I recently returned from the 2015 SHSMD Conference in Washington, D.C. I was honored to present this year in the new Customer Experience track. Our topic was “Understanding with Your Heart: Connecting Firsthand Testimony with Data to Improve the Patient Experience.” I’m certain all 1700 attendees came away energized and ready to apply myriad ideas and observations. I thought I would share a few of mine.

Ten Things I Learned at #SHSMD15

  1. There is great work being done in healthcare today. In fact, I believe we will be a healthier country because of these new challenges. I’m jazzed to have a small part in making this happen.
  2. In this world of radical transformation being in healthcare marketing is more challenging than it has ever been.
  3. Bridging Worlds is the perfect name for what’s happening in healthcare today. Things like being responsible for the health of your entire population or competing against retail giants (like Walmart’s desire to be the largest provider of healthcare in the world) were unheard of twenty years ago.
  4. Healthcare marketing is transitioning to healthcare strategy. “Marketing” your team as healthcare “strategists” is a smarter way to illustrate your role as integral to the success of your organization.
  5. Connecting data with firsthand patient testimony leads to improved patient experience. Telling authentic stories enhances this message. We heard “stop telling stories about how great you are. Tell stories about how great your customers can be.”
  6. Healthcare marketers are smart, engaged, and feeling a little beat up. I don’t understand why their keen understanding of the patient isn’t honored and cherished by every C-suite.
  7. When a “Shark” (Kevin O’Leary) tells us that “service trumps price every time,” we have to listen. With Triple Aim centering on patient experience, when we improve this, price considerations become a distant choice driver.
  8. Millennials should be a coveted audience for all of us. They are 20-37 years old now, starting their families and are an intensely loyal generation. It’s time to pay attention to them. (Which they love, by the way.)
  9. Tapping into the subconscious mind of your customer is critical. Ninety-five percent of decisions are made using our subconscious mind. I’m going to become a student of this concept.
  10.  “Partying” at the Newseum is an oxymoron. Even with amazing food and refreshments on all six floors, after walking through the history of journalism and how they’ve chronicled every major event in this country since its inception, I couldn’t dance. It was back to the hotel for a glass of wine and some considerable reflection.