Cancer vs Communication. Helping Advocacy Organizations Win the Battle

There’s an immediate and urgent need to advocate for cancer research and for services for families affected by the disease. Fortunately for patients and caregivers, there are innumerable national and international advocacy groups dedicated to cancer research and support (see a partial list at the end of this article). But each of these groups faces the challenge of fighting through multichannel clutter to reach, engage, and persuade their government, academic, and public audiences. A Google search for “cancer advocacy groups” returned 19 million potential links. To succeed, advocacy groups must apply state-of-the-art communication strategies and tactics.

Searching Patient Advocacy on GoogleFrom the patient’s perspective, advocacy groups provide intuitive, informative content that helps them and their caregivers find and coordinate the best available care. For a family in crisis with a new diagnosis or recurrent disease, answers and solutions must be accessible and at their fingertips quickly and without struggle.

Supporting patient and professional advocates

Advocacy groups have their work cut out for them, which is why Arteric works with them to enhance their digital marketing capacity.

For the second year in a row, I had the good fortune to be invited to lead multiple workshops for advocacy group representatives attending the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The 2017 workshop, titled SEO: Exploring the Boundaries of the Possible in Online Patient Advocacy, was designed for staff leaders with responsibilities in digital marketing, communications, and Web channels.

Prior to the workshop, attendees completed a questionnaire about their organization’s online marketing strategy and website assets, including competitor information, to ensure that the workshop addressed each organization’s real-world challenges.

What the audiences learned

Throughout the sessions, the audiences learned best practices and strategies for leading-edge digital marketing, Web development, and SEO. We reviewed each organization’s goals for its Web presence and assessed how effectively its website aligns with these goals. After spirited and insightful conversations, I worked with each organization to help them align their goals with their website tactics and reviewed how to quickly and effectively identify issues that may degrade their sites’ performance in search results. The conversations ranged from YouTube and video search optimization to the implementation of an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbot care navigator.

What I learned

Similarities and differences

These workshops exposed me to a broad spectrum of advocacy organizations — some with 30-page websites that attracted 200 visitors per month, others with thousands of website pages and millions of annual visitors. Their questions were similar:

  • How do we draw more traffic?
  • How can we outrank our competitors?
  • How can we more effectively engage our visitors?
  • How can we make our content easier to navigate?
  • How can we structure and execute on our content strategy?
  • How can we use analytics to decide what kind of content to develop?

The differences lay in each organization’s digital marketing and communication maturity, its available resources, and its vision for how it can best serve its audience. What was consistent was the workshop participants’ commitment and enthusiasm. Their questions drove us to discussions about how to set goals for digital marketing, how to measure progress, what innovative/transformative technologies are available to deepen their engagement, and practical next steps. I was deeply impressed by what small organizations can accomplish with limited resources and how much they’ve learned and progressed from year to year.

Small organizations

I believe that the biggest area of opportunity for small patient advocacy groups is to clearly define their content mission and the measurements they will use to determine if their strategy is working. Then, every 90 days, the group should review both the execution of their content strategy and their key performance indicators, adjusting what they are publishing online based on how well the content is performing. This analysis should be combined with insight mining of their pay-per-click (PPC) performance, search-terms report, and query data from Google Webmasters Search Console. I suggest this analysis because the data often provide inspiration for content that should be published and because Google offers advocacy groups PPC grants based on their status.

Large organizations

I was impressed by the willingness of the exceptionally large and successful advocacy groups to consider new ideas and technologies. Specifically, they have an opportunity to leverage their large content sets (thousands of pages) to build automated/guided experiences for visitors who are seeking answers. Thousands of user-generated discussions about disease, quality of life, and treatment create unique and interesting data sets to train AI. One discussion included the question “Do we hire a team of chat operators to interact with visitors or do we hire a team of chat operators to supervise a chatbot that is being trained to interact with visitors?”

Personally, I find it deeply frustrating to chat with a person online. I send my question. I wait 2 to 3 minutes while the person looks up the answer. I lose interest, switch to another window, waste the operator’s time, and the session dies. I prefer to ask the AI a question, get a pretty good answer, and then have the option to trigger a live chat session if my question wasn’t answered. It’s faster, and I prefer to fail faster.

My day with our advocacy partners reminded me about the breadth and depth of the challenges that they face, as well as the need to provide a variety of tailored solutions to their problems. It inspired me to think deeply about how we can do more with less and about the symbiotic relationships among consumers, advocacy, and brands. I was reminded that our healthcare system relies on a balance of partners — and, that patient advocacy and professional advocacy are essential in connecting stakeholders to the health information patients need to live longer, healthier lives.

Lending a hand

Working with advocacy groups that educate patients, caregivers and professionals is a privilege, but it’s also a natural fit for Arteric for two reasons:

I’m pleased that Dr. DeVita feels that the medical community is gaining the upper hand on cancer and that we are moving toward a world free from cancer; but for the foreseeable future, people affected by cancer will need advocates on multiple fronts. Arteric will continue supporting these organizations. If you want to join the effort, check out the domestic and international advocacy groups listed at the links below.

Push your digital engagement to the max

For two decades, Arteric has developed digital marketing strategies, websites, mobile apps, and Web applications that drive growth for healthcare brands and advocacy organizations. If you’d like me to lead a workshop for your organization, or if you would prefer to schedule a 15-minute conversation to discuss how Arteric can maximize the impact of your digital communication programs, please contact me at 201.558.9910.



Cancer Support Advocacy Groups

References

  1. The growth of the cancer e-patient and their thirst for control. The growth of the cancer e-patient and their thirst for control. info. January 2014 survey. Blog article available at https://www.patientpower.info/blog/2014/04/04/the-growth-of-the-cancer-e-patient-and-their-thirst-for-control. Infographic available at https://www.healthworkscollective.com/cancer-patient-use-internet-medical-information/. Accessed July 9, 2017.
  2. Katz B. Launch planning in a new customer reality. Decision Resources Group. Page 12. Available at http://www.drgdigital.com/ebooks/launch-planning-in-a-new-customer-reality?NoGate. Accessed July 12, 2017.
  3. DeVita VT, DeVita-Raeburn E. The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable—and How We Can Get There. New York, NY: Sarah Crichton Books, 2015.
  4. Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute Web site. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics. Updated March 22, 2017. Accessed May 17, 2017.
  5. World Health Organization Web site. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/. Updated February 2017. Accessed May 17, 2017.

 

Arteric President and Founder Hans Kaspersetz Featured in Life Science Marketing Podcast

Veteran SEO Speaker and Panelist Discusses Foundational and Leading-Edge SEO Tactics for Life Science and Biotech Marketers

SUMMIT, N.J., April 28, 2017 — Arteric (http://arteric.com), a digital healthcare marketing agency that fuses exceptional software development skill with healthcare marketing expertise to help brands connect patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with the health information they need to live longer, healthier lives announced today that Life Science Marketing Radio, the pre-eminent podcast for life science marketers, published How to Establish Authority by Helping Google Understand Your Niche, presented by Arteric President and founder Hans Kaspersetz.

We need to be thinking about where our users will be down the road, in six months, 12 months, 18 months, and where we think Google’s going to be down the road, in six months, 12 months, 18 months. Then, we need to build content strategies that look that far out.

Following the recording of the radio show, Mr. Kaspersetz said, “Connecting laboratory scientists, clinical research teams, students and clinicians with information about protocols, equipment, reagents, scholarly work and all the other components of their research accelerates discoveries and drives profits for the businesses supporting them. We are driven by the fact that their primary research is transformative and leads to people living longer, healthier lives.”

Mr. Kaspersetz continued, “Digital strategy, content strategy, Web publishing and search engine optimization are essential to breaking through the confusion and noise online and delivering a clear, persuasive educational signal. We’ve been fortunate at Arteric to educate brands, researchers, clinicians and scientists on how to achieve remarkable results online. Our techniques work in pharma, biotech, life science and advocacy communication that requires the marriage of high science and technology. We believe that information should be democratized. Sharing our two decades of Web development and SEO wisdom is the core of our beliefs.”

How do we tell better stories? How do we satisfy users’ query intent more accurately? The best place to start is to see what people are actually searching for.

Chris Conner, founder of Life Science Marketing Radio and former head of global marketing communication for life science instrumentation companies, cites the demand for SEO strategy. “When I led marketing communication teams, I saw the impact of thorough, research-driven SEO and SEM strategies. I also observed the limitations of incomplete SEO, which is why I’m anxious to share Hans’s 360-degree approach to leveraging and applying search engine research.”

Mr. Kaspersetz adds, “Supporting the efforts of the life science community is a natural progression for a healthcare agency like Arteric. As a member of the board of directors for an organization that’s advancing the application of personalized medicine, I see how rapidly research tools like genetic analysis technologies are entering clinical use.”

If you would like to connect with Hans Kaspersetz about your brand or digital communication needs, you can find him at:

  • MM&M Awards, New York, October 2017 — Mr. Kaspersetz is an in-person juror
  • ASCO, Chicago, June 2017 — Mr. Kaspersetz is an invited Coach at Celgene Patient Partners Learning Labs
  • Digital Pharma West, San Francisco, June 2017
  • Digital Pharma East, Philadelphia, October 2017
  • PubCon, Las Vegas, November 2017

Listen to the podcast here:

LEARN MORE AT LIFE SCIENCE MARKETING RADIO