At Wrapped, we love making introductions between organisations that can genuinely help one another. It’s something we are often asked to do when healthcare providers and businesses, including NHS Trusts, want to get onto the radar of another organisation. The question poses an interesting business challenge, which we help many clients to resolve.
It’s certainly no mean feat to engage successfully with decision makers within the NHS or large healthcare organisations, but we do have some pointers, which are the product of our work to position businesses correctly with the people that matter.
Know your audience
Persona-based marketing is nothing new and its principles ring true when it comes to making the right introduction. There are also more questions to think about. Who are you trying to reach? What are their concerns, pressures and expectations? Do they have a gatekeeper? And, most importantly, how are they feeling right now?
By answering and understanding these questions, you will have the start of an approach that is appropriate for the first person you will come into contact with. A note on gatekeepers: don’t overlook them. You might have your sights set on a clinical lead or division director, but when time is something we are all short of, these people may perhaps only take new introductions based on the recommendation of a colleague or peer.
Profiling not just the demographics, but also the changing behaviour of your initial target, will ensure that the tonality, language and content of your introduction all really hit the mark.
Use research and AI to inform empathy
To engage authentically with anyone, empathy is key. Without walking a mile in their shoes, you will fail to make the emotional connection required for them to take you seriously. To do so means that you will understand their concerns and preoccupations in the here and now; not just the things that were referenced by their press office a few months ago. In current circumstances, this is especially important, given the rate of change amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
When it comes to fact finding, we build up the richest, most robust picture by looking at things from all angles. We understand wider mindsets by analysing the emotional responses of large groups through significant data sets, overlaying this onto market trend reports, social sentiment analysis, desktop research and audits of any target company’s external communications and wider marketplace.
To unlock the possibilities from big data, we partner with artificial intelligence experts, who can analyse thousands of written, spoken and audio responses, to identify barriers to change. This transforms our approach from observational to human-centric.
Demonstrate suitability through your words
We often see very suitable companies struggle to make that crucial first impression because they simply don’t understand the vernacular of the Trust or organisation whose doors they are trying to open. How can you influence someone to make a change, if you don’t speak their language, so that they understand the value that you can add to them?
Again, this is where it pays to conduct research: how do they speak in their external communications? Can you sign up to bulletins to better understand their current agenda? Has a key spokesperson been referenced recently in the media? If you can communicate in the way that makes sense to them the most, you will find it so much easier to cut through and have that initial conversation.
A picture paints a thousand words
Internal parity is important for any business to appear credible and fully invested in their own offering. It’s an absolute given, but surprisingly, so many companies don’t have their own shop front in order on this score. A crucial first step – before even looking at an approach to another company – is to get this sorted.
Alongside this, when it comes to making contact with the target organisation, there needs to be a similar coherence between the words and the creative used to support what you are saying.
Accessibility is never far from our minds when creating our campaigns: if we don’t adhere to the main culture and principles of the Trust or business, why should they bother to take the time to listen to us?
Finally, do your credentials precede you?
We have increasingly found that NHS Trusts and healthcare organisation are most interested in your credentials as your ultimate proof points. This means that your expertise, associations and qualifications can make as much impact as a case study, particularly if the case study’s strongest link is simply that you have worked with another Trust or similar organisation on something that is actually irrelevant.
Experience is everything and it shines through when you have a genuine investment and interest in what your target organisation is trying to achieve.
This post was originally posted on The Drum on the 15 March 2021.