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Leslie Blanche Leslie Blanche wrote:July 27th, 2012

Call the Doctor! But Who?

"Hospital" results on Google Maps

A search for “Hospital” on Google Maps.

I just moved to Iowa from Chicago and, for the first time in eight years, I am on the hunt for new medical providers…I need a new optometrist, dentist, family physician, dermatologist, OB/GYN, pediatrician and even a new pharmacy. I find it interesting that my quest to establish myself within my new community is preparing me for my new role at HRB as a Senior Healthcare Marketing Manager. Even though I’ve been working in the medical marketing industry for more than 5 years, I am just now becoming the ultimate healthcare consumer. This hunt is making me a better marketer.

The fact is, I’m able to take a more active role in my personal medical care than ever before. I have a seemingly endless amount of choices. So, where do I start?

First, I cast a wide net. I asked for opinions from trusted family and friends. I asked who they used and what they like and dislike about the providers. I want to know things like how quickly you can get an appointment, how long you have to wait in the office and how much time the physician or provider spends with you. People love giving their opinions – and trust me, their opinions are strong.

Next, I compared the names provided by my trusted advisors with the list of “in network” physicians on my insurance company’s website. There I’m able to see how long they’ve been in practice and what hospitals they are affiliated with. I can also see how close each provider is to my home. I narrowed my search to physicians within 10 miles. By doing this, I was able to cross off some names and come up with a short-list of finalists.

After that, I took my search to the internet. I Googled each physician and, when applicable, their partners. I read the reviews on Yelp.com and looked at their scores on RateMDs.com. I was pleasantly surprised that a few of the providers even had websites of their own for me to peruse. This online search enabled me to definitively cross a few names off of my list. One provider in particular had a long list of negative reviews. Even though a family member spoke highly of the practice, my online peers thought differently. Those negative notes were enough to completely discount a trusted personal source.

After I had whittled down my list to one or two providers in each category, I subjected the offices to the ultimate test – a phone call. I have worked with hundreds of medical practices over the last several years and I firmly believe that you can tell a lot about a practice just by the way the receptionist answers the phone. Three things I was looking for:

  • How quickly was the phone answered? (in my book, a call should never ring more than twice. I don’t mind if you ask me to hold, but I want to know that you are responsive.)
  • Is the receptionist friendly? (Chaos always ensues at the front desk of a medical practice – phones ring nonstop, patients are checking in and out, nurses are looking for charts. It goes on and on… but, that doesn’t mean it is OK to be short with the patients.)
  • Is the receptionist knowledgeable? (I expect the front desk team to know the answers to basic operational questions, such as “What is the earliest appointment time that you offer?”)

So, my search was not a short one. However, it is complete and I feel completely confident in my choices. And, I feel even more confident that this experience will be an asset to my clients at HRB. I know that earning and maintaining patient trust is at the heart of every healthcare organization’s mission. In theory, hospital networks and private practice physicians build trust within their communities by providing unparalleled medical care and personal attention. But, it isn’t always easy for patients to know why they should choose one provider versus any other.

Perhaps I am extreme – some people would have stopped after getting a recommendation from a family member. Others may have called the first name on the list provided by their insurance company. My experience in the medical industry has taught me to be thorough and I will carry that to my clients. HRB Healthcare can help you engage your patients because we ARE your patients. We know what they look for and we will help you craft a message that builds your brand and builds the trust of your patients.

Leslie Blanche
Senior Healthcare Marketing Manager
563-322-0577

Leslie Blanche on LinkedIn Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/leslie-blanche/13/93b/125

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Sara Mouw Sara Mouw wrote:June 8th, 2012

Researching is a Must

Research

The term ‘research’ is not one I am incredibly fond of, but over the last couple weeks I have learned the importance of research as HRB worked on proposals for clients in various industries.

To build our proposals, research was required across the board. Whether it was creative, public relations, interactive, competitive or consumer research, it all brought the end product together. The research started with briefings on the brand and its attributes and overall industry. Then each of the team members worked on a part of the research in an area of their expertise and reported back in status meetings. As the research continued, our knowledge base of the industry and brand grew and our ideas were more focused to the needs and wants of consumers in the industry.

As I worked on competitor analyses, I thought of what attributes or benefits of the brand created a competitive advantage. At the end of the proposal process, I saw all the research come together and why is it was so important to look into all aspects of the competition, target audience and overall market climate.

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Research can help define the messaging to reach potential consumers, the channels to use and the positioning of the brand and increase the success of the brand moving forward. Additionally, the results of the research add credibility to suggested marketing actions in the proposal process because the ideas are backed up with facts.

While the term ‘research’ is still not a favorite of mine, I have now seen its importance in marketing firsthand. I know as my career continues in marketing it will be something I will do before moving forward with any marketing actions, however, I may just use a synonym and call it an ‘investigation’!

Sara Mouw
Public Relations Intern

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Jim Thebeau Jim Thebeau wrote:February 17th, 2012

Extra! Extra! This Week’s Interesting Marketing Stories!

How to Lose Customers – Quickly

Cold ShoulderDid you know national surveys indicate that “feeling neglected or unappreciated” is the #1 reason businesses lose customers?

This seems like an easy statistic to change, but it’s not. Most entrepreneurs and many businesses are simply too overworked and overwhelmed with day-to-day duties to think about customer appreciation and client retention strategies.

Industry surveys indicate that customer satisfaction is tied directly to employee satisfaction. One way to keep ahead of the customer satisfaction issue is to survey both your employees and your customers regularly – at least once a year. Learn what makes them happy or unhappy, and you’ll get meaningful information on your products and services, as well as your customer service. Customer and employee satisfaction surveys are an integral part of guiding a company, its products or services into the future. Understanding what steps to take to improve attitudes and perceptions is key to keeping a healthy company. Have you thought about asking about the health of your brand? This goes beyond questions such as “Was the sales staff courteous?” Evaluating your brand will give you insight into your reputation, awareness level, company vision and the momentum of your brand.

Would it Pay for Your Firm to Advertise on Facebook or LinkedIn?

Create a Facebook Ad

Starting to create a Facebook ad.

How do you determine if that’s a viable strategy? HRB is introducing a new service to help clients determine the viability of advertising on Facebook or LinkedIn. To maximize the value of social media, consideration should be given to your targeted audience that can be reached by advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn. HRB researches audience segments on the sites to determine whether the effort would be viable for reaching the right audience.

HRB performs an analysis of targeted paid advertising on both Facebook and LinkedIn and deliver a forecast of expected results and costs. The benefit is understanding the potential of paid social marketing efforts specific to your market. Upon completion of the analysis, the deliverable to the client is a written report outlining the findings and recommendations. The analysis is performed by Stephanie West, our Director of Internet Operations, who is a Certified Social Media Associate.

Businesses are Missing Email to Social Collaboration

Email to Social Collaboration

Extend your email marketing beyond your email list.

According to The State of Email Marketing in SMBs, based on a study by GetResponse, most small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) have mastered the basics of organic email list-building, making use of Web-based sign-up forms and even offering incentives to encourage subscriptions, but fewer than half use any type of email-to-social collaboration, limiting the potential of cross-channel marketing.

The report notes that the weak implementation of social media integrations, especially given the buzz it creates in the context of email marketing. Only 50% of the researched marketers use any type of email-to-social collaboration. This means that, even if their brand is present on various social networks, cross-channel marketing is practically non-existent.

Communication mapping can help you figure out this complex system and make sure you are not missing out on an opportunity. Mastering the use of multiple mediums and the integration of cross-channel marketing, which is essential to successful message delivery to target audiences in today’s complex communications environment is strategically important for any business or organization.

If any of these topics are issues you are addressing at your business or organization, contact HRB for a free consultation.

Jim Thebeau
Partner/CEO
800-728-2656 ext. 121

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HRB Advertising Agency wrote:October 19th, 2010

HRB Raises Over $600 in 3 Hours for United Way

Yummy bake sale treats!Last Friday HRB held a bake sale fundraiser for United Way of Cedar Rapids alongside building neighbors OPN Architects and Robert W. Baird and Co. The goal of the fundraiser was to raise $500.00 in three short hours. We’re pleased to announce that we surpassed this goal and raised a total of $671.65!

Not only is this a huge accomplishment, but it shows that the Iowa Corridor truly cares about improving the community. Even when times are tough community members are still generous with their time and money.

HRB began planning for the fundraiser in September. It started with a conversation about the company’s annual giving efforts and ended up taking on a whole new direction when our PR Intern, Megan Jasin, and Controller, Dianne Maloney, suggested we join forces with our building neighbors. OPN Architects and Robert W. Baird & Co. were more than willing to offer their resources, services and baking skills to help the event succeed, and as they say, the rest is history!

Two weeks before the fundraiser all three companies held numerous meetings to make final preparations, determine the pricing plan for the baked goods and purchase decorations for the building lobby and tables. HRB secured local media coverage in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Downtown Cedar Rapids District e-newsletter, and on the actual date of the fundraiser United Way employees brought in some of their own homemade baked goods to add to the growing display.

Overall, this was a great event that brought a lot of our community members together for a great cause. HRB, OPN Architects and Robert W. Baird & Co. of Cedar Rapids couldn’t be happier with the outcome and would like to personally thank everyone who contributed their time, money and resources to this fundraiser. All proceeds will be split between the three participating companies and donated to the United Way of East Central Iowa.

Don’t forget to check out the photos from this event in the “United Way Fundraiser” album on the HRB Facebook page!

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Kurt Zenisek Kurt Zenisek wrote:July 13th, 2010

Firefox Version 4 Beta Touts WebM Media Format and WebGL Support

Mozilla Firefox, the second most widely-used Web browser, has released version 4 for the public to beta test. The notable changes include a revamped user-interface and an easier to use preference and add-on manager. It also supports the newer  HTML5 and CSS3 features that Website designers love. One standout HTML5 feature that Firefox has been touting is their unrivaled support for the WebM media format, which will allow Internet users to employ one (open-source) video and audio file format over the Internet. This will replace the need for users to install different programs (which require them to accept licensing agreements and/or fees) to play .wmv, .mov, .mp4 and .m4v files.

There’s also WebGL support included in the beta, but it isn’t enabled by default due to the fact that it’s still the development stage. WebGL provides Web designers access to utilize users’ graphics cards, which show an advanced graphic presentation (3d, intricate animations, displaying and managing a large number of images at once, etc). It is also a sister-project to OpenGL, one of the most widely used technologies for game graphics.

What’s more, a group of people at Google came together and actually ported Quake 2 to WebGL so that it can be run within your Web browser. This is a nice touch, considering the multi-player focus of the game. Users can now go to a Website (even if it’s their first time there), click play and start competing with other players over the Internet.

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Mozilla’s biggest concern is whether the public will appreciate its new user interface, which is comparable to the current interface of its competitor, Google Chrome. Realizing that some users may favor Firefox’s traditional interface, they’ve included preferences that allow people to change the layout back to the way it was before the update. This is a smart decision because it shows they’ve done their research ahead of time and value the needs of both their present and future users.

Mock-ups for the new user interface were shown back in September of last year. So how could something that seems so simple take over half a year to tweak? They’ve spent some serious time preparing answers to such questions, as the following video will show:

The Firefox 4 beta is publicly available for download at their Website. Remember that it’s a beta version when you try it out, because the new user interface is the most fully-realized for Windows users. For all you Mac and Linux users, you’ll have to wait a little longer until the team gets feedback from the Windows beta testers.

Kurt Zenisek
Web Developer
800-728-2656 ext. 123

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Jeff McEachron Jeff McEachron wrote:February 22nd, 2010

I’m Tired of Watching Companies Fail at Social Media Marketing

Over the last couple of years, I have witnessed far too many companies who get started in Social Media and abandon their efforts within a few months because they don’t get the results they were looking for. These companies all have one thing in common. The expectations were unrealistic and they failed to commit the appropriate resources required to be effective.

First, let’s talk about expectations. The president, CEO, and vice president levels of organizations simply don’t know what to expect from social media. As a result and because the down economy is driving a need to get a quick return on investment, they are looking for short-term financial results. For 99% of businesses, this simply isn’t going to happen. Social media marketing is about building a following, building relationships, and leveraging these relationships for long-term mutual gain. If you’re expecting someone to land on your Facebook page and hop straight into your sales funnel, it isn’t going to happen. Here is what you can expect from social media marketing that is well planned and executed:

  • Increased Sales Efficiency
  • Improved Reputation
  • Differentiation
  • Risk Reduction
  • Client Retention
  • Brand Association
  • Long Term Revenue
  • Opportunity Creation
  • Perception Shifting
  • Public Relations Exposure
  • Client Education
  • Network Growth
  • Building Trust
  • Innovation

Some companies will look at this list and say, “That’s not what we’re looking for.” If you find yourself in this situation, then ask yourself if this is what your clients or customers are looking for. Like many of our clients, you may have to do some research to figure this out.

If your company decides to move forward with social media marketing, then the next step is critical to your success. You have to allocate and dedicate the appropriate resources to be successful or you will fail. Social media marketing represents a shift in your thinking and potentially a shift in your spending.

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Let’s say you have a marketing budget of $10,000 per month. In the past, you’ve paid an advertising agency this money in exchange for their services. If you’ve made the decision to enter the social media world, you have two choices.

Your first choice would be to pay a company like HRB to manage your blogging and social media efforts. Your second choice would be to keep that work in-house. If you keep that work in-house, I recommend you initially dedicate about 2 to 4 hours per day of someone’s time to manage your blog, social media, and email marketing activities. I would shift some of this money away from and “downsize” your traditional media efforts that have lost effectiveness over time. This allows you keep your costs in check and move into a new avenue of marketing. If you fail to clearly and effectively allocate these resources, your social media efforts will fail.

I think every business can benefit from a well planned and well executed social media strategy. How important is it to your business model, and how much of your marketing budget should be allocated? It varies from company to company, and only you can make the decision on the shape and scope of your efforts. Like all marketing, it is a risk. Unlike a lot of marketing, it is fairly measurable because of the vast statistics available on the Web.

So what’s my advice to you? Do it well, or don’t do it at all. I don’t want to see you fail.

Jeff McEachron is a Google Adwords Qualified Individual

Jeff McEachron
Senior Vice President
Director, Internet Operations

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