The New Healthcare Marketing Team: Death of the Generalist

new healthcare marketing team generalist

At last year’s SHSMD conference and the Greystone HealthCare Internet Conference, I had several sidebar conversations with healthcare marketing professionals who are frustrated.

They feel like their healthcare organizations are not innovating to reach patients. They feel bogged down by too much work and too little bandwidth.

Most importantly, they feel like they’re on a hamster wheel, working their butts off with no real direction or goals.

The conversation above—which actually happened—exemplifies one reason why.

Most healthcare marketing teams are comprised of people who’ve been in healthcare marketing for a while, but haven’t specialized. Maybe they started 10 years ago and became the social media person by default, for example.

If healthcare organizations really want to be effective at engaging patients online, they have to stop building teams of healthcare marketing generalists

It’s time to start bringing in specialists, people who say—with no apologies—I do this, not that. People who treat their specialty as a craft.

Web marketing is about operating a machine of moving parts: Content strategy, content creation, social media, graphic design, web development, UX design, search engine optimization, analytics, content management and governance, to name a few. (FYI: The top dawg of all these is content strategy.)

Do some of these competencies overlap? Of course. Your SEO and analytics expert could be the same person. Your content strategist could have started out as a UX designer or writer.

But some of them should never overlap. (Like web developers who also create content. This tends to be a train wreck.)

Each of these skills is its own specialty. For several, there’s no official credential. They are self-taught. So, mastering them requires intrinsic motivation.

The new healthcare marketing team—the one that is actually going to drive patient volume through its website…the one that nearly every healthcare organization will need for their next redesign—has people who are specialists in one or two of these areas.

In this series, we’ll be delving into how the most innovative healthcare organizations have added these specialists to their teams and why.

Maybe it’s an in-house person. Maybe it’s a vendor you have on speed dial. Maybe it’s a mix.

If you are a generalist, this series is not meant to scare you.

It’s meant to kick you into gear. Figure out which areas of web marketing you want to master and register for a class ASAP—then start to sharpen your skills.

If you’re not sure where to start, think about your favorite part of your job and where that skill fits into our list of specialties.

In our next post, we’ll start with our first new colleague – The Content Strategist.

This is the first in a CareContent series on building the new healthcare marketing team. Follow us and be sure not to miss the next installment.