What We Learned at Swaay.Health Live 2024

By Jessica Beote + Deanna Meservey

Swaay.Health Live emerged as a beacon of innovation and collaboration, igniting discussions on the dynamic landscape of healthcare marketing. After digesting all the rich content and meaningful discussions, here are the top five takeaways we gleaned from the show that will inherently fuel Matter Health and healthcare communications moving forward this year and beyond:

  1. Media Trends Reshaping Healthcare Narratives: During Colin Hung’s keynote, he highlighted the healthcare topics that are hot and not so hot right now. For instance, COVID-19, SDoH and telehealth are all at the bottom of the topic prioritization list. On the flip side, AI and cybersecurity remain top-of-mind for the media. Related, during the media panel, reporters did note that it’s critical for any stories being pitched to them to not only be relevant to their readers but introduce something “new” to add to the story. Given the depth and breadth of coverage surrounding topics like AI, for instance, its critical PR pros dig into the “why” behind their client’s story.
  2. The Power of Relationships in Media Coverage: The healthcare press panel featuring several reporters Matter Health works with – including Modern Healthcare’s Gabe Perna, Joy Rios of HIIT Like a Girl Podcast, Chris Mazzolini, Vice President of Content at MGH Life Sciences, Kate Gormley, Health System CIO and John Lynn, Healthcare IT Today – touched on the do’s and don’ts of pitching healthcare press. They delved into the critical role of relationships in media coverage. From Gabe Perna’s emphasis on personalization to Joy Rios’s advocacy for underrepresented stories, building authentic relationships and offering value-added insights emerged as key strategies for garnering media attention and coverage.
  3. Getting Your Client’s Full Picture. Throughout the event, many topics surrounding sound marketing tactics came up – from ABM to social media, events to attend, budget to consider, and so on. For us, this translates to the importance for our teams to not only understand the business and the industry, but their marketing goals, objectives, and overall strategy (if they have one). The only way we can truly and fully support our clients is by putting ourselves in their positions. Particularly for those “one-person marketing” teams. Handling it all is a lot, so we need to figure out how we can better support them through the work we do.  
  4. Need A Brand Refresh? How Do You Know? Whether it is a tee shirt brand, a financial institution, or a sneaker company, the value of a brand comes down to what people will pay for it. So, how do you know if your client needs a refresh? Listen carefully to the market and determine if there is a new competitor on scene, if new products are available, a change from a sales to marketing culture is bubbling up internally, or perhaps the company is looking to exit. One of the examples that came from the Branding Breakout Session was to think of it this way: If you were trying to sell your house, you’d do some work to it before you put it on the market to get top dollar. Do the same for your clients.
  5. Be Obsessive About Metrics. We live in a data rich environment with data coming at us in every direction, so why not implement that into our reporting strategies? Measuring PR and marketing results is oftentimes tricky, but developing a plan in coordination with our clients is a key component of not only measuring the true effectiveness of the program – whether it be brand recognition, scoring that top tier media hit, or increasing engagement across social media channels – but also having PR and marketing program designed to achieve them (and pivot when needed) ensures we are aligned with our clients and working toward the same set of goals and objectives. So, have the conversation, create a baseline, and get to work.    

From all the great discussions that took place during Swaay.Health, one thing is blatantly clear – there is an abundance of competition across the continuum, and without the right marketing and PR strategies in place, companies risk going unnoticed.

A special thanks to John Lynn and Colin Hung for putting on another fantastic event and giving healthcare marketing the stage it deserves. We can’t wait to reconnect with the Swaay.Health community in 2025!  

To connect with us to discuss how Matter Health can help elevate your PR and marketing results, shoot us an email at matterhealth@matternow.com and check out Matter Health’s capabilities.