The Thread team had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for the annual conference of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development--known as SHSMD. Healthcare is at the intersection of two lines of dynamic change--healthcare delivery is changing and so is marketing. Leaders in this field are adapting with an incredible amount of innovation and creativity. For me, it boils down to the idea that you still need to make a connection with people, but in healthcare that increasingly means connecting with people when they aren't sick. In other words, you need to be part of the "ecosystem" of a customer's life, as one presenter put it.
Of course, that's all about marketing and public relations. Making those connections is what we do. What's really energizing is that there is a role for everyone in this effort. Yes, we all know about advertising, websites, media relations and social media...those are still important. Also, there's an opportunity for a rebirth of the community relations practice within healthcare. The ability of any health system to reach people where they "live"--at home, church, work, or play--will be a key driver in creating sustainable demand for services.
The biggest challenge is that a healthy ecosystem is individualized...and here the word is used intentionally. You're going to need to do less segmenting and truly provide each person with what they need and want, when they need and want it. That's not easy, but people are figuring out how to do it.
We can't wait to put these ideas to work, and if you reach out we'd love to sit down and discuss how what we learned might help you.