Amy Marshall from Ohio Health, Details How Digital & Traditional Marketing Has Helped Ignite Growth in Their Partner Network

Amy Marshall walks us through how the healthcare industry must pivot business to provide COVID services to increase revenue through trying times. The willingness to change your business model within healthcare marketing will help keep your business afloat.

Amy Marshall from Ohio Health, Details How Digital & Traditional Marketing Has Helped Ignite Growth in Their Partner Network

Automated Female Voice: Welcome to the IGNITE Podcast, where we help marketers and CEOs learn the latest tips and tricks to help ignite growth in their business. This isn’t your typical marketing podcast. We push beyond platitudes to deliver you real world stories from the trenches. Are you ready to learn? Are you ready to grow? Are you ready to have fun? Well, then buckle up because you are about to enter the IGNITE Podcast.


Alex: All right, everybody I’m super excited. I’ve got Amy Marshall on the line with us coming from the great state of Ohio. You guys are going to be in for a real treat today. Amy comes to us not only is she working at Ohio Health right now, on the healthcare client-side, but she’s also run, built, sold marketing agencies.

We are going to get the best of both worlds. Amy, I’m sad that you left the dark side, but tell us how you got there? How’d you get to Ohio Health? Welcome to IGNITE.

Amy: Yes, I got to Ohio Health it’s a long story, but I’m going to make it as short and concise as I can. I worked in brand for 15 years on the software side and took a leap of faith. It was a very much of a risk-taking point in my career and started the agency with another business partner that had a great vision at the time.

We were doing things like blogger outreach at the time. It wasn’t digital marketing, it was called word of mouth marketing if you remember way back then. We were doing what we thought were cutting edge things and thought we had this great idea to start an agency. We did that, we had almost no exposure to the healthcare industry prior to that and found ourselves in a real niche.

Healthcare companies needed digital marketing and they had no idea how to do it. We found ourselves helping healthcare a lot. Once I felt like I needed a new adventure, our agency was bought by another agency named Fathom out of Cleveland. Stayed there for five years to learn the health care business and thought, “Okay, I need my next adventure.”

It seemed logical that I go inside the four walls of the healthcare system to really find out more, learn more, find out what makes them tick. I’m at Ohio Health now that was a long term customer.

 Alex: All right, I love it. You went to Ohio Health to learn more about what happens inside the walls. While you were at Fathom, what was your specialty that some people aren’t aware of? Were you working a lot? Was it still like influencer hours [unintelligible 00:02:21] become SEO, PPC, Social?

Amy: Fathom was actually a full-service agency. We were doing everything from websites, to SEO to paid search, to social media, to social media insights. We were doing the whole gamut of things.

Alex: I don’t want to plug another agency too much [unintelligible 00:02:40] so we’re going to move on to that question.

 Amy: Yes, moving on.

 Alex: [laughs] Yes, you went to Ohio Health, tell us about everything you do there now that’s so different from working at an agency. Tell us about what it’s like to be inside the four walls. What you’re learning, what you’re doing.

 Amy: Oh gosh, we can spend all day on this Alex, but I’ll try to sum it up. It is night and day, let me just say that. Working at let alone a brand in an agency, but a health care system in an agency. Those couldn’t be widely different. Ohio Health as a brand, obviously, is much stricter. It’s a lot of approvals and then more approvals and then more approvals on top of that.

If you’re working in an agency and getting frustrated with your health care customer, just be patient that’s all I have to say. The nice thing to [unintelligible 00:03:22] about a brand is you get to take projects from beginning to end. When you are the agency, the customer owns the projects so you don’t get to see things come to fruition so to speak.

It is nice in that respect. Working in an agency, you have the freedom to be innovative and creative, but you don’t necessarily get that flexibility within a health system, let alone a brand. I would say to the last thing is just at an agency you get to work with a lot of different strategies and goals because you’re working with many different customers whereas Ohio Health it’s one mission, one goal.

This is what we’re supposed to do down to the nth degree. Again, widely different but both have pros and cons.

 Alex: Yes, you get to go a lot deeper when your client’s side, you see the projects through to the end. You get to go a lot deeper, you get to do the branding, the SEO, the PPC. I got to talk from the stakeholders, the doctors, the MDm very fun. Dive in deeper that’s a nice mix I’m sure you’ll come back to the dark side in the not so distant future, but anyways.

Talk to us about Ohio Health director of biz dev, right? What is that?

Amy: Yes, Director of Business Development. I’m actually in a division called Employer Services. We aren’t working directly with patients, which is a little unique. We are actually selling healthcare services to employers. I’m probably the only business to business unit within Ohio Health so we are unique.

My goal is really just selling these healthcare services to employers. That also means marketing as well. I do work with the marketing department at Ohio Health and they are phenomenal, but they also have to keep on track everything else within the health system. I’m just one little piece of the puzzle.

My main goal really is selling those healthcare services and building relationships not only [unintelligible 00:05:03] but also for the system as a whole. For example, if a hospital is in the community, if they want to build relationships with all the employers there around their hospital, they come to us because we already have those relationships.

It’s really important. The only piece that I would say, we don’t do the patient acquisitions, but we drive engagement with employees, but we sell an onsite clinic to an employer. It’s our job to get the employee to engage with that clinic so that’s female campaigns, that’s webinars that kind of stuff to get the employees to engage.

 Alex: That’s all under you purview, the marketing material that it requires to get in the employers, the actual boots on the ground, then the follow up to get more acceptance, adherence whatever you want to call it used to drive the clinics that are [unintelligible 00:05:48], correct?

 Amy: That’s right.

Alex: Are you just trying to get– I guess these are cues, 5,000 plus employers or trying to get an onsite clinic. I’m really new to all this. I’m curious what are the other sales or what other recipients that Ohio Health is trying to get employers around there?

 Amy: For employers, there could be anything. We’re looking at traditional occupational medicine. Someone gets injured at work, they come to our clinic we engage with them through that. Probably the newer stuff is prevention and wellness. We’re trying to reach a certain population which are employees and an employer and help them on their health and wellness path.

It could be biometric screening, cardiac screening, and the onsite wellness clinic, fitness centers so anything that can help engage those employees in a health and wellness path.

 Alex: Then how do you get people to utilize the services more, to follow their path to use the clinics more? What marketing tactics are you using? Flyers, pamphlets-

 Amy: Yes, we actually, Alex, as you would probably imagine we’re pretty traditional. We don’t take a lot of risks even when it comes to marketing. We’re trying to break that mold a little bit right now, but we do a lot of webinars with our physicians, our nurses to try and engage the population.

We do a lot of e-newsletters that way. We do employee like out on their employee site. We’ll create materials for that, e-boards just very, very traditional means.

 Alex: Yes [laughs] so traditional. It’s fine. You have still been on the local news and you’ve done the biggest things there [unintelligible 00:07:27] how do you get- healthcare has always been lagging in innovation, in marketing, and technology. We’re trying to do the best we can to speed things up. How do you help speed things up at Ohio Health?

How do you get them to see we need to push things a little bit more faster? How do you get that done?

 Amy: Well, I think for me personally, I think people look to me as “she ran a digital marketing agency. She worked with health systems across the US so Stanford, and Temple and many other health systems”. They are like, “obviously, she must know this works”.

I still have to sell my business keys internally over and over and over again. I don’t own the digital marketing team, they reside in the main brand marketing team. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge every day, but I continue to push on why this is so important.

 Alex: You don’t give up after you’ve made the case one time. You brought your leadership team of all ages whatever it is you don’t, you just keep going. You just keep trying until they do it.

 Amy: Yes there are 29,000 other people I can try to sell it to at Ohio Health so yes.

Alex: A lot of people is well they don’t if they lose the persistence that it takes to make something happen. It is not their job to understand what we’re trying to get across. It is our job to craft the narrative in 100 different ways so that eventually they can get what we’re trying to put across.

That’s a tip for employees to employer, you have to keep changing the narrative. If you want me to understand the value you don’t just give up and say, “I’ve done my work.” All right very interesting.

 Amy: That’s right.

Alex: Why do you think it is that historically, hospitals as in healthcare in general, has been slower to adapting technology, in marketing? Why is that? It’s almost a given, but why where did it start?

 Amy: I think it starts from their risk tolerance. Healthcare as you would assume, they have so much risk in insurance. Everything from that aspect that is extremely challenging for them to be first to market on anything. They are never first to market, they always want to see someone else do it and then replicate it as soon as all the risks are removed from there. It really boils down to that.

Alex: Yes, a ton of risk. I think hopefully things are- I see things changing with our large groups, clinics, hospitals, it’s okay it’s going to be HIPPA compliant, plug [unintelligible 00:09:50]. You’re going to be okay, there’s lots of tools out there that [unintelligible 00:09:52]. Let me implore a little bit, how do you measure your success? You are on the B and B site usually you’re talking patient acquisitions[unintelligible 00:09:59] programs, the amount of new patients we’re getting in, is it just clinics signed up? Employers? What’s [unintelligible 00:10:08]

Amy: I think it’s interesting, I’ll answer this two ways. One is, Ohio health as a whole brand, they work with a digital agency of record that actually I worked with when we run the agency side. They’re phenomenal. They would track and measure everything that you would suspect them to do. They’re doing paid campaigns, they’re tracking all those metrics, they’re doing some social media. For us, in employer services, we have a long way to go on the digital side. It’s such a huge opportunity that we are not capitalizing on yet. Things that we’re doing there are just e-newsletters. whoopdee, but it is reaching our customers and we are tracking the usual things. Our next step is really from segmentation. We want to send the industry to our different regions, all different messages to them. We do webinars, from thought leader perspective only.

Our physicians get on and things like that. We’ll track not only attendees, that’s great, but we really track the percentage of c-suite folks we get on those webinars. That’s important to us to reach that c-suite. We do track that but we do a lot of events because we’re local. We do a lot of chamber events, industry events, so we’re tracking the number of leads we get from those events because that is really, really important.

Alex: You’re do a variety of this new and inov– I mean the webinar thing and tracking the proportion of c-suites and mixing that with traditional boots on the ground, it shows that digital is good but digital is not everything. We really do need a combination of everything; showing your face in the local market for these employers is also super important. Who is the perfect title for you guys? Is it head of HR and [unintelligible 00:11:43] big employers? I don’t know. [unintelligible 00:11:47]

Amy: You’re definitely right. It’s HR. HR is our perfect contact. If we can get in front of the CHRO, that’s our dream contact, but that’s pretty rare. Usually, we work with the director of VP of HR.

Alex: You’ve been in marketing for decades now. You’ve seen both sides of it. What’s your favorite thing about marketing? Why have you stayed in it this long? What’s in it for you?

Amy: I love marketing. I love marketing. I think the reason I love it is because marketing to me is right at the center of everything. Marketing has to be involved in understanding what the sales process is. We have to write the messaging, we have to be involved in the price point, the delivery method, everything. To me, marketing is the one that can help make the crucial business decisions that are needed to make because one, we’re at the center, and so I just love the marketing piece.

Alex: A lot of people think of us as, we’re just there to draw eyeballs to whatever campaign but in fact, it’s the other way around. We often inform the products and services that companies come out with. If anyone’s seen Ford versus Ferrari, it’s the marketers that came out with the Cobra and the Shelby and the various Mustang types. It’s marketing that comes with the product, so yes, we are the hub to all the spokes. Thank you, Amy. I agree. We are filming this, filming I guess, that’s a loose word for being on Zoom here for [unintelligible 00:13:08].

We’re filming this in July 20-2020, in the middle of COVID. We’re probably five months away from the vaccine and for anyone that hears this down the line. It’ll be cool to see if I was wrong anyways. [unintelligible 00:13:20] listen to this in 2022. How do health care organizations specifically on the b2b or b2c side, how do they not only survive? I want them to thrive, how do they do it? How do they come out of this way stronger?

Amy: First of all, this has been a challenge for any business. I am sure we all have those personal friends that own their own small business or have been laid off from a large organization, this is just challenging for everyone. I would say go back to your basics, listen your customers, what do they need right now? A great example is our employer services group, we sold on-site services a lot. A lot of our revenue came from that, so delivering flu shots or biometrics or whatever. We can’t do that now because of safety protocols. We’ve had to completely pivot our business, and we are now providing COVID services for our employers to help them return employees back to work safely. That’s making up a little bit of our revenue that we’re having and providing our customers with a great service. I even have small businesses now that have completely changed their model to 100% online and they’re doing better than they were before. I think it’s just really listen and be willing to change your business model, that’s the most important thing.

Alex: I think so too. I’m one of those business orders but we got stuck in a tried and true business system that worked well for us over the last decade, we were like, “no we don’t want to get into that.” Then, desperation comes you’re like, “Oh, I love short term web design projects. Yes, that is exactly [inaudible 00:14:49].” Don’t be afraid to move very quickly and get things done to replace any revenue. What I’m hearing is– I don’t know if there is a thrive right now. I don’t think any business, unless you’re selling face masks is thriving this year. It’s a game of survive, pivot, and get ready for a big explosion next year.

I think that’s all you can do. Do the things behind the scenes, talk to your customers and get ready for exactly what they want next year.

Amy: Well said.

Alex: What a slog this year. I hate being stagnant and that’s one forward 0.8 back, one forward, two back you know it’s frustrating. All right, everybody we’re in there with you. Even hospital systems– Everyone thought hospitals are going to kill it during COVID, they’re going to get so many patients. It has crushed hospitals because they don’t have the elective [unintelligible 00:15:43], and people are afraid to come in in general, and the COVID patients actually were not tremendous for the majority of the time so they didn’t replace the revenue. Really tricky, really tricky times [unintelligible 00:15:53] the healthcare system.

All right. Going into next year, what marketing trends do you see happening? Anything that was inspired by this slog of a year or will we go back to where we were headed before this happened? What do you see? What should we be aware of?

Amy: Really tough, right? I think it’s just changing so much but I would say with budget cuts and them being so tight right now, I think we’re being forced to relook at our products and services just like we’ve been talking about what has high margins, what has low margins, making some tough decisions. I would say, I think businesses are going to have to really focus on retention marketing and not going out after new sales. I really think that we have to secure our existing customer base. We always talked about, Alex, it’s easier to secure that base and it’s more expensive to go after new customers. I think at this point retention marketing is key. I think just being really agile like we talked, just being able to pivot and change.

The retention marketing is– You know that’s more often the response? I’ve ever gotten the response. It’s always about new acquisition, and I totally changed my mind on that this year. The value of the dollar that comes from an existing client saying, “We all know it’s more valuable than the new dollar which is more expensive”, but we don’t [unintelligible 00:17:09] a lot of time. We don’t talk to the customers, we don’t talk to our employees that are talking to those customers. We don’t do anything about it. I needed to help with a tip guys; pay more attention to your customers or run marketing campaigns that keep them engaged and help them in any way possible. You’re managing huge companies, what’s your management tip? How do you keep everybody on the same page and focused on the vision during turbulent times like this? How would I do that with my team? How do I keep them from getting distracted [unintelligible 00:17:37]?

Amy: That’s tough I don’t have a huge team, but things that we’ve done, we have daily huddles, we’re using online tools like Microsoft Teams a lot, which has been extremely helpful. Honestly, when I stepped into this role, I had to develop a lot of credibility with my team so I empowered them. I feel like during this time you really have to empower your team to make great decisions on their own and guide them, and they’re going to be a better team player too. Just utilize the tools in front of us right now.

Alex: Daily huddles, you do them in the morning?

Amy: We do them in the morning.

Alex: What time do you do them? Eight o’clock central, nine o’clock central?

Amy: 8:30.

Alex: 8:30. All right, see I’ve never scheduled [unintelligible 00:18:18]. I always feel bad but then, no one starts until nine and we’re not done till 10. I’m like, Oh my God, am I [unintelligible 00:18:23]. All right 8:30, everybody. 8:30. Amy’s getting there after that. You get there later than 8:30, you’re [inaudible 00:18:30]. All right, that’s a good tip, so daily hurdles so they’ve making sure they’re aware of the goals and letting them find their way to it. Got it. One more question for you, Amy. Guys, Amy has given me more useful advice than I could even imagine getting from anyone over the years of running Cardinal. A lot of the tips, a lot of how we operate our sales and marketing, our retention programs come from Amy. She’s the wiz. If you have any questions on how to run an agency or anything on the b2b healthcare side, definitely ping her. She’s always been very generous to me. I’m sure she will be as well. I buttered her up with this question, this final question, which side do you like better; client or agency side? Don’t lie to me just because I’m listening. I’m not listening. Which side is better?

Amy: Alex, you know I can’t answer that, because I happily work at Ohio health right now. I will say this. Ohio health is an amazing company. I’m learning a ton, but I miss digital marketing and I miss viewing all the different trends across the board, and telling a story. I do miss that and I will leave it at that, Alex.

Alex: Maybe you make your way over to the b2c side of Ohio health one day and give us some tips on how to sell into a healthcare market. I have always being curious. All right, very good. Amy Marshall, thank you for visiting us. How can they find you?, everybody search for Amy Marshall Ohio health, you’ll find her. I will link to her from LinkedIn. Amy thanks for joining us on Ignite.

Amy: Thank you, Alex. It’s been a pleasure.

Automated Female Voice: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. If you like what you heard, please leave us a rating and review. Before you go, please remember to subscribe to this podcast, so you don’t miss the next episode. For more digital marketing tips, make sure you visit Have a great rest of the day. Don’t forget that the most important part of your job is to ignite

[00:20:26] [END OF AUDIO]

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