Nov 25, 2010

Thankful for an Astonishing Age

Thanksgiving is a day when we all can be thankful just for health and family. Yet since I was a boy I've always admired sports columnists on this day who write about being thankful for professional reasons: athletes who are good leaders and exhibit sportsmanship, inspiring stories, etc. As I reflect on Healthcare Relationship Marketing, here are some reasons to be thankful for professionally in this revolutionary age:

* The astonishing era of new drug development we live in. Thanks to genomics, stem cell research, and other technologies, diseases once intractable are gradualy becoming dissected and understood, and innovative medicines are extending lifespans and their quailty. See this MIT Technology Review index for a few examples of the cutting edge. Or start at The National Cancer Institute and see the wide range of clinical trials.

* The multi-channel revolution in promotion to both consumers and professionals. No longer is it merely print and TV to consumers, and sales forces and congresses to professionals. There are alternative tactics that can be rapidly developed, orchestrated according to designed experiences, tested, and measured for success.

* The remarkable acceleration of data mining and visualization software tools with gradual learning curves. See KD Nuggets for a great software index. Gosh, in graduate school I wrote my own LISP code, and then I thought SAS and S-Plus were transformative. Now it's revolutionary just being able to install a shrink wrapped software and dive right into clustering, decision trees, multivariate modeling, or 3-D trellised scatter plots. Unbelievable.

* Search engines, around since Archie and Veronica of the early 1990s, then Excite and Ask Jeeves of the mid to late 1990s, to today's Google dominance, Bing challenge and embedded search in online portals. Gives the masses access to critical health information, and delivers a way for mid-funnel interested parties to reach their health seeking goals.

* Social media, that is giving people with serious medical conditions access to clinical trial and treatment information critical to their health in ways faster than ever. Could Patients Like Me have existed ten years ago? Of course, caveat emptor, not all news in the social frontier is accurate; still see a physician for treatment. But social media helps you know which specialists to see and how to discuss health topics.

* This transformation of the publishing world, where E-books enable wider and greener distribution of traditional edited tomes (mine included, see forthcoming book and an online book seller ), and blogs like this one can spread readership virally around the world in a loose meritocracy.

* Most appreciative to forward thinking marketing and sales clients who are willing to push the envelope of their professions in order to better serve patients and healthcare professionals.