Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Austin was the place and healthcare digital transformation was the case. Presenters enlightened us with case studies across web, CRM, digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing, including some juicy "nuts & bolts" tips.If you weren't able to take yourself away for the 21st Annual HCIC, here's our take on the top 11 takeaways:

  1. Redesign your website with a "Patient-First" mentality. This includes headings, page titles, and all content. Jerry Griffin, Penn State Health Director of Web & Digital Services, explained their web redesign involving a 66 percent reduction of 200 links on the home page, elimination of content redundancy and consolidation of content around 70 key condition hubs. I liked Jerry's "garden hose" analogy – it provides one powerful source until you put your fingers over the water stream, thus fragmenting the flow. I also liked his comparison to buying a house. "You go in with parameters to buy a house that will have good resale, good schools, and that you can grow old in. But you end up with the house you fall in love with. It's the same with hospitals. People have to have an emotional connection with the hospital and it has to feel right."
  2. "Mobile-First" web mentality is also key. We are all more comfortable testing website design in a desktop format, but it's critical to test your new website in a mobile format. If you are not conducting your studies in person, send a URL to participants so they can evaluate within an actual mobile device.
  3. Don't be afraid to use guerilla web usability studies. Penn State pulled people waiting for loved ones in the surgical suite waiting room for wireframe studies, finding they appreciated the distraction and  the $20 Starbucks gift card. Since six people can determine 85 percent of results, starting with a small sample is a good idea.
  4. The concept of "digital marketing" should be dead. So says keynote speaker, John Matson, Cleveland Clinical CMO. Why? Because it's intrinsic. Virtually everything has a digital application. With a departmental mantra of "Digital. Mobile. Measurable." and a 75 percent digital paid media budget, he only hires digital marketers who embrace analytics. And as a "digital publisher," he also puts adequate money behind creating scale. Because what's the sense of creating  so much content and not push it out for people to read?
  5. Stop random acts of content. Rather, we need to "repurpose and reimagine," espouses keynote speaker, Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert. How? Nielsen research shows  we trust each other far more than we trust companies and organizations so REAL people are the most effective messengers. We need to get off the unsustainable hamster wheel of content creation and get EGC (employee generated content). Your endocrinologist doesn't have time to blog?  Ask him a question, press start on your phone and repackage the raw content. Or just ask him to leave you a voice mail and create a podcast. With consumers visiting 38 percent fewer websites per month than 2010, your website is less important.  Hence, you must become an "Everywhere Brand," spending to promote your "greatest hits" (best content) and pulling people to your site.
  6. Live by the Golden Gate Rule with your website. Translation from Clarisa Gerlach- Purks, Web Content Administrator of Moffitt Cancer Center: Once the entire Golden Gate Bridge is done being painted, it's time to begin again. And it's exactly the same way with your website. (Unfortunately!)
  7. Don't wait for the stars to align to get patients to interact with your patient portal. In order to get those meaningful use dollars, segment the target audience from nonusers to enrolled but not using to active users, and use your CRM for variable messaging to increase usage. This wisdom spoken by Judy Winkler, strategic marketing director of OSF HealthCare, who was rewarded with positive usage results.(Another presenter mentioned the importance of putting the Patient Portal button right next to the Search button on your website, to reduce his highest Search term of "Patient Portal.")
  8. Pick a CRM partner you are in love with as you will be working together for three years. Words of advice from Laura Lea Jones, CEO of LionShare, Inc. If you ‘re having trouble getting your CRM up and running, you're not alone.  The panel of experts from Healthgrades, LionShare Inc., Evariant, Influence Health, and Tea Leaves Health concur on critical success factors: An aligned culture of Marketing, IT and Finance working together; Baby steps – getting a few campaigns going before complex programming; Budget to run campaigns; Attention to fixing your call center as a first impression response; Coaching from your CRM vendor; Decision if you will be using a self-service vs. full service model. As one stated, "CRM is a very expensive engine. You need someone to put it in your car. Once it's installed, you need to decide how you will make your race car go. Will you be driving or hiring a chauffeur and be in the passenger seat?"
  9. A brand is no longer what you tell your consumers you are. It's what they tell each other you are. Keynote speaker, Larry Bailin, CEO of Single Throw, emphasized the importance of thinking like an innovator. Who would have imagined Amazon's autonomous drone package delivery or the Seattle Amazon go grocery store with "just walk out technology" (that means no need to check out since billing happens thru your app)? How do we take this mentality to healthcare?  Using virtual reality of an MRI experience in children's hospitals to reassure kids before their procedure is one example.
  10. The Human-Computer Interaction Lab at University of Maryland knows a lot more about us than we may want them to. director and keynote speaker, Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D., explained how algorithms and artificial intelligence are predicting things in our future – including our health, happiness and love life – with startling accuracy. For instance, identifying people who will have heart disease and obesity risk by looking at their social media circles. And don't forget the recent murder trial that used FitBit data as evidence.  Healthcare marketers need to start thinking now about ways to balance available personal data with reputational harm.
  11. Last but not least -- throwable microphone boxes! Called Catchbox, they certainly made a long day of sitting more engaging and entertaining as presenters threw the microphone box to audience members with questions.

Looking for more healthcare news, insights and best practices? Subscribe to our Healthcare Checkup.

Anti-drunk driving messages cause marketers should know.

Coming off the holiday season, most of us attended parties with family and friends where alcohol was served. And it is a strong possibility the majority of the people in attendance drove home, even if they indulged a little too much. According to MADD, in 2015 “Adults drank too much and drove about 121 million times per year.” Why is it that so many people make the decision to drive under the influence, especially with services like Uber and Lyft that exist in most cities and suburbs? Have they not seen any of the anti-drunk driving ads out there that show the potential consequences of driving under the influence? Take, for example, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning spot “Sticks With You.” Not only does it tug at the heart strings but it shows viewers the consequences drinking and driving can have on the people around you.

It turns out anti-drunk driving ads have been pretty effective over the years in reducing the number of fatalities related to drinking and driving. In fact, according to The Drinks Business, these types of fatalities are “at an all-time low having decreased 53% since 1982.” But what if consumers could actually experience the results of a drunk-driving crash firsthand? Could that help significantly reduce or even eliminate drunk-driving fatalities completely?
Diageo: "Decisions."
Diageo, an adult beverage company, has pioneered virtual reality technology that allows consumers to experience the journey of a vehicle and passengers whose driver is under the influence, ultimately ending in a tragedy.

Virtual Reality is an innovative way to spread awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and hopefully give consumers a bit of a scare to help change their behavior. Do you think this type of advertising will be effective and further lower the rate of drunk-driving fatalities? Let us know in the comments below.
For more, catch up on the latest and greatest in cause marketing here.


How M&M’s is making their Facebook page fun.

When it comes to gamification on social media, M&M’s wins. The brand’s Facebook page is home to more than 10 million fans, and quite a few of them choose to interact with their game-based posts.

On the day the brand claimed to lose their “pretzel guy” in a sea of chocolate candies, more than 11,000 people commented on the post—all trying to find him. (Hint: He’s on the right half!)


Oh no! I’ve lost pretzel guy! Can you help me spot him? – Orange

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Fans have also tried to help various M&M’s out of mazes and into their bags. 


Can you help me make my way to the M&M’S Crispy? I got a bit turned around. - Yellow

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Thursday, January 8, 2015


In this photo, hide and seek is the name of the game. The brand hid their M&M’s somewhere in the scene, and more than 4,300 fans tried to spot them. (Did you find them all? Now try spotting all the differences in this gamification post from The HoneyBaked Ham Company.)


How many of us can you spot? -Red

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Sunday, June 8, 2014


On this day, the brand posted a floral illusion. Hard to stare at. Even harder to find the hidden M&M. Perhaps one of their trickiest games, the post garnered more than 26,000 likes, 3,300 comments and 4,700 shares. How’s that for high engagement?


Hoping this illusion can help me hide from the hungry people. Can you find me? - Orange

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Friday, April 5, 2013


Time to put your spatial reasoning skills to the test (and your will to count M&M’s instead of eat them). More than 6,200 fans tried guessing how many of their favorite candies were in the jar. One fan came close—guessing just one number off. What’s your guess? See how close you came here.


Have the eye of a tiger? Prove it. Count and post how many M&M’S you think are in the jar. I'll reveal the answer on Instagram later this afternoon. – Ms Brown

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Tuesday, July 16, 2013


It’s game time, again. Can you spot the six M&M’s colors in this word search? Fans of the Facebook page could—with hundreds commenting on the post and thousands liking it.


Can you spot the six M&M's colors in this word find? – Ms. Brown

Posted by M&M's U.S.A. on Saturday, August 30, 2014


Which post was your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

To see how other brands are using gamification to increase engagement, visit the original post in this series.

University Marketing 101: Spartans will experiment with nontraditional marketing.

Michigan State University has built their brand on two small words: Spartans will. Spartans will work together. Spartans will work for the common good. Spartans will push past the boundaries.

And this just in: Spartans will experiment with nontraditional marketing.

Understanding that in this day and age, mobile is everything, Michigan State University created a free app for Spartan fans everywhere. Once a user downloads the mobile app, they’re able to upload a photo and add a Spartan helmet to their head—letting anyone and everyone be a Spartan for a day.

Named Spartan Selfie, the app appeals mainly to Millennials, as 47 percent of all teen content on Instagram is #selfies. But it’s still a resource that gets past, present and potential students excited. It’s a tool to show school pride. And it’s something many choose to share on their social media channels—generating even more awareness for the university.

But that’s not all. The end result is branded—displaying the name of the university, the name of the app, the logo and a call to action… one that many have answered. At the beginning of this summer, 2,843 people had already shared their #SpartanSelfie on Instagram.


Lol! Love outdoor!!! #upperpenninsula #puremichigan #waterfall #spartanselfie #msu #gogreen

A photo posted by Tony Zhong (@tonebone19) on


So, could a mobile app benefit your school’s brand? We’d be willing to bet on it. A recent study shows that Americans spend 162 minutes on their mobile device every day, and 86 percent of that time is spent using apps. Isn’t it time yours was one of them?

Read more: University Marketing 101: 4 colleges connecting with co-eds.

Inspiring examples of real time marketing #1: The Super Bowl XLVII blackout.

The Super Bowl is always a big night for the advertising industry, but Super Bowl XLVII was one of the biggest.

Beyoncé had just performed her first halftime show. The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens had taken the field. And then suddenly, everything went dark at the Superdome. More than 100 million viewers turned to social media, and many brands saw an opportunity to light up that space.

At the time, Buffalo Wild Wings was already known for their spots that either featured employees sending games into overtime or letting a team take the lead with the press of a button. So when the blackout happened, fans immediately took to Twitter, joking that Buffalo Wild Wings just had to be behind it. Noticing the conversation that was happening about them, the brand reacted in real time with a tweet that was real good.

Tide got in on the fun, too—tying the event back into their brand with a tweet and custom visual.

And of course, who could forget the most iconic tweet sent that night: “Dunk in the Dark.” Oreo acted fast, and they got thousands of people talking. They earned more than 10,000 retweets in the first hour and made headlines in more than 100 countries—all with a $0 media budget.

According to the official Twitter blog, there were more than 24 million tweets sent on the night of the SuperBowl—but the peak was, of course, the blackout. While the lights were off in New Orleans, Twitter users were sending 231,500 tweets per minute. And while we can’t be sure how many of them were from our favorite brands, we can be sure that this night paved the way for real time marketing.

So, how can you make real time marketing work for your brand? Be proactive. If there’s a big event, like the Super Bowl, coming up, have someone from your team available—just in case there’s an opportunity to get your brand into the conversation.

For more inspiring examples of real time marketing, visit our original post in this series: 4 inspiring examples of real time marketing.

Weekly Recap - June 22, 2015

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

6 reasons your business should be marketing on Instagram
With more than 300 million active users, over 60 million photos shared daily and some five billion likes per day, Instagram is a strategic medium for brands looking to engage and expand their audience, notably mobile users.

What Keywords Get the Most Shares?
Crafting a clear, relevant, and click-worthy title is the most important thing you can do to ensure that the article you spent hours and hours researching and writing performs well.

Millennials Love Video on Mobile, Social Channels (Infographic)
Video isn’t going away anytime soon, as major social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have embraced the format.

video on mobile

Facebook Rewarding Page Admins for Quick Responses to Messages?
Facebook is incentivizing some page administrators with badges for quick responses to messages.

Here's Why GIFs Are Back In Style and Bigger Than Ever for Brands
Move over, emojis. As marketers look to navigate the changing digital video landscape, GIFs are becoming the go-to features for brands seeking better social-media engagement.

Snapchat Launches Native Video Ads
Snapchat announced its new native video ad product called 3V: Vertical, Video, Views.

Taylor Swift takes over Twitter with a custom emoji.

On Sunday night, Taylor Swift fans everywhere (including yours truly) took to Twitter to talk about the release of her most recent music video. But the social media site had a surprise for them: a custom emoji that automatically attached to all tweets using #BadBloodMusicVideo.

Taylor Swift Twitter Takeover

Twitter capitalized on the lyric “band aids don’t fix bullet holes”—creating an emoji of a band aid with a bullet hole.  It kept fans talking about not only the music video, but the star herself. According to the official Twitter blog, Taylor Swift was the most Tweeted-about star from three hours before the show to the end of the ceremony.  How’s that for buzz?   

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a custom hashtag emoji on Twitter. To celebrate a Star Wars in Anaheim this past April, Twitter introduced three emojis tied to #C3P0, #StormTrooper and #BB8.

custom emojis

What should the next Twitter hashtag emoji be? Tell us in the comments below.

“Share a Coke” campaign gives the brand its best summer in a decade.

A few months ago, our senior copywriter Laura Pryor swung by my desk to exclaim that she was sharing a Coke with “Steve.” To my surprise, she had found a can of pop with my name printed on it. I laughed at the coincidence, but was then immediately confused. Why would a can of Coke have my name on it?

At that time, Coke was just beginning its summer-long marketing campaign, taking 250 of the top names for Millennials and then uniquely placing them on their product labels.

Once people started to take note, it created some fun at convenience and grocery stores (finding a Coke with you and your friends’ names on it) and subsequently took off on social media.

Ultimately, their biggest campaign element was their most unique: the personalized product integration, which was also the piece that took things over the edge in social—providing millions of earned media impressions as users contagiously snapped and shared photos of the product with their name on it.

With an idea that is inherently social, the “Share a Coke” campaign worked so well for the beverage brand that it reversed a decade-long sales decline, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

After falling 11 years in a row, Coke’s U.S. soft-drink volumes rose 0.4% for the 12 weeks through August from the same period a year ago, according to Wells Fargo, which cited Nielsen store-scanner data. Sales rose 2.5% in dollar terms.

The campaign ended last week with the season, but Coke’s mix of both paid media and mass-scale product integration will live on—proving to be a winning combo and adding up to one big summer grand slam for Coca-Cola.

Clever social marketing campaign proves the medium is (still) the message.

The medium is the message.

It’s as true today as it was in 1964 when Marshall McLuhan coined the term in his book “The Medium is the Massage.” According to McLuhan, the channel in which people consumed media often trumped even the message itself.

Regardless of the quality of message, if deployed across the wrong channel, it can become skewed, misunderstood or lost altogether.

It’s why Red Bull leans heavily on social media and experiences, and lightly on TV. (Red Bull gives you wings is best articulated by extreme feats captured on helmet cams and served via YouTube.) It’s why Trader Joe’s mails its Fearless Flyers rather than emails. (It’s welcomed into your home, tactile and fun, nurturing the personal brand relationship.) It’s why billboards will eternally be part of the fast food media mix. (Billboard = I can smell the fries from my car.)

And it’s why Dr. Ronald Victor, director of Cedars-Sinai Center for Hypertension in Los Angeles, is partnering with barbershops to improve the health of black men.

If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain

Victor recently received an $8.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a study testing whether barbershop medicine could significantly lessen hypertension in African-American men.  

Largely because of hypertension-related problems, African American men are expected to live to age 69—ten years less than white men. The study will involve getting barbers around the city trained to take their patients' blood pressure.

Barbershops are a central part of the African American male narrative in the United States, according to Men may visit the doctor’s office once a year, while they’re likely to visit their barber at least six times as often.

"The idea is, instead of starting out by asking patients, as usual, to come in to the hallowed halls of medicine, we're bringing medicine to the people who need it," Victor told NPR.

The barber is the message. He’s respected, trusted and frequented. It’s a personal relationship that can carry a heavy message like preventing heart disease.

In the chaos of media today, nontraditional marketing is fast gaining utility. Brogan & Partners regularly employs nontraditional channels to meet consumers where they are most susceptible to messages. That may be a bar, car, bus stop, laptop, cell phone, home or someplace altogether different. Often it’s a combination thereof. Always, we take the path that leads us to the consumer.

We have to go to Mohammed.

The weekly recap - April 21, 2014.

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Facebook Launches a Newswire to Surface More Breaking News
Facebook wants to be your digital newspaper, and it's not beating around the bush to make that happen.

LinkedIn Opens Ad Platform
LinkedIn is opening its ad business with two new offerings.

75% Of Mobile Video Ads Happen In-App
Study also finds that shorter, non-skippable spots excel.

NYPD's Feel-Good Twitter Attempt Goes Awry
Photo contest backfires.

As seen on TV: Insurance purchase takes 15 minutes or less!
Property and casualty insurance is complicated, serious and pricey.

The 3 C's of Content Marketing
It’s not easy creating content for a brand.

Twitter has made big changes. Have you seen them?

In an effort to keep up with its social competitors, Twitter has redesigned its layout with a focus on visuals. Big visuals.

Art directors will remember that the old profile picture measured 80x80 pixels with its header photo measuring 520x260 pixels. The recommended dimensions for the new Twitter’s profile pictures are 400x400 pixels and 1500x500 pixels for header photos. That’s more than 2x the original size.

To accommodate the new visuals, Twitter now has the header photo span full-width across the page and places the profile picture in the bottom left portion of it—similar to Facebook. The Twitter background, however, will stay the same—same size, same placement, same options.

In keeping with the goal—going big—tweets will now grow in size depending on popularity. A tweet with no interaction will display at a normal size while a tweet with six retweets and four favorites will be considerably larger—making your best content easy to find.

Users also have the option to pin a tweet to their profile page. When other users visit their page, it will be the first tweet they see. This tweet is of course interchangeable, and can be easily replaced.

Twitter's following and followers lists are also noticeably different. Instead of an actual list, users will now see everything about their following and followers in a visual, almost Pinterest-esque way. While scrolling through followers, users will see everyone’s profile picture, header photo, name, Twitter handle, bio and a follow button.

Users were able to officially switch to the new layout on April 22.

What are your thoughts on the new Twitter? 

Taco Bell enters the breakfast ring by calling on influencers.

Look out McDonald’s and Burger King, pioneers of “fourth meal” are moving in on the first one. Taco Bell rolled out their breakfast menu on March 27, and it’s causing quite a buzz.

According to market researcher Technomic, McDonald’s has about a quarter of the fast food industry’s breakfast sales. Knowing it wouldn’t be easy to compete with those numbers, Taco Bell used none other than Ronald McDonald to get the public’s attention. Well, not THE Ronald McDonald, but they did find 400 men and women with the name Ronald McDonald—or some variation—who claimed to love the new breakfast meals in their most recent television spot and viral videos. In an effort to beat their newest competitor, McDonald’s announced they will offer a free small coffee to customers for two weeks starting March 31, according to the LA Times.  

So how else did Taco Bell get the word out about their first meal options? With the idea of getting up close and personal with fans of the food chain, they came up with feature phones. According to Mashable, Taco Bell mailed out 1,000 Samsung phones to super fans and social influencers. Recipients of these phones were unaware of the task until it came in the mail, and to the delight of Taco Bell, hopped onto their social media pages and started the conversation. The recipients were then given random challenges to complete at any time of day with the hopes of winning Taco Bell prizes (some of the prizes included a button-down waffle taco shirt or Crunchwrap Supreme bed sheets).

So did it work? Well take a look at Twitter and Instagram. The buzz is still rolling even after the feature phone clues ended Wednesday night. Popular hashtags #WakeUpLiveMas, and #BreakfastPhone are still going strong, even after the breakfast debut. Taco Bell has over 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and the recent television spot with the Ronald McDonald testimonials has almost 700,000 views on the YouTube channel. 

 So is Taco Bell’s breakfast menu here to stay? Is it as delicious as the Ronald McDonalds say it is? Well you’re just going to have to wait in line at one of the 6,000 stores in America—now open at 7 a.m.—to find out.




Subscribe to Guerilla

Why Brogan?

Results. Strategic insights that deliver more "aha" moments. Creative that makes an emotional connection. Account service that creates happy clients. And metrics that move your business forward. We guarantee you'll be delighted.

Client Hurrahs

  • Brogan & Partners has worked on a wide variety of health issues for us over the years. They have not only consistently provided innovative ideas and award winning campaigns, but they continue to help us work towards our overall goal of improving the health of Michigan residents.  Their creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm makes them an invaluable partner in our... More

  • Hiring Brogan & Partners to help Michigan Women’s Foundation create the brand and messaging around the campaign to raise millions of dollars to solve the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit was a slam dunk!  With a well-deserved reputation for getting to the heart of complex and highly-charged issues with clear, action-driven communications, the Brogan team... More

  • A well-oiled machine operates at full performance, fluid and unyielding. At Frankenmuth Insurance we have often referred to Brogan & Partners as a well-oiled machine. Our experience with Brogan has been very strong and successful from the start. We view our partners at Brogan as an extension of our own staff. They are readily available to us at any time and deliver... More

  • When launching a startup, resources are very constrained and a startup has to pick its partners very carefully and with deliberation. There were many services that we have had to forego in the early stages of our company, Memloom. One crucial need, however, was identifying and aligning with a strong marketing partner who could help us with our brand, positioning and... More

  • We have been working with the Brogan team for the past 18 months. The Brogan team has truly been our marketing partner. They guided us through development our brand and messaging. They lead our our website redesign and deployment. And they provide excellent counsel on business development and market entry strategies. More

  • From the very first meeting we had with Brogan & Partners, it was clear that they had done their research on PREZIO Health, our competitors and the industry.  It has been  a very positive experience working with the Brogan & Partners team to re-design all of our service and product sheets as well as the total re-design of our website.  Their creativity is top-... More

Tweets, Blog Posts and Tidbits...

Connect With Us