A poetic healthcare marketing journey

By Jeff Smokler, President, imre health

When I graduated college in 1999 and moved to Washington, D.C., I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to for a living. My dreams of being a poet were quickly overshadowed by my desire to eat food other than ramen noodles and to buy a Metro card each month without worrying about where I would find the $29 fare. And so I did the next best thing that a writer does: I found a job in communications.

After a year of working in public affairs for the U.S. Courts, I was fortunate enough to find a job as a journalist on Capitol Hill, covering healthcare policy for a daily trade publication. I remember my first day, not knowing the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, and quickly realizing that I was going to have to do some work if I was going to be successful in the job. So I sat down with every book I could find about the history of and policy considerations for these two entitlement programs, and I got to studying.

And so began my career as a healthcare marketing and communications professional.


Now almost 20 years later, having performed a number of jobs that took me to all corners of the industry–from long-term care to health insurance, from medical devices to pharma, and everything in between–and that have afforded me the opportunity to influence a variety of stakeholders across the healthcare continuum with effective messaging strategies, I find myself incredibly grateful that I fell into a career that has so much tangible meaning for other people.

While I may not be writing poetry that stirs others’ souls, I’m supporting communications programs whose currency is emotion and whose goal is to forge meaningful connections. Hopefulness, resilience, compassion, confidence–these are just some of the emotions that healthcare marketers get to elicit every single day. We’re lucky enough to work in a field where the time we spend in the office or on the occasional weekend away from our families is used to help shape others’ experiences along their healthcare journey. It’s a deeply personal profession and one that is unique within the marketing and communications disciplines.

And sometimes that feels damn poetic.


A poetic healthcare marketing journey