Last week, as my team and I busily prepared entries for several healthcare marketing awards competitions, I began to reflect upon the seasonality of our work. There has been a rhythm to my life as a healthcare marketer – a flow that I’ve come to expect and enjoy. Of course, in recent years an addition to that flow is my daily engagement with others in the industry via social media. I can’t tell you how much that has enriched my experience. Everyday I have access to healthcare marketers, physicians and patients across the country. This has been an amazing development – and it is having an obvious impact on the flow of our business.
Although the work of marketing hospitals is always there, significant creative development ebbs and flows based on the needs of our clients. There are those times when each of our hospital clients needs some type of new marketing initiative. Sometimes it all hits at once. There is also the corresponding time of year when budgets wane just prior to the end of the fiscal year. To a large degree, the adoption of social media tools and the constant need for content have helped to smooth out the highs and lows of our business. Consumers follow social media and participate in social networks year-round – and on weekends! That means we monitor social networks on weekends.
There is also the conference season. We’re heading into that next month. To be honest, this is starting to be a year round phenomenon with the advent of Internet conferences, social media and web 2.0 conferences. I’ll be attending and speaking at the 16th National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit in late March. Last week I sent in my speakers proposal for the 2011 SHSMD conference. Schedule permitting, I’ll most likely be attending spring conferences for regional healthcare marketing organizations in New England, the Carolinas and Virginia – among others. Conference season is always great because it is a time for reconnecting with others in the field.
As I mentioned earlier, there is also an awards season. We’re in the middle of it right now. This week we sent out entries for the Healthcare Advertising Awards (Healthcare Marketing Report) and the Lamplighter Awards (New England Society for Healthcare Communications). Next up are the Aster Awards. Preparing the submissions for awards competitions is a ton of work. Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) submissions were due about a month ago. And I believe the Communicator Awards have an impending deadline.
For some of us, there is RFP season. Hospitals send them out and, if we’re lucky, we have an opportunity to respond. These definitely come in waves. Each involves every member of our team in order to craft our response in the hope that we will make it to the presentation round. We never take that for granted! RFPs can be both a curse and a blessing. It is a hard way to add new clients.
And for me, there is a writing season. I love writing – and I love contributing articles to healthcare publications. However, there are those inevitable dry spells when I have no idea what that next article is going to be – or where it will be published. Then, invariably, I’ll get an email from an editor and I’ll be writing once again. And before I know it, I’ll be facing three different deadlines from publications. When it rains it pours. Cliche but true.
This is blog post #500. I started blogging four years ago in order to immerse myself in this new world of social media and social networking, and to avoid becoming irrelevant as a marketer. It was a great decision. I had no idea how much I would enjoy blogging (my wife claims to be a blog widow) and how social media would open up new worlds of opportunity for me. Incredible. For those of you who follow my blog, I appreciate you coming along for the ride. I continue to work to be a valuable resource for healthcare marketers.
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer