Round Table: Digital Marketing Growth Strategies for 2021

The healthcare industry is experiencing fundamental shifts and more organizations are fueling growth through innovative digital strategies. Here's how 3 healthcare marketing experts are using digital to attract and engage patients.

Round Table: Digital Marketing Growth Strategies for 2021

Hernando Ruiz-Jimenez, CMO, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Brandon Dowdy-Ernst, CXO, Smile Workshop
Rich Briddock, VP Paid Media & Analytics, Cardinal Digital Marketing
Lauren Leon, SVP Healthcare Marketing, Cardinal Digital Marketing

How to use digital marketing to attract and engage patients

Quotes From the Webinar:

Brandon: “When working with vendors, the biggest tip is you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar, so you definitely have to be sweet. Just be sweet to a lot of your vendors but also, if you give a little they’ll give a little.”

Hernando: “The challenge we have for re-engagement is the fact that if they came to you the first time, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to come to you a second time. You have to have a mix of keeping that awareness and consideration going, because I think we take it for granted. You need to do that work, and part of that work is also maintaining a subtle conversation.”

Rich: “Search gives you a ton of signals because its exactly what people are searching for. You can derive from their search queries where they are in the funnel. If they’re searching for a very specific type of dentist or dental procedure, they’re pretty far down the funnel. If they’re typing to find help, that they’re at the top of the funnel. Search is a great place to start in terms of building experiences that are relevant to the intent without breaching any kind of data privacy issues.”


Read The Transcript:

Lauren Leone: Hello, everybody, thank you so much for joining us. I apologize for just being a few minutes late here, ironic that we’re here to talk about tech in the digital space. Of course, I was having a technical issue. I appreciate everyone joining us today, I just want to walk through a few things with you before I actually introduce our attendees. I have everyone muted for the time being just to avoid background noise.

What I would really love for you all to do throughout this webinar, is to join us in the conversation by utilizing the chat feature. I have that enabled, and what I’m going to be doing is keeping an eye on some of the questions that come through. We love participants, we don’t want this to be a one-way conversation. For the individuals in our attendees, who chat us the most, send us a thoughtful question, or engage with us along the way, we’ll be sending out gift cards to all Amazon or Starbucks something really good. Participate, there’s incentive. Who doesn’t want a free coffee? I will call out some of those questions.

Then at the very end, we’re going to do a Q&A. Any questions that don’t get to join the conversation, I will make sure to touch on in our last 10 minutes together. I’m also going to do a poll throughout the webinar just to get you guys interacting with us. If I call out that a poll has been initiated, feel free to just let us know your answer, and we’ll read out those results to everybody on the line. Without further ado, I’m going to pop up in a couple of slides here just to walk you through who you’re going to be talking with today, and then we will get into the Q&A.

We’re here today to talk about digital marketing strategies for 2021, and I’m sure everybody is sick of talking about the impact that COVID has had. I think we’ve all come to realize that when COVID goes away, and things return to “normal”, there’s going to be an impact of what we’ve all been through and working in the healthcare space, from the cardinal team members here who work on the marketing side, to our guests today who actually work in the field at organizations providing healthcare to patients, we are going to have to adapt how we interact with those patients in the digital space. That is what we’re here to talk about today.

Really quickly, before I dive into some introductions, I always like to do a little bit of a shameless plug into Cardinal. I work at Cardinal, I’m the VP of client services here. We’re really proud to have started a mission many years ago, to help patients get healthy. To us as marketers, that means helping you connect with, or helping patients connect with the best healthcare providers out there.

Our entire objective and all of the marketing that we do is to make sure that the best providers are visible and the patients can find them. Just a couple of partners that we are proud to call partners of Cardinal, we work in the healthcare space across a number of verticals, dental, health systems, specialty clinics. Let me make a couple of quick introductions. We have Hernando on the line. Hernando is the current CMO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

I know that New York-Presbyterian is associated with the medical, or affiliated with the medical schools at Columbia and Cornell. Hernando, we have the pleasure of speaking with you today. You are a major figure in the healthcare space, we know that you have developed and implemented marketing, advertising referral programs, technologies, we’re really excited to get your perspective on everything. I know that you have worked at a number of companies over the years including big names like PepsiCo, but we’re excited that you are in healthcare now. We thank you for joining us.

Hernando Ruiz-Jimenez: Happy to be here. Thank you.

Lauren: I also want to take the opportunity to introduce Brandon. Brandon and his company, Smile Workshop, are a client of Cardinal’s and we’ve had the pleasure of really exploring how to navigate the current landscape in the healthcare space. Brandon, I got to speak with you yesterday as we were preparing for this event, and I love that your bio says that you’re obsessed with creating excellent experiences.

Because just in the few minutes that we spoke, I can hear the passion in your voice for this subject. I’m going to coin a term or introduce a term that Brandon introduced me to a little bit later on in this presentation. Your role is really to understand how do we interact with the patient in every sense of the word. I’m excited to have your opinion on this topic as well.

Brandon Dowdy-Ernst: Thanks for having me.

Lauren: Then let me introduce Rich. Rich and I have been colleagues for going on eight years now here at Cardinal. Rich is the VP of Paid Media Strategy and Analytics here at Cardinal. Everything from consulting with prospective new clients on what the right marketing strategies look like, to really making sure that we see through the implementation of technologies that support our marketing objectives. Everything from live chats, to landing page experiences, personalization. Rich is going to bring a wealth of knowledge to this conversation from the agency perspective.

Rich Briddock: Thanks for having me, Lauren.

Lauren: Absolutely. A quick look at the agenda, and then I’m going to open up with a question for each of our attendees to kick this off. Our agenda, we’re going to talk a little bit about the current challenges impacting healthcare, I’ve touched on a few, but I want to get everybody’s opinion. Let’s talk about marketing technologies, what we have seen in technology, even just since March of 2020.

Some best practices, which our attendees are going to have the ability to share what they are currently doing. Opportunities, what is out there that maybe none of us are taking advantage of, or we’re just starting to become aware of. Effective tactics for attracting and converting patients. Then I want to talk a little bit about ROI, that is the North Star, and what all of us are doing and the steps that we’re taking to get there. Then we’ll do a bit of a Q&A at the very end.

Let me go ahead and stop this presentation, I want everyone to be able to see our faces nice and big. I’m going to go ahead and open up the Q&A. The first thing I would like to ask Hernando, I want to touch base with you. About a year ago, I know that you started a CRM launch project. I would love to get an update from you a year later, on what is the status of that project, how has the role happen, are you getting better data, and is it really meaningful to your organization now that you’ve got that in place?

Hernando: Well, first, I’m glad to be joining all of you in this session, I think having these discussions actually helps everyone because we get to learn what others are doing and how to– Because it’s a complex environment, and that’s probably where I’m going with CRM. CRM it’s a very complex implementation, especially for a large institution such as ours. The big challenge that we had is, we had basically integrated all of our systems into epic. Having done that, we needed to make sure that whatever we did on a CRM perspective, integrated into that.

It’s been a year of actually getting things to connect to each other and actually get the Marketing Cloud tool, so to speak, also, to really start working. When I look at where we are, I think we are at the beginning of the journey still, we have been able to get things up and running. Right now we’re at the stage where people are learning how to use it, we’re training teams. We’re finding that we have a lot of gaps in terms of information, and we’re starting to get some information we didn’t get before. We need to learn also how to use that as we move forward.

Lauren: Hernando, this idea of implementing a CRM, and it’s just this project that you can finish is really not true, right? It’s always going to be an outgoing project.

Hernando: Yes. I’ve done CRMs, I remember the first CRM I did was probably 15 years ago, and every time you do a CRM, it’s a nightmare project. Starts looking very, very good, and then once you go start implementing, there’s always all these headaches. The good news is that it’s becoming better and better, we are working on a Salesforce platform.

Actually, Salesforce has done a great job in improving the way the platform works, especially for healthcare. Being so comprehensive now, it’s how do we take full advantage of that, and how do we integrate it to all the other pieces? You’re right, it’s an ongoing process, and it’s going to take forever, and it means that you also need to invest, not only on the tool, but also on the people, and improvements that you’re going to have to do overtime.

Lauren: Hernando, do you have an assessment on ROI yet? Are you there in the process, or is that’s where you’re going.

Hernando: That’s where we’re going. Again, making systems talk to each other, so we have Epic, then we have our financial systems. Remember, we’re also complex organization because we are the hospital, Colombia, and [unintelligible 00:09:36]. In the hospital, you have different local hospitals with the medical groups, and not all of the financial systems are integrated either.

We’re trying to make all those things come together. We have some very rough indications of what ROI might be on certain campaigns, we’ve been able to do, but it’s mainly manual. We haven’t gotten to the holy grail of out of my automated ROI that you can actually on the spot, start [unintelligible 00:10:06] your investment and defining what you– Your points were still at least 12-24 months ago, away from that.

Lauren: I appreciate that. Everyone needs to look at CRM as a time and financial investment into the organization. We’re going to talk a little bit more about CRM and integration later. I want to ask Brandon a question. Brandon, I know you have the title CXO, which I love and your entire world is spent around improving the patient experience. What has Smile Workshop done in the past 12 months to develop a patient first digital experience, especially when at the drop of a pin, you have to stop the physical interaction? What has that looked like for your first-mile workshop?

Brandon: It’s been, quite an interesting journey in all of that. First, I’ll say, thank you for having me. I’m really honored to be here today and we’ll be with you guys. Helping that you really have to go back instead of 12 months, you have to go back 24 months. We really started that change early on two years ago to say, what is our software stack? What things are really the roadblocks to some of our patients from a digital perspective that are causing friction in the process of their journey with us.

It’s interesting that you opened with CRM with Hernando because we’ve had to go through several iterations of that and he’s right. They are very much a headache. When you look at those CRMs, and so we’ve actually had reduced some of our software stack in order to bring efficiency. We just basically launched a live webchat yesterday where we are now reducing one of our CRMs that was really a middleman or playing a middleman from a leads generation perspective so that it talks directly to our practice management system, which really is the true CRM, if you will, in all of this. That’s really how we’ve broken it down to answer your question over the last year and two years that’s how we’ve been able to make it more frictionless for the patient.

Lauren: I know you implemented it yesterday because we spoke about it right before [crosstalk]–

Brandon: We did.

Lauren: Any initial feedback from patients on that transition talk a little bit just you shared with me, what is that web chat feature, and what does it do for the actual patient?

Brandon: The live web chat, and these are becoming very popular, it’s nothing new. For us, we wanted something that so often, there’s friction in that process where, you maybe go to a website, you live with someone, if you leave the window, you have to wait to get back to them or if they time out, whatever the case may be, there’s then a breakdown in the process.

We wanted to find a solution that could continue the conversation even after the live chat was left. Whether it be left off in a conversation for whatever reason or if it just timed out. In this feature, we found a tool that was able to text the patient back even after the fact. Let’s say somebody said, “Hey, I have a toothache,” and it’s 7:00 PM at night. Well, we’re closed at 7:00 PM at night, but in the morning, somebody can come in and our patient contact center and text them back right away, from that live chat session. There’s no breakdown in the process of the communication or that journey. It just removes that friction point.

Lauren: Awesome, can I ask for the secret sauce, which is do you have a recommendation for all of our listeners on what that technology is? Is it something you would recommend up in with your current experience?

Brandon: We got to it early, it was a test with BirdEye. BirdEye was the solution tool that we found that they had this in beta mode. We tested it with them to see if it’s something we would like, we were already using them for a product they’re very well known for, which is their reviews tool set. We said, let’s try this out and see if it works and so far so good. We just launched yesterday. We did have some good interactions from patients yesterday and into this morning.

That’s a good sign a lot of that is to help also reduce phone calls. A lot of people don’t like calling anymore. They like the idea of webchat or SMS text messaging. As a matter of fact text messages have a 98% open rate. That’s something that we really wanted to capitalize on because they’re just our predominant mode of communication.

Lauren: I will be following that deployment very closely in a couple of months from now. We’ll have to bring you back and get you to report out on how it’s gone. Well, great, thank you for sharing that with us, Brandon. Rich, I want to open up a question for you as well to get you into the conversation, then I’m going to we’re going to dive a little bit deeper, I know from working with you and the work we do here at Cardinal, that you personally have helped a number of clients and healthcare organizations actually implement tech stack.

Everything from recommendations on CRM, to digital reputations, some of the two-way communication tools that Brandon has mentioned, what is the biggest roadblock that you face or that you see clients face? Like what prevents them from being able to do an implementation that they think on paper looks really easy?

Rich: I feel like this is amost a trick question. The biggest block, there are so many. First of all, I’d like to thank you for having me on as well and being part of such a great conversation with some really talented healthcare marketers but to get back to the question, I think disparate technologies, Hernando, talked about this from an organizational standpoint and an assistant standpoint.

Speaking from an agency point of view, when you’re trying to help multiple clients set this stuff up, that disparate technology problem becomes even more manifest given that it’s the Rolodex of acronyms, EMR, PMS, CPHS, CRMs and there’s such a number of– there are so many players in each of those spaces. Trying to have a solution that is really technology-agnostic that can plug in and work with all of these technologies is something that we’ve been working on for the last few years to try and essentially jump over these roadblocks.

That certainly isn’t the only one, I mean, other ones that I can think of obviously you’ve got to be really mindful of HIPAA and HIPAA compliance, especially when you’re passing data back to the marketing platforms, making sure that you’re not utilizing any PII in that pass back.

That becomes more of an issue when you’re trying to tie caller data back. What was the outcome of a phone call and having to use the patient’s phone number to match back to that outcome? There are some data things that you have to be aware of. I’d say things like, a lot of healthcare clients use third-party scheduling tools, and third-party scheduling tools are great, except you lose all insight into what goes on in them.

Tools like Zocdoc and things like that, all of a sudden you lose a lot of and everybody’s smiling because they know this pain and misery but you lose the ability to manipulate those tools and those scheduling systems in a way that you need to in order to connect those systems together and have them talk to one another. I think that is a big challenge. We’re getting much better at tying back information on the front end. That’s the good thing right?

ETL tools are more readily available tying in through API connections for reputation management, your Google ads, Facebook, your organic efforts, trying all those together, has become a lot more seamless but then actually tying it back to the outcomes that are where there are plenty of roadblocks that we’re still facing.

Lauren: What you’re saying is the four of us need to quit our jobs and band together and create the perfect tech solution?

Rich: Absolutely, I just hope we have a lot of PP-backed funding. We’ve got a long way to get it figured out.

Lauren: Yes, I hear you. I see a lot of clients going the first party scheduling route, trying to build something proprietary because of the control that you get. It hurts to say to a client, “There is no perfect solution. Have you thought about building it yourself?” I do think that seems to be the direction a lot of companies are going. I have a follow-up question and I’ll pose it to Rich, but then I actually want to pose it to everybody.

Brandon, you partly answered it, what technologies are you guys most excited about right now in the digital space? I mean, it could be anything like what is a new tool, a new integration that you’ve recently discovered that you think everybody needs to know about?

Rich: I can take the first stab at that. I think outside of the analytics, which we’ve covered off on, and it’s very important and tying all the data together. The thing that we’re most excited for and Brandon, it lies into a lot of what you were talking about is improving the patient experience. What’s happened a lot in digital marketing over the last couple of years with especially driven by algorithmic changes, Facebook’s algorithm, and now Google’s algorithms speed becoming smarter and smarter, is a lot of segmentation and personalization is happening on the front end of the experience.

Where more and more relevant ads down to the condition level down to how many times you’ve been to the website. You’ve seen different ads but what’s not happening is post-click changes. Landing page changes and website changes that are catching up with that. We’re getting a lot more into conversion rate optimization as an offering, as an agency offering. We’re using tools like Google Optimize and, other CRM platforms are available, in order to dynamically change the patient experience depending on where they are in the funnel and using signals so that we are providing a much more relevant experience to them.

If a patient is solution aware, not giving them a lot of problem aware content, because they already know the symptoms, they already know the issues, they’re just looking for the solution. There’s a lot of work that we’re doing right now and we’ve had some pretty significant success from implementing relatively straightforward tasks and techniques that vastly outstripped the performance that you would see from just continually optimizing the pre-clinic arena. That’s what we’re super excited about right now technology-wise, but we’re always excited about technology here.

Lauren: Hernando, you’re operating in a massive health system. You’ve probably got five different answers to this depending on who asks you and what specific project we’re talking about, but aside from the Herculean task of implementing a CRM, any other favorite tech that you’ve come across in the past year or two that you’re trying to roll out bigger, small, that you think is positively impacting the organization?

Hernando: One of the things I’m always worried about is what I call the shiny objects. Every year there’s a shiny object. We all fall in love with it. Boys’ search, was like a couple of years ago. We all legally need to scale, oh my God, what are we going to do without a scale? We still don’t have a scale and no one really hasn’t scaled. I’m always very cautious about the new technologies, especially when what you need to do is make sure you implement well the basic stuff that you need to do. How you said that the piece where I’m more excited about one of the key we have three pillars when we look at digital market, so to speak.

We have one which is discoverability, two personalization at scale, and three ROI. I already told you a bit about ROI. Discoverability is how do we make sure our website on everything we’re doing search, and that includes also the third-party engines like Healthgrades, for example. How do we maximize ourselves there on how do we make things? Our customers really get what they need to do and where they need to get very quickly. Is that part of our personalization at scale, when you put it together with privacy and HIPAA? It’s really complicated.

What I’m excited about is how they use of different technologies is going to allow us to do that very, very well especially when you link it to customer experience. I don’t think we have the answer yet, but for me, that’s probably a frontier where things will get very, very excited. To your point is, I can customize my pages before you even get into them. I really I know where you are in the journey, can I really activate things that really matter to you and actually mattered to me at the same time? That’s probably why where I’m looking.

Lauren: Yes, absolutely. We hear that a lot. That is always like CRM in and of itself easier said than done, but I’m excited that there’s obviously a mutual agreement that is where healthcare is heading. Brandon, I mentioned this earlier. You and I spoke yesterday and you introduced me to the term phygital. Can you tell me, or tell our listeners what that means and then talk about how Smile Workshop is actually taking advantage of this idea?

Brandon: Yes. Phygital has been around. It’s not something that’s totally new but it’s the idea where the physical and the digital collide. We definitely want to take advantage of that with being a dental service organization, because not a lot of people like to go to the dentist. It is about creating an experience that is going to be memorable but two is going to be memorable in a positive way. That really does changes the game a little bit from a patient experience perspective. Because digital transformation is a process not a project. We really have to have that mindset where, if we’re going to be high tech, we have to also be high touch.

We have to marry those two things together. We really look and seek to provide value and that’s the old content marketing way of the past was provide value extract value. Now, we’re providing value but bringing simplicity. One example that we’re doing right now for this term phygital is in the COVID world that we live in today, we saw the rise of the QR code. The rise of the QR code was something that QR codes is not brand new to marketers.

For Hernando, that’s another shiny new object, right? That we could have talked about years and years ago. Now, the QR code has become familiarized with pretty much everybody. We’ve taken it a step further and said, “Okay, well, if you can scan at the restaurant for your menu with the QR code, so can you scan at our checkout desk for you to go ahead and pay online? There’s no transactions being taken, like with everything’s touchless right now, right? You can pay online and finish your bill that way or you can scan the QR code and leave us a review with how we did with our visit today. That’s almost instantaneous.

We want to keep that experience going even to the digital online world because we don’t– when we have the patient in front of us, they love us. We win them every time. If we can get them to scan that QR code, go ahead and leave their review while they’re still on the high from the visits which is the best part at the very end when they’re all done and all finished, then we’ve created a digital-physical experience in that way.

Lauren: I love that. I’ll pose this one to Rich because I think it segues really nicely from what Brandon just said and also, what Hernandez said about the patient experience. In the digital space, we know that data restrictions, we all read the headlines, we know what’s happening with Google. We know what’s happening with iOS 14 updates. How are you navigating? It’s very early, I know Google is being pretty tight-lipped about this too, but any thoughts? This is a question that I should add from one of our chat members, Bailey Johnson. Thank you so much for sending us this question.

We will have Kat send you a gift card. How do you reach customers? How are we going to achieve personalization and these types of messages, when our data is being restricted, what can we do to get around that? In a way that is comfortable for the patient and comfortable for the healthcare organization?

Rich: Yes. I think it’s, it’s a combination of two things at least in my mind. One is to maximize the utility of the signals that you do have available to you, right? I think most healthcare marketers here would look at search and paid search as a very viable option for patient acquisition and one of the first places to go in a digital marketing strategy. We manage paid search for Brandon and Smile Workshop. That is one of the key patient drivers out there.

Search gives you a ton of signals because exactly what people are searching for. From that you can derive from their search queries where really they are in the funnel. Right? If they’re searching for a very specific type of dentist or dental procedure, they’re pretty far down the funnel. If they’re typing to think help that they’re at the top of the funnel. Search is a great place to start in terms of building experiences that are relevant to the intent without breaching any kind of data privacy issues.

I think the other thing too that is beginning to act as a natural balance and an offset to some of the more restrictions in privacy is actually some of the tools that Google, in particular, is spinning up around responsive search ads, responsive display ads, and smart display, where they’re saying, “Okay, you can’t target a specific niche audience, but if you’re willing to relinquish some of the control and turn the keys over to us.

We will actually target those people for you on your behalf, in a way that is completely controlled, that is black box that doesn’t breach any kind of advertising policies.” By using RDAs and responsive display ads and responsive search ads, which of these kind of composite ads that have different headlines and image combinations put in the Google will then algorithmically test in sequence. You can actually learn quickly which messages the patients are responding to.

You can quickly get down to your level of detail that you could never achieve before because you actually getting individual asset level performance. We’re losing some information over here, but we’re actually gaining some information over here. My takeaway is to move as quickly as you can to where the information now lies and mind that as thoroughly as you can to offset the things that you’re losing. As marketers, we always get hung up on what we’re losing, but let’s just shift and what we’re gaining and make sure we’re maximizing that to our advantage.

Lauren: Hernando, I see the smile of agreement over there with that. It’s really easy to look at what you’re losing. What have you found, if anything, at this point I know it’s early on, that your organization has done to adapt to some of these data changes? Are you making tactical shifts? Are you finding that certain digital tactics are working better than others and that that’s different than it was before?

Hernando: I think that the first– I mean, there are two discussions that we’re having right now based on this. First, is how do we move to first-party data? How do we build a solid database, and linked to this is privacy and how do we make sure that we are having, we’re moving to a world, I believe where you have to be extremely relevant in the conversations you’re having with people.

We have it every day. When you look at your email, it implodes with emails from everyone. Actually, people are not listening. Even our cell phones, which were very private and you wouldn’t get an SMS from anyone that wasn’t family or friends, now there are spammers which was something that we would not have thought of a while ago. That part on how do we really maximize that engagement, and when we are actually communicating to you, instead of now reaching thousands–

I think you’re right, we’re focusing on what we’re losing, not what we can gain. Now, maybe instead of worrying about reaching thousands maybe is you will reach the correct one hundreds and have the right conversations. That’s where the money might be. It’s how are you much more efficient in doing that, and how are you relevant and engaging. I think those are the key things that we are discussing.

Lauren: Hernando, just to stick with you for a minute in that conversation, there’s the acquisition of a new patient. Then there’s the ongoing engagement with an existing patient and mitigating all the distractions that are out there and how easy it is to kind of make a decision that pulls you elsewhere. Any tips for our listeners on re-engagement?

Hernando: The challenge that we’re facing. We’re looking at this is that not necessarily– First, I always say is we were in a category that people– is not a highly engaging category, to be honest. You don’t want to be talking about, Brandon you said it is people who don’t want to think about it, “Oh, I’m going to go to the dentist. How exciting, going to the dentist.” Actually, our job is how do we keep our brands top of mind? When they make that decision, we appear there, and they say, “Oh, I know that brand. That sounds like someone I can trust. Let me go there.”

The challenge we have for re-engagement is that the fact that they came to you, the first time doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to come to you the second time, especially if it’s for a different condition. You have to have a mix, I think, and that’s probably what we’re learning of, keeping that awareness and consideration going because you I think we take it for granted, and we think because they had a good experience here, they’re going to have to translate it to this, not necessarily. You need to do that work, and part of that work is also maintaining a subtle conversation. They know that you’re there. They know that you have this other option and the big challenge with that is how you do it in a HIPAA-compliant way.

Lauren: I think that that segues really nicely. I’ll pose this question to Brandon, because you mentioned BirdEye, in particular, but just the reputation of an organization and the impact that, that can have on the decision-making. I think, Rich, we say this internally at Cardinal, but reputation doesn’t necessarily impact the decision to go and make the decision for that provider, but it will definitely detract from someone who’s already made the decision when they’re kind of doing their research.

It’s a detractor, Brandon, and whether it’s BirdEye or other technologies, how is your organization managing reputation at the moment? Especially mitigating the interactions that COVID has kind of generated, which may be the offline and the online together?

Brandon: This is a tricky one with patients, especially because Hernando is right. You really are not looking at the patient anymore from a lifetime patient value. You looking at them from a next time patient value. It really is important to see them in that way, because that’s how you build patient loyalty over a lifetime is if you’ll just focus on the next time. I think one of the biggest things that we are I think being successful at is to be able to re-engage our patients is meeting the patient where they’re at.

What I mean by that is technology-wise.

If I don’t have all the channels out there that are available to me coming into one sourced stream that I can help manage that patient journey, then I’m missing the patient somewhere. Things like what we just implemented live web chat, or if they try to reach out to us on Facebook, or if they try to reach out to us on Instagram, or maybe Google my business or through email or through a text message.

I have to have all these channels at my fingertips in order to be able to interact with the patient back. If I don’t meet them where they’re at, then they’re moving on, they’re going somewhere else. I have to be able to have all those channels available to meet them where they’re at. Then the other part that we’ve had in this conversation a lot has been about personalization. I know there’s a lot of HIPAA compliance around that personalization, but I’m really excited about some of the technology coming out, and we use more than just BirdEye. We use some other platforms that really help us with this that are under that HIPAA compliant veil once they are a patient, but is hyper-personalization.

Not just your name right or your appointment time but also hyper-personalization around your birthday also like when your last appointment was, and then now it’s been six months later, having things in there, like our Google rating, like our Google rating of 4.9 at this location and we can’t wait to see you, like just some of these hyper-personalization items, maybe a balance that you have, that you still owe us or need to pay before you come in.

We have been really successful at being able to make sure that we introduce some of that and the patients are again, building that loyalty for us for the next time. That’s really what we’ve focused on from a technology perspective.

Lauren: I love that. I realize, and we just got a question which is kind of making me realize that a lot of what we’re talking about is that last touch, just the patient, and the final touchpoint that gets them to make a decision. Pre-op in the chat asked me a question, which is how important is effective storytelling? Have you seen that there are any shifts in how stories are told through marketing campaigns and really what I think this is touching on is the first interaction, the interaction that isn’t meant to get them to make a healthcare decision now, but that is meant to make them aware of your organization or when they do need you down the road because healthcare in a lot of cases is need-based.

Hernando, I’d love to ask you your thoughts on storytelling, especially within a health system where it’s really important that your community is aware that you’re there and what you specialize in.

Hernando: I think that storytelling is very, very important, but it’s and actually it’s hard in the sense of, there’s not one formula and it changes on what you’re telling. For example, when I look at near Presbyterian and we look at ourselves, we look for example at our heart service line, we’re one of the best hard service I’ve seen in the nation. When you look at cancer, for example, we are sitting next to MSK and it’s very hard to compete with them. It’s funny because our story cannot be the same in one place where we’re considered one of the best to another one where we’re considered just one of many. Probably the first one is you really need to understand what is your basic point of differentiation and what do you stand for?

Once you do that when you start telling your story, how that story flexes. Before we used to talk about there’s only one point of differentiation on a very focused message, I think right now you cannot do that. You need to flex your messaging, you need to flex your storytelling to go from what are you talking about and then who are you talking to? Talking Gen Cs when we’re trying to convince them to join our women services, it’s different than talking to Boomers we’re talking about cancer. You start putting all these things together and the complexity of your storytelling becomes huge.

Lauren: Hernando, what do you think is the most effective way to tell that story? What type of mediums do you use to get those messages out there?

Hernando: It depends on what people are looking for. I’m thinking right now consideration, and it’s having the story that people say, “Oh, I would use that brand.” For that, you need a longer format type of media. Usually, for us, TV continues to be one of our key media. TV is not dead and it’s not going to be dead for a long time and then digital video, anything we can do there that’s where we’re heading and actually focusing a lot on in order to be able to tell those stories or at least pick your interests and then get you to look at the story.

I think those are the key ones, then when you are actually on conversion mode it’s short, straight, and to the point. Your storytelling needs to be very, very tight and that’s also something that complicates the picture.

Lauren: [unintelligible 00:42:20] asked the initial question just chatted me a follow-up which I think is exactly what you were just getting at the conversion point. Do you think crafting your story around the customer pain points is more effective or is it just another form of communication, and I think to your point when you get into the conversion mode and you can start to address the pay-in points that they have after they are introduced to the brand and what you stand for. Do you find that you are also addressing the customer pay-in points in your messaging, your story-telling?

Hernando: Pain points are a way of catching people’s attention and it’s something very useful. I think the question here is if you’re going to use the pain point as the key messaging especially on the conversion you better have something that really addresses that pain point because otherwise, it’s about convenience. What about the pain point do you really do very well that really addresses that? Otherwise, you’re just talking about something that you should be talking about but maybe it’s not what differentiates you and what will get people to convert.

Lauren: The pain point is the pain point and there’s going to be a lot of options to solve that pain point. What it really is, why should you be their choice to solve that pain point? Rich, you know Hernando started talking about some digital videos and some of the channels and you lead the implementation here at Cardinal, what channels and tactics are you using for storytelling?

Rich: I think Hernando is right, the video is a really powerful storytelling medium and we tend to deploy that whenever we can. That in the digital space is going to be things like Youtube, and Google has done a good job of making Youtube more bottom of the funnel as well as top of the funnel now with the invent of Youtube for action. Also obviously social and when we think about social campaigns where video has been changing for the last few years, we’re really thinking about a full-funnel strategy.

Again, I think this sort of rolls back into storytelling is that another important piece of storytelling is the sequencing that goes with the story. One of the things that is beautiful about social is you could start at the top of the funnel with maybe a 30-second slot or even longer, you introduce into the brand, you introduce into the problem, and start to introduce them as yourself as a solution.

Then once people have engaged with that content watched a certain percentage of them, you can put them into a remarketing call and then you start talking to them about your consideration message. If you think about your top-of-the-funnel message might be the motivation, trying to solve that problem very user-centric, then in the consideration phase you’re really talking about your specific solution versus your competitive set.

Then as Hernando mentioned, when you get to the bottom it’s a very succinct why should you act now, type a message. If you really push people through that funnel on social and telling them that entire story. What we found is you’re paying a couple of cents to have people watch that video content. By the time you get into the bottom of the funnel, even though you’ve paid them to really introduce them to the brand, your CPA at the bottom of the funnel is still cheaper than if you’d just gone straight into the bottom of the funnel and only focused to the bottom of the funnel.

When you compare it your cost per click cost, you’re getting people to spend multiple minutes with your brand engaging with your brand content, for less than the average cost per click. It’s really, really powerful stuff if you can deploy these full-funnel strategies and social, and really sequence out that storytelling from top to bottom.

Lauren: Rebecca in our chat asked what I think is a relevant follow-up question to that. Which is do you tie your grading efforts back to an ROI the same way that you do your conversion campaigns. You mentioned that it’s all part of a bigger equation but from a KPI perspective, what kind of standards are you holding those initiatives to?

Rich: I think it’s twofold. I think branding campaigns have their own metrics, so I’m going to cost the video view video completion rates, click-through rates if you’re trying to drive someone to a page. You can even get into web analytics in terms of time on site, if you want to consume of upper-funnel content but then ideally you’re tying it back to the whole because we’re branding and we’re telling stories. Because ultimately, we want to convert these people to patients. We want them to become consumers of our products and services at the end of the day.

I think you can tie it back, it helps with the overal medium [unintelligible 00:47:20] So, what we’re doing on our side is we’re playing a lot with what is the appropriate percentage of dollars do we spend at these levels? At the brand awareness level, at consideration level, and conversion level. If you can’t tie them back and it becomes very difficult to say, “Well, I should spend 15% of my budget,” on brand awareness or 25% of my budget on brand awareness.

If you’re not measuring that downstream impact you really kind of shooting it from the hip. Which right now in Texas that’s the thing that we do. If you can’t tie your back even better.

Lauren: Awesome.

Hernando: We are shooting from the hip from New York too.


Brandon: If you’re in marketing you’re sometimes shooting from the hip that’s for sure.

Rich: That’s true, you’ve got somewhere and that’s why we’re having those fan-in metrics then those leading indicators to tell you if branding is working is really important because you have to start somewhere. Yes, it’s a bit [unintelligible 00:48:20].

Lauren: I think there’s a couple of other questions and I’m going to actually start addressing some of the questions in the chats so we can get to what everybody has to offer. I have to just point out for anyone who’s watching the Chat, Jessica Carl is actually answering some questions for us. I really love that interaction between you guys, so [unintelligible 00:48:40] if you could get Jessica out a gift card as well for interacting with us that would be really great.

One of the questions that Rebecca had in the chat was tips for getting everyone on the same page and aligning your tech vendors. How do you navigate it when technologies or your vendors or your partners aren’t willing to cooperate if they are black box or they say, “This is the way we do things and this is how it is.” Brandon, any tips for how to push these tech partners to be more helpful, to help with the implementation to help us get where we to go?

Brandon: That’s one of the tough ones. Working with your vendors and saying, “No, you must work with my other vendor in order to get this friction point or this touchpoint,” so why not? That’s a hard thing, it’s a hard thing to do so the biggest tip is you get more flyers with honey than you do vinegar, so you definitely have to be sweet. Just be sweet to a lot of your vendors but also in that is that if you give a little they’ll give a little. If there is something where let’s say you want to implement? We just did not too long ago. We want to upgrade to version XYZ on all of our patient’s practice management systems and it took two vendors in order to do this. Basically, it was like, “Well, who’s going to be project managing. Who’s going to be the one to get in and to have get exclusive access at nights when we’re not open.” All of these different things.

I had our team go ahead and let’s take on that project and that part of it so that we can get this solution in our hands quicker. That’s to me really the best working scenario when you’re trying to get these things to align or to get them integrations updated

Lauren: Hernando, I’ll let you see if you have anything to add to that. Having just gone through CRM implementation, but any tips for everyone listening on how to get the most from your vendors and really turn them– I like the word partner rather than vendor, I know they’re interchangeable but how to get them to be a partner and not a vendor.

Hernando: I love that comment about the honey versus the vinegar. I’m going to say that, just like the phygital, I love that too. I think that the point is to what you said, it’s partnerships. I think that we tend sometimes to fragment our relationships too much. It’s better to have fewer partners that you can have trust. Once you have that trust, life becomes a lot easier because it’s not a fight for that incremental dollar.

The problem we have with many of these vendors is they’re fighting for that extra dollar that you may be spending on this and that. If they feel comfortable, it’s going to be a fair thing and you’re on your growth and their growth is linked together, it’s a lot easier. My advice would be sometimes it’s better to pay a little bit more on the upfront and make sure that things are not as fragmented and you build those relationships.

Lauren: Absolutely. I think I want to start kicking off our key takeaway question in all of this. Everything that everyone has said really leads into where digital marketing is going and whether or not organizations are increasing or decreasing or moving their money to different channels. Any tips and I’ll start with Hernando and we’ll go around the horn. Any tips for marketers who may be questioning whether they want to forge ahead with digital or increase more in digital in the years to come. Any tips for them on whether they should do that and how to do that successfully?

Hernando: Well, I mean, if you’re not looking at it, everything is going to be digital. For me, digital is not the tools, for me digital is a different mindset. That’s what I always tell my team. Digital is a mindset where you understand that everything is connected to everything. Before you had one-way conversations, now data is flowing back and forth. You’re going to have– it’s not an option. I mean you’re going to have to deal with digital.

I think the options that you have is based on your strategy, what are the digital tools that make sense for you? If I have to give a tip is first, you need to think through is what do you want to achieve and not running to the tools before you do that, because you may end up with tools that either you don’t need or are too big for you or are too small for you. It’s either-or, it’s how you do it.

Lauren: Brandon, I’ll ask you the same question. Tips for further investing in digital. Any parting words?

Brandon: Yes. I mean, I would piggyback actually off of Hernando just because there in my time here at Smile Workshop, I did start where they did have tools that were too big for them. Let’s, for instance, Salesforce which Hernando is working with. Our organization is not near as big as New York-Presbyterian. Definitely, that tool was too large. That’s something that we really focused on early was the software stack, making sure that is right and relevant for our patient experience to make sure that flow is fluid because it’s not the one way anymore like Hernando was saying.

The other tip I would offer up is something that I’ve learned very early on in my almost 20 years of marketing was that, to keep things at a disproportionate share of attention across key moments in time. That’s been so fundamental in my marketing career because it works. There are so many organizations out there that do it and do it well. Salvation Army is a great example every year. Everybody knows Salvation Army’s time to hit the market is Christmas time.

Then, I think they have some doughnut time, something in the summer but it’s disproportionate shares of attention to this seasonality that we build that really does attract that customer, which goes into some of the brand storytelling that we were talking about just a little bit ago. We really want to make sure that attention is grabbed at the right key moment in time so that patient is always top of mind or we are always top of mind for that patient.

Lauren: Rich, I will give you the final parting word, perhaps because you have the best accent of everyone on the call from Australia, right?

Rich: Yes, absolutely. It’s New Zealand actually, please done something like that. I mean, I’d say I agree with what these guys are saying. In terms of scaling digital, I think making sure you really know what you’re trying to get out of it. Don’t abandon your key marketing tenants because you’re coming into digital. I think a lot of digital players in the space, especially agencies are very tactical, they’re very tool-focused. It’s this new gizmo, the shiny new object which we spoke about but fundamentally you’ll only be as strong as your actual marketing strategy.

We spoke about it again, another point, get all the data you can, get all the measurement that you can. That his digital secret weapon is actually tying back ROI. Yes, it takes a lot of time and energy, but it’s totally worth doing it. Then, my final thought, which I talked to my team about all the time is, you’re not just living in a digital world, you’re living in a mobile-first world. Make sure your mobile experience is fantastic because that’s how people engage with your brand nowadays. If you neglect it, which a lot of companies do, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

Lauren: Brandon, Hernando, Rich. I thank you guys so much for joining us. This is just the beginning of some very important conversations that we all, I know, are having today and will continue to have. For everyone who attended please do not hesitate to reach out to Cardinal. I think you have our emails from the communication around this webinar. If you have questions on these topics, if you need to be a sounding board, if you would like to connect with one of our attendees today, please let us know and we look forward to talking to you all again soon, bye everyone.

Rich: Thanks, guys.

Lauren: Bye-bye.

[00:57:54] [END OF AUDIO]

Get Started

Ready to Grow?

Great partnerships start with great discoveries. We start with your business goals and budget, and then help you find the right digital marketing strategy to fuel growth.

Fill out the form to get started!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.