For those of you who can remember the 1960s animated television series “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” (a/k/a/ “Rocky and Friends”), there was a segment in the program called “Peabody’s Improbable History,” whose featured characters were a dog, Mr. Peabody, and his pet boy, Sherman.
Mr. Peabody had a “WABAC Machine” (pronounced, and often synonymous with, way back), a fictional plot device used to transport Mr. Peabody and Sherman back in time. At the request of Mr. Peabody, Sherman would set the WABAC controls to a time and place of historical importance, at which point a key would emerge. This key would unlock a door that Mr. Peabody and Sherman would then enter, and the two would be instantly transported back in time.
Segue to 2012. For the past year, I’ve enjoyed developing a marketing strategy for the first healthcare information technology (HIT) company to offer a web-native electronic health records (EHR) solution built on twenty-first century technology. The target market is rural hospitals with smaller IT staffs who stand to gain the most benefit from my client’s technology, with faster, easier implementations and support. It truly is a tour de force in this lagging technology-adoption industry segment.
Recently, however, I feel as though I’ve been transported back in time as we develop demand-generation campaign plans for my client. Marketing automation has advanced dramatically over the last 10 years with, but amazing solutions from HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua are all a bit over-kill for this market. My objective is to gain visibility with a target audience of rural hospitals still operating very much on paper – no web presence, no corporate email system, no EHR systems, no patient portals. Often, their only electronic system is for patient accounting and billing.
When we can find addresses for executives in these hospitals, they’re always a mix of gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail accounts. With no corporate email systems in place, how are we to market to these healthcare organizations?
So we took a little trip in the WABAC machine to a time when marketing was done the old fashioned way: print mailers and personalized outbound telephone calls to invite prospects to online webinars to hear from clients about their success with the latest industry regulations. Bereft of leading edge technology, we just use what worked for marketers a long, long time ago.