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The 2nd Annual Western New England Healthcare Marketing Symposium will take place in Northampton, Massachusetts on April 7th, 2017. Last year’s event was sold out and received great reviews. Attendees will pay $65 for a full day of learning, sharing and networking. Lunch is included! Our goal was to make this day of learning extremely high in value while keeping costs as low as possible.

This year the presenters will cover a diverse range of topics including developing personas to help you create powerful, personalized communication; effectively integrating digital video into your content marketing program; brand journalism for the healthcare organization; integrating digital communications into your marketing for referring physicians; and what we can learn from 30 years of listening to physician feedback gathered through qualitative and quantitative research. Each speaker will present practical, actionable information that you can take back to your office and put into practice immediately. Registration is now open. To learn more or register, go to http://www.jenningshealthcaremarketing.com/wnehms/.

And yes, I will be presenting at this year’s symposium. My topic is digital physician marketing. As physicians become more savvy about social media and digital communication, how do we integrate digital platforms and communication channels into the marketing mix? As a result of this digital revolution, how will the role of the physician liaison change in the years to come? And for anyone who is interested, I can almost guarantee that several of us will be gathering immediately after the event for a social hour at a nearby pub. The discussion will continue there for any who are interested.

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It is clear to me that healthcare marketers are going to have to shift much of their focus to promoting health and wellness, whereas, in the past we’ve largely promoted healthcare transactions related to brief episodes of poor health or prolonged interactions due to chronic disease. Recognizing the need for that shift in focus, I’m always intrigued when I run into individuals who are starting new enterprises designed to encourage healthy behaviors.

Recently, after giving a talk to a group of business leaders who were interested in learning about social media, a woman named Kim Saffran came up and introduced herself. She has started a business that gets adults and families to integrate “play” into their lives. The fledgling business is called Return2Recess. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kim’s business has found early success with individuals living in retirement and 55+ communities.

I asked Kim if I could interview her for my blog, and she agreed. The 14-minute video (below) introduces Kim and her business. It’s going to take a lot of entrepreneurs like Kim to get Americans moving – but this is a great start. At the most basic level, Return2Recess is addressing one of the social determinants of health. There are similar efforts around the country helping people access healthy food options and safe, healthy housing – initiatives designed to address the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work and play that affect their health and well-being.

 

 

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It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Inspire, the social network for patients. In 2014, I organized a patient panel for the annual NESHCo conference to showcase the role that online communities played in the lives of these individuals and their families. I invited Amir Lewkowicz, co-founder and Vice President for Partnerships at Inspire, to join the conversation and serve as a panelist. Amir was a great addition to the group.

Earlier this week, Inspire announced that it reached the milestone of one million registered members.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-8-38-57-amInspire is known for not just the size of the community but for the activity of the patients and caregivers interacting in more than 200 online groups. Last year, Inspire reached another milestone of one billion words written by its community members.

“The rate at which members are finding and joining Inspire is accelerating exponentially,” said Richard Tsai, VP of marketing at Inspire. “Patients and caregivers across several thousand reported conditions are writing about their experiences, and generating relevant language that others who are facing similar experience can find.”

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-8-45-00-amThis sharing of information can be particularly useful for rare disease patients who often have trouble getting an accurate diagnosis, and for cancer patients who are in dire need of support to make the best possible treatment.

Congratulations to my friends at Inspire. You are doing amazing work and have truly inspired me. You’ve also shown me the potential for effective healthcare marketing. Community building is the way!

In closing, here’s a brief graphic from Inspire that shows some of the benefits of online communities to their members (patients).

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screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-56-43-pmEach year, my friends at SilverTech present their State of Digital Marketing Report. In this year’s report, you’ll review data and insights gathered from nearly 200 marketing leaders, including 27 directors of marketing, 19 marketing managers, 10 chief marketing officers, and a variety of social media managers, IT directors, and digital marketing managers from 147 unique companies headquartered in 28 different states.

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Marketing teams, both large (10 or more marketers) and small (less than 10 marketers), from B2B, B2C, and B2B2C companies were surveyed. Teams responsible for all marketing efforts (both traditional and digital), primarily traditional marketing efforts (TV, print, radio, events), primarily digital marketing efforts (social media, PPC, SEO), and Information Technology (IT) were also surveyed.

They shared with SilverTech (and all of us) their top priorities, challenges, and opportunities for 2017 as they look to create deeper, more meaningful digital engagements with their customers.

Use this link to download the report. Enjoy!

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In June of 2016 I published an article in Healthcare Marketing Report titled “The Expanded Role of the Healthcare Marketer.” It discusses the changes that will take place within healthcare marketing departments as our organizations move from a fee for service model to a value model. As our organizations transform, so must the marketing function. Here’s a brief video where I speak to that opportunity.

 

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The drug industry’s major lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, recently launched a powerful image campaign anchored by a stunning television commercial. As you probably know, the industry took a PR beating during the presidential campaign and now President Trump has taken aim at them. The new campaign, dubbed “GoBoldly,” is designed to elevate the industry in our hearts and minds. They have very effectively appropriated the work of one of my favorite poets, Dylan Thomas, to position biopharma companies as explorers, pioneers and risk-takers – “finding the unfindable.”

I’ve embedded the first TV commercial below. Enjoy! And then keep reading below.

“(This is the narrative accompanies the video on their YouTube channel.) Finding lifesaving medicines is a life’s work – the work of 140,000 researchers who never say never. As well as the millions of patients who fight side by side with researchers in the battle for life, against whatever odds they face together. Now is the time to put the accelerator to the floor. The best is yet to come – like advancements in personalized medicine and immunotherapy – and it’s coming faster than we can imagine. Welcome to the future of medicine. Where disease is no match for tenacity. No match for ingenuity. Where together, we go boldly.”

The microsite for the campaign is GoBoldly.com. It’s worth visiting. They share patient stories and celebrate advancements in medicine made possible by America’s biopharmaceutical companies. In my opinion, it is well conceived and well executed.

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screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-1-44-38-pmMy team and I are knee deep in awards submissions. ‘Tis the season. We just finished sending in submission for the Lamplighter Awards, sponsored by the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. The Lamplighters are the best kind of awards in that they recognize results. It is not just a beauty content. Each submission is accompanied by a case study that documents strategy, process and outcomes. With more than a dozen hospital and healthcare clients in New England, we end up sending in a small mountain of submissions. Fortunately, all of the submissions are done electronically – a huge improvement over the old days when we would spray mount print ads and burn TV spots and videos to DVDs. To save money, we always shoot for the early bird deadlines. The final submission date for the Lamplighter is Monday, February 13, 2017.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-1-53-40-pmAlso on the horizon are the Healthcare Advertising Awards (HAA). These are produced by Healthcare Marketing Report, a leading publication covering all aspects of healthcare marketing, advertising and strategic business development. They get a huge shout out from me for making the move this year to electronic submissions! The entry deadline is February 15, 2017 with a late entry deadline of March 10, 2017. This is the 34th annual edition of this awards competition. The Healthcare Advertising Awards Competition recruits a national panel of judges to review all entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. Last year’s competition had nearly 4,000 entries. My firm has been entering our work in this competition for at least 25 years.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-1-57-25-pmOne of our favorite healthcare marketing awards competitions is the Aster Awards, a national competition that began in 2002. We’ve found that some competitions reward creativity and innovation more than others. The Asters is just such a program. Their judges seem to have an eye for ingenuity and creative problem solving. Often campaigns and marketing initiatives that don’t win gold in other competitions, will really shine in the Asters. The Aster Awards are sponsored by Marketing Healthcare Today magazine and award winning campaigns are often profiled in later editions of the publication. The 2017 Aster Awards Competition  early deadline is February 28, 2017. The final (late) deadline is April 3, 2017. And it is worth noting that the Aster Awards have welcomed electronic submissions for several years now. I can’t tell you how happy that makes my team.

Finally, I’ll mention the Telly Awards. The mission of the Tellys is to strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting, and supporting creativity. On average, The Telly Awards receives over 13,000 entries yearly from all 50 states and 5 continents. We enter both TV spots and healthcare videos in this competition. The final entry deadline for the 2017 Telly Awards Competition is March 3.

Enjoy awards season and good luck with your entries!

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