Have you recently started a new communications position at a health care company but didn’t attend medical school and need to quickly get up-to-speed on your industry? As an agency that works with various health care companies, we’ve got just the cure.
We’ve gathered expert advice from the Karwoski & Courage team to help you succeed with even the most complex health care industries.
It is important to dive right in to learn all there is to know about your company and its products and/or services. At our agency, we pride ourselves on knowing our client’s industry as well as they do. How do we do it?
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1) Staying On Top Of The Health Care Industry
Assistant Account Manager Jordan Freitag researches company websites thoroughly, identifies competitors (including their strengths and weaknesses) and also reads key trade publications to get a feel for what leaders in the industry are writing about.
This isn’t a one-time deal, Freitag explains. He reads industry publications and eNewsletters daily to keep up with what’s new and trending. Most trade publications are free, making it easy to subscribe.
He also suggests subscribing to eNewsletters that your colleagues find valuable. In addition, Freitag suggests researching additional publications and eNewsletters, which your colleagues may not be aware of, as these publications could have the potential to become a main resource.
2) Identifying The Godfather
Learn who the experts are and who is getting face time in the industry. Every industry has a person or handful of people who are considered go-to sources on the latest in the industry. Research who those people are and what they are speaking about within the industry.
As a key opinion leader, potential customers will often hold these people in high regard. Learning who your health care industry godfather/godmother is and how they are leading the industry is critical to best representing your company. Look for and follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
3) Attending Health Care Industry Events
Account Supervisor Vanessa DeBruijn assures us that getting to know your company’s products, especially highly technical products, takes time and homework. DeBruijn recommends shadowing your staff at a trade show or industry event.
The best knowledge often comes from observing closely when your sales representative is demonstrating and discussing a product with a customer. This also gives you an opportunity to hear the reactions customers have to and questions they have about your products.
4) Looking Beyond The Marketing Team
VP/Group Account Director Emily Finley suggests meeting with more than just the communications team.
Request to meet with the research and development (R&D), clinical/lab and sales teams. These meetings allow access to some of the top minds in your organization, where you can ask questions about why products were even conceived in the first place.
Often, these teams have additional information about the products and their passion and expertise shines through, giving you that much more to work with.
5) The More, The Merrier
Vice President Michael Gugala asks for as much information about a company or product from employees as they possibly can provide. There is no such thing as too much information about a health care product.
He also suggests you learn how the team works internally.
The most difficult thing about health care public relations is often the amount of legal and regulatory legwork that is involved. It is important to know the approval process for marketing communications content, and the average timeline for approvals.
Ask your colleagues what the legal process is and who to contact for each product and/or division,. This will set you up for a successful relationship with those internal colleagues.
Because medical terminology can be complex and sometimes difficult to understand, it’s important to take your time, ask questions, and lean on carefully crafted approved material from your colleagues. This practice will only serve to strengthen your success.
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