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The Challenges of Interactive Innovation for Highly Regulated Industries

If you work in marketing you probably agree that it’s an exciting job, especially now that social media plays a big part in marketing efforts. As soon as a company has a good blog post, company update, sharable news article or product launch to share, we tweet, and post to Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to help the info spread to our followers. It’s real-time, quick correspondence between the brand and those who care about it enough that they’ve connected to it socially. Some care so much they comment or share the post causing it to spread to more than the brand’s fan base or if you’re lucky, causing the message to go viral.

But, as I listened to the speakers at MIMA’s recent event, some marketing departments might not find social media so attractive. In fact, more regulations and privacy laws have to be followed before any tweets, posts, comments or blogs can be written. For many of the Twin Cities’ biggest companies, barriers, as well as lack of internal collaboration, make it difficult to innovate in the digital space.

Here are a few takeaways from speakers representing Medtronic, Wells Fargo and United Healthcare.

  • Medtronic knows their challenge is to come up with quicker ways to respond to people on social media. The approval turnaround time doesn’t play well with a social, “real-time” hungry audience. Their focus is innovating in this space to develop a plan in which their regulatory setbacks can work with their need to be in front of the audience in a more conversational way. One way they will tackle this challenge is to not let things die and constantly be creating ways to better join online conversations. The key is to show regulators what they can do and how they can actually be a part of the real-time conversations on social media. There is a way to be social!
  • Can you believe that people actually tweet their account numbers to Wells Fargo‘s Twitter handle? You can imagine with all the private information Wells Fargo deals with, it’s a pretty rigorous process to send something that looks like a spontaneous tweet. Education is a big must within the organization. Those in the C-suite, regulatory team and those in compliance need to know how the digital space works and what’s needed in order to be effective with the time spent on that space. Every tweet, Facebook post, blog post, article, press release, etc., need to be stored and searchable for at least 7 years.
  • United Healthcare‘s focus is mainly on traditional media. But, with innovation being one of their company’s core values, they strive to find ways to create new value for their audience. Working with regulators and privacy laws are a challenge, so it’s important to know your guardrails. Regulators exist to protect privacy and safety. However, they can be receptive to things that will improve the health care experience. Know where regulators are silent – you might be able to create value there.