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Breaking Down Silos Within Your Marketing Teams


It is vital to have a strong digital team to grow your organization and reach patient acquisition goals. But is your team performing as effectively as it could? 

Today Jenny welcomes Hedy & Hopp’s Director of Digital Activation, Lindsey Brown. Lindsey coordinates five different groups – Analytics, Paid Media, Development, Design/UX, and Digital Production. She talks about one of the most complex pieces of the job – determining when and who to bring in at any point during projects. She discusses tactics to avoid an overly-siloed approach and tips to always begin with an analytics perspective to ensure measurement does not become an afterthought.

They discuss the decision on if and when to bring in outside agency partners by taking many different things into consideration, especially in the often complex and quickly changing healthcare landscape. Lindsey ends the show by explaining the planning process and the key ingredients to successfully working with an outside partner.

Watch their discussion below or listen to the podcast, We Are Marketing Happy – a healthcare marketing podcast.

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Full Transcript:

JENNY: [00:00:00] Hi, I’m Jenny Bristow and I’m the CEO and founder of Hedy & Hopp, a healthcare marketing agency based in the Midwest. We started the, We Are, Marketing Happy podcast because of our passion for improving patients’ access to care. And understanding the innovations and shifts in the healthcare industry are key to making that happen.

Please follow share, and let us know what topics you’d like for us to cover next. Enjoy.

Hi friends. Welcome to this week’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy, a healthcare marketing podcast. I am super excited to have our very own Lindsay Brown joining us today. She is the Director of Digital Activation at Hedy & Hopp. And so today we’re really excited to talk a little bit about what digital activation actually means.

Your team might spend a lot of time developing your strategy of how you’re going [00:01:00] to grow your organization, how you’re going to accomplish your patient acquisition goals, but then how do you actually implement it and roll it out in a way that’s effective? So welcome Lindsay. 

LINDSEY: Thanks. Hi, Jenny. Great to be here.

JENNY: So let’s get started and explain what the term digital activation means. I think there are so many different ways that groups both internal and at agencies describe their implementation groups. So walk us through why we call it digital activation. 

LINDSEY: Absolutely. So. At Hedy & Hopp, what we really strive to do as you know, Jenny is to make sure that all of the pieces of that puzzle are working together. Activation from our standpoint, really is what’s gonna touch the consumer.

What’s gonna touch the audience and how do we make sure that that is happening in the most seamless and also the best way possible activation. From our perspective, it includes five core groups that, as the Director of Digital Activation, I oversee. It includes analytics, paid media, digital production development, and design and UX.

So really anything that expresses a campaign or is the result of those core strategies that you’re talking about earlier, that’s kind of how we define activation.

JENNY: Very helpful. So let’s say our strategy team has developed a wonderful strategic approach for one of our clients. Then hands it off to you for your team to be able to manage.

How do you develop and implement a plan? And how do you decide when to bring in each department and each group within the activation team? 

LINDSEY: Great question. That is like the million dollar question that I think every company has. We have this really great roadmap for what we wanna do. We don’t really know how to get it done.

And that’s where my team comes in. So first and foremost, what we always wanna think about is how we deliver on the strategy with the end goal in mind. So one of the critical steps that tends to get missed sometimes during those strategic planning sessions is not including an analytics team. If we’re not including an analytical [00:03:00] mind to really understand not only what key actions we want users to take, how are we going to measure that whole journey?

And what are the really important touch points throughout that? And having someone in your analytics team be part of those discussions, or at least be part of a very thorough download of those discussions, is always really helpful. That will really set the stage for when we bring in the other team members that are needed, be it media, development, UX, that they really have a firm understanding of what we’re trying to measure at the end of the day, how we are trying to show success and kind of work backwards from there.

What we’ve seen with a few other companies and other agencies that I’ve worked at is a lot of times these activation teams are siloed. A couple of examples are like development is almost always in their own little world, own little corner over there. And we kind of just bring them in when we need them to do development type stuff, but really including them as part of the activation process, especially if you’re developing something like a website they’re really [00:04:00] critical in that planning discussion early on, because they will have great ideas on how best to execute it in the most efficient way possible. And, with minimal disruption when we get down the line, because we always know we run up against deadlines.

If your developer is learning something for the first time and you’ve got a tight deadline, you’re kind of setting your team up to fail a little bit. So that’s one example.

JENNY: So one thing that I know we talk about with our clients often is that they’re struggling because they may have some expertise and subject matter expert in house for certain tactical areas.

And then they want to partner with an outside group for other areas. So how do you find those partnerships work best and how are they most productive for both sides? 

LINDSEY: Another million dollar question. Because this is what we do a lot of at Hedy & Hopp. So first, they can hire us.

But most importantly, it kind of goes back to analytics. So [00:05:00] making sure that at least an analytical mind is part of the conversations with those partnerships will just ensure that we’re all on the same page in terms of how we’re going to measure success. It’s pretty typical that we will work with agencies, for example, on the media side, where we are responsible for the digital side of things and they are responsible maybe for the most traditional side of things.

And the two really should be working together. That’s one of the issues we have. That siloed approach I mentioned earlier is that even within media, you’re siloed between your traditional outlets and your digital outlets, but really those two things should be working better together. So our approach to that is to make sure we always have an initial call with the current agency and understand not only roles and responsibilities, but also understand what the end goal is.

From our perspective, if we are looking at the digital side, what are some of the traditional tactics that they’re going have in market and how can digital best support that, expand upon that, [00:06:00] and connect with that so that we’re providing a more seamless experience for our users and our audience.

And they don’t feel like it’s disjointed experience. I would say challenges working with partner agencies in the past is that from a tracking analytics standpoint, they’ve got one way that they wanna do it. We’ve got one way that we wanna do. And it’s really hard to provide back to the client, which is the important person in the room, exactly how these things are working together.

So again, it goes back to starting from an analytics perspective and what we are trying to measure, what we are trying to achieve and ensuring that we can come to a consensus early on, on how best to present that back to the client. 

JENNY: For example, right now we have one client where we took time out to map their digital ecosystem because there were so many hands in the cookie jar that nobody really knew what the other person was doing.

That big picture understanding is definitely important. 

I’d love to hear [00:07:00] your perspective. You’ve been in the agency world for a while. I feel as though the way that large companies bring in agencies, there’s a pendulum reaction, right? At one point, the company wants to outsource everything to an agency partner and then the pendulum swings back the other way and they want to build an in-house team.

And that’s the cool thing that they want to do right now. What do you predict and think will happen over the next couple of years as organizations continue to fight this battle and technology keeps getting more and more tactical and difficult to understand and stay up to date with. 

LINDSEY: I can understand where a company is coming from, where they wanna bring all of that in house and it’s up to the company and what’s going to be best for their business.

But in my experience, it all comes down to talent. Who’s going to acquire the best kind of talent for what you really need to get done. I think, especially in healthcare where we’ve been running into issues now is that, [00:08:00] reaching our audience, whether it’s an HCP audience or a patient audience is so vastly different now than it was even two or three years ago.

And being able to acquire talent that understands the digital landscape specifically that understands and keeps a pulse on the emerging and changing technologies. And the opportunity is typically gonna come more from your agency partners, because that’s literally how we spend our days being in these programs in these platform and having access to that kind of research on a daily basis, that’s gonna provide them with the right kind of recommendation or the right approach to things. I think that something that might end up happening is companies will take a lot of the strategy and strategic planning in house.

They will hire an agency to help them on the activation side, again, putting all those puzzle pieces together, making sure all of those functions and roles are working well together. And then [00:09:00] they might have some people in house that are maybe more junior level that can literally do the implementation, following a plan.

But what I’ve realized is that there are certain types of skill sets that are needed in order to plan that activation. And that’s often the type of role that’s missing at companies and often the type of role that they don’t think is necessary. Because oh, we have a strategy. Then we can just go right to implementation.

The problem with that is there’s always that critical step in the middle, which is how are we gonna measure it? How are we defining success? Do we have the right people in the room that do for a living, to be able to set this up for success. And I’m not sure that companies are necessarily able to acquire that kind of talent and keep them on staff full time forever. I think that’s where they’re gonna run into a bit of a challenge.

JENNY: Let’s talk a little bit more about that planning step, because I feel like that is something that’s often overlooked and even something as simple as creating [00:10:00] dependencies and really understanding what needs to happen to reach those specific milestones. 

How do you and your team dig in to really complex projects and to be able to create a go-to-market plan or a project launch plan when there are so many moving pieces?

What advice would you give to somebody who maybe is at an in-house healthcare organization trying to do this for themselves? How would you suggest that they try to implement it?

LINDSEY: So thinking about like the best way to approach it or what we’ve seen success at least at Hedy & Hopp is transparency is going to beat everything. Especially if you’re trying to figure out the silos at an internal company or at companies where that typically happens. We can help break those down, or we need to figure out how to break those down in some capacity in order to do our job effectively.

But transparency, in terms of being able to look at the systems they’re currently using, we have a client right now that is using [00:11:00] a particular platform that we’ve never heard of. It’s a small startup company that they’re using, which is awesome. Love to support startups. But what I’ve run into in the past with maybe other companies is if we ask, Hey, can we take a look in the back end?

Can we do like a screen share and you could walk us through how this really works. We get a lot of resistance, because people are like, no, no, no, it’s our thing. And we don’t want you to try and take over. But again, it’s not about us taking over it’s about us understanding your current systems work so that we can come with a recommendation on knowing how these platforms work, knowing where you’re getting your data, allows us to better figure out for you how those pieces work together. And it allows us to better understand what to recommend so that we’re not recommending these wildly outlandish programs that can be really complex if you don’t have the support system or the systems in place to back it up, it’s not necessarily something that every company’s gonna be able to the same, which is why it’s so [00:12:00] critical that we do have transparency.

We do have access to the systems and the other agencies, because we want to make sure that what we’re bringing to the table is not only something that will work and something that we think will be successful, but also something that’s gonna work for them long term. It’s not gonna disrupt their whole process.

They don’t have to buy some extensive platform to get it done. We’re gonna help them figure out how to work with what they have, to get what they need.

JENNY: It reminds me of another recorded episode with Noah Locke. He runs analytics at University of Wisconsin Health. And one of the key piece of advice that he gave to other folks that were in house is make friends with everybody, make friends with everybody that are not in your department, make friends with the legal team, make friends with the compliance team, make friends with the IT team.

Because then when you do have to move into the planning stage, you know all the right people to pull into the room to understand what their processes look like. So you’re not surprised by a six week turnaround time to get a new contract [00:13:00] signed or something that you didn’t anticipate, because you didn’t know what questions to ask.

LINDSEY: I think providing the clients with some of those questions, like here’s why you should bring us to the conversation. We’re working with another client where it’s a very large organization and we work with just the local part of the organization. Trying to break through the barriers through access at the larger corporation has been pretty difficult, but explaining to them why this is needed and why this will help us. 

It’s not about us taking a look at what you’re doing and trying to do it better. It’s about taking a look at what you’re doing so how we execute at the local level for our loal clients, it’s working with what you’re already doing from the national perspective. We’re not here to disrupt and take over the world.

We’re just here to provide our clients what they need in the best way possible. And sometimes that means we kind of have to push a little bit and make an argument, make the case for it. We do start to see success little by little, which is really exciting. 

JENNY: [00:14:00] So, you know, our passion here at Hedy & Hopp is to improve patients’ access to care.

What has been your favorite campaign, project, or program that you have rolled out over the last year or so? 

LINDSEY: That’s a very tough one. Personally my passion when it comes to my profession and really when it comes to life, because work and life is so intertwined, is really to not only build a plan, that’s going to work, but to be able to see that plan really come to fruition. 

And so I don’t have a specific examples. I don’t wanna give any clients away, but I will say that being able to see your plan or your vision come to life is really exciting.

What’s even more exciting is that it’s not always things that I do myself. I may have been part of the process are leading the process into the end goal or what we’re trying to achieve. 

But seeing the team members [00:15:00] really start to get excited about what we could do. And start to like push themselves a little bit and say, oh, we could look at this from an SEO perspective.

And let’s turn that into a whole little mini campaign on its own because we’ve got this opportunity and just kind of seeing our team members work so well together and, and see those things come to life has just been, it’s just been really exciting. It’s been a very rewarding year. 

JENNY: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on today’s episode, Lindsey, it was a pleasure to have you as always. 

Listeners, we would love, love, love to have you subscribe to our channel. This is one of the early episodes of our podcast and it’s been gaining listeners and traction really fast.

We’d love to have you follow along in the journey. Thank you again for tuning in and we’ll see you soon on another episode. 



About the Author

Jenny Bristow is the CEO and Founder of Hedy & Hopp. Prior to starting Hedy & Hopp, Jenny launched, grew and sold a digital agency in Seattle and worked at Amazon. She was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 under 30, won a Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 and speaks regularly at healthcare marketing industry events.

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