Marketing Conferences

NESHCo Conference Wrap-Up

The NESHCo Fall Institute has come to an end. This was my first time attending the conference, and I have been impressed with the experience. New England healthcare marketing professionals are fortunate to have a resource like this in their region. The leadership did a terrific job with the conference. Kelly Woodsum, NESHCo’s executive director, was on top of all of the details. Very impressive. If you’re a healthcare marketer in New England and don’t take part in this organization’s activities, I encourage you to get involved. I plan to be back next year and do what I can to help them grow their membership, a real challenge during tough economic times. But truthfully, a recession is the perfect time to buckle down and become more strategic and creative with your marketing. This is no time for retrenchment and a resource like NESHCo could give you a competitive advantage. You can tell your CFO that I said so!

Yesterday afternoon I sat in on a great session on Internet marketing and social media. Kevin Robinson of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Matt Dillingham of Medtouch were the presenters. Kevin is a strong presenter and was able to speak directly to his experience bringing Southwestern Vermont Medical Center into the age of Web 2.0 and Internet marketing. He shared a remarkable physician recruitment marketing program that combine both new and traditional media. Within a six month period, Southwestern Vermont hired 20 new physicians as a result of this effort. Extraordinary! Kevin is one of those marketers who gets it. He’s even got his chief medical officer blogging. I first met Kevin earlier this year at the 13th National Forum on Consumer Based Marketing Strategies in Phoenix, where we were both speakers. It was a stroke of good luck that Kevin was speaking at this week’s NESHCo Conference and we were able to reconnect.

This morning I attended an interesting panel discussion led by two healthcare reporters from New England newspapers. They spoke candidly about staff reductions at their papers and how this is impacting the way they cover healthcare. They had some helpful tips for media relations professionals:

  1. Build relationships with reporters/editors. Don’t rely heavily on press releases. Rather, use relationships to pitch stories.
  2. Give reporters exclusives on upcoming significant news. (When they get a press release, they assume that their competition has the same story, so they’ve lost any competitive advantage.)
  3. When pitching a healthcare-related story, have patients available who can be profiled in order to give the story the human element.
  4. When a crisis occurs, be proactive in contacting the media. Control the situation and tell the story your way, rather than allow it to happen on its own.

It has been a great three days at the NESHCo Conference. I’ve met many quality marketers and good people. I look forward to building these relationships over time.

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