In complex organizations, many people are often required to make a single decision. We need to launch a new marketing campaign, but only after a dozen doctors and service line directors review and approve every word of the ad, the font types, the pay-per-click ads, the images on the landing page, etc. No wonder many of us complain about how sloooow everything seems to take.
And let’s face it: our audiences (health seekers, consumers, patients) operate on a completely different timetable. They are used to getting information instantaneously. They can diagnosis complex problems within seconds by calling up Google on their smartphone, and surfing to “authoritative” sites (like WebMD, MayoClinic.com, Wikipedia, etc.). They are used to using apps to book air travel with a minimal amount of effort and want to access care with that same ease. They connect with friends and patients like them through social media and have the same expectations with doctors and nurses.
How can we meet their needs? How can we quickly create and share relevant care to the right audiences, at the right time through the right medium…all the while, respecting our internal need for review and approvals?
It’s not simple, but there are ways to get there. Consider these three tips before you begin your process to implement organizational, systematic change:
You need to consider yourself more than a marketer – you need to become a change agent. What that means is you need to figure out how organizations embrace change, develop a team to help support your efforts and find ways to build consensus and alignment throughout your organization. Change is not for the faint of heart - but it’s also not too difficult to embrace. If you want to learn a great approach to change, get familiar with John Kotter’s 8-step process (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.htm) and use these techniques to influence others to embrace change.
Next, it helps to understand the breadth and depth of your communications mediums and develop the expertise to optimize them for your efforts – digital or otherwise. It’s a delicate balance of having a deep knowledge of each tool and how they could be used effectively, while also understanding the over-arching strategy and how these two things can be combined into developing a unique experience for your audience and meeting their needs.
Lastly, it’s important to develop an approach of thinking evolutionary, but acting revolutionary. Driving change in small chunks seems more attainable (and palpable to those adverse to change). But it’s important to first consider the long-term goals you are striving for, and align the work you are doing today so that it contributes to the end-goal of complete change.
Bit by bit, and bite by bite, by taking these tips into account, you will begin seeing change happen at a lightning pace inside your organization.