Technology is creating massive change and disruption that has forever altered the way consumers and businesses interact. The healthcare industry is no exception as we are seeing lighting fast innovation from data digitalization, mobile applications and self-service consumer platforms. Perhaps no other time in history has technology so rapidly changed how we learn, collaborate and communicate. Consider the wave of change with mobile advancements that saw the “pager” become a dinosaur to the Blackberry, only to be followed by the iPhone and smartphones overcoming the Blackberry. By the end of the year, they’ll be more mobile devices on earth than people. And more people are online than ever before socializing, searching and shopping, helping to generate 90% of the world’s data in the last two years alone. The consumerization of technology and the digitalization of data are fundamentally changing us.
All these changes have completely upended how marketing functions. Marketing and technology are now very much intertwined. The recently announced megamerger between Publicis Group and Omnicom Group underscores the importance of technology + marketing. And it’s more than just technology; it’s the transformational changes for the entire business that come along with the rising tides of social, mobile and cloud.
We are seeing cultural and organizational changes occur right alongside of technology advancements. Marketers and the businesses they work for must completely rethink their strategies—across people, processes and technology. Today is a different business world.
Consider this question: Who controls technology today inside your organization? Traditionally a job almost exclusively left to the CIO and IT professionals, marketers today are driving technology decisions and garnering a very powerful voice at the executive table. A few years back, driven by the transformational nature of social and cloud, marketers began to embrace technologies to connect and engage with today’s empowered consumers. And quite often without the input of IT. An often cited Gartner study predicted that CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs by 2017 – that’s a powerful statement. The job of today’s marketer is much different and more complex than yesterday…and will require embracing and adapting change to succeed.
A recent issue of Advertising Age captured the ongoing changes for marketers correctly noting: “The increased complexity of the job has made CMOs more fulfilled, challenged and respected… The responsibilities now include social media, content, mobile, back-end technology, e-commerce and more.”
Technology today has become the very foundation of marketing. Daily the ‘traditional’ worlds of marketing and IT intersect, forcing businesses to think, act and execute differently.
Again, this is no different for the healthcare space, only perhaps even more important as consumers turn to technology to empower themselves about their health like never before. We see it every day at SoloHealth as marketers turn to innovations like our SoloHealth Station to connect with consumers in a personalized and engaging manner. Consumers today are constantly moving between their online and offline worlds and marketers must connect those dots consistently.
Smart healthcare marketers need to understand what these massive changes mean for them… and the steps to take to embrace these transformational changes to succeed. Here are five tips:
1) Get Technical: Marketers must understand technology platforms and speak digital to strategically develop and execute successful and consistent customer experiences—across all touch points. No, you don’t have to be an engineer or developer, but you should absolutely stretch your knowledge and begin to understand the ‘science behind the art’. Today’s marketer needs to be more of a ‘marketing technologist’ to find success.
2) Embrace Collaboration: The converging worlds of marketing and technology are forcing the CMO to collaborate across the business to find success—especially with the CIO. Reach across the table and learn about your IT team. Align goals and needs. Collaborate across people, processes and technology. Say no to organizational “silos”. A 2012 study from the Economist stated: “Companies with cross-collaboration across departments, that take advantage of disruptive technologies, are the most successful.”
3) Lead the Charge: You need executive buy-in from the CEO. Marketers today are in prime position to lead this charge as their department touches more direct revenue-driving and consumer touch points than ever before. Marketers are in position to champion and drive change across the business. Take the reins.
4) Enhance Customer Experiences: Everything thing you do should be about enhancing the customer experience. Today’s consumer is empowered and wants to be treated as such. Technologies and massive data exist today to allow for a deeper understanding of and personal relationship with your customers. Deliver that across all your touch points—consistently—and you’ll see the rewards.
5) Prove Business Results: You must be able to show the results—the old ROI. The analytics will tell you how you are doing and where to make strategic adjustments. We’ve got more data than ever before to make decisions and show results, practically in real-time. Showcase the results and build your credibility with the C-Suite. Let the data determine the direction.