned off all of the advertising and retooled everybody’s focus into creating relevant content.”
  2. Meetings being supplemented. Business-to-business (B2B) healthcare marketers can’t replace the value of face-to-face interactions in events. But many are finding the ability to market primary research and key insights via digital marketing tools, from webinars and video to e-books.
  3. Data-driven customization. Whether it is a B2B healthcare marketer trying to find the right content strategy to interest a clinical decision-maker or a provider trying to engage a customer to encourage them to seek overdue care, data drives decisions on what interests the customer, where they are in the customer journey and what they need next.

We don’t have the benefit of hindsight yet, but we can be sure that the above are marketing forces that will endure past the present moment. Are you aligned with the forces shaping the next 10 years?


Image: Getty Images

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