Stop Waiting for Emerging Media to Emerge

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , September 15, 2010

In a Q&A session on "the future of emerging media" at the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market  Development's (SHSMD) annual conference in Chicago this week, many of the questions surprised me. About half of the attendees were well versed in social platforms and wanted information on the nitty-gritty of tracking and strategy, the other half still seemed worried about opening their organization up to online criticism and were skeptical about achieving leadership buy-in. This half of the group is clearly struggling to embrace social media. One woman proudly proclaimed that, after hours of work, she had successfully created a Facepage.

Panelist Dean Browell, PhD, executive vice president for Richmond, VA, ad agency Feedback, said it best: "I know some of you are thinking, just let me retire before I have to learn this crap."

That "'wait-it-out" attitude must be why attendees at this year's conference 'are asking the same social media-fearing questions they asked in years past.

"To be fair, those questions are now uncommon," Browell said when I asked him about social media acceptance the next day. "A year or two ago people didn't even want to raise their hands to admit that they had a Facebook account."

Still, it seems as if the healthcare community isn't integrating social media into its marketing strategies as fast as it would like. After all, 12 of SHSMD's 60 regular sessions were devoted specifically to online marketing and social media, in addition to a few workshops.

The key to successful social media integration, which Browell and the other panelists in the ""session tried to drive home, is that the online community is going to talk about your organization whether you are active online, or not.

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1 comments on "Stop Waiting for Emerging Media to Emerge"

john flores (9/18/2010 at 12:57 PM)
Back in the Dark Ages - the early 1990s - I was a fresh-faced college graduate helping physicians grapple with this thing Al Gore created. It was called the "Internet". I worked with a CME company and we created continuing education programs at meetings and via satellite broadcast (this was pre-broadband). It was interesting and exciting experiencing the dawn of a new digital age. If there's one benefit to aging (and that's a big if) it's that more time on terra firma gives you perspective. I think that we are just now moving beyond early adopter phase of emerging media and that companies that have held a "wait and see" attitude will be coming on board. In my experience, healthcare lags behind other industries, but for good reason - they are not peddling beer and potato chips. It doesn't hurt that web savvy generation of managers are slowly but surely making their way up corporate ladders. That said, there is always the far side of the bell curve. Those same healthcare organizations and physicians that begrudgingly built websites 5 and 10 years ago and then let them languish will be last to the emerging media party as well. But as long as they are caring for their patients and have a strong business plan, who are we to argue? There's more than one way to slice a pie, or something like that. I enjoy the column a lot. Thank you. john flores vp digital marketing AVOW Communications




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