Driving Digital Deeper Into Our DNA at HCB … and for Our Clients

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Business is digital — and the healthcare space is no exception. Digitally empowered patients and customers are leading the way, emitting a digital data exhaust that begs to be harnessed. And with the availability of tools to make sense of it all (e.g., AI, social listening, software engineers, machine learning), coupled with the fact that manufacturers are increasingly steering their spend towards digital (albeit slowly), while hospitals are adapting more quickly, digital is finally moving from the margin to the middle. So, if business is digital, then digital needs to mean business. Given today’s realities, clients need a deeply skilled, digitally savvy partner and organization to help them not just keep pace, but fundamentally transform their business so they can create competitive advantage and better serve their customers. That’s why I’m thrilled and honored to join …

“Yes, and !” What Improv Taught Me About Business

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As with most extroverts, talking has always come easy to me. I love to discuss, debate, share and present. I’m in my element when I’m standing in front of a group of people and have always enjoyed performing. So when a friend asked me to sign up for improv classes at Second City in Chicago, it seemed like a no-brainer. Surely I would follow the likes of Tina Fey and be on my way to “Saturday Night Live” in no time! After all, I was good at talking and fancied myself to have a great sense of humor. In the following weeks I learned the basics. For starters, …

Trouble Connecting? Take it Offline

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Have you ever received an email that you had to read a few times? The first time you read it, you detect a subtle attitude from the author. The second time you think it’s just sarcasm. Finally, you decide it’s not attitude; they are actually mad. Yup, their clipped language and lack of a friendly sign-off mean they are angry. So what do you do? First you react. Then you respond. You phrase your response perfectly so that the reader knows “I know you are mad, but here’s why I am right” or “Gosh, I am sorry you are mad. I am such an idiot.” But what happens if the writer isn’t mad at all? He just writes in short sentences and doesn’t do the common pleasantries. Here’s the problem: Email sucks at tone. It’s not …

Cultivating a Culture of Listening

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Hi there! Welcome to HCB’s first ever culture post! I bet you didn’t know you were coming to a healthcare marketing blog to read about culture, huh? Well you actually came to the right blog, because I happen to be heavily steeped in all things “culture.” Corporate culture? Check. Pop culture? Sure! Cheese curds? OH YEAH. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Amber, and I’m the office manager/social media manager for our Austin office. I spend most of my time planning office parties and surfing the web. One of my favorite things to do, …

What Does It Mean to Be the Listening Agency?

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A few years ago, I began doing executive coaching as a new discipline for the agency, after a few C-level clients asked me to work with some of their senior staff members to improve their leadership and communication skills. “Me?” I thought, “Why me?” But then I thought about the common theme that almost every former client had shared about working with me and the team at HCB Health — that we were good listeners. Since then, I have worked with many different folks from a wide range of pharma and device companies who have all needed my support in different areas of development. Some were CEOs, and some were middle managers seeking to rise up the ranks. What separated the ones I knew would be successful from the ones I wondered about? Not their EQ …

Listen Globally, Act Locally

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There is a paradox at play in the world of global marketing. We live in an age where the expectation is that messages can be shared instantaneously across the boundaries of time, language and location. We are more connected than we have ever been, yet we still are not a unified world. What motivates us, what inspires us and what drives a brand to succeed is vastly different between continents and cultures. Yet we talk about “globalization” as if that undertaking is possible in a meaningful way with our physicians and patients around the world. The goal in marketing global brands is to seek the highest common denominator …

Listening Is the Key to Becoming More Than Just Better Marketers

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We’ve all read articles addressing the question of how to be heard in the age of information. But while we’re all focused on being “heard,” many of us fail to address its essential complement: listening. At a recent pharma meeting, I spoke with some pharmaceutical marketing executives about their experiences with their agencies and uncovered a common complaint: While their agencies spend dozens of hours demonstrating their ingenuity and creativity, especially during pitches, marketers themselves are frequently frustrated at the failure of these agencies to genuinely listen to what their clients are saying. In a market as fraught with regulatory challenges as healthcare, listening is absolutely vital — and a skill too often overlooked in favor of “wowing” a client with strategy or creative. We are busy showing and knowing rather …

Healthcare Marketers Say Few Ad Agencies Are Really Good Listeners

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New HCB Survey Finds Failure to Understand Client Needs Leads to Inferior Work, Cost Issues and Diminished Agency Value Healthcare advertising agencies need to sharpen their listening skills, according to a new survey of marketing executives commissioned by HCB Health. Respondents in four industry sectors — pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotechnology and medtech — correlated good listening with the ability to understand and meet their business needs but said that only a …

Point-Of-Care Innovation: The Evolution of Medical Interactions

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Point-of-care interactions between patients and healthcare professionals are undergoing significant changes. Whether in the doctor’s office, hospital or pharmacy, new care models are being established that are designed to bring fundamental change to the doctor-patient relationship. At a time when new drug product innovation has slowed down considerably, digital technologies and behavioral shifts are seen as an efficient and effective way to create patient-centric improvements. Observing macro-trends in point-of-care destinations can reveal a lot about the potential for improved patient outcomes. That information is further enriched by listening. Listening to conversations can tell us a lot about where doctor-patient relationships currently stand, how they are evolving and where the future is headed. If improved patient outcomes is the goal, observation and listening is the way there. Mike …

Marketers Be Aware: We Need to Start Listening Better

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Rewind to “Mad Men,” Season 3, Episode 9. Don Draper is confidently introducing a new campaign idea to hotelier Conrad Hilton, offering Americans the thrill of international travel along with all the comforts of home. How do you say ice water in Italian? Hilton. Fresh towels in Farsi? Hilton. Hamburger in Japanese? Hilton. Hilton — it’s the same in any language. …

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