Healthcare changes faster and is more complex than almost any other industry, meaning that healthcare marketers face a unique set of challenges. But change management hasn’t typically been part of the healthcare marketer’s skillset. It’s the same for big data analytics expertise. Increasingly, however, these are emerging as two of the most important skills that a healthcare marketer can have.i
Change management for healthcare marketers
Why are healthcare marketers taking on more of a leadership role in change management initiatives? Well, they’re already experts in knowing how to persuade, sell, and inform. Marketers have to know how to maintain equilibrium in a constantly changing environment, and they also have to be able to motivate others to change. These skills translate very effectively into change management. These are just some of the change management responsibilities that are shifting to marketing:
Help internal teams (sales, support, etc.) manage change – new products, new systems, new types of customers
Help stakeholders (customers, physicians, patients, consumers) understand and manage change – with new products, lifestyle changes, adapting to new technologies, and new ways of sharing information
Manage new and changing external pressures – adapting to new regulations, etc.
Advise the C-suite on constantly-changing external environment – marketing sees a lot of the big changes first, and how they are going to impact the business
Make decisions on and implement new technology and processes - marketing automation, product launch tracking tools, etc.
Know when to make changes - the cost to change can be high (making changes to campaigns, technologies, processes), but the cost of not changing might be even higher
So whether you think of yourself as a change management expert or not, chances are you already have a significant amount of experience in change management.
Big Data Analytics & marketing
As Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) continue to shake up the healthcare world, marketers need to fully understand the implications and impacts as they relate to marketing, and to healthcare companies. It’s the same for marketing tools; as everything switches over to digital, marketers need to understand the analytics behind all digital interactions.
In an IBM report on ‘The Quant Crunch: How the demand for data science skills is disrupting the job market,’ the authors highlight the growing gap between supply and demand when it comes to data experts, and the resulting talent shortage that’s on the horizon. This is especially evident in jobs that require a mix of analytical skills and domain-specific expertise, such as a marketing analytics manager. These sets of skills take many years to develop, ii and the number of people who have both are few. Even if you don’t want to be a data scientist or a data engineer, as a marketer today you do need to understand big data and analytics.
So how can you make sure you’re prepared for the future, with the skills and expertise you require?
Is it time to go back to school? Consider taking some courses on the areas you wish to strengthen, or pursue a certification or even a university degree. There are numerous online courses and certifications offered by companies like Google, HubSpot and LinkedIn. Through Google’s Digital Academy, you can take online courses on analytics, Google ads and much more. HubSpot offers courses, projects, certifications, and software training on a wide range of subjects, including inbound marketing, social media marketing, design, etc. LinkedIn charges for its online courses, which cover everything from online marketing to small business accounting. Local professional associations are also a great source for seminars, workshops, webinars, etc. Choose the discipline you want to master, and make it the focus of your ongoing professional development plan. (At the same time, don’t forget to keep up with new marketing trends, like Showpad for sales enablement, HubSpot for CRM, and marketing automation.)
Focus on the future
Don’t get so bogged down in your day-to-day tasks that you lose your focus on the future. You need to know what’s coming in your industry, your region, and beyond. Connect with the risk management and business intelligence experts at your organization. Build working relationships, and make sure you’re always up-to-date on what they’re forecasting and what they anticipate – not just for marketing and sales, but for your business, your industry and all other developments they’re tracking. Find and follow good forecasting and business intelligence sources outside your company (people, publications, websites), and keep them on your radar.
Make sure your team has the expertise you need
In addition to sharpening your own change management and analytical skills, it’s important to make sure your team is up to speed. Are they adaptive and agile, ready to respond to whatever comes their way? Do they have the skillsets required for the change and analytics challenges that are coming, in addition to their marketing skills? Do an analysis and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. Fix the weak spots, and figure out how to utilize the strengths that are untapped. If there are big gaps, figure out how you will fill them when the time comes – new hires, support from an external agency, etc. Make sure you have a staffing plan in place that supports all eventualities.
At Living Stone, we’re experts at helping our customers manage change and prepare for the future. If you’d like to learn more about how we could support you and your organization, contact Anne-Mie Vansteelant at +32 55 591 007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
iAllison Kent-Smith, Change Management Is The New Marketing Capability, May 16, 2017, Forbes, retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2017/05/16/%E2%80%8Bchange-management-is-the-new-marketing-capability/#1231a8c96f15
iiWill Markow, Soumya Braganza, and Bledi Taska, with Steven M. Miller and Debbie Hughes, The Quant Crunch: How the demand for data science skills is disrupting the job market, 2017 IBM Report, retrieved from https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=IML14576USEN&