Healthcare Professional Associations Need New Relevance and Revenue: Time to Get a Groove On
It’s no debate that healthcare professional associations are struggling to thrive and survive. Membership is flagging, conference attendance is waning and technology is driving new expectations for education and engagement. CME credits, annual conferences and state and federal advocacy, once the lifeblood of these organizations, are no longer sustaining them. Some organizations are turning to other revenue and leadership opportunities, leveraging and monetizing the knowledge that lies within their professional base to build leadership and create new commercial products that reach beyond their membership as they chart a new course for survival.
Healthcare Association-Specific Challenges
This transition presents many challenges to associations. They are mission-driven organizations that lack the commercial knowledge and marketing resources to compete in the open market. Further, the efforts they bring forth are increasingly challenged by commercial businesses with competitive offerings. Backed by more marketing horsepower, R&D, and capital, they win attention and market share. Still, associations have the advantage of holding at their center a purpose that resonates with the goals of the healthcare community and transcends commercial business. Their convening nature and experiences with coalitions and collaborative initiatives with a host of partners, puts them ahead of the curve in a health world increasingly dependent on interoperability and shared efforts. They have databases of members and can unlock the unique knowledge and insights of their professionals.
Healthcare Association MarCom Solutions to Survive and Thrive
Hippos helped a high-energy healthcare association expand its influence and grow its revenue. With the CEO’s vision and the board’s support, Hippos started by creating new go-to-market messaging for this organization. The messaging retold the organization’s strengths beyond Certification, Education, Conference and Membership. It gave permission to market new and emerging offerings including Corporate Training, Data/Analytics, Licensing and Consulting, and established a leadership voice – all to pave the association’s expansion and ability to compete with bigger and more established players in its subject-matter expertise. Necessarily, efforts kept the association’s existing membership and broader community engaged and motivated.
Message development was quickly followed by implementing a fully integrated marketing plan, with paid, owned, earned and shared channels for all of the associations offerings. Working with the internal team, Hippos designed and operated an internal agency to set-up the association’s marcom capability for long-term growth. We implemented an automated marketing and content strategy that combined topics of direct interest to their community with unique and digestible visual elements. We increased engagement of the individual professional community and sales of current offerings. We built new relationships with senior healthcare executives, introduced new corporate products and established a thought leadership footprint inclusive of a CEO visibility program and media relations. We successfully marketed a professional conference and leadership summit.
Measuring Healthcare Association Marcom Results from Year One:
Through organic search, referrals and direct traffic on the website, Hippos added more than 3,000 new leads to the association’s database.
Key thought leadership initiatives including a white paper, a workforce report and conference insights generated 5000 downloads.
Advertising: More than a half million people saw ads in digital trades.
Automated email campaigns increased 192% over the prior year, the number of people who clicked through or actively engaged with our campaigns increased 185% . Open rates and CTR consistently exceeded 20%.
Social media following increased 52% (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube).
Website visitors grew 20% and page views grew 11.74%.
The association’s major initiatives and leaders were covered by top-tier healthcare trade publications.
Prominent industry leaders and leading health systems supported their mission by lending their voice and participating in their leadership event.
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