I always come back from conferences with a ton of enthusiasm and a million ideas about how I'm going to use all the information I gathered and everything I learned. To be honest, however, I don't always follow up.
I suspect it's the same for many of you--you attend a conference on hospital and health system marketing like last week's annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Market and Strategy Development in Washington, DC, get a ton of great ideas, make a mental list of all the great things you're going to do . . . and then you go back to work and have to catch up on all the e-mails that piled up while you were gone.
If your schedule suddenly cleared--no "to-do" list, no meetings, no e-mails, no telephone calls--what would you do with all of that wonderful conference energy? What ideas would you implement? What problems would you solve? What marketing miracles would you perform? Or maybe your conference resolutions are a little more modest, like mine, which is to simply follow up with all of the smart and friendly people I met in DC.
Post your conference resolutions via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll share the results in a future column.
In case you missed our live reports from last week's conference, here's a rundown of the coverage:
Packing for DC: In a preview of the conference, SHSMD president-elect David Marlowe made some predictions about this year's hot topics.
SEO Makes Some Sites Stand Out: One session covered common mistakes that keep customers from finding your hospital online.
Marketing to Marketers: There's more than swag up for grabs in the exhibit hall--there are also lessons in interactivity and differentiation.
The More Things Change: At a roundtable discussion led by Gail Solomon, director of corporate communications at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ, I learned that marketers at specialty hospitals have the same issues as everyone else.
Emotional Intelligence: One company offers a free idea for a billboard for a hospital that's willing to take a marketing risk and connect with consumers on an emotional level.
Putting Pressure on Employees: Internal communications are hot right now. Editor Kandace McLaughlin reports on one hospital's unique campaign to clean up employees' bad habits and save lives at the same time.
Like Being There: Editor Maureen Larkin discovers a great example of how even the smallest hospitals can make the patient experience easier and more pleasant.
Marketing is a Science and an Art: When it comes time to choose what hospital services to promote "strategy becomes a necessity," says Jaimie Solmai, manager, marketing services for the ProHealth Care system in Waukesha, WI. Editor Kandace McLaughlin reports the presentation caught the attention of the roughly 300 healthcare marketers who attended the session.
What's on your Mind?: From a rise in bad debt to free-standing ERs to convincing hospital leaders to take more business risks, strategic planners have a lot on their collective minds.
In other news, SHSMD announced its new officers at the conference:
Diane Caslow will be the 2008 president-elect and will become president of the January 1, 2009. Caslow is vice president of strategic and business planning at MedStar Health in Columbia, MD.
When current president Ruth Colby's 2007 term comes to an end, current president-elect David Marlowe will take over the presidency. Marlow is president of Strategic Marketing Concepts, a healthcare marketing consulting firm based in Ellicott City, MD.
Five members were elected to the SHSMD board for terms beginning January 1, 2008:
Two members were appointed as at-large board members for terms beginning January 1: