New Year’s 2020

After creating so much content for clients, it can be challenging to stop the presses for a moment to develop our content (the cobbler’s children have no shoes, etc.). But as 2019 comes to an end and a new decade is upon us, it feels right to take a moment and review things at the convent.

2019 was a great year for Team Nun; we grew nearly 50%, added a few new team members, and one no non-nonsense Nun to the squad. Something I’d been trying to do for years. I’ve learned a bit of patience over the past decade, and when things unfold naturally, it always works best for everyone involved.

We’ve broadened our skillset further into the wild world of revenue cycle management, gained at least a master’s in the behavioral health segment, and know enough about GRC and risk management to be very, very dangerous, and post-acute, yea we got that. I love that we continue to grow and learn about new areas of technology, healthcare delivery, and changes in patient expectations. It makes us valuable but also provides an extensive view of the Healthcare IT and services market. Change is coming faster, maybe not as fast as some had hoped, but either way, it is going to be a wild year.

I’m often asked what has changed dramatically when it comes to marketing and healthcare. I’ve got a soapbox for that one, and it goes something like this: don’t get caught up in tactics when you don’t have a strategy. Another is about the importance of messaging. Call us old school, but if you have the coolest brand ever and no one has any idea what it is you actually can do for them —it doesn’t matter. Of course, some things have changed—primarily the tools and techniques for getting your information out to the world. But the fundamentals of marketing do not. And if those are not done well, then everything else will be negatively impacted.

Creating a high-return marketing program starts with two things, strategic objectives for the organization and sales objectives for the coming year. If it doesn’t support and move both of those toward the board’s expectations, then it’s not worth the effort. The next step is understanding the market and what similar companies are saying—where is the white space where a new entrant can be heard and win?

A solid marketing program is like building a house. The foundation is messaging, product structure, brand, and strategy. Often clients are limited in terms of budget, so tradeoffs need to be made between channels and tactics. Some things are linear. Like you can’t launch an inbound program when you have a poorly built web site. Inbound or outbound will be greatly affected by what happens when a prospect gets to your site. You get one chance to make a good first impression, and you literally have about 10 seconds to move your target buyer from interest to action. Ultimately the right tactics are also a function of the type of solution you are offering. Is it a transactional sale? For most B2B healthcare vendors, the answer is no, this is not transactional, meaning you need to create a relationship before the hard sell. Past experience and some market intel can give you the feedback you need to design a program that won’t miss the mark in the new year.

So, as you plan 2020, a few parting shots…

  • Strategy: Get one, the entire marketing program should be benchmarked against it
  • KPIs: Measure what matters, pick three KPIs (we call that The Holy Trinity) and benchmark your progress religiously
  • Messaging: Fewer words are better (if they are the right words)
  • Color: Let go of navy and orange; healthcare has moved on and so should you
  • Social: Everyone is on LinkedIn—you and your leadership team need to take this seriously
  • Content: Good marketing is fueled by good content, without it, your program will be far less effective
  • Clients: Harnessing the success of your first clients is key to a robust marketing program—customer success is key to sales growth

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