Why “Go Red for Women”?

February 5th, 2016 No comments

go red

Those of us involved in healthcare marketing are very aware that February is Heart Month, and that today is Go Red for Women Day. Every year we plan various heart-related campaigns for our heart services. But seriously – what’s the big deal about women and wearing red?

Please allow me to veer from our usual type of blog to offer an explanation. But first, a little backstory: Although I have worked with Greystone in different capacities over the years – currently serving as Director of Content Services – I have been a registered nurse for over 30 years. Before getting involved in writing and editing for health content and marketing, I spent many years as a critical-care nurse in the cardiac surgery ICU of a major academic medical center. Cardiac surgery is my first clinical love.

In the academic medical center setting, I was very fortunate to be associated with many clinicians involved in heart-related research and practice. One of those researchers and practitioners is Dr. Nanette Wenger. Dr. Wenger is known nationally and internationally for her work in cardiology, specifically for her focus on women and heart disease. Dr. Wenger was researching and lecturing on women’s heart disease long before the rest of the medical world caught on.

Thanks to Dr. Wenger’s efforts, along with those of many others, we’ve learned a lot about heart disease in general and how it affects women in particular. Women have been more involved in research as study participants, which has led to improved treatment guidelines and programs for women affected by heart disease.

So what’s different with women and heart disease? It wasn’t until early in this century that we officially realized that heart disease isn’t just specific to older men. Women get heart disease, as do men, and they die from it…in significant numbers. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 25% of US women die of heart disease – in fact, it’s the number one cause of death in American women. However, women often have different symptoms and disease presentation than men, and for this reason, they may not be as readily diagnosed with heart disease as men. Also, heart disease tends to strike women later in life than men.

So, as you participate in #GoRedWearRed today, know that if your efforts cause even one woman to recognize her risks for heart disease and take steps to improve her health, we’ve all won. And if dozens and hundreds and thousands of women are impacted, we’ve all won big time.

What is your organization doing for Go Red for Women today?

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Getting Ready for the Big Game – in Santa Clara and Vegas!

February 2nd, 2016 No comments

TheBigGameDid someone say something about a big football game this weekend?

Yes, it’s that crazy time of year again, when we’re bombarded with ads about the game, the food, the new big-screen TV you should buy if you don’t already have one worthy of THE GAME and so on. And don’t forget the puppies and kittens! If you haven’t been invited to a bowl party extraordinaire on Sunday or if you aren’t hosting your own party, well then, we’ll assume you’re either not a football fan or you live in a cave off the grid.

But while most everyone is focused on football’s Big Game this weekend, we want to remind you that healthcare marketing’s Big Game is coming up later this year. Yes, the 20th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference will be held in Las Vegas November 7-9 at The Cosmopolitan. While there won’t be frolicking puppies and kittens, there will be plenty of food, drink and good times…along with a ton of educational sessions and networking opportunities! And because this year is the 20th anniversary of HCIC, there will be many extras on tap. Stay tuned for more details as we work to make this year’s HCIC the best and most special conference yet.

Is your organization planning to exhibit at HCIC? If so, don’t wait much longer to secure your booth! As of today, Feb. 2, almost 25% of the available exhibit booths have been sold. Sponsorships are still available, but are starting to dwindle as well. Learn more about exhibitor/sponsorship opportunities here: bit.ly/1JVp1H4.

Good luck to your team in Sunday’s Big Game and we hope to see you at our Big Game in Las Vegas in November!

Categories: A little fun, HCIC, Internet Conference Tags:

How Do You Pick the Right Vendor for your Next Big Digital Project?

January 20th, 2016 No comments

Happy New Year!

This is such a positive time of year! We are all hopeful about the possibilities that the New Year brings and insistent that this will be the year that our resolutions are kept. Reading more, eating healthier, volunteering, etc. – we frequently think of ways to make our lives happier, fuller and easier.

The New Year also makes way for new goals in our professional world. One goal that we are hearing from many of you is to ensure that you are presenting your best brand image. In order to achieve this goal, you’re considering a change in your CMS and/or CRM, or perhaps the decision to make a change has already been made. VendorEvaluationSelection

Making the decision to change your CRM or CMS vendor can be overwhelming! But it is often the most pivotal and influential step in improving your brand image.

Follow these simple steps to help you meet your 2016 goal:

Secure the necessary resources.

  • Show your senior leadership what your peers are accomplishing with a more advanced system.
  • Explain how you will use the extra funds to increase patient satisfaction and therefore increase the bottom line.

Ensure that you have a thorough team to make the decision.

  • Elicit help from IT, Marketing, end users, etc., to ensure that everyone has a hand in the selection. This helps ensure that you have the best suited vendor but also that you have the support of your whole organization.

Make a list of your “must-haves,” based on input from all affected departments in the organization.

    Ensure that you are clear about what you want and need from your new system.

Test your potential vendors.

    Bring them in for an onsite demo session to make sure you have all the necessary information before you make a decision.

Make the right decision. This is a big financial decision worth doing right the first time.

If you are planning on changing CMS vendors and are considering a consultant to assist with the selection process, answer these questions to help you make the decision about engaging a consultant:

  • Would it be helpful to have a project manager to handle all the selection details from start to finish?
  • Do you need a standardized process for narrowing down vendors that will meet your organization’s technical capabilities and pricing needs?
  • Do you desire a proven process for RFP development and evaluation, including score sheets for evaluating proposals and vendor demonstrations?

Make this a year you check a completed resolution off your list. For more information on the Vendor Selection Process, you can contact Farrah Hunt Thompson at fhunt@greystone.net or visit Greystone.

Good luck on accomplishing your 2016 resolutions!

Categories: CMS, CRM Tags:

Marketing in the New Year: Looking Ahead to 2016

December 18th, 2015 No comments

2015-2016As we glide through the final days of 2015 (we hope you are gliding rather than stumbling), it’s not too late to think about what’s on tap for 2016 as we plan for the soon-to-arrive new year.

For the past few months, many articles have been written with predictions of the hottest marketing trends for 2016. Here are a few to consider.

Search/SEO:

The number of people who use online search to find health or medical information continues to increase. And the majority of health information searches start with a search engine, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Thus, SEO continues to be an important component of digital strategy. However, some recent changes related to search engines can impact your SEO strategy moving forward:

• Yahoo has begun to partner with both Bing and Google. This means that Yahoo searches can show Google search results – including organic listings and paid ads – which can increase your exposure in searches. It also means that Bing’s ads will appear in 51% of desktop searches delivered by Yahoo.
• With the release of Windows 10 earlier this year, Bing ads are getting a lot more exposure because Bing is the default search engine in Microsoft’s new OS. Search has been made a more integral feature in Windows 10 by having a search box appear at all times in an onscreen task bar.
• Microsoft’s new Edge browser (the replacement for IE) helps to facilitate searches by allowing the user to highlight text in the browser and right click, after which Cortana can bring up the search results in a sidebar.
• Bing Native Ads was recently launched with ads appearing across MSN.com (the default start page for Windows 10). These ads can be managed via the Bing Ads interface.
• Social media, specifically Facebook, are working on strengthening their search functions. This should lead to greater brand exposure. In addition, advanced social media searches can include functions such as making purchases and engagement about what was purchased and opinions about products and services.

Emerging Social Platforms:

• Everybody is on Facebook and Twitter, and many organizations also utilize LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube. However, a somewhat surprising player is quickly rising in the social media universe: Snapchat. In fact, social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk predicts that Snapchat will be one of the top three social media platforms for the 13-50 year old demographic in 2016. Over the past couple of years, Snapchat has become very popular with young people, in large part due to the fact that Snapchat posts disappear shortly after they are viewed. Longer posts where several individual Snaps are combined, called Snapchat Stories, disappear after 24 hours and can be viewed multiple times by followers during the 24-hour period.

As with Vine and Instagram, spontaneity is the key to using Snapchat. So Snapchat can be useful for real-time engagement over a short period, like a flash sale, a limited-time coupon or other offer, a giveaway, or even to build up anticipation for an upcoming event.
• Snapchat Ads are still in limited use, but show promise for mobile ads in particular, because the video ads take up the full screen of the mobile device, thus better capturing the user’s attention.
• Facebook has a local services listing page in development. Similar to Yelp or Angie’s List, this feature will allow Facebook users to connect with local service providers. For organizations already active on Facebook, this feature looks to provide an additional means of connecting with customers.

Virtual Reality (VR):

VR is getting a boost in 2016 with the introduction of Oculus Rift. As this device – and the others that will surely follow it – becomes ingrained into common use, its potential marketing uses will be revealed. One marketing aspect for which VR shows promise is personalization. With the ability to tell stories from a 360-degree perspective, the promise for consumers to become immersed in marketing campaigns is ripe for development.

Internet of Things (IoT):

IoT has been on the horizon for a while now, as items such as wearables and connected devices have become more common. It is predicted that wearables will achieve a 28% adoption rate in 2016. Wearables and connected devices generate data, which can be mined for detailed information about the users and lead to more personalized engagement. It’s possible that we may see the first wearable native ads in 2016. The future of the IoT is certainly promising for marketers.

Mobile:

Mobile technology has become a core component of digital marketing. But advances continue. In 2016, you’ll need to consider:

• Google’s “mobilegeddon.” Back in April, Google updated its search algorithm to promote mobile, responsive-friendly Websites. If your organization’s site(s) is not optimized for mobile, Google will penalize your site in search results. In addition, people don’t want to use a site that’s not easily viewed or used on their mobile devices. With 80% of local searches performed on a mobile device and 91% of Americans keeping their mobile devices within reach 24/7, your organization must consider mobile as the center of its marketing strategy.
• Will Facebook become completely mobile in 2016? In the 3rd quarter of 2015, the equivalent of 47% of Facebook monthly active users were mobile-only users, an increase from 34% during the same period in 2014.
• Mobile wallets will be a standard feature on new Smartphones and more retailers will accept payments from proximity payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and others. Mobile wallets provide an opportunity to connect with customers with coupons, rewards/loyalty programs and other options as they pay with their phones.

2016 promises to be an exciting year for marketers. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges, and we’re sure you do as well.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a Happy New Year to all!

It’s That Time of Year Again…

December 2nd, 2015 No comments

It’s the beginning of December. 2015 is almost gone. How did that happen??!!

The last 2 months of the year always seem to be such a whirlwind of activity that is impossible to slow down. After the 19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in early November, we’ve gone from planning and organizing the 2015 conference to catching up and refocusing on other work and starting to plan for the 20th Annual HCIC next November in Las Vegas. We took a short “turkey break” last week but now we’re back at it. Like all organizations, we have end-of-year issues to attend to, as well as working on plans for 2016.

Relaxing_Christmas

With all the hubbub and “busy-ness” of this time of year, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of work, family and holiday activities to the point that we need a vacation from our holiday vacation by January 2nd. But it’s important to stop whenever we can, even if it’s only for a moment, to catch a breath, reflect on our blessings and enjoy our time with family and friends. After all, what’s more important – another shopping trip to the mall or the family gathered around a home-cooked meal on the table?

Here are a few tips from experts on holiday stress to help ease your way through the next few weeks:

Just say “no.” You cannot be everything to all people. Know your limits and set your priorities. Delegate when possible. Pace yourself – the holidays are a marathon, not a sprint.

Tickle your funny bone. There’s no greater stress reliever than humor. Find a fun activity and have a great time!

Pay it back or pay it forward. Nothing helps with that holiday glow like doing for others. Whether it’s serving at a soup kitchen, collecting toys for needy children, caring for animals at a shelter or helping an elderly family member or neighbor with household chores, there are dozens of opportunities available for helping out those in need – or simply doing something nice for someone. I still smile when I remember the fresh cooked apples and hot potato latkes my neighbor brought to my door during Hanukkah last year – they were amazing!

Don’t forget the reason for the season. Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice, take the time to attend and participate in activities or services pertinent to your practices. These activities can provide inspiration and a renewed sense of dedication as you move forward into the New Year.

Reward and pamper yourself. Don’t forget some “me” time somewhere along the way. Whether it’s a short nap, a soak in the hot tub, a round of golf or reading that best-seller you’ve been meaning to get to all year, set aside some time to take care of yourself.

What are your favorite tips for stress-free holidays? We’d love to hear from you!

Categories: A little fun Tags: