Develop a community-building mindset for effective healthcare marketing

If you’re a healthcare marketer who is still spewing one-way communication with radio, TV, newspaper and direct mail advertising, it’s time to shift gears and develop a community-building mindset. 

That’s the main message from Jennings CEO Dan Dunlop. 

“Healthcare marketing is facing a crisis of relevance,” says Dunlop. “The world of marketing is being transformed by the adoption of new digital platforms and technologies. Yet, most healthcare organizations continue to market as they always have.”

Much healthcare marketing holds little relevance for patients today

He goes on to say that “the traditional model of healthcare marketing, where we primarily push content in the direction of the consumer, is not sustainable. It’s short on value and holds little relevance for patients and consumers.”

Instead, says Dunlop, “we should look to online community development as a foundational element of any engagement strategy. We need to build niche online communities of shared interest, organized around specific topics, conditions or diseases, that our patients can join and where they can interact with others facing similar health challenges.”


Great advice for any health systems looking to strengthen relationships with patients and their families. 


If you’re considering starting an online patient community, this webinar is for you!

Are you considering launching an online patient community but aren’t sure where to start?

Would you like to know:

  • the critical research you must complete before you launch your community? 
  • the biggest mistake most new communities make — and how to avoid it? 
  • how to tell if your stakeholders are really on board? 

If so, this webinar is for you. 

On Wednesday, November 12, I’ll be presenting: “Look Before You Leap: 5 Things You Must Know Before You Launch an Online Patient Community.” 

You’ll get the answers to these questions and many more in an informative, helpful 45 minute session with Q&A. You’ll learn the critical steps you must take to lay the foundation for a successful, thriving online patient community – and to avoid an embarrassing failure.

Look Before You Leap:
5 Things You Must Know Before You Launch an Online Patient Community

Wednesday, November 12

1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific 




My good friend and online community partner Dan Dunlop, president of Jennings, will be your host. 

Hive Strategies and Jennings partner with CareHubs, the leading private-label, online patient community platform available today, to bring the healthcare industry easy access to affordable, HIPAA-compliant online patient support communities.

Online Community Building: An Essential Role for Healthcare Marketers

In this video (45:53) I address a group of clinicians, administrators and marketing professionals at a women’s health conference about the important role that online community building should play in healthcare marketing programs.

Given the changing expectations and habits of the connected consumer, healthcare marketers must embrace the notion of marketing “with” consumers, rather that “at” them. The day of pushing endless content at audiences, and expecting them to be influenced, has long since passed.

Niche online communities, particularly online patient support communities organized around specific health conditions or topics, give us the opportunity to engage consumers by appealing to their unique interests and desire for health information.

These communities offer the promise of an experience with the healthcare organization’s brand that is perceived by members to be more credible and authentic, thereby deepening their relationship with the brand.

What I’m Learning at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Seattle Residency


WendySueSwansonI’m sitting in the conference room at the Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill campus in Seattle.

It’s the first day of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency in Seattle, and it’s my good fortune to be joining Lee Aase (@LeeAase), Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (@SeattleMamaDoc) and Dana Lewis (@DanaMLewis) as chief residents for the residency. That means I give a couple of presentations on Facebook and video production, answer questions and help the residents (17 healthcare professionals) complete their projects. Read more

Interest in Pinterest? How Hospitals Can Use the Newest Social Media Tool

Recently I took advantage of an invitation that had been sitting in my inbox for a few weeks and joined the new visual social network Pinterest. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Mashable writer Stephanie Buck called it “one of the hottest new social networks on the radar for a few months now” in her article Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users. Pinterest describes itself as “a virtual pinboard.”

Its website explains that it “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

As with any new social media tool in its initial offering … I see a lot of possibilities for healthcare communication…and some areas where I’d like to see improvement. Read more