We take a look this week at what trailblazers are doing in medical marketing. It’s an industry that still relies heavily on old-school tactics like referrals and TV advertising. We talk to Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing, and Matthew Hutchinson, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce, to find out what they’re doing to bring a fresh approach to medical marketing.
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Here are some highlights from the episode:
Expectations for how the customer experience should be are always going up. Customers don’t distinguish between companies and industries the way that marketers do. As Matthew says, “The best experience a consumer has anywhere is what they expect everywhere.” You’re expected to deliver the same experience as Amazon or Uber, so digital has become an incredibly important space for healthcare.
For Alex, helping healthcare providers move into the digital space turned out to be the perfect space for Cardinal. “These providers were so used to getting referrals from primary care, that they hadn't learned how to market themselves,” he says. Pairing the best providers with the patients that need them is incredibly rewarding because you’re helping people get healthy.
As Alex and Cardinal worked with medical providers they developed technology specifically to help in an industry with a lot of regulations. He ended up writing a book, The Anatomy of Medical Marketing, which you can pick up on Amazon. “It was really seeing the consumerism of healthcare taking shape,” Alex says, “we meet with so many medical groups on a day-to-day basis, and there were so many basic questions on how to market their business.”
Cardinal started out with a content marketing strategy of blog posts, articles, and e-books, but it soon became apparent that they needed something more tangible and easier to deal with. Alex wanted “something [marketers] can put in their hands and just read through on their own time.” Marketing can often blur the lines between departments, so it was important to make something concise but comprehensive.
Look, we can be honest that going to the doctor or dentist isn’t on most people’s top ten things they’re looking forward to. As Matthew says, “I think the least that Health and Life Sciences companies can do is truly make that experience painless, even if the office visit isn't that painless.” That means finding a way to make that customer journey as seamless and personalized as possible. The more personalized you can get, the more comfortable your patients will feel.
The key is to realize that committing to customer experience is more than just a marketing strategy. Matthew was talking with Levent Hamdemir, Director of Marketing and Product and Digital at Delta Dental, who made this observation: “A company's digital strategy needs to be its business strategy, and it’s not a marketing initiative, it's a top-level commitment.” The goal is to commit to a lifelong relationship so that even if they don’t necessarily stay with you they’ll remain an advocate and champion for your brand.
For Alex, the key is to focus on the fundamentals first and then on your business objectives. They meet a lot of clients with a great vision, but the key to executing that vision is to focus on the basics:
Is your website optimized for a great user experience?
Will it convert when we drive the traffic to it?
Is it optimized for SEO, so that we can rank and generate the lowest cost-per-lead traffic available?
Are we sure that the reputation of your business, whether healthcare or otherwise, looks great on all the major review sites?
From there, you need to set clear business objectives. Are your traffic, shares, and other statistics driving leads? As Alex says, “The only way to really connect all those dots is to connect your analytics to your Salesforce CRM, so that you know exactly how many leads were driven, and what happened with those closed opportunities.”
For Matthew, it’s easy to think of a trailblazer as a trendy brand, or maybe even the CEO or SVP who is spearheading that change. “But more and more we are starting to recognize that Trailblazers can appear at any level in the organization— it could be a System Admin or a Marketing Manager who is really challenging status quo.” Behind every brand are people who are working hard to make change.
“A trailblazer is someone that's not just looking at industry trends, it's someone that wants to create industry trends,” Alex says. No matter what your industry, you need to look long and hard at where marketing is deficient and then set out to improve and change the industry.