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Is Healthcare Marketing Really a Snowflake?

September 22, 2014|Jennifer Russo

A common refrain I hear from healthcare marketers: “I don’t care what’s going on in other industries; healthcare is different.” There is certainly some validity in this mindset – I’m pressed to come up with another industry that is saddled with regulations as complex as ours, where matrixed organizations have a greater impact on group decisionmaking, or where the complexities of scientific discovery impact product development and management more completely. But I would also hold that this insistence that what other industries have discovered “simply wouldn’t work for us” limits us more than industry challenges ever could.

A common refrain I hear from healthcare marketers: “I don’t care what’s going on in other industries; healthcare is different.”

There is certainly some validity in this mindset – I’m pressed to come up with another industry that is saddled with regulations as complex as ours, where matrixed organizations have a greater impact on group decisionmaking, or where the complexities of scientific discovery impact product development and management more completely. But I would also hold that this insistence that what other industries have discovered “simply wouldn’t work for us” limits us more than industry challenges ever could.

Consider common strategic challenges in healthcare and other industries:

  • Overcoming an inherent disconnect between sales, marketing and product management
  • Developing the ability to know our customers better
  • Crafting a more efficient lead engine
  • Focusing on technology to help us be more effective with fewer resources
  • Having insufficient time to focus on strategy

What would happen if we forced ourselves to poke our heads out of our industry, even just once a month, to connect with colleagues in other areas? Would we be inspired by innovation? Would we find a unique way to meet a customer need? Would we learn ways that other marketers have leveraged technology and that we could modify and implement?

I’m reminded of a professional violinist who once credited BKS Iyengar, the late yoga guru, with being not just the best yoga teacher he ever had, but also the best violin teacher. Now that’s inspiration – being able to take a seemingly unrelated discipline and apply teachings with such utility that it becomes a strategic foundation upon which other efforts are built.

Jennifer Russo

Jennifer is director of the healthcare segment at SiriusDecisions. She is a product and marketing leader with a background in health information technology, payers (health plans and pharmacy benefits), and strategic selling into bio/pharma. Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @Jrusso346.
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