How Christina Fleming, Vice President of Marketing at Windsor Healthcare Communities is starting with a brand and message first approach to growing Windsor

Christina Fleming understands that it takes a consistent brand and message if you want to resonate with your local population.

How Christina Fleming, Vice President of Marketing at Windsor Healthcare Communities is starting with a brand and message first approach to growing Windsor

[00:00:00] Voice over: 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] Interviewer: Hey everybody, I’m really excited to have you guys on Ignite today. I’m talking to one of the best healthcare marketers in the country. Christina Fleming has a very interesting background. She’s up in New Jersey, close to New York so she gets to have all the fun but gets to go home to New Jersey and not deal with anything but the Judas is going to jail.

Christina’s background is even more interesting than knowing anything about New Jersey. She owned her own embroidery shop, and then was the president of a nonprofit and then spent many years helping different senior living and retirement communities and now she’s with Windsor Healthcare Communities.

Christina, how do we go from owning your own business to being the VP of marketing and running a nonprofit in the middle? I’m sure some of those experiences helped shape running marketing for Dime location community now. Did any of that help from your past?

[00:01:18] Christina Fleming: Absolutely. I know it’s quite a crazy background, is it not? I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. Anybody who knows me will definitely tell you that I’m somewhat of an enterpriser bunny [laughs]. For me, when I graduated college, and had gone to school for marketing. I was working at an advertising firm, right outside of Atlantic City. It was just so slow moving for me. It just wasn’t enough of a way to feel like was rolling up my sleeves and really doing all of the things that you dream of doing when you go to school.

Right around that time, we had a family business actually. In my family, I had an aunt that was running it, and she was going to sell it. There was just something about it that I saw this huge growth potential. Not to mention, I knew that I really wanted to have a family and I would be able to have that perfect mix; working from home, but yet, being a career woman.

I don’t know why I decided to do it but one day, I just woke up and said, “I think that I want to try that, I think I want to see what I can do with this little embroidery business and see if I can grow it.” Within a few years, I did, in fact, grow the business enough to be able to flip it.

Then, of course, because again, I have this desire for rolling up my sleeves, that’s when I got the itch for another project, and I saw that local nonprofit that I was a part of, in desperate need of some leadership. I jumped right into that, and I build their membership up into the hundreds and helped to grow its fundraising efforts, and that’s how I kind of bridged those two.

Then, all of this was happening right at the time when social media was becoming a thing. It’s so funny to me, because I think back to those college days, I don’t even think I had an email address when I first went to college, which probably makes me sound really old. Right around that time was really that boom in social media. Even though I was so busy with that nonprofit, I stumbled upon the idea of blogging, and I found it so intriguing. I kind of figured at that point in my life, I had more than enough stories to tell about raising to two young children at the time and running my household. I thought it was funny and would be a great use of my love for writing and marketing. I launched what I didn’t realize was going to be such a huge piece of who I am today, I launched a lifestyle blog where I actually referred to myself as the CEO of my household.


[00:03:50] Interviewer: I love it.

[00:03:51] Christina: But it was great, the readership grew to thousands, I had all kinds of brands reaching out and asking me to review their product in exchange for some recognition on the website that I had. I learned how to design websites at that point because I had built up my own blog and started designing my own brand of who I was. I did so in a way that actually gained the attention of a regional hospital organization here in New Jersey called Meridian Health; today, they’re actually Hackensack Meridian Health. I was actually asked by them to come on board as one of their mom bloggers. That is actually how I launched my career into the healthcare marketing aspect and division of where I’m at today.

[00:04:34] Interviewer: From writing your own business and then flipping to growing the membership of a nonprofit and then signing on and helping grow just about every company you’ve been a part of. Christina, one thing that’s really coming through here is you just have a ton of hustle, no matter what you’re doing, you have a ton of energy, whether it’s being a mommy blogger, you’re getting the attention of a lot of people, and that’s bringing on new opportunities.

You’re kind of getting now to be really creative with Windsor– Let’s talk about Windsor Healthcare Community. We were at A Place For Mom for a few years, then we went to Windsor, and what are we doing now? You’ve got a beautiful new website, guys, everybody,, if you want to see what a healthcare websites should look like. They don’t need to be drab, they don’t need to be boring, and they should be lead conversion magnets. That’s what this one is.

Tell us, what are you getting to do at Windsor that’s exciting?

[00:05:23] Christina: At Windsor Healthcare, I’m actually their Vice President of Marketing, I get to design the entire corporate strategy and oversee their entire marketing division. With the fact that, like you said, business development, hustle, creating buzz, those are things that have always just come so natural to me. Then I combine them with this digital experience that I kind of self-taught myself.

The combination of the two have afforded me the ability to really sit on their executive team, and again, design our corporate strategy, which, thank you so much for recognizing the website. It’s been a huge task of mine the last couple of months. I wanted to do exactly that, I wanted to make it different, savvy, very authentic, and yet not so cool and clinical, as we typically tend to see, especially in the long term care industry.

[00:06:13] Interviewer: Yes, I love it. We’ve got bright colors, the call to actions are clear where we’ve got social media icons at the top. We are just so used to really boring and drab healthcare websites, because we feel like that’s what people want to see, right? We walk into a sterile hospital, the website should be sterile. It’s not the case, guys, we’re going to act like retailers nowadays. This is how this thing’s going.

Okay, all right very cool, Christina. We help redesign the website, you got to take that on yourself, talk to us about some of the other fun things you get to do there. You’re responsible for the marketing brochures, are we going and getting more PCPs to refer you guys or are you running the digital marketing? Well, talk to us about other tactics you’re running.

[00:06:48] Christina: I’m really doing all of that. I would say that my big job is to develop a strategy that not only helps acquire patients, but then make our brand have- built that brand awareness. Basically, what I touch during the day, every day is kind of a dual role. I have to be doing enough– It’s kind of like, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Obviously, at the end of the day, we’re looking to build our clientele of not only physicians and healthcare organizations that want to align with our belief of Windsor Healthcare and who we are and what we serve to the community. All of that is to say that the awareness of what is Windsor Healthcare has to be there.

When I joined the company, about a year ago, we’re having nine centers throughout the state of New Jersey. Each one has a totally different name. There is no recognition of that parent brand of Windsor Healthcare. Here I am, walking into this position and I’ve got probably 20, 25 people between my directors of admissions inside of the buildings, and our liaisons were out in the field. They’re all kind of marketing in silos. I took a look at that and just thought, what a missed opportunity to really solidify this quite different organization?

I’ll back up a little bit. Windsor Healthcare is owned and operated by a family who have been doing this for well over 20 years. Just like I said about myself in the beginning, where I didn’t feel like I had the ability to roll my sleeves every day, that’s what attracted me to Windsor healthcare. Our organization, this whole family, they roll up their sleeves every single day and are in the trenches with the rest of us. We’re all together, we all work, I want to say from nine to five, but anybody in healthcare marketing understands that nine to five is really not an accurate reflection of the time you spend. I think it’s because we’re all so passionate that we just find ourselves working for the love of the industry and of what we do.

Again, my goal really with a company is to develop that strategy that really helps raise brand awareness, which is why I rebranded the company for the family and why I developed the website and took my vision of where I think this needs to evolve, which, like you said before, is that more consumer-driven kind of boutique feel in the healthcare industry, but yet, making sure that the strategy that I give the team on the ground is to require those patients.

[00:09:20] Interviewer: Yes, I hear you. It really was a big branding exercise when you were coming on board. I agree with you on the nine to five, eight to five thing in the healthcare community. When something’s happening in your community, you have to be on. I was at the ASHE Conference in Seattle last week. Now, sitting there working between sessions and I heard a woman get a call, and she worked at the hospital right near the limo accident. She’s a marketer, but she was having to deal with all the PR and all the news stations were calling her as the head of I guess the PR marketing department for the hospital. She got off the phone and was crying and I was like, “Holy shit, the things that we do here in healthcare, even if we just consider ourselves marketer, it’s nonstop hours and has really big implications.” That was a really big wake up call into how important this stuff is.

Very cool, you got to get in there and re-brand. Now, the task to talk to us about what 2019 looks like. We’ve established the brand, we have the website, sounds like you’ve built the foundation to the nursing home if you will. Now what are we going to do to add layers on top?

[00:10:21] Christina: That’s a great question. What I’m doing right now is focusing a great deal of time on understanding patient journey and really discovering what happens long before patients even present at the hospital with a need for short or long term care. I just have to make sure that everything we do really aligns with that philosophy. I feel that that’s a shift that we’re seeing in the industry, and that is really important to make sure that I arm my teams with those census development tools that are going to help them acquire the new patients.

It’s also equally important to understand that our centers are part of the infrastructure of every one of the communities that they support. I have to be able to, again, arm the sales team with every opportunity to have several touch points along this patient path that we have a better chance to convert the leads that we do get.

[00:11:16] Interviewer: Absolutely. That means coming up with content at every part of the patient’s journey. You guys are going to be creating content for the adult, son, and daughter, when they’re just starting to look for, no offence, but a place for mom or dad and then when they get closer down the funnel, you’re going have to come up with content. Social media, are you guys going to be doing activations on social media? What have we done on social to help raise brand awareness in your communities?

[00:11:41] Christina: What we’ve done is we’ve launched individual Facebook pages obviously for each one of the centers. I see that as being more of a scrapbook to really bring to life the every single day. What we’ve done is we’ve started obviously by building on a website that has a tremendous amount of call to action.

I believe in being available to the consumer when the consumer is shopping. Consumers shop whatever time of day from whatever avenue they want. I focused on making sure that our website is mobile friendly, obviously, it’s a very big piece of the pie. Making sure that no matter which way a consumer wants to find us, they have the option to do so; whether it’s phone, email, booking it for online on any of that.

Then, of course, as far as digital marketing goes, I’m just starting to launch our digital campaigns. Of course, Facebook is a really positive place for us to do some marketing right now. I’ve decided to utilize each center having it’s own Facebook page as a way to really build a scrapbook for each community so that we could not only optimize the chance that a family would like to share information that maybe they see their loved one participating in some type of activity and it becomes very easily sharable for them to bread, like bread book, about what their loved one is doing.

It’s also a great way for us to turn around and market back to the person who even referred that patient to us. One of the biggest campaigns that I’ve just launched as a way to initiate our digital marketing right now is we have a gift we give to each one of our [unintelligible 00:13:17] patients upon discharge. We make a celebration about what they are now able to do. The T-shirt itself says, “Thanks to Windsor Healthcare, now I can–” and it’s blank

Our physical therapists and our speech and occupational therapists, they learn so much about the patients while they are in their care for short-term and know what are they looking forward to doing most. Our goal in short-term care is to return that patient to home as safely and quickly as possible. Part of the celebration of that is to ask them and discover what is it that they’re most excited to get back to doing now that they have been with Windsor Healthcare and we nursed them back to good health. If you check out each one of the center’s Facebook pages and even our own company Facebook page, you’ll see that almost every day we’re sharing success stories of patients who’re being discharged back to the community.

We had some really cute success stories like, “Thanks to Windsor Healthcare now I can make it to my granddaughter’s wedding.” How wonderful is that? What a celebration of life? We’ve heard your basic, “Thanks to Windsor Healthcare, now I can walk again.” That’s huge. When someone comes to us and presents in a manner that they had a knee replacement and they have to really re-learn how to do the most basic daily tasks and we can nurse them back to that, we want to celebrate it.

Now what we do is, I arm my sales team to take that Facebook success story that that smiling happy patient with his two or her two great therapists that they’ve grown to love and nurture them, take that back to the physician. Take that back to the office manager or the case manager at the hospital and bring to life the success that we were able to provide that patient.

I guess you would want to call the storytelling. I’m very big on storytelling. That’s the last part and I think that in general when you hear the word marketing and long-term care, it draws to the attention of census development, it just draws to the term acquisition. Not enough organizations are really embracing the fact that marketing, that word in itself is an awareness piece. Again, I’m doing a lot right now that focus around that awareness piece.

[00:15:36] Interviewer: I love it. I love not only focusing on the acquisition piece but really the storytelling. That is lost on so many of us marketers. I really implore you guys to go check out the Facebook page. You can see the pictures of their patients, residents, guests, whatever you may call them with their therapist.

Christina has come up with this wonderful campaign. I see someone that says, “Thanks to Windsor Healthcare, now I can exercise.” We are smiling, the therapist is smiling. You get to take that back to the case managers for more referrals. Christina, hats off to you, this is really impressive. Everybody check it. If you want to see these Facebook examples, go to Just find the locations, click on them individually and you can see them or through the corporate page.

Something else I love about your website because I am an acquisition guy, that’s what we do. We’re pretty much bottom of the funnel here at Cardinal. I love that BOOK A TOUR directions on the website. I imagine we are tracking those conversions. Correct?

[00:16:30] Christina: Absolutely. Every single day we are blowing up with people who are booking a tour. What I love about it is, sometimes, families would just pop in. I have a rule of thumb in any one of my centers, I call it stop drop and tour. I think that, again, touring is an art and being able to really discover the needs of your families who are there and be able to share and be a part of their story and their journey, really is able to elevate our presence.

As much as we were talking so much about that digital marketing, we can’t forget that that traditional marketing and the relationship building is a significant piece of the puzzle. What this BOOK A TOUR function has done is it’s combined that need for families to be able to shop for whatever they’re looking. We live in a world of the Amazon, we can order anything literally buy with one click. Why can’t they book with one click? That was my thought process on it.

At least that provides my team with the ability to make sure that they can do some research if they need to that they can have everything prepared and ready for that family. It allows us to make sure that if we know someone is coming in and it’s a Saturday that works, making sure we have the right coverage on the Saturday.

We do typically have a fully staffed admissions department six days a week. If it works for family on a Sunday, we’ve got our administrators that roll up their sleeves, we’ve got some great department heads in all of our buildings who we actively train to be a part of that traditional marketing piece. I believe that every one of our employees is a marketer for Windsor Healthcare.

[00:18:08] Interviewer: I love that.

[00:18:08] Christina: We do a lot of culture building.

[00:18:11] Interviewer: I love that. Stop, drop and tour, everybody is part of the marketing team, everybody is part of the sales team in every organization. I wish you could be at every company because I’ve been saying that to my flock for almost 10 years. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary and I tell them we’re all in sales.

“No, I’m in SCO.” “No, you’re in sales. Your job is to create an organic experience that helps our clients grow and they grow with us.” Everybody is in sales, everybody is in marketing. Christina, I love that. We’re tracking the BOOK A TOUR, you guys have nine locations, you’re generating lots of leads. Do you have a central repository, a CRM, an EHR? How are we keeping track of everybody?

[00:18:44] Christina: We have a combination of your good old fashion pen and paper systems. We utilize PointClickCare. We actually have just recently launched the CRM for PointClickCare in several of our centers. The is such a fast moving industry and some of the systems- part of why I was hired was to really bring with your healthcares marketing, or we call it front door initiative, up to speed. One of my biggest tasks was, of course, incorporating some type of CRM to be able to track that.

It’s such an ongoing process for us but it’s definitely something we are actively participating in. It’s so important. You have to know where your leads are converting from and it helps me evaluate and assess where time is being spent in the market to make sure that we are aligning with best opportunities for our partnerships involved.

[00:19:40] Interviewer: I love it. I see PointClickCare does offer CRM and they’re trying to get in the marketing a little bit. I wasn’t familiar with PointClickCare. This is interesting, predominantly EHR, I suppose they started in EHR and now they’re expanding throughout. I love it. What they may try to do in the future, PointClickCare, I may be wrong, but be able to connect your advertising in Google, Facebook to the EHR, so you not only know how many leads came through, but how many of those leads actually became residents, value of the residents.

[00:20:08] Christina: Yes, combining, again, we can’t discredit how significant- we have to remember in long term care, in healthcare, word of mouth is still your number one source of advertising. We have to look at word of mouth as more than somebody physically speaking to another person. We have to understand that word of mouth is everything from somebody doing a Google search, because they might have been told or maybe they did a drive by or they saw or heard our information too. They stumbled upon a review, online reviews are word of mouth referrals and word of mouth advertisements. We can connect that all to our CRM, that would be such a great time saver as well.

[00:20:49] Interviewer: Yes, It’d be a lot of time saving and you can see what’s going on. Also understanding the funnel, right? If someone saw a review then clicked on an organic listing, but ended up converting through a paid search ad, if we could see that whole funnel, you could know which places to put more advertising into, whether it’s Facebook is creating top of the funnel or Google’s working better. It’s actually a technology Cardinal is working on right now patient stream, we’re trying to help our healthcare clients better understand the patient journey and funnel online. It’s interesting, we’re hearing that that’s an issue for a lot of our clients.

Okay, super interesting. Christina, I want to ask you one more question, if you were to say what is the biggest struggle you have as a marketer in the healthcare space? What’s the biggest problem you’d love solve? What have you found over the last few years? What has been your biggest struggle you’d love for someone to look into and solve?

[00:21:37] Christina: I can’t really say that I have a big struggle. I think that I’ve noticed that there’s definitely become a line in the sand that’s been drawn between the fact that providers are having these very narrow networks. Then the fact that like I said before, word of mouth is still our number one source of advertising and that’s really patient choice.

I think that the struggle which I think it’s something that is evolving is just making sure that as a healthcare marketer, you understand both ends of it. When you make your marketing strategy, you need to make sure that you’re playing well on both sides of the sandbox. You have to make sure that everything you’re doing really embraces the fact that we have to be respectful of the narrow networks, and what’s important to be a preferred provider, but also understood that you’re doing everything you can to not discredit the fact that patient choice and word of mouth is still a very substantial source of advertising.

I think another problem that I see is just that I hear so often from healthcare marketers about how being a healthcare marketer is a roller coaster ride and it’s true. I just think that from a high level we just need to be looking at– It’s so easy to just look at that immediate day to day and those day to day metrics. We become so focused on those numbers, but we just have to know from a high level that everything we do now has a payout in like 6 to 12 months. To be truly successful, we have to really look at the roller coaster of the industry. We have to know our industry, know the waves of our market and really know– It really all comes down to strategy and making sure that on either end of that roller coaster, that you have a solid plan for either way of whatever time and needs that industry has–[crosstalk].

[00:23:22] Interviewer: Yes, I love it. It’s understood, it’s taking the long view if I heard you correctly, it’s a good reminder to all of us as healthcare markers that we have to take the long view. I know my team and I were very focused on acquisition, so we looked at what was our cost per lead, how are we funneling people through SEO, paid search Facebook advertising, but we need to remember that some of the things that we should be doing are going to have a six to nine month pay out.

That’s getting the executive suite, that’s getting the rest of the team to understand that there’s more of a long term pay out. Christina, that’s hugely helpful. I love learning more about your background and I know everybody here listening to ignite loved hearing everything that you’ve done from a branding perspective, a community outreach perspective and a way to get you guys more known with your night communities there in Jersey. Christina, thanks for joining us on Ignite. This has been incredibly helpful.

[00:24:08] Christina: You bet. Thank you for having me.

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[00:24:10] Voice over: 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, and don’t forget that the most important part of your job is to ignite.

[00:24:36] [END OF AUDIO]

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