Bring It to Market is a bi-weekly series at Hype where we share marketing advice from top Chief Marketing Officers.
Ellen Donahue-Dalton, head of marketing at healthcare technology company Medecision, took on the task of helping the 30-year organization shift from a a single-product, single-market company into a multi-market platform solution services company. Her 20+ years in marketing prepared her to keep the company at pace with the booming healthcare tech marketplace.
“The way that we did business, the way that we operated, the business model, how we sold, how we marketed. We had to change our employee culture, we had to change the way that we communicated with clients,” says Donahue-Dalton.
But what does that digital healthcare industry’s growth look like and what does it take to succeed in it? Donahue-Dalton shares the following CMO insights.
Consumer healthcare marketing is a growing field
“We have reached over 3 trillion dollars in national healthcare expenditure — which means that you and I will spend about $10,000 a year on healthcare every year and the rate of acceleration of our personal investment is just going through the roof.
In terms of how the healthcare industry is thinking about it, I have to say that the mindset, whether it’s in the insurance part of the industry or the care delivery part, is still behind where most big industries think about consumerism. They are not quite there. They talk about it and they are starting to think about it but in terms of starting to buy agency partners or starting to augment their marketing organizations internally, I think it’s just the beginning. I think it’s the golden age for marketing in healthcare, I really do.”
Know when to bring in more qualified people
“On the agency side you tend to be able to need to be a little more thoughtful and spend more time thinking and creating about what it is that that client needs. In my business role, I feel sometimes that I don’t get to take that creative time but that just means that I need to find the best people who I know are going be provocative and thoughtful and brilliant, and not be afraid to come forward with the kinds of campaigns and concepts that we need to stand out.”
“I think that the main thing for me was the ever present need to drive revenue and to make sure that I’m managing the spend against that. Things can get away from you very quickly — if you have a slow Q1, you’re not going to make your annual revenues. Just that shift in thinking away from the quality of the program, if you will, to the responsibility for the revenue and investment for the enterprise, was probably the biggest shift I had to make. ”
Know your customer
“If you’re a marketer trying to sell to a big insurer or to sell to a hospital system or other kind of care delivery organization, it’s really important to understand that there is cataclysmic change going on inside those organizations. It impacts your sales cycle, it impacts their ability to pay attention to new ideas. Many of the care delivery organizations are coming off of years of very big investment in their EMR platforms — they’ve been sold a lot of technology and they’re really struggling now to understand, “What did that technology do for me and why should I buy anymore?'”
Step into the challenge
“I think there’s great opportunity in [the marketing healthcare] space for marketers, for people who think about how consumers engage with products and services, for people who think about how consumers use the tools that help them engage and choose. There’s enormous opportunity. I would say to any to any marketing agency or professional, ‘Get in it. There’s a lot to learn. It’s a complex and confusing space.'”