Fawn Lopez is VP-publisher of Modern Healthcare, a weekly trade book covering the health care industry published by Crain Communications Inc., corporate parent of BtoB. Lopez has watched the industry evolve and gained deep insight into how vendors and suppliers can best reach an audience of health care executives. BtoB recently asked her about best practices for connecting with these professionals.
BtoB: How are developments such as the government stimulus package and health care reform affecting the way marketers target executives at hospitals and health care organizations?
Lopez: The health care industry is going through extraordinary and unprecedented times. There are a lot of rules and regulations being put in place that will impact how vendors communicate to their prospects and customers. You have to know what the regulations and policies are in order to effectively address some of the issues and help build the case for why health care executives should be considering your solutions. For example, the $19 billion IT stimulus funding plan was put in place to hasten the adoption of electronic medical records in hospitals and physicians' offices. Providers have a certain amount of time to get up to speed. However, many of them simply don't have the capital to fund these projects. Although there is funding that will be made available, to qualify for subsidy payments, providers must use certified electronic medical records in a meaningful way. Additionally, from what I'm hearing, even if they qualified, the subsidies are not going to be enough to cover the cost of implementing these systems. Large companies that offer financing options have a competitive edge. They can communicate to their audience that not only do they have robust solutions, they can also assist with the financing.
BtoB: What other kinds of messaging are effective in reaching this audience?
Lopez: Health care executives are like decision-makers in any industry; you have to clearly communicate your value proposition—the benefits that you bring to the table and how your solutions meet their needs. It's no different than marketing messages in other industries. That said, there are some areas where specific messages resonate well. For example, providers are always looking for new revenue streams and desperately seeking new ways to reduce cost without compromising the quality and safety of the care process. These are hot buttons, so the more effectively you can convey your solutions around these key issues, the more successful you will be in reaching this audience.
We recently conducted a survey with our readers and found that providers placed the highest value on marketing messages that solve their specific challenges and needs, and those that offer benefits. M