It’s who you know not what you know

It’s who you know not what you know sometimes

With the healthcare market in major transition, we are frequently asked about what advice we can offer healthcare organisations when trying to identify and engage with decision makers in the NHS.

Now, more than ever, it’s really about having an intimate knowledge of the NHS and having a clear understanding of the challenges, frustrations, opportunities and key drivers of your target audiences. Its then about segmenting and tailoring your messaging accordingly and then, very importantly, having the personal contacts of those individuals that can affect engagement and who have the authority and motivation to put their head above the parapet and drive the idea or proposition through the many tiers of stakeholder groups and influencers.

A major factor over the last 18 months has been the change of audience as a result of the new models of care. We are working with an increasing number of organisations that have historically positioned their product or service in secondary care and now, with our support, are totally revising their route to market strategies and realigning their focus to primary care and local government.

Having introduced services and products to the healthcare sector for many years, both within the NHS and independent sectors, we have made it our business to stay in touch with those individuals that have been early adopters and have driven change.  We therefore have a good understanding of where certain individuals are attempting to drive change and what changes they are likely to instigate; which elements of an STP, for example, will start to move quicker than others. In particular, we are seeing some of these individuals emerge as accountable officers for STPs.

As an example, we are undertaking some incredibly interesting work with a software supplier and have been able to partner closely with two individuals in an STP to understand how the client’s proposition can be aligned to some of the dynamics and aims within that particular STP. We are already at an advanced pilot stage and looking forward to a full roll out later in the year.

We have also recently gained significant traction for a number of our independent sector clients with individuals who are running GP Federations, particularly in areas where the new models of care are beginning to deliver stronger and more sustainable services to patients. New job titles are also being introduced within the NHS. Care Navigators are a new and important role within Primary Care. Working with a Care Navigator in a large GP Practice we have introduced the services of a client that helps to expedite discharge from secondary care and allows for more efficient tracking of patients throughout the care pathway.

We are also working with a client who is aiming to support CCGs and GP Federations to anticipate and identify some of the potential challenges they will face within specific patient cohorts. Using some fantastic demographic profiling software (geo and behavioural) developed by our client, GP Federations and CCGs, can review the historical needs of patients across similar cohorts and then align product or services accordingly.  Again, the success of this programme has been down to the bespoke approach we have adopted and is targeted to those CCGs and GPs Federations where we either know individuals or have an understanding of the change programmes.

As the sector is experiencing such a significant change, we also utilise our relationships, by running insight workshops to ensure our understanding of the market is correct. Recently, we gathered together a GP, NHS Trust CEO, GP Federation CEO, Procurement Director and a Medical Director to guide a route to market strategy that has potentially numerous stakeholders and influencers. By asking the right questions and then simply following a proven process and methodology we are confident we have the necessary insight to go to market. We also work closely with some of our client’s product development teams to ensure the work they undertake is focused on delivering a product/service that is based on current and anticipated need. We always aim to eliminate any ambiguity or subjectivity from product development. The client is extremely pleased by the outcome and has found it more insightful and beneficial that any activity they have undertaken over the last 10 years.

To add additional robustness to the insight and to ensure we achieved a fully representative view from across the sector, we also used Data4NHS (the largest pre-permissioned email database of NHS personnel via their NHS email address) to canvass the opinion of a far greater cohort of the target audiences.

I don’t think there is anything particularly groundbreaking about this approach but in this uncertain and transitional time working with people you know make things happen, and this, coupled with a belt and braces approach to research, has been continually successful for us.

Please let us know if we can be of any help.

Nick Mayhew

Mobile: 07736 065353