HCB Health Blog

The HCBlog

Where we share our thoughts on agency life and all things healthcare marketing.


Chatbot Technology Adds a Human-Like Side to Digital Marketing

Posted by James Hilton at 8:33 am, October 16

In his most recent article on PharmaLive, our Chief Innovation Officer, Robert Palmer, takes a look at the advancements in voice-activated technology and discusses its growing capabilities as a tool for marketers to engage consumers.


As chatbots become more and more common in mobile and Web applications, voice-activated technology is revolutionizing the way humans carry out their daily lives. According to Palmer, voice-activated interactions are capable of improving consumer engagement because of the human instinct to communicate through spoken conversations.

Palmer also looks back at the development of voice-recognition technology and its part in making interactions with machines more human-like. He credits Apple’s well-known chatbot, Siri, as an essential innovation that has made voice-recognition technology a natural part of the smartphone experience.

“Consumers are now conditioned to interact with their smartphones and other devices in a less intimidating and more intuitive way,” Palmer writes. “Marketers now have the ability to use this technology to remove the psychological and emotional barriers of customer interactions with machines that rely on hunt-and-peck technologies that date back to the dawn of the Web.”

Read the full article here to learn more about how marketers can benefit from voice-activated chatbot technology — and discover what it was like for Palmer’s friend, Susan Bennett, to create the original voice of Siri.


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Comments (0) | Tags: Advertising, Consumer Marketing, Healthcare Marketing, Innovation, Mobile Marketing, Pharma, Strategy,

Combating the Polarized Thinking Epidemic in Healthcare Marketing

Posted by James Hilton at 3:00 am, August 31

Al Topin, Strategic Consultant for HCB Health Chicago, offers a set of guidelines for applying common sense and courage to find marketing solutions without compromise in his recent article for PharmExec.com.


How do healthcare marketers choose solutions in an age where a surplus of both factual and fabricated support can be found for almost any opinion? According to Topin, choosing the right position on the polar spectrum works better than going with a diluting compromise.

Topin recommends that marketers with short-term goals (e.g., rushing to market) shift to a mindset of realistic, long-term success. In addition, he emphasizes the importance of keeping focused tactics without conforming to the directions other brands are taking.

“In the chaos of developing a launch, keeping things simple, focused and aligned is hard work.” Topin writes. “It takes discipline and courage to defend against the other side of the polarized spectrum that constantly adds more details and multiple directions.”

Read the full article here to learn more about Topin’s insights on how to depolarize situations to drive better marketing results as well as his suggestions for building strong agency relationships for brand success.

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Comments (0) | Tags: Advertising, Consumer Marketing, Healthcare, Healthcare Marketing, Hospital Marketing, Marketing, Pharma, Strategy,

Shifting Passive Viewership to Immersive Experiences in Video Marketing

Posted by James Hilton at 2:55 pm, July 20

According to our Chief Innovation Officer, Robert Palmer, Netflix’s new “story-gaming” strategy can inspire healthcare marketers to create immersive experiences in interactive video. His most recent feature article in PharmaLive looks at the potential these innovations can have to impact the future of healthcare marketing. 

What Healthcare Marketers Can Learn from Netflix

Healthcare brands face the challenge of creating successful online videos that stand apart from cluttered web content. This is why Palmer encourages healthcare marketers to learn new strategies from leading digital entertainment services like Netflix, to create better consumer interactions in video.

“It is a digital truism that the best experience a user has becomes his or her minimal expectation,” Palmer writes. “As the web becomes glutted with video content, the most engaging and immersive experiences will win.”

The article highlights suggestions for setting new standards in online video as Palmer looks at statistics on improving viewer engagement as well as tools for creating innovative, engaging content.

Read the full article here to learn more about innovation in interactive video and see particular examples for how it can be used in healthcare marketing.

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Engaging Patients and Clinicians with Augmented Reality

Posted by Tanya Mahr at 12:11 pm, June 22

Our new Chief Innovation Officer, Robert Palmer, is looking ahead at the rising possibilities of augmented reality and mobile healthcare marketing in his latest feature article in PharmaLive.

Mobile Healthcare Marketing: How Your Phone’s Camera Will Change Medical Marketing

Evaluating the Apple-Google AR technology race, Robert reports on upcoming iPhone 8 features and Google “Lens” technology that provide exciting opportunities for medical and pharma marketers. As the technology becomes integrated across multiple channels, AR’s potential to create unique engagement opportunities for healthcare consumers will be greatly expanded.

“Since better outcomes are largely dependent on better understanding of complex medical concepts and issues, patients and clinicians can reap the benefits that AR technologies can provide,” Robert writes.

Read the full article here to hear Robert’s insights on new developments in AR and see his call for pharmaceutical marketers to remain current on mobile technology.

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7 Learnings for Healthcare from SXSW Interactive 2017

Posted by Sarah Hudgens at 1:40 pm, April 7

We sent several associates into the frenzy of downtown Austin to attend the city’s annual SXSW Interactive Festival. Their only assignment: LISTEN. HCB tuned into the trends at SXSW, and this is what we learned…


Gathering Data Is Easy; Using It Is Hard

“We’re accumulating data at a much faster rate than we can analyze and use it. This isn’t just regarding the health or advertising industry. The health industry also faces unique regulatory challenges with how the data can be collected/used, and there’s no standard for how to collect/analyze/use it.”

—David Buck, Media Supervisor


Everybody Loves to Play

“Gamification principles can be used to create better digital experiences. There are eight core drives that motivate everything we do, and they can be categorized by left brain/right brain and white hat/black hat. The key to a fun, engaging experience is to ensure your product capitalizes on at least one core drive. And by understanding our audiences, we can build experiences that intrinsically motivate people to repeatedly use them.”

—Tanya Mahr, Content Strategist

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Localize to Turn a Good Campaign into a Blockbuster

Posted by Sarah Hudgens at 3:49 pm, June 22

In her new feature article for PM360, HCB’s Associate Partner, EVP Integrated Services Kim Carpenter discusses best practices for localizing a marketing strategy in an increasingly global market. “In the face of this change, remember that today’s audiences are not homogenous—so your marketing can’t afford to be either. . . . localization is what differentiates a good campaign from a blockbuster.”

From doing the necessary legwork to understand local target audiences, to tapping into the power of social media, to continually optimizing performance, Kim provides concrete advice from an industry veteran. Read the full article here, and contact us if you want to learn how HCB can help you implement these tactics into your marketing strategy.

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Two Major Manny Award Nods for HCB

Posted by Sarah Hudgens at 4:57 pm, April 13

HCB Health had a banner year in 2015, and Med Ad News has recognized us with Agency of the Year Category III and Heart Award nominations.

CMO Nancy Beesley sums it up like this: “2015 was a record-breaker.” In a year when the agency is making bold new strides and celebrating an important anniversary, we couldn’t be more proud to be nominated for two Manny Awards. It’s an honor to have our recent successes recognized by our industry.

The Agency of the Year Category III award is given to the best small healthcare marketing agency, as determined by factors such as creative track record, management strength, financial performance, strategic thinking, account wins and losses, and ability to attract talent.

The Heart Award is “designed to recognize agency/networks’ social responsibilities and cultures that embody a high commitment to philanthropic and social causes.” We’re nominated this year for our partnership with AbelsonTaylor and JUICE Pharma Worldwide to produce an MIT HackMed Health Hack event at the 23rd annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival. The event attracted about 200 attendees and gave industry professionals, providers and patients a forum to create real solutions for living with chronic disease.

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Comments (0) | Tags: Awards, Healthcare Marketing, SXSWi,

Patients Win at the HCB Health and MIT #SXSHackMed SXSW Event

Posted by Sarah Hudgens at 9:25 am, February 22

Join HCB Health for three days of SXSW health and medtech at the MIT #SXSHackMed event, March 12-14, 2016.

HCB Health is proud to be partnering with MIT, AbelsonTaylor and JUICE Pharma Worldwide to host the HackMed Health Hack event at this year’s SXSW interactive festival. Part of the health and medtech track, this unique three-day event will focus on human-centric problem solving for patients with chronic diseases.

The HackMed Health Hack is focused on finding everyday solutions to chronic healthcare challenges. We’ll be bringing patients together with caregivers and healthcare innovators to generate new ideas and problem-solving strategies. Through this unprecedented access to lectures, discussion and some pretty heavy brainstorming, solutions will be found and startups will be born.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 5.13.19 PM

Join us for a weekend of knowledge and power:

SXSW Interactive
JW Marriott
110 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

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Comments (0) | Tags: Austin, Consumer Marketing, Digital Strategy, Interactive, SXSW, SXSWh, SXSWi,

HCB Is Turning 15!

Posted by Sarah Hudgens at 12:07 pm, February 17

It was 2001, the year Wikipedia revolutionized information sharing, the year the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, the year the Mars Odyssey reached Mars. The year HCB Health was born, kicking and screaming.

Fifteen years later, we’ve learned a lot, tottered through childhood and grown to nearly our full, lanky height. Like a rebellious teenager we are fiercely independent, but we deeply appreciate every step that got us here. Last year was our strongest year to date — and we expect to keep getting stronger.

This year we have some fresh, blemish-free faces on our leadership team. We’ve launched new strategy and consulting services. We’re hiring like crazy. And we’re committed to continually diving in, learning more and giving 100 percent to clients and staff.

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On-Demand Healthcare: The Doctor Is In, Wherever You Are

Posted by Derek Peet at 8:07 am, February 15

On-demand healthcare is on the rise. Virtual doctor apps let patients take charge of their own health and avoid the waiting room with mHealth technology.

Whether you forgot to get your flu shot and are experiencing the repercussions or woke up with an unexplainable rash, on-demand healthcare apps are swooping in to ease your pain.

Apps like Pager and Doctor On Demand aim to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to the everyday American. Currently, 64% of American adults own smartphones. In the past year, 62% of those adults used their smartphones to research their health. Bringing healthcare on demand, these apps help patients feel better faster without sacrificing time.

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