It’s been 3 weeks since 200+ Healthcare IT Marketers/PR experts gathered in Las Vegas for the annual HITMC conference and I just sorted through all the pictures I took of the event. As I was swiping through the photos, I was struck by the number of new faces at the conference. The prior two HITMCs that I attended were like reunions – everywhere you turned you would see HealthIT industry veterans. Everyone knew each other.
Seeing all the new faces in my photos was encouraging. To me the infusion of fresh faces signals that HealthIT companies are finally investing in Marketing – a sign that the industry is maturing. In the land-grab situation that marked the last 6 years of HealthIT, Sales was the primary focus…and rightly so. Incentive money was flowing freely and healthcare organizations were clamouring to adopt EHRs to take advantage of that government program before the well ran dry. In 2016 it finally did.
The end of incentives has had profound effect on the HealthIT industry and I believe that the shift to more investment in Marketing is one of the fortuitous consequences. HealthIT companies have to compete smarter and have to stand out from all the noise. Gone are the days when you could out-sell your competitor with more feet on the street. I for one am excited about this development (of course being a marketer I’m completely biased) and HITMC was a timely proof point.
It was not only the number of new attendees at HITMC that surprised me. As I got to know my fellow attendees, I was struck by how many had only recently entered the healthcare world. Quite a few had come from non-healthcare B2B technology companies and from agencies that were focused more in the commercial (non-healthcare) space.
In my blog “The B2B Vendors are Coming” I wrote how at HIMSS17 the presences of non-healthcare B2B vendors on the exhibit floor was noticeable. Companies like Samsung, Salesforce, Intel, IBM, Chase and Verizon all had big booths. To me this was proof that the HealthIT market was moving away from traditional Healthcare specific vendors to a more mixed set of vendors.
HITMC17 was further proof that HealthIT market is diversifying. As more and more marketers are hired with non-healthcare backgrounds we will see a change (dare I say evolution) of how HealthIT is positioned, marketed and pitched. HealthIT companies are going to start to look and feel like other B2B technologies, use more advanced marketing tactics and be much more commercial in nature.
I am looking forward to this evolution.