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We know our “Swaay” around health tech: Swaay.Health Live recap

Fresh eyes, communication, progress, halt, wisdom, seek, failure, connection, persevere, advancement, confusion, pause, restart, revolutionize.

Any combination of the above descriptors can be experienced or overcome during the Swaay.Health Live (previously HITMC) conference.

One time each year, marketers from health tech organizations, agencies, provider facilities, and non-profit entities come together for what can best be described as a marketing family reunion.

Lifelong friendships have been formed through this conference/community, and you can attend and leave knowing that whatever you bring to the table during the conference can be multiplied, and whatever you want to sweep under the table can be discussed and resolved.

The Clarity Quest team in attendance ranged from first-time attendees to founding members of the first HITMC gathering in 2013. We are passionate about how we have seen the community bolster our professional walks and challenge our best practices in all the best ways.

“Be bold and fearless. It’s OK to fail.”

These were the words of John Lynn, founder and chief editor of Healthcare IT Today and founder of the Swaay.Health community. These words stated within the first 10 minutes of the conference embody what all attendees should do, see and experience when they attend a Swaay conference. Bring your best and share it. Bring your worst and resolve it. If you are going to fail, fail fast!

Can you tell we are a little bit passionate about this one? 🙂 We are a community of problem solvers with plenty of problems to solve.

Here are some of the countless insights we gleaned in Atlanta recently.

Emergency and turmoil in health tech

One trend that resurfaced repeatedly from day one provided a blaring opportunity to all health tech companies, agencies, facilities and patients.

Emergent situations, turmoil, abrupt chaos and implosion (literally, as you will see below) wait for nobody. We never know when it will strike. We never know how much it will impact us, our entities or our surroundings. This holds true in business, personally and as current and future patients. Regardless of the medium, we have one opportunity to make a strong first impression, so crisis communication plans or patient advocacy plans are NECESSARY.

Two notable conversations surfaced the need for a strong communication plan.

Kristy Dickinson Swaay.Health Live

Kristy Dickinson is a healthcare disruptor, patient advocate and rare disease survivor who shared her story. As a mother, wife and professional, she prioritized herself amid a broken healthcare communication system and advocated for her best interests. She is alive today because she stood up for herself, creating a plan to make a strong and likely abrasive stand for herself and the future of her health.

We are experiencing a patient revolution and a core component of that revolution is knowing how to advocate and be advocated for during a personal health crisis. Remember: a first impression only happens once.

“Patients are not, and cannot afford to be, patient any longer,” Dickinson said.

We also learned about the Brockton Hospital (Signature Healthcare) fire that broke out early in 2023. This was a 10-alarm fire that happened abruptly, necessitating the immediate evacuation of 120+ patients. There were NO CASUALTIES during the evacuation.

Signature Healthcare Swaay.Health Live

Lorraine McGrath walked us through the day of thoughts, emotions and rationale of the first 24 hours.

The short version of the story is that she was ready. As associate vice president of marketing and communication for Signature, she was adequately prepared for how and what to communicate during a crisis situation.

One unique thing about her story and the response to the facility fire was not HOW she responded necessarily, but the tactic behind the response: 24 hours.

While media outlets were reaching out and wanting an immediate response, the team took time to center themselves, overcome the shock of the situation and allowed themselves 24 hours to tactfully respond to the turmoil that was brought to the community.

At the exact moment, they could not think more than 24 hours beyond the situation. Still, they responded confidently that the situation was handled professionally, with no casualties, and provided confidence that consistent communication would be provided as the days progressed.

The Brockton team consistently used social media, web, local and national media to ensure that all communities and families impacted knew the hospital’s status and how they responded. Communication continues to this day as the hospital pushes toward reopening this spring.

We love our Rising Stars!

One of the highlights of every Swaay conference is the awards. Once each year, providers, health tech, agencies and non-profit organizations are nominated for various marketing-related awards including website of the year, campaign of the year, marketer of the year and more.

This year, we bring attention to the Healthcare Marketing Rising Star Award.

Last year, Rayna Southart, Clarity Quest’s senior content marketing manager, brought home the Rising Star Award in the agency category. We were pleased to find out (and rowdily celebrate) that Clarity Quest has back-to-back Rising Stars! Andrew Thompson-Young, associate public relations director for CQ, was named this year’s agency Rising Star, and we could not be more thrilled for him!

Andrew has a knack for vibrant and vivacious communication that grabs the attention of all who get to interact with him. This is especially advantageous in terms of the PR pitch. He has led countless clients to earn placement with local and national media in the health tech, life sciences and radiology spaces. To say that he has accomplished much in his short tenure in healthcare would be an understatement. We are wildly proud of him and how he advances the CQ PR team.

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to learn more about his services for our award-winning health tech public relations agency.

Be sure to visit this announcement page for a list of all awards and award winners. A comprehensive list of winners will be posted in the coming days.

Stop Starvation Marketing: The breakout

As many of you may know, CQ Founder Chris Slocumb brought her brilliance to paper through Stop Starvation Marketing (shameless plug: available on Amazon). The CQ team in attendance had the opportunity to lead a workshop positioned around the book, tying in pain points that industry leaders and healthcare marketing professionals may be experiencing in-house. We broke out into corresponding workgroups related to industry specialty:

  • Branding and Content
  • SEO
  • Strategy and Budget
  • PR
  • Social Media

Here are 10 key takeaways from the session:

  1. Crisis communication is imperative. Sooner rather than later, many parties will communicate in a snowball. You must speak, lead and set the tone clearly on the subject before anyone else can speak.
  2. There is no such thing as overpreparation. In a crisis or turmoil, be as ready as possible and act accordingly.
  3. Be able to communicate what you or your organization does quickly. Do not exchange your messaging more frequently than your sales cycle.
  4. Dare to be different in your messaging and approach. Do not use the old regimented differentiators.
  5. Know when and how to raise a flag on AI content use.
  6. SEO and content go hand in hand.
  7. Use competitor FAQs to your advantage. If they resolve the problem, chances are you do, too!
  8. There is currently no standard on sales/marketing commission structures. This should be considered.
  9. 5-8% of net new revenue should be spent on marketing. In our exercise, budgets as low as 1.68% were referenced. That is not an adequate spend for effective marketing.
  10. Marketing and sales leadership should have distinct branches in the organizational hierarchy. Marketing will not appropriately market under sales leadership.

The workshop session certainly provided hot takes we will surely expound upon in future blog posts.

If it hasn’t become glaringly obvious, Swaay.Health Live is a 10/10 for us. Want to know about the community or get plugged in personally? Reach out to us. We would happily connect with you and get you plugged into the community.

Dalton Patterson

Author Dalton Patterson

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