Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Blessings to my Healthcare Social Media Gurus September 26, 2012

Filed under: Debbie,DTC,marketing,Programs,Social media,strategy — Debbie Donovan @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , ,

[I’ve updated this post from July 2010 because in the past 2-1/2 years a few things have changed.]

I am frequently asked to explain how “social media” works for health care companies and providers. After I answer specific questions and cite examples, the next question I get is a variation of, “How did you figure all this stuff out?”

The answer is pretty simple. Early in my self-guided study I stumbled upon what I can only describe as gurus. They provide a steady stream of examples of creative execution, critical insights on legal and regulatory issues and infinite enthusiasm for this communication revolution.

The big news is that gurus Ed and Lee have gotten together to make sure that Ed’s Hospital social media list has a new home at the Center for Social Media at the Mayo Clinic and title: Health Care Social Media List . It’s a critical resource for anyone selling products or programs to hospital administration.

I’ve learned that the best karma I can give is a shout out to those whose activity I can’t miss:

Namaste!

(C) 2012 eGold Solutions all rights reserved.

 

A fascination with behind-the-scenes programs December 19, 2011

I was not a regular Oprah show watcher; however, from time to time, if there was a particular topic or guest of interest, I would go out of my way to record her regular show.

In May 2011, I made a point of recording the final weeks of the main show and captured her 25th Season Behind the Scenes program on OWN. When I’m engaged in mundane tasks (e.g. folding laundry), I really appreciate the opportunity to watch the Harpo crew in action. Oprah says her team is the best in the business and I couldn’t agree more.

Getting a “behind the scenes look” at project execution with their level of focus and intense attention to detail makes one appreciate excellence in professional work. Every show, event, campaign that any marketer develops should be approached with the notion that no stone should be left unturned and nothing should be left to chance. Since we don’t really have any control over how events unfold, it’s good to know that you’ve planned the core details and made just-in-case contingencies. Then when it’s time to let go and let “it” happen, you can do so and enjoy the ride. I’ve been experiencing Oprah’s Life Class on Facebook and because I have watched her behind the scenes program, I have a complete appreciation for how the well oiled the team is and how they’ve moved into creating as wonderful experience on-line as they did on the TV show.

Frequently, the Harpo team bites off more than they can chew and it is in those moments that you realize that you can’t execute every great idea–it’s better to do a few things and knock them out of the park. As Lisa says, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

In medical marketing, the devilish details can be similar to an Oprah show—managing talent a.k.a. handling patients and health care professionals. It can also be vastly different—content negotiated down to the word, HIPAA privacy, ethics codes, etc. None of it should be overlooked and they are the parts of any program that contribute to successful outcomes.

What behind the scenes programs have enlightened you and what lessons do you remember? Share the wisdom.

Related Posts:

Great article about what it’s like behind the scenes of Oprah’s Life Class

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

 

Putting a stake in the poop December 1, 2011

Today I began my next adventure as the Director of Marketing at Avantis Medical Systems (Sunnyvale, CA). I will be applying my marketing knowledge and experience to help the Third Eye® Retroscope® become a household name (great branding, right?). Here’s a brief description from the current website (being ever mindful of labeling):

“During a colonoscopy exam, the Third Eye provides a retrograde—or reverse—view that appears on a screen side-by-side with the traditional forward-looking view. Colonoscopy is currently the most accurate test for detection of both polyps and colorectal cancer. It also provides the best means for removing them. However, research shows that some polyps and cancers can be missed during routine colonoscopy, especially if they occur in locations that are hidden from the forward view of the colonoscope. The colon has many folds in its inner lining and contains many sharp turns, or flexures. The areas behind those folds and flexures are difficult to see with the colonoscope. The Third Eye Retroscope provides a way to visualize the hidden areas behind folds and flexures by providing a retrograde view.”

Here’s why I am so excited about this opportunity:

  • As a young marketing communications agency executive, I worked on the Hemoccult® Brand Fecal Occult Blood Test used to screen the colon for hidden blood caused by cancer and other diseases. Back then it was owned by SmithKline Diagnostics, now it’s owned by Danaher. I received two awards for a patient education poster entitled Colorectal Cancer: Facts you should know about its detection and prevention (I know, very sexy stuff). More importantly that work connected me permanently to the lifelong work of my father, Ron. For those of you that know my family, it’s beyond exciting for all of us that I am “back in the poop.”
  • The time has come to put into put a “stake in the poop” and apply all that I have learned about digital marketing, and especially social media. I can’t wait to discover the haystacks of needles, use social capital and motivate healthcare providers to find the power in combined brands. I believe it is possible to drive brand value for medical devices and diagnostics using modern marketing techniques.

I vow to continue blogging to highlight learnings and great resources I stumble upon. Feel free to ask me questions about what’s happening as you begin to stumble upon the Third Eye Retroscope and its contributions to colonoscopy and cancer detection.

Views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

In this season of giving thanks for all the blessings in my life, I want to express my gratitude for the support I have received in the past two years.

  • To Lisa for getting 3WD started and being a great mentor and friend.
  • To Betsy for her most recent colonoscopy post (looks like I get to use the image after all).
  • To my social media gurus for keeping me ahead of the curve.
  • To my incredible network of friends and family maintained on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Ole!

©2011 eGold Solutions. All rights reserved.

 

Marketing Tool Kits: Exemplary Compliance October 10, 2011

Updated post

In Lisa’s post about legacy marketing, she extols the virtues of doing things well and I couldn’t agree more especially when considering the legal realities associated with industry codes–AdvaMed, PhRMA, CMSS, et. Al. If those acronyms are alphabet soup to you then please take the time to read up and come back, I’ll wait.

Bottom line (and one of my truth’s):

Health care providers must own their reputations and practice marketing.

What that means to companies is that they can supply to all QUALIFIED CUSTOMERS with a DIY Marketing Tool Kit.

The company determines exactly how a customer qualifies as long as those rules are applied consistently across the customer base. Here are some qualifications:

  • Complete product training program
  • Perform a minimum number of cases to demonstrate competency
  • Perform procedures in a specific site of service
  • Have admission privileges to at least one hospital facility
  • Have an active medical/DEA license
  • Agree to make specific dollar contributions to a turnkey marketing program with a third party vendor.

If your management team wants you to just dole out money for customer’s marketing activities without a formal program, push back. Regulators can see the brightly lit money trail a mile away. Here’s an example:

[Newly added 10/10/11]

Here’s a Press Release from Office of the Inspector General about a military cardiologist getting sentencing because of benefits received from a variety of activities including dinners with sales reps.

NPR Story:

Here’s a story from the AP on Massachusetts reporting of payments to physicians. “The report was the result of a 2008 state law that banned some types of gifts outright and required companies to report other types of payments.”

Note how the state has categorized the payments to physicians:

“That’s according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health, which said the payments included speaking and consulting fees, meals, and education and marketing programs.”

Doing it right is more than a compliance issue–it’s a mindset. People value what they pay for and they are more engaged in success when they have skin in the game. Everybody wins when customer marketing programs are both compelling and compliant.

(C) 2011 all rights reserved eGold Solutions.

  • Marketing Tool Kit post series:
 

A Word About Events: STOP November 30, 2010

Before you move forward to develop an in-person event-based marketing program, I am begging you, please STOP and ask: am I trying to create independent events or am I leveraging existing in-person events?

If you are creating a program to execute individual in-person events STOP again and ask: do I have any real ROI from previous efforts? I will bet the answer is no.

If you are creating a program to insert your product into an existing in-person event then good for you.

Two tests to use before committing budget dollars for an in-person event:

  • Does the in-person event already have committed attendees (e.g. industry meetings, community events)?
  • Is the in-person event being actively promoted by the organizers and sponsors (e.g. clinical organizations, hospitals)?

If you can’t answer yes to both questions, walk away from the event. Here’s why: everyone is busy!

Why would anyone want to attend an individual event put on by a group of people they don’t know on a topic to which they have no perceived connection?

It is so difficult these days to get the attention of your target audience (see Lisa’s post). Put yourself in your target attendee’s mind–would you want to attend? Is there anything interesting being said that will actually change your future behavior or is this just another opportunity to get a free meal?

Now if your organization wants to host a webinar, you are really thinking along the right lines. Why?

  • No travel, venue or food costs
  • Invitations and registrations are electronic
  • Attendees can ask questions before and during
  • Webinars can be recorded and posted to websites for broadcast and sharing (and posted transcriptions contribute to SEO)
  • Anyone who missed the actual “event” can participate at their convenience.

I attend many live webinars and review recordings when I miss events They are invaluable as a marketing professional on a quest to stay ahead of the curve on topics like intersection of social media channels and healthcare. I am such a believer in the webinar event that I’ve even recorded one of my own (in case you missed it).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

 

Marketing Tool Kits: Easy To Complete Tactics October 1, 2010

From: http://easilyamusedinstitute.blogspot.com/2009/02/that-was-easy.html

Great news. You’ve organized your content and are able to deliver the latest and greatest electronically. So why are your customers STILL not using your tool kit?

Going above and beyond

Providing the template is just part of the effort needed to have customers utilize your marketing tool kit. Most health care providers are busy doing their job–delivering specialized health care services.

Where to begin?

The health care provider is not familiar with marketing strategy or how to implement successful tactics that drive revenue. They have no idea where to start or what vendors to use.  Most have a printer for their business cards and stationery. A few might have mailed a postcard when they changed locations. Some have run print advertisements by enlisting the help of the publication’s art department to create the graphics needed.

“Help me, help you,” Jerry Maguire

From prior experience, your customers may or may not have been satisfied with the creative work by the vendors they used or the ROI from their efforts. Here’s where your company and its great tool kit can really help:

develop a turn key package of tactics for your customer
at a pre-negotiated price!

This allows the tool kit materials you’ve created to ACTUALLY be used by your customers to build their professional reputation and business.

What does turn key look like?

  • Patient brochures personalized with your customer’s logo, photo, bio and contact information $xxx for 1000
  • Direct mail postcards to promote a new procedure to a targeted demographic that is geo-located around the practice $x,xxx for 2,500
  • Practice website or specialized micro-site with pre-written, patient-facing content for a set-up fee of $x,xxx  + $xx/month for hosting

How do you build turn key tactics?

  1. Research and vet vendors that understand practice marketing and how to scale their pricing and customer service for individual health care providers.
  2. After supplying your tool kit, negotiate a preferred price for exclusive offerings and create a sales sheet detailing the turn key package.
  3. Launch the program and introduce the vendor to your sales personnel so they feel comfortable handing off customers that are interested in the turn key package.

It’s a good thing

Just imagine how effective the sales organization will be in getting customers to use the tool kit? They can walk into their accounts with activities that are truly turn key. It should be obvious that the less time your sales team spends on tactical logistics, the more time they have to meet their objectives (admit it, you’ve seen sales personnel get sucked into logistical details only to dump them on the marketing department for completion).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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Marketing Tool Kits: Excellent Content July 28, 2010

Typical advertising mail
Image via Wikipedia

You’ve engaged with branding, advertising, public relations, web and communications firms and/or leveraged internal resources to create highly effective marketing assets. Now, lets get creative on how customers might use them to set up a win-win situation.

1. Assets—creative re-purposing of existing work

An enormous body of work has made the successful journey through legal and regulatory. Without a doubt, you have a treasure chest of assets to re-purpose into a marketing toolkit. Be creative when looking at each asset in its current form and deciding if elements can be combined into a new use.

In a first pass audit of materials include any item:

2. Tool Kit Organization:

A common approach is to organize the elements based on the user of the materials—physician, nurse, and hospital marketing staff. The challenge comes when you realize that most elements can be used by any of these customer groups. As with any marketing activity, the target audience (patient/consumer) should be the focus of the elements contained in the kit. Here’s a common list of channels that can be used to reach the patient and referring health care professional audiences:

  • advertising: print, broadcast, outdoor, on-line (banners, ad words)
  • direct mail: postcard, newsletter, and email copy
  • media relations: releases, backgrounders, b-roll
  • web content: pages, images, downloads, transcribed videos, clinical data
  • educational collateral: brochures, posters, videos, presentations
  • social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

3. Delivery and Maintenance of the Tool Kit

Gone are the days of the clip art on printed pages and so should the material contained on disks. These pieces of paper or DVDs “cement” a marketing moment in time and are not easily modified. To be nimble and stay current, the delivery mechanism for your marketing toolkit needs to be electronic. Creating a website section for the media that includes files to download is a great first step. Now services like Google Docs, DropBox and Box.net allow downloads to be by invitation and tracked. As new material comes out of your development and approval process it can be uploaded upon release and not have to wait for the next disk burning.

Next up:  Easy to complete tactics

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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