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HCEA: Big Data and Taking Risks in a Risk-Averse Industry

HCEA: Big Data and Taking Risks in a Risk-Averse Industry

And other takeaways for healthcare marketers

If you are a marketer (and especially if you are an event marketer), you most likely are always looking for the “Next Big Thing.” You know, that magic bullet that will engage your audiences, dazzle their senses, and endear them to your brand or organization.

This was a message we heard loud and clear as we talked with brand and association marketers in the FreemanXP TrendLab at HCEA earlier this week. One universal theme was around big data: everyone feels challenged to supply audience engagement data (to their event sponsors, to management, to association members, etc.). And they are looking for the "Next Big Thing" to make it all make sense. Countless conversations centered around searching for the next big thing and the intersection of ideas and data — but this was a cautious search. The folks we talked to would love it if someone else found it, tried it, and reported back on how it worked (or didn’t work). 

It takes bravery in any industry to step out and take a risk — even more so in the healthcare industry, with so much at stake. Just ask the MLR (medical, legal, and regulatory) teams of any life sciences company. "How will we know if it works? What if we fail? What will the repercussions be?" These are the concerns that can keep a marketer up at night.

But what if we told you that there is a way to mitigate the risk of being bold and trying something new? What if we challenged you to consider the repercussions of failing to try, to evolve, to grow?

By beginning with a strong strategic underpinning, one that ladders up to event, marketing, and business objectives, we have a strong foundation upon which we can help clients get comfortable with trying something new. Tapping into data, measurement, and audience insights helps guide us toward the big ideas that will prove to be successful. The data is out there for the grabbing. It just needs to be collected, analyzed, and put to work to both mitigate risk and prove value. And to finish off the trifecta, we have a team of industry experts who have “been there, done that.” The experts not only help marketers develop the “Next Big Thing,” but also execute it flawlessly. Any sign or signal of risk is effectively averted.

While we can’t say exactly what the “Next Big Thing” is (as it truly is unique and custom to each of our clients, their challenges and opportunities, and their programs), we can tell you that it is out there, it is attainable, and it is awesome. 

A few other things we heard at HCEA:

Content is King and Storytelling is His Queen
Even in healthcare event marketing, it is no longer enough to have content. Your content must be embedded in rich storytelling, showcasing how your offerings are impacting real people. Your communications cycle should be buttoned up as the ramp-up before and the follow-up after an event are equally as important as the event itself. 

Data, Beacons, and Tech — Oh My!
Part of the challenge around big data is that many of the folks we talked to have not been collecting the data and they aren’t sure how to get started. Beacons and other location-based technologies are of interest because of the innate nature of the tracking and data provided by them, but funding can be limited and thus initiatives like this get cut. There is a tremendous opportunity here and we are excited to work with our clients to crack this particular nut.

Know Your Audience, Know Your Audience, Know Your Audience
The healthcare industry is evolving at an intensely rapid clip. The ecosystem of influencers is no longer limited to just physicians. Influencers now include nurses, assistants, pharmacists, and more. As such, marketing and messaging must change to resonate with this expanded audience. What’s more, this larger audience can be reached in ways not imaginable before. Just look at the convergence of healthcare at traditionally tech-oriented events like SXSW and CES. Your target may be at one of these events one week, and then at yours the next. Are you providing the kind of experience needed to capture the attention and engagement of this sophisticated attendee?

Learn more about FreemanXP TrendLab and how you can use the latest event marketing trends to help generate real business results for your organization. 
Contributors:
Kelly Harvey, Content Manager, Strategic Sales Support, Freeman 
Mike Moyer, Business Development Director, FreemanXP
TJ Jackson, VP, Business Development, FreemanXP
Lauren Cushing, Account Director, FreemanXP

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