So I’ve been captivated by the ad industry (all encompassing) for some time now. I suppose it all started last summer when I finally got into Mad Men. Then some serendipitous happenstances occurred at work which allowed me to spend a good bit of my time with our in-house agency. They produce amazing stuff. It’s been awesome.

Mostly because it allowed demanded creativity in an industry that doesn’t always support creativity–which was good for me because I consider myself creative. It’s also exposed me to new thinking–which is good for anyone, anywhere.

Healthcare people may not believe this, but ad agencies have big problems, too. Payment models are antiquating. Creating ads today is nothing like it was ten years ago, let alone yesterday. There are upstart, nimble competitors willing to do the work for less. The skill-mix of their workforce does not match the work output being demanded.

And it’s inspiring because these people are trying to figure it out. They’re going to work every day and just trying to find what works. From what I can tell I don’t think anyone is particularly pompous about it. It’s just what they do. The world of advertising has changed drastically. And they are adjusting.

It reminds me of healthcare (except the adjustment is on a much slower pace). Especially the lesson Edward Boches shares here: today’s “creative” must understand the capabilities of the technology. One needs to understand what technology can do before one can imagine how best to leverage that technology in a creative format. The idea without the technology is no good. Neither is the technology without the idea.

The complexity of healthcare, medicine, and its delivery means that one who wishes to bring creative solutions to healthcare delivery problems needs to understand the technology. 

All this to say that healthcare needs creativity now more than ever. I’m convinced of it more so with every ACO, meaningful use, and clinical integration article I read. For the kindred souls out there: the opportunities are waiting. Stop waiting on them. Understand the technology. Get yourself into a role where you can make a difference. Do it.

Healthcare doesn’t get social

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Social media is a marketer’s campaign fallback. When in doubt, tweet it! Post it! Social media seems like an obvious marketing platform, but it may not be as effective as you think in the healthcare sector.

Only 4% of healthcare industry leaders reported social media as “very effective” for helping marketing efforts, according to HealthLeaders Industry Survey 2011. The majority of respondents (53%) answered that they were “neutral” on social media’s effectiveness.

Maybe it’s information overload. Maybe it’s a form of A.D.D. Millennials are showing little interest in what marketers hav

e to say via social media. According to a Capstrat poll, more than five of every six respondents said they would not use social media for medical communication if their doctors offered it.

Or maybe the majority of healthcare marketers have no idea how to use social media and little appetite for trying anything new. Healthcare marketing’s true fallback–in other words: best practices–hardly exist in this new social world.

Think about this: how effective is your telephone as a marketing tool? (h/t) Tough question to answer, right?

Well, if “healthcare marketers” used the phone like they use Twitter or Facebook and just played a recorded message of the titles of their most recent press releases, that phone would have little value. But they don’t. There are people on the other end of the phone. People who answer questions, direct toward more information, and, ugh, make appointments.

This is dangerous is the age of phone trees and recorded messages. But try this: use social media like you use the phone. Be there when someone calls. Mmm, talk back. Or, call someone. Stop the automatic updates. Don’t be afraid to chat about topics unrelated to your organization’s health fair that you have been pushing on Twitter for the last twelve days.

People: this isn’t that hard, I promise. And run away from anyone who tells you it is. You can even jump in with both feet before policy, privacy, and other traditional healthcare excuses get in the way.

Call me if you need help.

image via here