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Strategic Marketing Plan

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This section forms the introduction of the Strategic Marketing Plan. marketing starts at the strategic planning level (covered in the strategic marketing plan) and then moves to the implementation stage. A marketing communications plan is one of the parts of an overall Marketing Plan.

When it comes to marketing the focus is on understanding ones customers, in order to achieve longterm customer satisfaction. Customer needs are the drivers for product development and lead to market opportunities.

There is no marketing mindset within the HL7 organization. This would require that everyone in the organization be aware of who our customers are, what their needs are, and how HL7 can satisfy those needs in a better way than its rivals can.

HL7 has never had a Strategic Marketing Plan. It has however produced materials which inform the process of creating such a plan, or such material can be included as part of such a plan:

  1. Product list on the Wiki (Chuck Jaffe)
    • Product & Services Strategy project #1364, assigned to Ken McKeslin
    • TSC Project #1985 Product List Categorization, see [1] for draft
    • v2/v3 branding strategy, see [2]
  2. HL7 Mission statement (defines what our products are, what customer need we're addressing)
  3. Strategic Initiatives (provides focus to the mission)
  4. Marketing plan 2005
  5. Marketing Communications plan (created by HQ)
  6. Business plan (currently being written by the Business Plan Taskforce)
  7. Education Plan (a strategic initiative)
  8. Ambassador program, webinair series (Jill)

Basic marketing questions

What needs do HL7 product satisfy

Need: timely availability of healthcare data.

  • Note that the need is not for 'interoperability standards', which is one of the very many solutions to cover the need. Another solution would be an Airtube System which uses compressed air to ensure availabilty of healthcare data.
  • The HL7 mission (see Marketing Plan: Strategic Initiatives) defines the need as: to "improve care delivery, optimize workflow, reduce ambiguity and enhance knowledge transfer among all of our stakeholders, including healthcare providers, government agencies, the vendor community, fellow SDOs and patients".


Target customers: mainly organizations, not individuals.

  1. standards users
  2. standards creators (profiler enforcers)

the factors that influence organization buying are: (from [3])

  • Environmental Forces - Interest rates, laws, political requirements
  • Organizational Forces - Purchasing policies and procedures, company structuires and systems
  • Interpersonal forces - Purchasing staff members'different interests, authority levels, ways of interacting with each other
  • Individual Forces - An individul buyer's age, income, education, job position, attitude towards risk
  • Cultural Forces - Attitudes and practices influencing the way that people like to do business.


Competitors are defined as organizations that satisfy the same needs that HL7's products satisfy. Analaysis should be done about their characteristics (strategies, objectives, strengths and weaknesses, ways of doing business)

Competitors include:

  • IHE
  • OpenEHR
  • Airtube System which uses compressed air
  • Data (re-)entry services
  • HIS vendors that think of an HIS as an all-encompassing application


Product: (see Marketing Plan: Strategic Initiatives) Interoperability standards.

  • At the next level of detail the issue immediately becomes muddy: if we were to ask C**-type people then (at most) they'd provide an answer like: "v2, v3, CDA". We (as HL7) currently don't have a visible product portfolio. The starting point for defining what our products are is to ask our customers to tell us what our products are. We build on that, and try to extend the product portfolio that our customers currently think we have.
  • At a yet more granular level of detail, we have the 47 products as documented by the Products and Services project. Each of those product descriptions contains a description of the 'needs' its satisfies.

Product positioning:

  • There is existing work on V2/V3 product positioning.

Selling Point

Why should these customers use HL7's products and not one of the competing products?

  • xxx

Market research plan

From the minutes of the 20110108 TSC Meeting:

  • Explore maintaining usage statistics for V3 (pending response by Marketing) # 1661 – extended request to Marketing to accept ownership of the issue but have had no response.
  • Bob suggests we talk to Mark on getting information from the CHIME survey to provide these measures. This would be only U.S., though. Austin feels if we can’t get Marketing to take this up or find a group to run a project it will wither. Keith Boone has a CDA Google map; ACTION ITEM – Calvin will check with Keith. Charlie asks what means V3 if that includes CDA as well as messaging as well as RIM modeling. Calvin suggests separate Google maps. V3 messaging is felt to be under-marketed.

Product Visibility PI# 478 , objective #3

  • Evaluate perception of ' visibility' (using a survey, perhaps)
    • Can 'users of the standards' find what HL7 Products are available?
    • Validate perception of ' who are our customers',
    • Are we getting the word out? (Genomics, ICSR, CDA [vs XDS], Services)
    • Are we able to track what is needed in the market?