Natural language search has been around for quite a while – ever use AskJeeves.com or WolframAlpha? But the shift from keyword-based search to natural language comprehension has gained much more attention since the release of virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri and mobile search applications such as Google Now in 2012.
Throughout 2013, other tech giants have made moves to accommodate the growing natural language search trend as well. In March, Facebook released their natural language search engine Graph Search. Then in August Google announced Hummingbird, their latest search algorithm update. Both Graph Search and Hummingbird aim to not only understand what the searcher is asking but provide accurate and relevant search results to them. With the announcement yesterday that Yahoo has acquired natural language processing technology SkyPhase (most likely to keep up with competitors), it’s time to discuss what exactly natural language search is all about.
Ninety-three percent of marketers will be maintaining or increasing how much they are spending on social media advertising in 2014, according to a new report from eMarketer. But where should healthcare marketers be focusing their attentions to get the most bang for their buck, not to mention their valuable time?
Social media strategy in 2014 will shift focus away from increasing the number of likes/followers your brand has to engaging your target audience through organic interactions. Marketers will need to adapt quickly across many social media channels in order to incorporate micro-video, image-centric content and native advertising into the mix. And finally, if you haven’t built out your brand’s Google+ profile yet you are already behind.
As healthcare marketers we enjoy being in control. So coming to grips with the fact that sometimes we’re not in control can feel quite uncomfortable. This growing reality was difficult to swallow a few years ago and even more so today. We need to embrace the fact we can’t control every single piece of the consumer experience. Sounds radical doesn’t it? Not being in control goes against the very nature of who we are as human beings and how we strive to become even more valuable as marketers to our communities.
Does giving up control mean losing control of your story or message? I submit to you, if done correctly, it does not.
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most widely-used analytics programs in the world. Although Google tends to make changes to most of their products and algorithms often, Google Analytics is a little different. It only gets fundamental changes maybe once per year … and even that might be pushing it. Granted, there are little updates here and there that happen, but generally the big ones don’t happen that often. This has been true, until recently.
There are a lot of people who want GA to focus only on what they want and need. A lot of people used to say that the user interface (UI) of their analytics product was terrible (my opinion is that it was OK, but could use some help in certain areas). They also noted that it was too hard to find things and that there was too much fluff data in the program. Knowing that they can’t please everyone, Google has started making changes where the most people are asking for them.
Within the last week or so, there has been two HUGE changes to Google Analytics. Both of which change the fundamentals of the program many of us had finally began to master. Both of these changes center on the UI of their product. This is fascinating to me. Not the fact that they made a change – the fact that they made two changes so close together. I want to go over each of these changes and share some of the things that I have observed.
I recently returned from the 2013 SHSMD annual conference in Chicago. And let’s just say I am a new man. I have a new found pep in my step.
As a creative director interested in the current state of healthcare marketing, the SHSMD annual conference offered me a Cliffs Notes overview — packing a lot of learning and face-to-face interactions into a short span of time.
Thankfully, I returned from SHSMD13 with confidence that Geonetric is doing things right. Here are a few observations:
A few years ago Alicia Jansen, associate vice president at MD Anderson Cancer Center had a problem on her hands. As she explained at the SHSMD Annual Conference, potential patients were having a hard time getting that first appointment. In addition to being scared and emotional with a new cancer diagnosis, they had to jump through a lot of hoops to get something scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth as well as repeated paperwork. So Jansen decided to take on the project and make the experience better.
After analyzing the procedures and talking to the call teams, she decided to create an online experience that would make the process easier on patients and the clinics.
With the new site live and performing well, Jansen shared these keys to engaging and empowering patients online – and provided lessons learned:
Having spent my week at SHSMD schmoozing with the biggest gathering of healthcare strategy, planning, communications, marketing and PR professionals that the Society has ever had, the current state of our industry can be summed up in a single word:
We’ve been on the cusp of major industry shifts for a few years now, but for all of the discussions and debate, no one is really sure what our industry is going to look like three years from now.
This week saw the biggest step to date in terms of actual implementation of the ACA (AKA Obamacare) and we’re still playing a guessing game to determine what its real meaning to our service mix and financial picture will really be. Obamacare applies leverage to the edges of the healthcare system, but doesn’t dictate what the care delivery system will look like or how it will work.
Using online Voice of the Customer (VoC) panels help improve consumer satisfaction by fostering collaboration with a customer through online surveys and communities to uncover sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty. As healthcare marketers we are no stranger to focusing on the entire consumer experience, not just one piece of the pie. With quite a few healthcare organizations moving towards expansive, integrated delivery networks, it’s no surprise that continually measuring consumer interactions have become increasingly important.
What stood out most to me at SHSMD’s Annual Conference was the focus on improving consumer satisfaction. The topic of how to improve the consumer experience was repeatedly incorporated into the sub-text of each conference breakout session conversation during lunch, one-on-one conversation and client dinners. Companies with consistently high customer satisfaction like Amazon.com, Marriot International and Southwest Airlines view great service as a continual challenge.
Media is everyone’s job. This is just one of the insights Bob Szafranski shared with a room full of attendees at this year’s SHSMD Annual Conference in Chicago. As a senior vice president at public relations powerhouse Edelman, he’s worked with numerous healthcare organizations to help them tell stories that get picked up by the media.
So what’s the secret to the perfect pitch? Here’s some tips of what to include in your news release:
- Data: Be able to back up what you’re saying. What’s new? What’s improved?
- Drama: You have to humanize and personalize the story. Be aware of privacy issues, but do your best to include a patient element.
- Dimension: Figure out if this is a local or national story and package accordingly. Remember, not every story is a national story but don’t underestimate the potential of your pitch. Many national news outlets have weekly or daily health reports or health sections online and they need content.
Daniel Buettner presenting at SHSMD 2013.
I’ve been a Dan Buettner fan for several years now. The “Blue Zones” author has started a movement to make us healthier, not one at a time, but by creating communities which make us healthier. In fact, my community in Iowa is going through a Blue Zone transformation right now!
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off, what are Blue Zones? Buettner began his career as a reporter. The Blue Zones project began as a feature article for National Geographic. Visit a handful of Blue Zone communities around the world and identify the features that cause the members of these communities to live longer with fewer chronic diseases and other health issues.
Over the course of 15 years, Food Network has gone from a niche boutique channel to a mainstream entertainment network. As healthcare marketers, we are facing a similar transition. Where once our organizations were focused on the niche business of treating the sick and injured, we’re now playing a larger role in the lives of our patients – we work with our communities to create healthier environments, we work proactively with our patients to keep them well, and we help them manage their conditions and support their recovery after they’ve gone home.
In an interview with Food Network’s Alton Brown, two network heavyweights, Bob Tuschman, senior vice president programming and general manager and Susie Fogelson, vice president of marketing, had a candid conversation about the internal workings of this evolution.
What can the experience of this entertainment network teach us about the path that we see ahead?