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Healthcare Marketers: 8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do

The most successful people in business work differently. See what they do–and why it works.

skd183348sdcHealthcare marketers are driven people. They wear a multitude of hats and must have many areas of competencies.  They have to multi-task.  They have to start early and stay late.  They have to be on top of their game at all times.  They are the keepers and protectors of their organization’s brand.  And it’s not easy!  It’s demanding.  But it can also be very rewarding.

Jeff Haden recently wrote two articles for Inc magazine about the beliefs and habits of extremely successful people.  It has some great points that I think can apply to healthcare marketers.  I share his second article about the habits of remarkably successful people:

I’ve described how these people share a set of specific perspectives and beliefs.  They also share a number of habits:

1. They don’t create back-up plans.

Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

You’ll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment–without a safety net–will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

If somehow the worst does happen (and the “worst” is never as bad as you think) trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

2. They do the work…

You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort.

But you can’t be great–at anything–unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort.

Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you’ll find a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle but no one follows it… except remarkably successful people.

So start doing the work now. Time is wasting.

3.  …and they work a lot more.

Forget the Sheryl Sandberg “I leave every day at 5:30” stories. I’m sure she does. But she’s not you.

Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know (personally) works more hours than the average person–a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time.

Better yet, they want to put in lots of time.

If you don’t embrace a workload others would consider crazy then your goal doesn’t mean that much to you–or it’s not particularly difficult to achieve. Either way you won’t be remarkably successful.

4. They avoid the crowds.

Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity.

Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.

5. They start at the end…

Average success is often based on setting average goals.

Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal.

Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

Never start small where goals are concerned. You’ll make better decisions–and find it much easier to work a lot harder–when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

6. … and they don’t stop there.

Achieving a goal–no matter how huge–isn’t the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal.

Maybe you want to create a $100 million business; once you do you can leverage your contacts and influence to create a charitable foundation for a cause you believe in. Then your business and humanitarian success can create a platform for speaking, writing, and thought leadership. Then…

The process of becoming remarkably successful in one field will give you the skills and network to be remarkably successful in many other fields.

Remarkably successful people don’t try to win just one race. They expect and plan to win a number of subsequent races.

7. They sell.

I once asked a number of business owners and CEOs to name the one skill they felt contributed the most to their success. Each said the ability to sell.

Keep in mind selling isn’t manipulating, pressuring, or cajoling. Selling is explaining the logic and benefits of a decision or position. Selling is convincing other people to work with you. Selling is overcoming objections and roadblocks.

Selling is the foundation of business and personal success: knowing how to negotiate, to deal with “no,” to maintain confidence and self-esteem in the face of rejection, to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, to build long-term relationships…

When you truly believe in your idea, or your company, or yourself then you don’t need to have a huge ego or a huge personality. You don’t need to “sell.”

You just need to communicate.

8. They are never too proud.

To admit they made a mistake. To say they are sorry. To have big dreams. To admit they owe their success to others. To poke fun at themselves. To ask for help.

To fail.

And to try again.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Healthcare Marketing: 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People

The most successful people in business approach their work differently than most. See how they think–and why it works.

100092920Healthcare marketers are driven people. They wear a multitude of hats and must have many areas of competencies.  They have to multi-task.  They have to start early and stay late.  They have to be on top of their game at all times.  They are the keepers and protectors of their organization’s brand.  And it’s not easy!  It’s demanding.  But it can also be very rewarding.

Jeff Haden recently wrote two articles for Inc magazine about the beliefs and habits of extremely successful people.  It has some great points that I think can apply to healthcare marketers.  I share his first article here about the beliefs of remarkably successful persons:

I’m fortunate enough to know a number of remarkably successful people. Regardless of industry or profession, they all share the same perspectives and beliefs.

And they act on those beliefs:

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way. The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.

Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time.

2. The people around me are the people I chose.

Some of your employees drive you nuts. Some of your customers are obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.

You chose them. If the people around you make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault. They’re in your professional or personal life because you drew them to you–and you let them remain.

Think about the type of people you want to work with. Think about the types of customers you would enjoy serving. Think about the friends you want to have.

Then change what you do so you can start attracting those people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Remarkable employees want to work for remarkable bosses.

Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues.

Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution you make on a daily basis.

No matter what you’ve done or accomplished in the past, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and do the grunt work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.

Remarkably successful people never feel entitled–except to the fruits of their labor.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

You have “10 years in the Web design business.” Whoopee. I don’t care how long you’ve been doing what you do. Years of service indicate nothing; you could be the worst 10-year programmer in the world.

I care about what you’ve done: how many sites you’ve created, how many back-end systems you’ve installed, how many customer-specific applications you’ve developed (and what kind)… all that matters is what you’ve done.

Successful people don’t need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they’ve done.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.

Ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, “My toy got broken…” instead of, “I broke my toy.”

They’ll say the economy tanked. They’ll say the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say their suppliers couldn’t keep up.

They’ll say it was someone or something else.

And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures.

Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail. Most of the time, though, it’s you. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That’s why they’re successful now.

Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.

6. Volunteers always win.

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

That’s great. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to act. Successful people step forward to create opportunities.

Remarkably successful people sprint forward.

7. As long as I’m paid well, it’s all good.

Specialization is good. Focus is good. Finding a niche is good. Generating revenue is great.

Anything a customer will pay you a reasonable price to do–as long as it isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal–is something you should do. Your customers want you to deliver outside your normal territory? If they’ll pay you for it, fine. They want you to add services you don’t normally include? If they’ll pay you for it, fine. The customer wants you to perform some relatively manual labor and you’re a high-tech shop? Shut up, roll ’em up, do the work, and get paid.

Only do what you want to do and you might build an okay business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business.

Be willing to do even more and you can build a remarkable business.

And speaking of customers…

8. People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do.

Get over your cocky, pretentious, I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self. Be that way on your own time.

The people who pay you, whether customers or employers, earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail.

Instead of complaining, work to align what you like to do with what the people who pay you want you to do.

Then you turn issues like control and micro-management into non-issues.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, “Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?” and leave, never to return.

That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place.

That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.

Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Don’t just tell employees what to do–show them what to do and work beside them.

Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do–especially if other people aren’t doing that one thing. Sure, it’s hard.

But that’s what will make you different.

And over time, that’s what will make you incredibly successful.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

Healthcare Marketing: Smaller Hospitals Effective Using Social Media

Study shows smaller hospitals use Facebook more effectively than larger ones.

Hospitals are getting into the social media game.  Although late adopters, hospitals are increasing their use of social media.   Some larger institutions, like the Mayo Clinic, have large social media departments and have extensive activity among social media networks.  But it’s much more challenging for smaller hospitals.  The resources, the time requirements and support from upper management are definite limitations.  But even with those liabilities, a recent study indicated smaller hospitals can be effective utilizing social media.

In two studies at the University of Missouri, the findings indicated that smaller hospitals use Facebook more effectively than larger ones.  One study was conducted by Dr Ricky C. Leung, assistant professor of health management and one by Dr. Kalyan S. Pasupathy, assistant professor of health management and informatics.  The research findings were reported by Brian Horowitz in eWeek .  The research indicated that smaller hospitals are more committed to Facebook once they decide to use it.

Despite larger hospitals having more resources to build stronger Facebook page, they have more channels to develop and populate.   Smaller hospitals who are limited in what they can do, concentrate their efforts more narrowly and are therefore more effective with the tools they use.

Of the sites studied, the average number of “likes” for the hospital’s Facebook page was 1321.

The take-away from this research is that smaller hospitals can have success using social media.  The key for smaller hospitals is to limit the number of social media channels used and concentrate on only as many channels as can be done well.  To spread the marketing department too thin by trying to do too much is counter productive.  It’s much more effective to do one or two things and do them well.

An effective social media effort is not limited to larger hospitals.  Smaller hospitals can also be effective by strategically choosing a limited number of social media tactics and doing them as well as possible.

Healthcare Marketing: How Often, What, When to Post on Social Media

Timing, frequency and content of social media impact its effectiveness.

Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella examined more than 100,000 social media accounts to determine what timing and frequency renders the most effectiveness for outcomes.  Of course effectiveness is different for each specific activity but Zarrella did discover some general guidelines.

Frequency: What is the right amount of frequency in social media?  Am I communicating too often?  Not enough?  The take-away from the finding was to not crowd the content.  Each site will be different depending on the activity of the site but the general recommendation is to have at least two hours on each side of shared links.

Timing: Which days and what time of day are best for generating activity and engagement?   The general guidelines are:

Twitter…late in the day and week are the most tweetable times.  Between 2 PM and 5 PM (EST).

Facebook…. Highest during the weekend.  This is due to restrictions some employees have for social media activity at work and more time for social media activity over the weekends.

Types of Content: The most important guideline about content is to mix it up.  Make sure you’re not sharing the same content and types of content. A variety of content optimizes attention and engagement.

Here are some suggestions for different types of content:

  • Links to new content
  • Links to other helpful content
  • Industry news
  • Surveys
  • Visual content (photos, charts, video, infographics)
  • Answers to common questions

Social media is a challenge for healthcare marketers.  It requires a considerable amount of time, which is hard to come by.  So playing the odds and learning from the research on how to maximize our efforts is essential.  We need to work social media but we need to work smart.

Healthcare Marketing: Social and Traditional Media Needed to Bring Home the Gold

Social media when combined with traditional media can put your healthcare brand on the winners’ podium.

Social media is ubiquitous.  Look at the Olympics to see how much social media has become so pervasive.  The Olympics just completed in London has been dubbed the first “Social Media Games.”  The heavy use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by fans, athletes and the news media, the 2012 Olympics was unlike any other in the way we watch and interact with the games.

For the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney few people had high speed internet.  By 2004 with the games in Athens, smartphones were on the scene.  For the Beijing Games in 2008 there were 100 million Facebook users.  But for the games in London there were about 900 million Facebook users and about 500 million Twitter users sending about 400 million tweets per day.

The fans were part of the action like never before.  They created content, commented on comments and interacted with athletes.   Using at a minimum of two screens, fans not only watched the games, they simultaneously used laptops or mobile phones to share opinions, talk to others, gather additional information and observe what others were saying.

Social media is here.  It is a substantial part of everyday life.  And it should be a consideration for healthcare marketers.  As Lauren Sinrod, writing for Second Wind  outlined, social media campaigns, when combined with traditional methods, can:

1.    Help brands increase awareness

2.    Help brands build customer loyalty through engagement

3.    Help brands provide support to customers

4.    Ultimately increase market share

5.     Improve the overall effectiveness of events

Whether you goal is to increase awareness, engagement, support or market share, social media is an important element to include in your marketing strategy.  And ultimately bring home the gold. 

Healthcare Marketing: Facebook Page Dedicated to Healthcare Gone Bad

Now consumers are encouraged to post horror stories about their medical experiences on a newly launched Facebook page.

ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize winning organization that collaborates with other media outlets for investigative journalism, has now established its “Patient Harm Community” Facebook page.  Patients can sign up and post the graphic details about their healthcare experiences gone bad.  And there is a special “files” page entitled “What to do if you’ve been harmed” which gives instructions on how to issue complaints against doctors, nurses and hospitals.

Cheryl Clark, writing for HealthLeaders Media, wrote a story about the new Facebook page.  She reports that ProPublica’s Marshall Allen, who uncovered systemic poor quality in Nevada hospitals for a 2010 series in the Las Vegas Sun called “Do No Harm”, and himself a Pulitzer finalist, explains what prompted the Facebook venture.

“For starters, he says, the one million people—a staggering number—who suffer injuries, infections, and errors in healthcare facilities across the country each year had very few places to turn for advice, until now. 
Over the years, I’ve talked to scores of patients who have been harmed while undergoing medical care, and the one thing that always struck me is the fact they feel so alone,” he says.

“When they suffer this type of harm, they complain to doctors and hospital officials and regulators, but they often don’t feel that they’re being listened to. 
I wanted to find a way to give these folks an opportunity to talk to one another, offer advice, encouragement, and comfort, and get questions answered. A lot of them are at different stages of the process of working through the things that happened to them.”

“I think for hospital leaders this would be a great place for them to put an ear to the ground, to hear what patients are really saying, and factor that in when they make decisions,” Allen says. “We created this for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and healthcare officials just as much as it was created for patients.”

This is very much a two-edged for hospital leaders and marketers.  It’s helpful to be able to actually read patients’ experiences and learn from their points of view.  And it introduces a new level of public accountability, which is also good.

However, the other edge is the page will be an invitation for patients or family members who are upset, emotional and angry to exaggerate claims without fully understanding the natural course of illness and diseases and treatment of such.  And when that happens, the hospital has very limited recourse for rebuttal or explanation due to privacy laws.

Such a site can serve a very worthwhile purpose for patients and for healthcare professionals.  But it can also be very dangerous and create more harm than it attempts to prevent.  It is a site all healthcare marketers should monitor and pay close attention to; just in case your hospital appears in one of the stories on the page, to learn from a patient’s perspective about their experiences and concerns, and to see if and how other healthcare professionals and marketers handle issues that appear there.  

Healthcare Marketing: Social Media is NOT a Numbers Game

Social media success is not how many “likes” you have but rather how many relationships you have.

Hospital marketers measure success for their social media efforts in several different ways. The easiest, and probably most often used, method is how many likes you have.  It’s quantity.  And why not, when attempting to show success it’s easy to point to the number of likes your site has.  In fact, it can look pretty impressive in a performance review.

But does that really measure true success?  Sure, it’s providing exposure to your brand.  And sure it shows some level of affinity to your hospital and it’s services.  So it certainly has value.  Quantity is important.

But perhaps more important is quality.  What is the quality of relationships with those social media friends?  Is it just a bunch of contacts who are casual friends with whom you have a passing and shallow relationship?  Or is it people with whom you have a real, meaningful relationship?  People with whom you have regular contact and you share information and there is value in the friendship?

I would suggest the true measure of success is the latter.  Not necessarily how many friends you have on social networks but the quality of those relationships.  It’s better to have 200 highly engaged followers on Twitter who interact and share your information than 2000 who hardly even notice your tweets.  And it’s much better to have 500 Facebook friends who are engaged, regularly posting and interacting than to have 5000 that just skim over random, and meaningless posts from your marketing department.

Maybe the numbers won’t be as impressive but engaged relationships are worth more than casual friends or followers. 

But this kind of success, like any true friendship, requires time and work. It requires going deep.  It means taking the time and effort to provide meaningful interaction.  It’s not about selling yourself but rather about making yourself available and committing the time to demonstrate how important the relationship is to you.  It means understanding your friends and their needs and providing the information, advice and help they want and need. It means investing in the relationship.

Building fewer but deeper relationships may not look as impressive as a large quantity of followers or likes, but it can mean a much higher ROI to your social media efforts.