#7: How To Determine Your Total Addressable Market with Colin Hung

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Really enjoyed having Colin Hung join me on the podcast this week to discuss the uniqueness of the health IT industry.

With over fifteen years in the industry, the nuances of health tech are nothing new to him.

As an award-winning Marketing Executive, he’s actively influencing the industry with #HCLDR, one of the most popular health tech chats on Twitter.

He regularly writes for Healthcare IT Today and makes a point to attend over 30 conferences a year. His thought leadership, published in Journal of the American College of Radiology and HospitalEMRandEHR.com, has pushed the industry as well.

But like many other pros at health tech marketing, Colin didn’t start in health tech. His degree in mechanical engineering started him in an IT job right out of college. It was here where he first discovered health IT.

With his curiosity piqued, he joined a sales team selling healthcare software. Frustrated with ineffective marketing practices, while still on the sales side, he created a new marketing strategy and quickly learned how to influence the industry.

In hindsight, he says his experience in sales and marketing gave him an empathy for both branches of companies. He also said that a difficult part of joining the industry was mastering the acronyms and language.

But above all, he wished he would’ve realized the small world that is healthcare. And that’s what he really wanted to talk about on today’s episode.

Colin Headshot - web 200px.jpg

A case study

Healthcare is smaller than you think. Yet people apply the same old marketing strategies as other industries.

Take Ford Motors or any other car manufacturer. They don’t have a specific list of customers to draw on. So they benefit from nationwide and international ad and social media campaigns.

With such a large client base, this approach really is to their advantage. And you could say the same for a company like Amazon.

But health tech only has 6,000 possible hospitals to market to in the U.S. And as you apply specific criteria, that pool shrinks significantly.

In the end you may only have around 3,000 hospitals that can benefit from your product. If your product is department specific, say only used in a radiology department, then you’re talking about 3,000 directors of radiology that you are marketing to.

Let me reiterate. That’s 3,000 specific people you’d need to be reaching.

Since departments may only update products every 3-4 years, you are literally talking about 800 people who would be eligible to buy your product this year. That’s how small the health tech industry is.

How this changes your approach

The trick is to think like your buyer. If you were your buyer, what kind of Google searches would you be entering? What if you aren’t buying this year? What kinds of things would you be searching for? What would you be reading and thinking about?

Once you know what kind of things your clients are searching for, start creating content that will pop up in their searches. Set yourself up as their guide, and in turn they will start coming to you for solutions.

Hubspot and CoSchedule have this figured out. They offer free guidance. In return the people they’ve helped automatically think of them when they need marketing help. They even offer a buying guide for replacing your marketing strategy.

Using this knowledge to your advantage

Look at the numbers. Consider if you can really appeal to this organization. How many beds do they have? How many doctors are in the practice? The answers will determine who you need to be reaching.

Talk to the customers you already have. If you can understand why they chose your product, you’ll know how to help others choose your product, too.

Colin has found these interactions to be super rewarding and even fun. When he first started doing this, he was surprised to learn that often someone had taken a lot of time to convince a board of directors to use this product.

In one instance, a buyer had spent a week creating a convincing PowerPoint of data that could have easily been given to him by the marketing department. Stories like this shape your marketing perspective.

Dealing with multiple buyer situations

Health technology purchases are rarely made by one person. Normally, you’re dealing with boards and committees. So how do you market to all these people even if they’re not the end users?

According to Colin, you don’t. You market toward your champion in a company. You want to empower these champions to stand up to the CFO with your product and push it through to a purchase.

It could be as simple as creating a guide - “5 Simple Steps to Convince Your CEO.” You can then use this guide as content, or you can give it to your sales team to use at their discretion.

The takeaway

Consider your total addressable market. A quick look at the HHA website will reveal how many hospitals fit your criteria. Look for things like:

  • How many total hospitals?

  • How many beds in those hospitals?

  • What geographical regions are they in?

  • Does the hospital have any specialties?

Then use this information to define your marketing strategy.

Don’t get caught up in the general push to have a massive presence on social media or in ads. If you start with this, you’re efforts won’t be maximized.

Don’t start there, but do get there. John Lynn from a previous podcast put it this way: “Slow down to speed up.” Once you’ve built a solid foundation, you can use social media and ads to your advantage. But never before.

And building that foundation means that you’ve really considered what your customers are looking for.

Colin found that the HITMC conference helped set him on the right trajectory in health tech. He loved it so much that he’s now helping organize it.

Colin described it as a high school reunion of health tech marketers. It’s a “safe place” to learn from each others’ mistakes and successes.

Must Read Book

Colin is a book junkie. He especially loves reading the oldies in marketing. People like Gary Halbert who wrote before the Internet came around but whose strategies still work today.

But his go-to book is actually a sales book, The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar. Yes, it’s one of the best books about creating a seamless sales process, but it’s also loaded with marketing wins.

It teaches you how to connect with your customer. How to anticipate their questions or reservations. And how to answer those questions before they ever verbalize them.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Want to connect with Colin? Find him here:

Twitter: @Colin_Hung


Healthcare IT Marketing Conference

Join Colin for a Tweet chat every Tuesday about health tech. And don’t forget to join the #HITMC chat every month!

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And, as always, if you need help with your marketing…

Let’s talk. You can book your free consulting session with me today.