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The Truth in Advertising


Well, the SHSMD conference is over at last and now I’m home.  The sessions I attended were informative, but my main takeaway was of a different sort to me.  I listened to many speakers talk about how they overcame obstacles to communicate to their patients or clients.  I listened to how we should excite women and get their attention; how to involve physicians in future marketing efforts and how the Davids can beat the Goliaths.  But most of all, I observed the need for humans to share their stories.


We marketers spend countless dollars and efforts fighting the jungle of each other’s fruitions.  With machete aimed high, we attempt to swat down newspaper print ads, television commercials and the long vines of direct mail.  We do it in the name of our company, and in the name of profit.  But at the end of the day, word

Word of Mouth continues its reign

Word of Mouth continues its reign

of mouth is the mighty champion again and again.


Whether you are in healthcare or manufacturing, it matters not.  Whether you have a large budget or a small one matters not.  Whether you are an expert or an amateur matters not (take note Andrew Keen!).  What does matter is your ability to communicate – and in that communication tell a story.  Not your story, mind you.  Tell the story of the consumer.  And let them help.


WEb 2.0 users know this to be true already.  Bloggers and content generaters tell their stories everyday.  Who are bloggers?  Well…they’re you and me – consumers; and there are a lot of us.  And sometimes we may not like to hear what consumers always have to say.  But if we have a shred of marketing decency, then we must realize they are our focus group AND our audience.  They no longer need an invitation or free meal.  They meet when they want and where they want.  And say what they want to say.  They force us all to be better producers.  And what’s so wrong with that?

We have much to learn from each other.  Let the story telling begin.


Web 2.0 Sucks – or so says Andrew Keen

Keen isn’t so Keen

This morning during a SHSMD conference I’m attending that is directed toward Healthcare Marketers, I was compelled to sit through a lecture given by Andrew Keen, author of “The Cult of the Amateur:  How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture.”  It was interesting to note that as soon as Keen delivered his first minutes of opinion, the audience was noticeably uncomfortable.  Keen’s main point was that the proliferation of Web 2.0, the advent of blogging by anyone, of Youtube videos being posted by anyone, of Wikipedia being edited by anyone is causing society to suffer.  Keen’s background, as a music publisher, prompted him to defend the artists who aren’t properly reimbursed due to illegal downloading.  Duly noted and agreed on that point.

You Have No Voice

I wasn’t completely sure if Keen believed Oswald was killed by a single bullet.  Unfortunately we never got to that point.  But his suggestions that the consumer must stand to attention when a so-called expert espouses their thoughts was downright insulting.  I got sick to my stomach as I watched Keen talk about how the everyday man doesn’t deserve the right to be inspired, motivated nor have the right to express themselves.  I guess because he’s an author it also qualifies Keen to use his podium to take potshots at Sarah Palin from his democratic high chair.

I applaud SHSMD for inviting a controversial speaker like Keen to speak and challenge conventional thought.  However, having Keen speak at this point in time with millions of blog posts published each day, social networking becoming more than abundant and several issues addressed or repaired by amateurs like myself because of Web 2.0, is like attempting to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

Healthcare Marketing Goes 2.0

This week I’m at a SHSMD conference in San Francisco.  (That’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development for those playing at home.)  The big buzzword so far has been “2.0.”   One gentleman I spoke with yesterday from a healthcare group is having a hard time getting the corporate boys to realize the playground equipment has changed over the years.  They’re not quite ready to let go of the past.  Predictably, the age range of these folks is on the higher end of the spectrum which tells me fear still causes ignorance in this new age.

Although it’s been a day since I heard this information that people are actually dragging their feet at engaging the internet, consumers and the future, I just can not shake it.  How do these businesses stay alive?  Maybe they should check their days on hand cash – the days might be quickly coming to a close.