[00:00:01] Recorded Audio: 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.
[00:00:32] Alex: Hi, everybody. I am super pumped today. We’ve got Ben Goodman on the line. Ben is a VP of Marketing at my favorite urgent care in the whole country, it’s CareSpot and MedPost who just recently joined forces. Ben is out of one of my favorite cities here in the southeast Nashville, Tennessee baby and he’s got quite an interesting background.
Ben, I don’t want to steal the show. I want you to tell us how do you go from working for and with the Nashville sounds to running one of the largest urgent care groups in the country. How did we make that transition?
[00:01:05] Ben: Well, Alex, I appreciate you having me on. Happy to share that story. I thought maybe all healthcare marketers start out in minor league sponsors and end up in health care, but maybe not, for those who do. The sounds right out of college was my first job selling sponsorships to local businesses as well as group sell tickets. It was very interesting to get a peek behind the curtain at what we called, and they consider themselves professional sports even though we were minor leagues at the time.
I think one of the things to mention that people don’t realize is you talk about putting your time in when you first start out. We had 80 games at home and we were expected to not only work those 80 games but also work the prior eight hours before those games. We had many 12, 13, 14-hour days. As you can imagine, our first job sponsorship sales group sales is not exactly making bank. The experience is what you do it for and had a blast doing it, but if anybody out there is thinking about taking a turn into minor league baseball, I’m happy to discuss the pros and cons.[laughter]
[00:02:27] Alex: Sounds like not so many pros.
[00:02:30] Ben: Good friends, still good friends with a lot of people, we’ll call that a pro.
[00:02:34] Alex: Good. I love it. Then we went. You were running field marketing for a variety of Pizza Hut locations around the Southeast. Do I understand that correctly, after the sounds?
[00:02:44] Made a natural transition from minor league baseball into pizza sales. I worked for NPC International and essentially was the brand manager for Pizza Hut locations. I believe NPC as a whole was actually about 25% of the entire Pizza Hut portfolio. We were the big dogs, by far. I started out in field marketing. Again, if anybody wants to get into field marketing with pizza sales, let me know, I will be happy to talk about the pros and cons.
We would go around to schools, promote Pizza Hut. Go around to different apartment complexes, anything we could do to help build the brand on the local level. I actually started out as a field marketer and then after about a year, my boss left and I took over her position as director of marketing. For about two years there, handle the marketing for the East territory, about 300 total locations, as well as I, managed the field marketers out there as well. That was really my first dip into what I would call corporate marketing. I know corporate marketing sounds boring but that’s really where I started to cut my teeth in the marketing world, was with pizza.
[00:04:00] Alex: Corporate marketing can be exciting. Pizza’s exciting. We’re not huge fans of Pizza Hut at Cardinal because we have Papa John’s plant. However, will let you pass on that. We’re helping people get overweight and now, we’re helping people get well at CareSpot. You’ve had about five years at CareSpot, but you recently joined forces with MedPost when acquired by Tenet. Tell us the story there and what’s going on now?
[00:04:20] Ben: Real fast, you make a great segue. We fatten people up and then I had such a guilty conscience that I had to start working in healthcare to write my wrong. I love it. NPC is a great company, Pizza Hut is a great company. Just the QSR industry, I knew wasn’t for me long-term. I was looking for something at healthcare. You mentioned being based out of Nashville, that’s I think, unofficially, the healthcare capital of this country.
At the time, there was a company called CareSpot. Actually, it was called Solantic. It was a group of urgent care chains out of Florida, about 30 locations. They were in the process of rebranding. They had just been purchased by private equity and they were looking to grow that 30 locations to about 100 locations across the country.
The business model for CareSpot was to go in and partner with a health system. Currently, we have Baptist out of Jacksonville, UF Health in Gainesville and Orlando Health in Orlando on the CareSpot side. There, for a while, we were partner here in Nashville TriStar health, which is a subsidiary of HCA as well as HCA Midwest.
When I came on board, the way that I made that transition is my boss at the time was looking for someone to head up the field marketing program. Alex, you see the bridge there, I did- [crosstalk]
[00:05:49] Alex: I’m seeing it. I’m seeing it.
[00:05:50] Ben: You see, came over, started the field marketing program with CareSpot. You would actually be shocked or I think you would be shocked at how closely field marketing pizza, marketing pizza, and marketing healthcare works. It’s very interesting. I was actually very shocked at how a lot of those principles just transition. You just replace pizza with healthcare and building awareness and you’re pretty much there.
CareSpot as you mentioned, let’s see, about two and a half years ago, private equity exited CareSpot and that’s where Tenet Healthcare came in. To really complicate things even more because what would healthcare be without complexities. We are technically owned by USPI, which is owned by Tenet. USPI purchased CareSpot with the intent that CareSpot and the management team at CareSpot will then manage the roughly 60, 65 MedPost locations that Tenet Healthcare had throughout the country.
That’s where we are today. We spent probably eight months to a year implementing the “CareSpot way,” over to MedPost. We’ve been running that for about two years. Now, there is no CareSpot way or MedPost way. We are technically one company. I oversee the marketing. I head up our marketing department. We’ve got a great team. A team of six people, two of them in the field, four of them on the brand team that help us go out there and generate awareness for our health care services. That was the transition from pizza to healthcare.
I know it sounds very interesting, but the consumerism of healthcare, the retail-like nature of urgent care played very well or translated very well my background of pizza in that consumer-driven industry into urgent care which is very consumer and retail driven. That help paint the picture of how you do pizza and then healthcare.
[00:08:07] Alex: Yes, absolutely. We’re familiar with both verticals very intimately. At the end of the day, it’s like how all wars are won, the one on the ground. You need boots on the ground, making connections with local partnerships and health partners. It can be high schools for pizza partners. Everybody needs local partnerships to thrive. Your background works really well in QSR and it works really well in healthcare because everybody needs that same tactic. That’s brilliant. You have a team of six there, CareSpot, MedPost that are helping you grow these 105 locations.
I heard you also have a really good digital agency that helps you grow, but what would you say is the primary goal? Because we are low acuity, is it a patient acquisition? Do you guys run awareness campaigns as well? Walk our listeners through that.
[00:08:48] Ben: Sure. I’m going to answer that on a couple of different levels. Specifically for the urgent care locations, I’m in charge along with operations to grow the business, that’s why we’re in business. I love our vision statement. It is improving how people experience healthcare. We have that here in our office for everyone to see and to continue to remember why are we doing what we do, it is to improve healthcare. We know healthcare can be very challenging. Rightfully so–
Let’s be honest, when we talk about urgent care, it’s not exactly open heart surgery, right? You wake up with the sniffles. You find somewhere to go. Hopefully, it’s with one of our clinics. We treat you and send you on your way. This is not a life saving or a life-threatening type of acuity that you’re dealing with here. With that in mind, how we improve healthcare? We have to build awareness and that awareness will lead to acquisition.
I think that our strategy of building awareness is a little bit different than what we’ve seen in the marketplace. We go to the market and build awareness on humor. We use very bright colors. We try not to look like your stock photography with white lab coat, stethoscope hanging off, cheesy stock files or smiles. We try not to do any of that. Again, we try and use humor. Try and appeal and disrupt those who would be just reading an article online, for example. Some of the digital advertising that we hope those bright colors will catch your attention.
One of the things I will mention that is very, very different than the QSR industry is– Let’s say, for example, we had a Pizza Hut whose sales are very low, I can go out there and blanket the market with coupons. Have people come in and try us, enjoy the product, and hopefully, become customers after that.
You can’t really do that with urgent care, right? It is very hard to talk somebody into urgent care [chuckles] when they’re not sick. Not only do we offer urgent care, we offer WellCare and occupational health. You can semi do that on WellCare, flu shots as an example, physicals as an example but those combined make up two percent of our business, maybe five percent. Nothing major.
Alex, I guess to go back and answer your question, it is awareness that ultimately leads to acquisition. Our funnel looks quite a bit different than the normal marketing out there.
[00:11:26] Alex: Yes, absolutely. Hospital systems. Everybody’s trying to do what you guys are trying to do. All the hospital systems are trying to get people in for urgent and PCPs and then feed them through the hospital system. You had the keys to the castle nowadays.
You and I were talking earlier before we started recording, but I want everybody to hear it. When we talk about the millennial generation and the next one. What’s the next one? Gen Z. Is that the one after us?
[00:11:49] Ben: Which way are we going?
[00:11:51] Alex: Younger one.
[00:11:51] Ben: If we’re going up in a– I believe it’s Gen Z.
[00:11:55] Alex: Gen Z. All right. Let’s say the younger ones. Gen Z and millennials, we were at [unintelligible 00:12:00] made a few weeks ago and few of the presenters were talking. I don’t remember if it was Matt Gove or not, but someone said that millennials and the younger generations, we’re not even going to PCPs. We’re all just going to urgent care every now and then. Is that a trend you’re also seeing in your facilities?
[00:12:18] Ben: Yes. We definitely see that. We can look and see the repeat visits by different age groups. Alex, one of the things that we make abundantly clear is we do not want to be your PCP. There is a time and place when you do need to go to your PCP. What we do is we act as an extension of your PCP. Without getting too much into the weeds on this, one of the reasons that a lot of these hospital systems like urgent care is because of that downstream.
If you come in and you don’t have a PCP and I’m talking Carespot, MedPost specifically. Whenever you come in, first off, you’re not going to get a bunch of paper. We’ve pretty much done away with paper. We do digital registration. That alone is one reason to come to a CareSpot or MedPost. You don’t have to fill out the same form 100 times.
When you come in, one of the questions we ask on the kiosk is, do you have a primary care provider? If you do, you can enter that information in and we will then pass that the encounter notes onto your PCP. That’s one reason a lot of these health systems like us is because that is truly integrated into their ecosystem. Alex, if you come to us, you have a PCP, we can transfer that information onto them so the next time that you go to a PCP, he or she will have those notes ready to go.
The other question, when you don’t have a PCP, would you like one? Yes, your Gen Zs, your millennials might not be looking for a PCP right now, but over the course of time, they’re going to go from 30 years old to 40 years old. That’s when people start to look for PCPs.
Again, that’s one of the reasons a lot of these healthcare systems like urgent care. Urgent care is the entryway into healthcare by nature. How can a health system better integrate? We feel from the urgent care side, that we have got a great process in place, really for the consumer to make sure that we take care of them after hours too. That’s another thing that when we partner with the primary care offices, we say, “Look, we’re going to send you some patients who need it, but you also need to let your patient base know that if you’re closed on the weekends–
There’s so crazy stats out there with how long it takes to see a PCP. Some of them are up to 18, 20 days to see your primary care. That’s ridiculous. We looked to be that extension of a primary care office as well, where they can send it back down to us. Of course, she’d come to us, you type in that you’re affiliated PCP and we’ll send that information back to the primary care. It really is living out our vision of improving how people experience healthcare.
[00:15:07] Alex: Yes, absolutely. One of the things that you mentioned there, you’re trying to improve the consumer experience or the patient experiences. You guys have taken a very technological approach to things. We’ve got digital registration, online bookings, text messages going out automatically. Is that a key positioning or a unique positioning for CareSpot, MedPost? That’s the angle you guys are going forward. Really trying to make it easy for patients to see you quickly, to differentiate from the PCPS. “Let’s get people in. Let’s get them well as quickly as possible.”
[00:15:40] Ben: Yes. Dead on. It’s been interesting to see– When CareSpot started back in 2012, we were one of the first, if not the first urgent care that we were aware of that offered online appointments. It’s becoming pretty much a commonplace right now. However, some of the larger players in the urgent care industry actually don’t have online registration yet, which I find incredibly weird.
What’s been interesting is we’ve tried to balance the two scales here. We want to be technologically advanced because we want to hit that younger generation. But also too– I’ve got to tell you, my parents, they are very comfortable with smartphones now. They can go online and make appointments just as well as the younger demographic. We try to balance also being a walk-in clinic too. One of the reasons we push our online appointment scheduling, not only for the ease and convenience because you can go on there and select your time.
One of the examples I use is if it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and you feel sick, which you want to stick it out through work till five. Go online and make an appointment on five. That’s the whole point of this. You get there, you won’t have to wait. You’d be seen.
We also have to balance the convenience factor of urgent care because that is the cornerstone in why urgent care is what it is based off of the convenience. Multiple locations around the area, open-extended hours seven days a week. You could walk in, call in, or go online and make an appointment. We try to balance that walk-in aspect of this as well.
Just being very candid. We’ve run into some situations where we’ve turned some people probably against our brand because the wait was rather lengthy. They thought it was a walk-in clinic. We’ve had to educate as to why we offer online scheduling as well as walk-in appointments. That’s a hurdle that we’ve had to jump before over is how do you balance that because you do want to offer that convenience. Not everybody’s going to go in and make an appointment.
But at the same time, making those appointments really helps us load balance throughout the day. We wouldn’t double book appointment online. What that helps us do by load balancing is it helps our clinical staff. They’re not behind. They’re not rushing. They’re delivering a better patient experience. A good patient experience turns into a great word of mouth and that is– I would say the top two ways that we grow, location and word of mouth are probably interchangeable there. If that makes sense.
[00:18:21] Alex: Yes, that makes a ton of sense. Not only it distracts from the patient experience when people are coming in randomly, but for my perspective as a digital marketer, it makes it hard to track the results of our efforts when people are just popping in. That’s a very difficult aspect to track. Surely, we want everybody making appointments so that the load is balanced throughout the day. They get the best experience and the clinics operate as efficiently as possible.
I’ve got a bunch of digital marketers that listened to Ignite. I know they are dying to hear. How are you guys tracking your patient acquisition? What are the big marketing initiatives we’ve had this year and what are we going to be doing next year? Let’s start with tracking. How are you guys tracking everything?
[00:19:03] Ben: Yes. We track multiple ways. We actually still do quite a bit of– Not just quite a bit, we do about 20% of our yearly budget is traditional advertising, which is incredibly hard to track. Although they’re coming out with some really creepy ways of tracking your drive patterns and do we put billboards within your drive pattern if you’re one of our model targets that we’re going after.
Same thing with trying to understand the location. Let’s be honest, the urgent care built on convenience. Location is incredibly important. If you look at your attribution model, how do you account for location? I’ll stop complaining here and put that on the shelf and answer- [laughs] how do we track? We’ve got a great digital company that helps us track online appointments. That’s really how we’re doing it now.
I would say the limitations to what we have are solely based right now with us. We’re looking to revamp our online scheduling process. We are going to offer a couple of different things, which should make tracking digital much, much easier. Right now, we really track that on– We do a lot of paid search, and so we know how did you get to us? Did you come in from an organic listing? Did you come in from paid search? Of course, we get those monthly numbers to look at how is everything working together? How is our organic performing? How’s our paid search performing?
Our digital team does a great job of helping explain, not only how many people are we attracting from a paid standpoint, but, and I digress here for a second. I always joke with our CEO, he thinks the location is number one, word of mouth is number two. I always have your team, Alex, help me every month to show that while those are very important, there’s still the need for those people. Even if they know where it is to go online and find a phone number. If they don’t type in CareSpot if they don’t do some branded search that always allows the potential for another competitor to get ahead of us.
I look and say, “In my world, organic is key.” We want to be number one and try and dominate that search page as much as we possibly can. Everything works together. I would think a lot of marketers would agree with me on that. Whereas, back in the old days, it might be very heavy different mediums. The way we see it is, we wrap our arms around everything because it does all work in unison. You might know where a location is, but again, you got to find that phone number or go online and make an appointment. That answer your question a little bit or not.
[00:21:54] Alex: Yes, absolutely. You guys are running. I am privy to a lot of information because we have been able to help and been privileged to help CareSpot for over four years now with your digital marketing. We are privy to a lot of information. I know paid search, organic maps are super important. Then, what we’re going to be trying to work on next with you guys is really understanding what are the touch points along the funnel that contributed to each lead and each appointment.
You talked about discussing things with EHR. It sounds like we’re going to be trying to make some more integrations between the appointment scheduling an EHR to better understand who’s becoming a patient from the leads driven or did I just infer too much there?
[00:22:35] Ben: I hope that’s what we’re doing because I can’t wait for that.[laughter]
[00:22:38] Ben: No, it is. That’s something that I know my team is looking forward to is just trying to better layout the customer journey of getting to us. I think that’s something that everybody understands how we can do that. The actual nitty gritty of doing that, I’m so glad you guys are doing that, versus us because it is a curtain that I don’t want to look behind. [chuckles] I don’t envy your team at all in that. It seems challenging but will pay for itself absolutely, down the road.
[00:23:14] Alex: Yes, absolutely. Yes, we’re working with dev teams on it, it’s called Patient Stream. We’re excited to unveil it to everybody in 2019. You guys going to be the– I don’t want to say guinea pig but test-[laughter]
[00:23:25] Alex: -subject maybe is a nicer word. Anywho, enough about Patient Stream. We’re excited about that. That’s going to help everybody understand their funnel better. You guys have had some crazy big marketing initiatives this year, even outside of what we normally help you guys with. Talk about some of the big things that you’ve gone through maybe some stressful things, but all that help contribute to your success this year.
[00:23:47] Ben: Are you mentioning the website maybe?
[00:23:50] Alex: Could be that.
[00:23:52] Ben: Yes.
[00:23:52] Alex: Everybody out there that’s ever managed or launched a website knows what you went through. Anytime we hear website launch, we are like, “Oh, god. Well, push that date back six months?”
[00:24:02] Ben: Let me know where the where the support group is because I would like to join. I still have post-traumatic website disorder.[laughter]
[00:24:11] Ben: Yes. One of the things that we wanted to do, I mentioned earlier that we had two brands, CareSpot and MedPost. They were operating on two different platforms. They looked completely different. They weren’t in sync. Given the fact that, we think we have a relatively small marketing team, one of the things that we wanted to do is essentially, Frankenstein a site together. We wanted to take the best of both sites and make one template. Then, of course, have a medpost.com and a carespot.com from that.
I won’t [unintelligible 00:24:50] about all the ups and downs that we have. Long story short, we did get that launched quite a bit later than we wanted to. Now, one of the things we were up against, and all fairness is, we do have a busy season. End of quarter four, quarter one, we are incredibly busy. The last thing you want to do is launch a website during your busy season. We ended up– The next worst thing you want to do, which is launch a website, and then Google came out with an algorithm update the very next day. I believe it was within a week of-
[00:25:25] Alex: Yes, the medic update came out.
[00:25:26] Ben: Gosh. I’ve told your team how important it was that they were involved in this because we actually did not skip a beat from us launching. Generally, you take a little bit of a hit whenever you launch that, along with the new Google algorithm update. I was freaking out there for a little while. We really didn’t see much of any hit. That is live, enjoying the fruits of that. We’re looking to improve on it. We got a shell out there now.
If you do visit the site, I think you’ll see our brand personality coming out. I mentioned earlier that we try and do things a little bit differently. We try to be more millennial-focused. That 35, 45 and under, as well as we understand the value and have played in the market of retail healthcare for quite a while now. We want to take a blend of looking somewhat like a healthcare side, but also you don’t feel very sterile [chuckles] like you would on some other.
[00:26:31] Alex: No, the site aren’t sterile at all. They’re not only beautiful but functional. They actually look like almost like a software company. They’re beautiful. If any of you guys can check them out. carespot.com and medpost.com. I recommend you guys all check them out.
I had an Anaye Milligan from Houston Methodist on the site. Their sites also look good. But if you guys want to see what a retail healthcare website should look like, this is it. Their navigation has icons, really beautiful things, eye catching works well on mobile. Bookings are all done online with geographical maps, find a location, the CTA are everywhere.
For my digital marketers out there, carespot.com, medpost.com, very similar. Check them out if you want to know what a website should look like when it’s launched. Then, as you’re finding out, websites launch and you just started. I mean the project never ends. It never ends.
[00:27:18] Ben: Yes, it just never ends that’s why I wish there was that support group.
[00:27:23] Alex: [laughs] We’re going to form one. It’s funny. When you’re going through it, you feel– I mean all the pressures on you, right? The whole company is looking at this thing. They feel like if the website comes out and looks like crap, that it’s all your fault. It’s really not. Anywho, even after you launch it, that everybody’s been through a website launched knows it takes longer, everything goes wrong, everything falls apart.
I launched Cardinals new site early last year, our rankings drop for an SEO company because I changed our own URL. We’ve all been through it. Even SEO companies have to make changes one things more. That’s good.
Okay. I want to get into the future. What big problem do you wish could be solved in regards to marketing for healthcare, that would help make all of us more successful? What’s out there that’s really striking a nerve that you wish could be solved?
[00:28:09] Ben: That’s a great question. I’m going to keep this personal. The attribution, I think, for me, is just the next thing that I really need to solve. I need full insight into our customer journey. What led them here? How many digital ads do they have to see? Honestly, Alex, I don’t care if it’s good or bad right now. I just want full insight as to what that journey is. Then we’ll start to worry about, are we doing too much here? Are we not doing enough here? Again, that is something that I’m really looking forward to working with. With your team on, is starting to get behind the curtain a little bit to better understand that user-driven.
[00:28:54] Alex: That’s going to be big. Honestly, Ben, we’re hearing that from just about everybody we’re talking to. That’s the next evolution for experience healthcare marketers. I think they’re still a lot of healthcare marketers out there, and I love you all. We’re still not getting the basics right. You guys are getting the basics right.
Now, it’s time to better understand lead flow, full funnel of how the patients are coming to the organization. A lot of this is going to have to integrate with your EHR, which I think we might be going through a transition there. Not an easy task, but we are up to and we are excited about it.
Ben, this has been phenomenal. You provided a ton of insights for our listeners. We can’t thank you enough. Ben, thank you for joining us on Ignite.
[00:29:31] Ben: Alex, I appreciate it. Anytime.[music]
[00:29:32] Recorded Audio: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. If you liked 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 cardinaldigitalmarketing.com Have a great rest of the day. Don’t forget that the most important part of your job is to ignite.
[00:29:58] [END OF AUDIO]