Stop Marketing Your Health Tech Company: Lessons from a Former Navel-gazer

It's not about you, it's about your customer.

Anais Nin is famously quoted as saying, we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” This truism is never more apparent than at the time in our lives when we are toiling over a great idea or expanding a great organization that has the potential to revolutionize our industry.

Our aim is true. We know we should be laser-focused on our target audiences and how to help them. Yet, it so easy to lose perspective. The customer perspective, to be exact. I should know — there was a time in my own career in health tech that if they’d given an award for navel-gazing, I would have been champion… of the world!

So, what do I mean by award-winning navel-gazing? I mean being so close to a product or cause that you can no longer see it with objectivity or identify with the experience of a person who is encountering your brand for the first time. I mean being so internally focused on your own organization that you can’t tear your eyes (and your messaging) away from, well… you. Think: Narcissus gazing at his own reflection.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we should avoid being incredibly passionate about our organizations and solutions and their abilities to change a category, the market, or even the world. Why else would we sacrifice sleep, weekends, and time with the people we love to instead grow and nurture great organizations? But the kind of passion that points us too inwardly can be extremely dangerous to our brand and our success.

The reality is, at some point, we are all likely to indulge in some unhealthy navel-gazing. Consider this from Dr. Leandro Herraro’s 2016 examination of “me focus” across society as a whole: “companies look 90% at themselves and 10% at the market. And when they use the 10%, 90% of that 10%, it is looking at competitors, not the real buyers, not society."

The good news is that you can overcome this affliction to get brand and marketing on track. Start by answering a few questions as honestly as you can (even if it’s a little painful):

  • Is your marketing content mostly about your recent mergers or acquisitions?
  • Does your website messaging highlight you, rather than the value your target audience derives from your organization?
  • Do you define your target audience’s needs based on the benefits of your solution?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a navel-gazer. Congratulations! The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that there is one!

Now that you have a sense of the problem, seek objective outside counsel. Whether that’s an agency partner or consultancy, current clients, or folks in your organization (outside of product leadership, the founding team, or sales — these people are wonderful, but can sometimes be too close to be objective).

Ask them to consider:

  1. What do we need to do as a company to deeply understand our audience’s pain points?
    Your existing clients can really help you with this one (along with other industry contacts from whom you feel comfortable soliciting this kind of input).

  2. How do we help them address these?
    Feedback from your own teams, along with clients, can be invaluable at helping you think this question through.

  3. And, perhaps most importantly, what do we understand about our target audience that enables us to break through?
    Using what you learned from the first two questions can start you on the right path to answering this question. This answer becomes the basis for your messaging and content strategy.

You can learn more about how ReviveHealth helps refocus brand and messaging and enjoy some lively discussion about healthcare target audiences (and how to stay laser-focused on them) in our webinar, Navigating the Maze of Selling to the Hospital C-Suite.

April 8, 2019
Navel-gazing is one of the 4 most common health tech marketing pitfalls we see.
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