| 06/15/2018

Q&A with Ed Bennett, founder of MarTech.Health Directory

Written by Ed Bennett

Where do you turn to when you’re looking for a trusted business partner? If you’re like me, you probably start by seeking out referrals from colleagues or friends. So I founded MarTech.Health, an online directory, to make it easy for healthcare marketers and communicators to quickly gather pertinent information and connect with vetted, peer-reviewed vendors.

How would you describe the MarTech.Health Directory to someone you just met at a healthcare marketing conference?

The directory is a service designed to help marketers, communicators and creative digital teams working in the healthcare industry connect with vendors, consultants and agencies they rely on to get business done. The digital platform makes it easy to identify relevant vendors based on the types of services they offer.

Some vendors use their listing to provide helpful, meaningful content you can engage with, while others provide basic, searchable information. Perhaps the most significant feature of the directory is that you can look at the ratings and comments each vendor has received from prior customers. Unlike other online, crowd-sourced review platforms, the ratings and comments that you see on MarTech.Health Directory are thoroughly vetted to ensure that they’re legitimate and trustworthy.

There’s virtually no way to anonymously spam a business. Through the backend process, any user who wants to leave a review must first provide some basic information to confirm their identity. While reviews can be anonymous to the public, they are not entirely confidential because the business will receive a notification that they’ve been reviewed—which allows them to reach out and deepen the relationship, either by thanking their client for a positive review or by asking what they could have done to enhance their client’s satisfaction.

What inspired you to create the directory?

I’ve been working in the healthcare space for more than 30 years. Over time, I realized there was a great need for a service like this. I participate in several healthcare industry forums online, and a lot of the questions posted by my marketing peers are requests for recommendations. I also observe the activity that takes place at healthcare conferences where, as a normal part of networking, folks in the industry are comparing notes to help them get to know vendors.  Ultimately, I thought that the directory was something that the industry really needed to make it easy to research, bookmark, and vet the multitude of vendors that are out there.

How has your background and experiences helped shaped the development of the MarTech.Health Directory? 

I spent many years working at a major academic medical center, where a big part of my responsibilities was to research vendors—to find the right partners for various projects that we needed extra support on. During that time, I realized that sometimes finding the right vendor felt a game of chance. I’d do my due diligence to the extent possible, by researching a vendor and talking to other people who might have had a similar support need at one time. If I was lucky, I’d get a few quality recommendations; but there was no single source of truth where I could go to help me find what I really needed to get the job done well.

Why do you think it’s important to facilitate connections between marketing technology vendors and healthcare professionals?

There are a few important reasons, and there are benefits for both parties. Healthcare professionals have an enormous workload, and it can be near impossible to take time to keep up with the fast-moving changes in the digital world. The directory can help hurried healthcare professionals quickly find a vendor that has the experience and expertise they need—and it’s easy to connect with potential resources through the directory’s private, two-way communication tools. On the flip side, marketing technology vendors serving the healthcare space get access to data and insights that can help them better understand what their core audience needs. And because it’s a niche directory, vendors know that site users are quality prospects.

What’s the most important thing healthcare professionals should consider when they are evaluating potential marketing technology vendors?  

There are several things to consider—obviously, one of the most important factors is whether the vendor is qualified to do the work. Do they have the expertise and the structure in place to accomplish whatever the task is that you're trying to solve? It’s noteworthy if other people, like previous clients, have vouched for their expertise.

Another important factor is whether the vendor has some experience outside of healthcare. Healthcare is rapidly becoming more commercialized, and many of the web- and communication-based technologies that are needed have applications outside of this distinct [healthcare] space. It can be a real positive to work with a vendor that understands other industries and has applied best practices in solving broader problems.

Finally, you want to consider whether a vendor has a robust user community. Look for vendors that have open conversations with their user base. If a vendor has created a space where they foster innovation and growth by sharing information and best practices, that’s great. It’s even better if they’re encouraging others to actively participate and share information, too.  

Do you have any advice for marketing technology vendors who are looking to differentiate themselves?

It’s important that martech vendors understand there are many different audiences inside a healthcare organization that may be interested in their product, and it may be for a variety of reasons. If someone is interested in what you can offer—even if they are outside of the Marketing, Communications, or Digital teams—it can still behoove a vendor to talk to that person. Even if it ends up that your product or service isn’t right for them at that time, they could easily be the key that ends up getting you in front of the right person.

MarTech.Health Directory is just getting started; what excites you about the future of the platform? How do you envision this resource continuing to evolve over the next couple of years?

My goal is to become the go-to resource—the starting point—for researching and engaging with martech vendors. We are just getting started, and I have a lot of enhancements planned already—including better search and communication tools. I’ll continue to build out the education portion of my site, so that users can easily become aware of and stay current on new technologies. In addition to helpful tips, guides, and insights into martech and the healthcare world, I’d also like to offer an abundance of practical tools, like RFP templates, that users can leverage to make their jobs easier.

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