WHPRMS October Blog: Because We Played, We Were Winners

Because we played, we were winners at the WHPRMS conference

Many of us are still coming down from the high that was the WHPRMS Annual Conference, held October 2 – 4 at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh. And true to the conference theme, Play Your Cards Right, You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play, those of us who attended not only had a great time, but learned an incredible amount of practical concepts and skills essential to today’s healthcare marketing professional. Many of the important lessons are summarized here.

The conference’s learning activities began in earnest on Thursday, October 3 with a keynote address from Dr. Steve Bedwell. His presentation “To Win, We Must Understand Why We Sometimes Fail!” was a rollicking master class in how to tackle problems we all have at some time: missing the obvious, anxiety and procrastination. Dr. Steve swallowed a balloon, made a vanished $100 bill appear inside a lemon and tied the audience up in knots.

Dr. Steve reminded us to consciously reframe how we perceive the desired outcome of problem situations, in life and in work. Don’t focus on past experience, but instead on the positive outcomes you seek. Our mistake is that we assume we see all that there is to see. “Ask yourself,” he says, “What am I missing?”.

Among his lessons are that we must re-frame our mind’s perspective about a situation to remove negative talk. Think broadly, as this applies to every situation. Narrow framing makes you see what you expect to see, not the total picture and sometimes, makes you miss the obvious. How we frame our statements to others affects how the statements are perceived. “Expand, shift and flip the frame,” he says.  “When you change how you see things, you see things change.”

As Dr. Steve made Lynn’s $100 bill re-appear inside the lemon, he helped us understand that closure is critical to our well-being.

Kristin Baird, in her presentation “Living the Brand Promise – Every Time” reminded attendees that we are all in the business of “trust”. There are three critical components of our role in the patient experience that we must all keep in mind. These are 1) Recognize that the patient experience is your brand; 2) Take a seat at the Patient Experience table by partnering with operations; and 3) Be an evangelist about the voice of the customer. Kris cautioned that the patient experience is now shared more widely, both via word-of-mouth and by word-of-mouse. Stay tuned into social media to better identify the gap between patient experience and your brand promise. What is our collective “moment of truth”? When the patient decides if you are what you say you are.

Erin Minsart and Jamie Malone of Legato Healthcare Marketing rocked the session “Modern Marketing in a Digital World: Data Driven Decisions & Customer-Centric Strategies”. 89% of consumers use a search engine when looking for healthcare advice and 75% of patients rely on search engines to find a physician or treatment center. So, take time to build your SEO fully and include geographic locations. Don’t overlook your website provider pages and your Google landing page. Post there often and make sure you offer one-click phone calls and directions. Consumers may never get to your fancy website, as the information they need most is on the Google page.

Mark Mathis and Erin Bishop of Amperage Marketing & Fundraising, along with Tina White of Upland Hills Health shared “Your Patient’s Path has Changed. Has Yours?” They discussed patient journey maps as a tool for documenting the “micro moments” that occur as patients move through the system of care. When creating a journey map, it is best to also create patient personas – one at a time – based on demographics and psychographics. Supplement the data with personal interviews. Our role as communicators is to provide “snackable” bits of useful information that guide patients along that journey. 69% of consumers agree that quality, timing and relevance of messages influence brand perceptions; 73% of consumers say that regularly receiving useful information is the most important attribute when selecting a brand. Last, make sure your journey maps are essential to the decision-making process. Everyone in your organization should understand the patient journey and their critical role in making it as pleasing as possible.

Anne Bogen (Geonetric), Katie Keefe and Alison Culhane (both from Gundersen Health) spoke to “How to Build Trust and Boost Traffic with Content Marketing”. They provided eight tips for effective content marketing. They are:

  1. Understand your audience.
  2. Develop personas and journey maps
  3. Invest in keywords research
  4. Create good content that leads to good SEO
  5. Generate top-notch ideas
  6. Share across multiple channels
  7. Put governance in place
  8. Test, measure and repeat

In “Digital Advertising for Health Care”, Emily Hartzog (Chartwell Agency) and Jake Myers (Gatehouse Media) discussed consumer behavior. Social media rules the day as 56% of media consumption is digital. Oddly, only 24 -26% of marketing budgets is for digital marketing. Your digital strategy should begin with mobile, as that’s become your organization’s front door. Make sure consumers can quickly find information via their phones and the view is clean and easy to navigate. And, be sure to integrate direct mail with social media. This helps measure effectiveness of messages and images based on interactions that occur.

In “A New View to Healthcare’s Most Profitable Customers”, Peggy Weber Kiefer and Kim Kieffer of BVK identified characteristics of early adopters and innovators among your customer base –

  • Well-educated
  • Commercially insured
  • Report very good health
  • Higher use
  • Greater long-term value
  • Likely to be loyal
  • Influencers

Your objective is to understand their motivation and combine that with CRM data research and interviews. BVK’s research shows that how people think about their healthcare decisions is a marker for how much value they will contribute to healthcare providers over their lifetime.

On Friday, we were treated to a hands-on presentation titled “2020 Vision – Building your 2020 Plan in Just Two Hours!” by Jennifer Horton of Ten Adams. She helped us to prioritize what is important to each of us and to our organizations. We considered how to measure Growth, Reputation, Engagement and Brand. Then, we were instructed to brainstorm with our teams to prioritize action plans for these areas according to value and ease of implementation. Jennifer recommends you spend three hours per quarter reviewing your progress with your team. She showcased worksheets for monthly and daily planning time and advised we track our accomplishments in our Outlook calendars to later show our value to others. Finally, take time to celebrate your accomplishments with those that helped.

These are only a few of the take-aways from an exceptional learning experience. No doubt there are hundreds of other “gems” that would make us all healthcare marketing geniuses. If your presentation was left out of this summary, please accept my apologies. I could only attend one session at a time! Most speaker presentations have been loaded onto the Conference App. If you have not downloaded the app, you can click here for directions.

Thank you all for participating as attendees, presenters, sponsors and entertainers. And, most of all, thank you to the WHPRMS board of directors and conference organizers for creating a truly wonderful learning experience. Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

James Shulkin

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