Doing Digital Marketing Right in Healthcare with Reed Smith, Founder at Social Health Institute

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Doing Digital Marketing Right in Healthcare with Reed Smith, Founder at Social Health Institute

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas, great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is slow. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

Welcome back once again to the Outcomes rocket podcast for we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. Today I have Reed Smith on the podcast. He's the founder and President of the Social Health Institute and THA digital marketing. In addition, Reed also serves as Chief Social Strategist for Gray Digital Group as well as founding advisory board for both the Mayo Clinic social media network. We had Lee Ase a couple months ago here on the podcast as health tracker at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. This gentleman is a consulting strategist, thought leader and it's a pleasure to have him on the podcast. Welcome Reed.

Hey thanks for having me.

Absolutely Reed. Now is there anything that I missed in that intro that you want to share with listeners?

Oh gosh. No probably not. You know I've got four or five different jobs I think at this point. But people can easily track me down online. So yeah that's where I spend most days and hours and I've gotten into podcasting over the last couple years. And so yeah yeah. Going on a lot. It seems like these days.

That's where we have to be if we're gonna make a presence and I know within healthcare it tends to be a little slower on the uptake but I think people are starting to figure it out. And so that's why it's going to be cool to dive into some of the things that you have to share with the listeners. Just curious though what got you into the medical sector to begin with?

Yeah so I'll. You know I've got a marketing background and was spending time strangely enough down in Pensacola Florida. We were living down there my wife was working for a healthcare consulting company and the guy that founded and ran that company for a lot of years of getting quit Studer that has a lot to do with the patient experience realm got me interested and through that I ended up taking a job as director of marketing at a hospital back in Texas and that started that started down the course of kind of what I'm doing now. Gosh probably 15 years ago or so.

Time flies doesn't it.

It does. It does.

So hospital marking and marketing at a hospital to social media. You've done a lot. And so within the space of communications and digital media what would you say Reed is a hot topic that needs to be on the leaders minds today that are listening to the podcast?

Yeah for sure so I think this is probably something that fits regardless of what role you may play whether that be at a hospital or a health system or physician practice or on what side of the coin you're on. But is consumerism and that's you know that's changed quite a bit since I got into this and started doing this. And so I think you know when we, when I first started as a hospital marketing director it was very much really was a hospital advertising director and that was really all we did. You know we told people about what we were doing there was really not a two way conversation certainly not on line 15 years ago. And we've seen a lot of that evolve with consumerism and choice. And it's you know it's less about not less about. But it's not just about the patient the person getting treatment but it's about consumers that you know people who are making choices every day.

Yeah this topic of health care consumerism continues to rise to the top and we've had a lot of different guests on the podcast talk to this point. Had Marcus from Walmart. He's V.P. of Wal-Mart and health care really kind of spent entire time talking about that and there's a lot of different angles to this topic of consumerism. So as it relates to the marketing efforts of say providers. But also let's loop in Life Sciences med device anybody playing in this space. What did they need to be thinking about?

I think it's just like anything else here we have the internet we have access to an awful lot of information at our fingertips or in our pocket even walking around and so just like we have choice and are able to look at you know what kind of coffee maker we may want to buy or whatever it is and getting that feedback that's made its way you know far past restaurants and everything else and into healthcare. And so I think online reputation management and some things like that where people are actually measuring and looking at and making decisions about their care where to take their care care givers. So we've got folks that are taking care of parents or kids or whoever it may be they may not actually be the patient. I think that's one of the biggest things is that people are able to give feedback and be heard at any given time. It's like you can with anything else in your daily life. And so there's an expectation now not only you know can I research and find and make choices based on what I find online. But I want to be able to execute on those choices. So making appointments finding information paying my bill all the things that we're used to doing in our daily life we won't be able to do that with the health care system or with providers. And you know and I think from a provider standpoint just patient to patient or peer to peer conversations are you know clipping us in very different ways than just simply googling around in landing or whenever search result comes to the top. So those pure...

I think it's a great call out. This parallel between the day to day doing your banking, shopping online. All these things are really kind of starting to be available and consumers are sort of demanding it from our health care systems. And it's interesting that a lot of systems are struggling to get to this point. I think it's presenting an opportunity for entrepreneurs that could be agile and partnering with our system to get there. Would you agree?

Yeah I think so and I think we see some of these new technologies starting to make their way into like AI or Artificial Intelligence and machine-learning type pieces that yeah we can get really good at understanding why people are visiting the hospital website and what they're looking for and where they came from and where they hear before and some of those types of things and you know people you know especially probably our age and younger are used to dealing with are not wanting to deal with people you know say they will be able to get on find the information they want and take care of that. I mean I just you know pretty much book all my travel or hotel rooms and things like that through apps are very seldom talk to anybody til our rub on side and so that expectation just like the hotel. We've got to be able to deliver on that in health care and that's hard. That's hard from an interoperability standpoint for sure.

It really is. It really is difficult. So inter. Great point right there's some things that we don't even think about that we do without speaking to somebody or or just things that like you'd go to Amazon and it populates seven things that you probably want to buy and yet not buying five of them you know we don't I don't think of these things they just happen they're so natural. And now we're having to adopt these things in health care. These adoptions come with tough roads. You've been around the block a couple of times Reed, maybe you could share with us a time when you had a set back and what you learned from that setback and trying to adapt is these new ways.

Yeah you know I think we deal with it every day. I mean with technology that that inherently is going to come with setbacks in a lot of cases. And so I think the interoperability part is the hardest part. And so whether we're building consumer facing pieces like physician finders or appointments setting tools or those types of things you know sometimes that doesn't always jive with the systems that are in place and it makes it hard to move information back and forth. And so you know we've had to try to find alternate ways in different entrepreneurs and vendors that you know were working and doing some really interesting things and then you know we have found that we become a pretty good conduit for understanding. Okay well how does all this stuff fit together and what's appropriate what people need, where do things go in really understood that you know what we don't have to be the folks that build it all and do it all, we can just be the folks that understand how it all fits together and try to help guide people down the right path. So yeah I think we've kind of shape that vision over the last several years of your not needing to be everything to everybody in a lot of cases.

So at one point you tried to be the innovator and realized hey there's no need if we understand how these things fit together. We could be guides.

Yeah I mean I think if you look at it from like you know like a project manager type role or even in the clinical space you know we have care coordination and some things like that that happen. And so I think because of our background of what we do and what we continue to do and who were involved with on a daily basis we see what we're so we see what doesn't work. We see how other people are doing it where best practices may exist and things like that. So we don't have to you know in the olden days, the olden days whatever that means but we would build everything because realistically what you were talking about was a website and some campaign landing pages maybe some media buying and things like that and we still do all that and that's cool and we can definitely deliver on those types of things. But when you start talking about artificial intelligence and chatbots and some of those types of things you know what we don't have to own all those pieces. And sometimes people just need a trusted voice that can help and guide down a path that that brings you know the best of everything together in one place and understand how they can get somewhere quicker than have to sort it out on their own.

Yeah nice school and you know so let's let's park on chatbots if that's cool with you. Yeah because we did a meeting on Tuesday the Health Care thank a fan was awesome. One of the members of the audience was start talking about a chatbot that they're offering that's backed up with an and the table that I was sitting at her body is looking around like what the world is a chatbot and was. You know so I think it's the worst parking and some of these things rather than assuming let's talk about it. What is it? How does it work? How can it help flow? How can it help customer engagement? Maybe we get about that for a little bit I think would be beneficial.

Yeah so I think you know we've all dealt with them in our lives probably at least to some degree even if it was rudimentary several years ago. But you see these things on like car dealerships websites and maybe in hotels earlier years in different places like that. But the little pop up allows you to converse with you you probably don't assume it's a real person but it kind of feels that way. You can ask a question it gives you the early days it would give you links to like here's where you can find this information. You know some of that kind of stuff so instead of navigating a website via the traditional navigation channels, you're having a chat with in most cases a robot. So that's where the machine learning and artificial intelligence side of the equation comes in. But sometimes it does hand you off especially when like a tech support standpoint we'll hand you off to a lot of person when it needs to. So we're starting to see this make its way into especially hospitals. And we work with some different folks that develop this technology but what it allows for is you to land on a hospital website. It knows how you got it or did you show up the you know paid campaign. So maybe it knows that you know you're already coming from this part of town because this is your IP address and you came here via these ads and so we know you're etched in pediatrics or whatever it may be. And so it can use some intelligence there to narrow down what it thinks she may be looking for. But it allows you to have a conversation and say you know to pay my bill I need to make an appointment to get a physical because a lot of cases going back to the consumerism piece we don't necessarily, you know on the hospital side of the equation. Make it super easy for folks. You know we make you search for physicians based on their board certified specialty. Well that's fine. But I just know that I have this disease or this symptom or whatever it may be I don't know who treats that and know what type of physician and so these types of things can kind of bridge that gap because of machine learning they get smarter over time. So once they start answering questions and going through this understanding what people are asking for the bot if you will get smarter and smarter and then when it needs to you know if you have a call center or people in place they can hand off to a live person. That's kind of what we're seeing. I think it's a great opportunity to allow people that you know to get to the information a little bit quicker and a little more personalized than they would maybe just searching from your home page.

Now thanks for the summary there Reed. I think it's good. It's important to understand the options that are available now that Reid took us down this explanation. I'm sure you could think of several experiences that you've had with chatbots. So they're definitely a great tool in helping to simplify is the key for consumerism and just kind of goes down this trend that Reed has been talking to us about. Reed what about an exciting project or focus that you're working out today. Anything you want to talk to us about?

Yeah you know we've done a few things in the last couple of you know maybe 18 to 24 months that are pretty interesting. We've launched some podcasts which of course a lot of fun content...

Let's give people the name

Yeah.

So they get well. So tell us about the pod cast.

Yeah.

Folks here already with a pen and paper do that just pause later.

Well so you visit touchpoint.health and that's that's the website that houses I think we've got oh we're closing in on about 10 different shows and some of those are on digital marketing and patient experience which is one that I co-host, we've got one this co-hosted by former hospital CIO and health I.T. we have one that hosted by a physician that's more physician and technology based etc.. So storytelling content storytelling. So we've got a few there and so there's been a lot of fun and just you know enjoyable to do.

And Reed I just want to say folks I listen to Reed's podcast so it's the reason why I asked them to share because he does develop some really great content. Put a touchpoint.health and you're going to find some really cool shows. And they span marketing. He's got one with a physician. It's just such a great great media platform that Reed and his team have established so check that out. touchpoint.health.

Yeah appreciate that. Appreciate that. I think past that though we've sort of looking at and realizing especially in hospitals marketing apartments. There's not a lot of benchmarking data there. So how many how many FTE's they have in the marketing department. Well the budget's going up or down in past staffing and budget. How are we spending our money on campaigns and agencies and vendors and things like that and so we're trying to go in and start doing some surveying and benchmarking some of that data even to the point of understanding reputation management. So the primary consumer platforms of Google, Yelp, Facebook for example where consumers can rate review hospitals. Where do you fall? You've got four out of five stars on a particular platform is that good? Is that about average? You know et cetera and so I spent some time trying to kind of benchmark looking at markets and region state level things like that. So that's that's been kind of fun kind of interesting and has allowed us to go around and share some insights with different groups around the country. So...

That's awesome. Reed you guys are always up to something cool. And folks here's the other thing so you guys all know I started a little platform to help you build your podcast right. Reed also has a cool little section of his website, touchpoint.health where he talks about gear and this is a question that comes up all the time like man this expensive and what microphone should I get or what program what software do I need. Reed and his team do a really nice job of highlighting gear that you need. So if you are somebody in marketing or you want somebody on your marketing team to get rolling with this awesome platform of I podcasting, they also have really nice resources gear focused posts there as well.

Yeah. Thanks man. That shows a lot of fun to do business partner Amaan and I co-hosts that and course he's he's the guy with all the gadgets and so really I'm just asking him questions most of the time so it's fun. It's fun. As a good one.

Yeah. very informative. So again folks Reed Smith here. Getting close to the end, let's pretend Reed you and I are building a leadership course and just digital on health care and what it takes to be successful we're going to write out a syllabus for the listeners with this lightning round. You read?

All right.

What's the best way to improve health care outcomes?

Be able to measure better. So I think he had to have something on analytics and measurement goal setting KPI and things like that.

What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Oh gosh shiny object syndrome. Maybe so you don't need to necessarily do something just because it's new.

I guess now that how do you stay relevant despite constant change.

Oh gosh I think that's kind of back to the measurement piece. So I think doing things that are measurable and you can show success you know allows you to stay top of mind internally certainly but also allows obviously to have some sort of indication of how you're doing with the outside audience.

What is one area of focus that should drive everything in a health organization as it relates to digital media?

As it relates to digital media? I think persona or segmentation target development things like that. I think that's really what should drive. Well certainly after you know aligned with organizational goals but then actual site meditation and targeting I think should then drive everything else whether the media spend or creative etc.

Love that. What would you say your favorite book for the listeners is?

I'm looking here my bookshelf the one that I think is interesting and I think it is still relevant is a book called Change by Design written by a guy named Tim Brown from IDEO. So he's an innovation guy design guy. It breaks this idea down that that really innovation just shows up from really smart folks that just have brilliant ideas and talks more about that you know that the ideas come from more rigorous discipline and things like that. And so we like Change by Design. It's the bottom line is how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation.

love that. Great, great tidbit there. This has been awesome read. I've enjoyed our talk. We kind of talked about some some core concepts like chat bot gotten through some of your thought processes on digital health. How organizations get implemented? I had so much fun. I love if we could just hear your closing thoughts before we conclude. And then the best place for the listeners can get in touch with you.

Yeah I think again you know it's a great time to be in health care. Health care marketing, digital marketing, I think there's a lot of really interesting and cool opportunities coming our way is to encourage people to you know continue to look at how you can stay relevant and how you continue to show value within the organization. Yeah I would love to connect with folks online of course who mentioned mentioned the website health earlier. But it's just Reed Smith on Twitter. Pretty easy to check down on LinkedIn as well and enjoy visiting with folks.

Awesome Reed. Hey just want to say a big thanks on behalf of all of us and looking forward to stay in touch.

Thanks man appreciate it.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas, great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is slow. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

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