The Healthcare Tell

  • by: |
  • 12/03/2013

Yesterday I participated in a conference on Content Marketing. (The complete program agenda can be found here.)

Content marketing?

As my sister (a mental health professional) asked me, “Content marketing? As opposed to what, bullshit marketing?”

Not a question I was prepared for over the Thanksgiving table but, from someone who we generically refer to as “a provider,” an honest and relevant one.

Rhetoric counts. Maybe a better phrase is “content management” – because then we can compare it to something more tangible – such as “financial management.” We certainly know what that is. You take a certain about of money (the “content”) and through a savvy understanding of the marketplace and using the legal tools and compliant instruments you seek to increase the value of your portfolio.

When it comes to healthcare, is it content marketing or content management – or is it yet something else?

Maybe a better way to ask the question is, if it’s content marketing, what is the content and to whom are we marketing it – and why?

Content marketing, as a business proposition, is about maximizing awareness, reputation, sales, market share – and the advancement of the public health. (And it needn’t be in that order.) Indeed, the purpose of content marketing is to maximize the potential of important, accurate and timely information.

So maybe we should be talking about content maximization – and a more three-dimensional agenda – that is to say, beyond sales acquisition to driving patient outcomes.

(Another reason to alter the nomenclature is to help recalibrate the corporate compass.)

Some important questions:

How can content maximization address the adherence/compliance quandary?

How can content maximization help healthcare communicators advance the use of new platforms and media?

Most importantly, how can content maximization help define healthcare communications in a post-blockbuster environment, specifically as it pertains to orphan diseases and the rise of personalized medicine?

Let’s consider how the goal of content maximization through the strategy of content management and the tactics of content marketing can help advance sales, corporate, and public health goals. (And, again, not necessarily in that sequence.)

The heart of content marketing is story telling. Savvy healthcare marketers need to move from ABC (“Always Be Closing”) to ABT (Always Be Telling).

In the world of 21st Century healthcare, companies must share their content from their own mouths – because in the ultra-transparent world of social media, you can't separate the story from the storyteller. And we shouldn't even want to.

Rhetoric counts. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, we need to “transcend the bullshit.”



Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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