By: Andy Levitt
It's our nation's Independence Day, and I feel keenly aware of the unique and special freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. When you stop to think about it, we are really blessed with opportunities that are beyond measure. From my lens, I see how these freedoms apply to us as individuals in general, but more specifically as marketers working to make an impact, as patients who seek optimal health outcomes, and as entrepreneurs who are trying to make a dent in the universe.
Reflect back for a moment about how different things were just ten years ago, and what opportunities existed for us then as compared to what we enjoy right now. From a technology perspective, back in 2002, we were all excited about the early evolution of Web 2.0 and how data was being used in smarter ways for our benefit. Google was redefining search as we knew it, but we were clearly just scratching the surface. Remember how many songs could fit on your iPod? We've clearly come a long way! We now enjoy phenomenal data speeds, the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, enhancements in sound and picture quality, transparency of information, access to just about anything and everything you want to get your head around - it's all there for the taking!
As creative individuals, we have an incredible chance to innovate with something new, to spark change, to challenge the status quo. The cost of goods and services continues to drop through price transparency and healthy commercial competition. Companies are fighting to earn our loyalty, and are creating products that help enable us to do more with less.
As marketers, we have greater insights into behavioral patterns of our customers, and and have the opportunity to create and offer unique and compelling marketing tactics. We are no longer limited with standard TV and print ads as the core marketing solution. There is so much more that can be done to engage consumers in ways that drive change and create meaningful results.
As entrepreneurs, we can still borrow money for pennies on the dollar to pursue our dreams. With the vast amounts of open source software and social networking tools, the world of possibilities stretches out far and wide. Yes, there is great risk and associated stress that can come from embracing entrepreneurial freedom, but I believe the potential rewards far outweigh the downside risk. Your mileage may vary.
As patients, we have access to information that was never available to us before. Clinical data is now shared publicly which increases our awareness of new medical options we should consider. New trials that are underway every month, creating new chances for medical breakthroughs and hope against disease. We can access patient testimonials and vibrant online patient communities where real people are free to share their experiences, knowledge and perspective for the benefit of others. All of this enables us as patients to speak to our doctors and be a part of the decision-making process, allowing us to make more informed decisions about our own health than we ever could before. We are well beyond printing out reams of paper to present to physicians; instead, we are in the position, thanks to the freedom of information, to understand clinical data, participate with it, and have honest perspectives from the real-world experiences of others. We are no longer in this health battle alone.
And talk about freedom! As I type this blog post, I am sitting in my home, on my couch, receiving my first infusion of Remicade thanks to a home infusion company that has created innovation and disruption in the healthcare delivery space. Rather than having to sit at my doctor's office for a 3-hour procedure, a highly-trained and specialized nurse brings the medicine to me (at no additional charge!) and delivers the medication with precision. This entire experience underscores the idea of independence!
We live in a great country. Sure, we have our political problems (and many would argue that we're getting our ass kicked by the Chinese in too many areas!) but there is nowhere else I'd rather live, and I am grateful for the growth opportunities that are afforded to each of us.
On this 4th of July, I feel incredibly independent and empowered with knowledge, perspective and opportunity that I didn't have just a few years ago. I am much better for it, and I am fired up about what lies ahead.
What excites you about your independence, and what are you doing to make a difference?