January 2, 2013
The dawn of a new year is the time of new dreams, fresh starts and unbridled optimism. Take charge of the health IT world this year by making New Year’s resolutions that will truly stick. I’ve compiled my top ten recommendations below:
1. Get Organized. Health IT executives need to routinely take inventory of their professional life by getting a better grasp over their organization’s brand visibility and the corporate image conveyed to the marketplace. Ask yourself: Is your messaging on point? Are you telling an accurate, compelling story to your intended audience? Is it synergistic with current trends? Have you vetted your messaging with top tier media and industry analysts? Step back and ensure that your business model and voice still resonates with your intended audience.
2. Start the Great American Novel. You have brilliant insights to share but it can be a challenge to set aside the precious hours needed for quality writing. Stop procrastinating and start that white paper, case study, bylined article or sales sheet you’ve been meaning to get down on paper. By partnering with a professional writer with intimate knowledge of your industry, you’ll be better equipped to clarify your points and match the specific writing style needed to reach the intended audience.
3. Break Those Bad Habits. Does your company’s press releases overflow with marketing speak? Does the PR department turn off top-tier journalists by blasting out irrelevant media pitches? Are you neglecting your customers by not providing a dedicated forum in which they can share best practices with peers? Is your website homage to the last decade? Has it been a month since you’ve written your last blog post? Do you crack your knuckles? It’s time to break those bad habits and start anew in 2013.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Quality content is king in health IT promotion, and you can never have enough to fuel your website, social media endeavors, media pitching and promotional materials. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Most likely, you are sitting on more great content than you’ve ever realized. It comes in the form of subject matter experts, customer stories and references, past article placements, promotional pieces, etc. – you just may not be using it effectively. Partner with an expert who can help you reduce the stale clutter of outdated materials, while leveraging your existing content to its fullest potential.
5. Spend More Time with Loved Ones. Ninety percent of health IT organizations aren’t as active as they should be on social media and relationships are starting to suffer. In 2013, resolve to finally strengthen the connections you have with your customer and prospect friends by being more vocal and interactive on social media networks. Sure, you’ve laid the ground work by setting up corporate accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube – you may have even started a blog – but that’s just the start. Expand your circle by building an engaged, relevant following of happy customers and qualified leads, then tap into emerging social media trends and platforms where relevant to your business goals.
6. Keep Learning. In the transformative healthcare environment of ICD-10, meaningful use, patient engagement, data analytics, payment reform and ACOs, you should never stop learning. Your customers are looking for your expertise in these and many other areas, so it is more important than ever to lean on the support of the membership associations, standards development organizations, publications, analysts, consultants and attorneys who can help you understand the promises and pitfalls of tomorrow’s trends inside and out.
7. Volunteer More. Use your expertise in health IT and your knowledge of the trends in this space to give back to some of those less fortunate customer/member prospects. Volunteer your time in media interviews to secure editorial coverage by commenting on industry trends, regulatory mandates and legislative issues. Schedule and manage a slate of non-promotional, educational webinars. Also, evaluate the contributions of your organization against Don Berwick’s Triple Aim to determine how you might better support the overall improvment of the US healthcare system.
8. Start Smoking… er, the competition that is. Light a fire under the competitors in your space by being the first to identify new customer/member prospects. Then ignite the conversation through a strategic schedule of compelling outreach including eBlasts, direct mail, sales calls, promotional materials, online content, etc. It takes constant communication to secure and build long-term relationships and remain competitive in the evolving healthcare IT marketplace.
9. Get Out of Debt. Most health IT marketers want to avoid accepting responsibility for the correlation between actual revenue goals and PR, marketing and social media performance. But you should definitely be seeing a return for your promotional investment as it relates to bottom-line numbers. Reporting and analyzing the metrics of success – including media visibility, SEO, web traffic, booth traffic, customer retention and bottom-line sales – is a crucial step in ensuring you are achieving your business goals, month after month, year after year.
10. Lose Weight. Large PR and advertising agencies have a lot of mouths to feed, and the unfortunate truth is that the majority of standard client retainers pay for a lot more (overhead, agency promotion, staff training, life-support for underperforming accounts, etc.) than what it takes to directly service your account. It’s time to take that hard look in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see, maybe there are areas where you can trim the fat by leveraging internal resources or by evaluating leaner options.