Blogged while drinking coffee in Philadelphia but craving a breakfast taco
It’s been a week since the Marketeching team returned from Austin, and as I sit here and reflect on all the SXSW sessions and experiences, I’m incredibly excited to bring new learnings into our day-to-day work and encourage our team to continue pushing the boundaries and thinking outside the box of healthcare social media research.
A major theme in many of the sessions we attended was technology in healthcare. “Home Sweet Home: The Health Hub of the Future” used the premise that health happens in the home to touch on themes such as incorporating meaningful technology into the architecture of our homes to reduce hospital readmission and aid in the management of chronic conditions. Personally, the idea of bringing natural light, colors, and textures into the home to help children diagnosed with ADHD or overweight and diabetic adults was truly inspiring. In “New Prescription: Mobilizing Patient Communities,” inspiring breast cancer survivor Patti Rogers discussed how she addressed the question of why community–which is essential to health and survival–wasn’t being digitally enabled. Her Rallyhood tool enables patients & caregivers to provide updates on a patient’s disease journey, but unlike what we see every day on personal blogs and dedicated Facebook pages, Rallyhood helps alleviate the burden of day-to-day tasks by allowing supporters to sign up to help the patient family, share memories, as well as raise funds. It is truly a full-service crowd-sourcing platform that allows a patient’s community (both virtual and real life) to “rally” behind him or her in all aspects of his or her disease journey.
In “Marketing to Moments that Matter,” Facebook’s Ann Mack discussed the very personal moments that we share and consume on social media, particularly on mobile devices, multiple times a day (think home chefs sharing pics of every meal), once a day (aspiring fitness gurus), once a year (family holiday traditions), and once a lifetime (weddings, births, diagnoses). Our social sharing habits suggest that these once mundane, private experiences are actually best when shared: moments that were previously ordinary are now extraordinary. This relatively new social phenomenon opens up the opportunity for brands to market to these moments that matter to their customers, leveraging meaningful moments in customers’ lives daily, yearly, and at life milestones. Using examples such as the fact that birthday posts on Facebook and Instagram have replaced birthday cards and that new parents’ daily social engagement peaks during the first feeding from 4-7 am, Mack’s key recommendations for marketers who want to make the most of their customers’ constant sharing and consuming each other’s moments on social are: be personal–highly creative, personally relevant experiences that matter; be precise–direct the right creative to the right person at the right time; be persistent–mobile is omnipresent in peoples’ lives, so marketers need to also be persistent in their lives.
As a linguist myself, my personal favorite was “The Linguistic Secrets Found in Billions of Emoji,” presented by Dr. Ben Medlock of Swiftkey and Gretchen McCulloch, popular linguistics writer. I’m sure you all have grown accustomed to incorporating the cute images in your texts, tweets, and even emails; last year’s Oxford Word of the Year was 😂, so there is no denying that emoji has become a staple in digital communication, replacing the antiquated “lol” which McCulloch argues has lost its meaning through overuse (agreed). Using data from the Swiftkey’s widely used smartphone keyboard, they explored the question: is emoji a language? Examining variation in emoji usage across different countries and comparing emoji behaviors to key structures in human language (such as emoji repetition and 3- and 4-word phrases), Gretchen and Ben assert that emoji is not a language, but rather a supplement to language that allows us to encode expressive tone into our mobile, informal written communication.
Finally, two sessions in particular – “Smart Women Using Smart Data to Rise to the Top” and “Digital Marketing in the Age of Influencers” were led by truly inspiring groups of women telling stories about how they are building brands and developing lucrative marketing strategies in their industries of work: healthcare, fashion, and technology. What a time to be a woman in tech! The “Smart Women” session empowered the predominantly female audience to advocate for creating and growing positions for women in tech and astutely pointed out that “the best jobs have not been created yet!” For both male and female audiences, the speakers could not say enough about making a pact to constantly improve your skill set and make yourself a “learning individual.”
Overall, the Marketeching SXSW team left Austin with a renewed sense of confidence in our ever-evolving and growing team of researchers and analysts that are constantly pushing the envelope on what it means to do social media research in healthcare. Be sure to check back here on our blog to catch up on what new learnings and ideas we’re exploring throughout 2016!
Until next time,
Research Manager & Emoji Enthusiast Briana Pereira ✌️