In this week’s episode, Jenny welcomes Brian Deffaa, Chief Marketing Officer of Maryland-based LifeBridge Health. Brian shares his background in consumer and retail marketing and his journey into healthcare, where he is now on a mission to bring real emotion into delivering healthcare marketing. Brian discusses his “inside-out” approach to rallying LifeBridge teammates around a clear, compelling mission based on the organization’s history. Brian also discusses how he has translated that mission into a unique, authentic, and defensible brand proposition for LifeBridge Health that can be felt across every marketing touchpoint. Brian also discusses how he navigates measurement and ROI around more brand and awareness-driving marketing efforts.
Connect with Brian:
Connect with Jenny:
LifeBridge Health Creative:
“I’m Fine” Campaign:
“Care Bravely” Movement:
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends, welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy – A Healthcare Marketing Podcast. I am Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and Founder at Hedy & Hopp, a full-service, fully healthcare marketing agency, and I am so honored to be joined today by Brian Deffaa. He is the CMO at LifeBridge Health, which is located in Baltimore, in the Maryland region.
And, Brian, my team met you at Becker’s and we actually lightly talked about some of the things that you shared on our Becker’s recap. And they were so impressed with your ability to bring emotional intelligence into marketing that we just had to do an episode entirely on you and your strategy.
Brian: Thank you. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed our conversation as well. Hopefully I can live up to that build-up.
Jenny: You already have, trust me. So one thing, I have a couple of key points I want to chat about today with you. Just a quick little summary, we typically don’t go into people’s [00:01:00] backgrounds on our episode. We’re going to link though to your LinkedIn in the show notes for folks that want to connect with you, but you have a very consumer marketing focused background, and then you came into healthcare. And one of the things that you mentioned on a prior call that you and I had was the interesting world we live in healthcare right now, where we have a really fragmented industry that is seeing some really rapid consolidation.
And one of the questions I have for you is, how do you create a culture within your marketing organization and throughout the entire organizational ecosystem? And how does that happen?
Brian: So, thank you for that. Before I answer your question, I’ll go back into a little bit of my history because I think it’s informative to answer your question.
I came from retail, I came from automotive, consumer finance, Capital One, Target, places like that. And one of the things that I learned from those organizations is that when they’re really well run, everybody understands what they’re running [00:02:00] toward. They understand the mission of the organization, how they’re different, and they can articulate it in one or two sentences.
Whether they’re in the strategy department, whether they’re in the mail room, they know what the organization does, where it fits in the world, and why they believe they exist. So that was a real interesting education for me coming from B2C organizations and successful ones who carved out a unique niche in their spot. So I took that learning into health care. And what was interesting for me about healthcare is, when we look at the top 100 brands, there’s not a single healthcare provider organization in those top 100.
Yet we are 20 to 25% GDP in the U.S. And so those two things in my own head, they don’t match. If you have that much of an impact financially in people’s lives and in the economy, and you have that much of an impact personally in people’s lives, why is there no brand relevance? Why is there no single [00:03:00] brand really capitalizing on that and making headway with consumers?
And I think a lot of it is because it’s a very clinically driven industry, at least it has been. One of the reasons I’m here, and, as you noted at the beginning, this healthcare is relatively new to me. I’ve been here for 5 years now, but I had never touched healthcare before and it’s emblematic of where the industry is going.
Never before has healthcare really had to appeal to consumers in a B2C kind of way. And everybody and their brother from us as a large health system to insurance providers, like, the Blue Crosses of the world to OneMedical, which is Amazon, which you now see just today, they released an announcement that they are partnering with Common Spirit, which is another large health system.
So there’s this really interesting convergence of activity in the healthcare space, brand marketing and communication will always [00:04:00] play a role in that. But to your question about culture, we haven’t had to play that game as health systems, as providers. We haven’t, you build it and they will come, has been the model. Now that whole model is breaking down, it’s similar to the movie we’ve seen happen in retail where department stores were the 900 pound gorilla and now they’ve gone away, but we’re having to really understand and reevaluate, what our uniqueness is, how we communicate that uniqueness, how we tell our team members, this is how we’re unique and this is how we would like you to act and interact with our consumers. And then what value are those activities delivering to consumers?
Jenny: Yeah, I love that. I feel like so often whenever we’re chatting with different organizations or systems across the country, so much of their activity is focused on service line specific campaigns like, oh, we have an open MRI at this location, right?
It is very specific and tactical. And one of the quotes that I wrote down verbatim because it like really hit me [00:05:00] when we talked last time is if you can’t deliver emotion in healthcare, you’re not doing it right.
Brian: Right. Brand marketers for decades now have imbued things like water with emotion, right?
They’re literally selling water that I can walk down to the water fountain and get. So where is that emotion in delivering healthcare when you’re at the most difficult times in people’s lives and they’re relying on you literally for their life or the well-being and mental well-being of their family?
That’s when we should be at our best. And that’s when everybody in the organization should be rallied around a central idea to deliver for that family and those patients. And I don’t think we’ve thought about it that way. And you brought up something, which made me think, it’s service line saying we have the best doctors, the best buildings, the best equipment.
That’s what we’ve all heard Steve Jobs say is speeds and feeds. It’s not emotional. It’s not defensible from a brand standpoint. It’s just the latest and the greatest, right? And those things have a [00:06:00] place in the communication and the valve prop, but it shouldn’t be what we rest on. It should be emotion that we’re building into that exchange in their relationship with consumers and then you cement that decision with the speeds and feeds, but it shouldn’t be what we lead with.
Jenny: So, Brian, the phrase everyone rallies behind, I have to bring up behind you. There’s the banner that says “We Care Bravely.” Talk a little bit about that. That feels like something worth rallying behind.
Brian: So, when I arrived at LifeBridge Health, we had grown, as a lot of other health systems have done recently, especially through acquisition, through buying additional hospitals, building on our continuum of care providing skilled nursing facilities, all those kinds of things that health systems do, but we had, we were still operating both operationally and from a brand standpoint as individual entities.
So we had this hospital here, that hospital there, this nursing home over here, and there was no connective tissue. There was no mental glue that was [00:07:00] putting all of these things together that you could go to as a consumer and say, we have all of your needs wrapped up. But when we started digging back into our history, so LifeBridge Health was founded because other hospital systems in our area weren’t allowing Jewish doctors or Jewish patients into their facilities.
So this organization, this group of leaders came together and said, we’re going to create a health system for us. And so it was emblematic of what we are today, which is finding a problem, finding an innovative and non-traditional way to solve that problem.
So that was the red thread that kind of drew us together. And we still operate along those premise. And, but we hadn’t given voice to it. We hadn’t put like a lexicon together for people to use to your point earlier about culture. So we came up with the term along with our advertising agency, Strawberry Frot in New York, about Care Bravely
When we see a problem, we care [00:08:00] about where it’s going. We care about the solution, but we particularly care about the patient. We will do anything, whether it’s traditional healthcare or non-traditional healthcare to serve that patient and to build a healthier community. And it was that, we don’t take no for an answer kind of approach that has become our culture and then care bravely has been that rallying grind.
It’s nice as a marketer, because I hear people use that term. That was really a “Care Bravely” movement, or he cared bravely for that patient. So it’s entered the daily use of people on the front line and giving care. And it’s really gratifying for my team to hear that. And it’s, that’s, it’s built that connective tissue that we so wanted.
Jenny: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a real win for the marketer, right? When you’re like, yes, it’s working. When the frontline people are using the phrase, that your campaign has been hugely successful. One of the things we chat often, there’s the big player, nationwide players, right, where they have locations across the country and then you have strong regional players. And then you have those [00:09:00] that are more tightly geographically bound. And all of them often are coming to us or having conversations about, how do we stand up to some of these huge players?
One of our clients came to us and said, listen, these huge players, they literally built a location right across the river. Like you can see them from us. So how are we going to differentiate ourselves? I know you have John Hopkins in your own backyard, so I know you have some beautiful work within your culture and some great shared language that you can get behind.
What else would you offer marketers or what other execution tips would you offer marketers that are in that same space?
Brian: Yeah, and that’s some of the biggest challenges that we’ve faced both internally to get people to buy in on where we’re heading and externally to make it stand out. So our approach and our discussions and our strategy is we’re never going to be a Hopkins for a whole bunch of reasons.
And nor do we really want to be because that just costs hundreds of millions of dollars to do [00:10:00] and it’s not really defensible So what we want to do was create something that was unique to us. It was authentic to where we came from, like the story I just shared, but had a different mindset. So we don’t want to do the esoteric like Hopkins.
We want to be the community health system. We wanna be in your community. We wanna be doing non-traditional things, not just around clinical care, but we have, we partner with ten Safe Streets organizations and some, Safe Streets is an entity around the country that is about violence interruption.
So we help manage those ten Safe Street sites. We hire folks, we train them. They do violence interruption and people ask us, why is the health system doing that? It’s because we want to keep people out of our ED. We want to intercede before the violence occurs. We want to help train people and give them other skills about how to avoid violence in the first place.
We want to give jobs and opportunities into those communities. So they have other outlets [00:11:00] besides violence and selling drugs and all sorts of other, nefarious things. But it’s a non-traditional approach and it’s what Care Bravely is all about. We try and find other different solutions that haven’t been tried outside of what would typically be clinical care.
And so now, we’re starting to look at gun violence. How do we get involved in that space? How do we get involved in early childhood education? We have a large Jewish Orthodox community here in Baltimore. How do we get the information to them to take better care of them and their families. Through research, we did a survey a couple of years ago around what does that particular community need?
And so we’ve talked about education. We’ve talked about seminars. We do a lot of those things to really address the needs of that particular community outside of a clinical setting.
Jenny: So, all of, I love all of this. It really helps cement your reputation and participation in the community. How do you report on the success of that from an ROI perspective?.
How do you go in and justify your marketing budget to leadership and say, Hey, here’s all the dollars we put towards reducing gun violence. Give it to me again next year.
Brian: It’s a short answer is, it’s a challenge and for a variety of reasons. One, a lot of that stuff is pretty qualitative.
So there’s some metrics involved. Some are, the other thing I’ve noticed about healthcare marketing is that when you’re in a retail setting, or when you’re in the automotive industry, you have chain of custody of data from A to B to C. In healthcare, especially when you’ve grown through acquisition, you’ve bolted things on, a lot of the systems don’t talk to one another.
A lot of the way you record data isn’t the same. The way you have physicians in the system isn’t the same. So that’s a long way of saying, none of the data talks to each other. It’s very difficult to get a tool to line up. Over the last few years, we’ve gotten a lot better as a marketing team about getting 1 step further into the funnel.
And so we can get, [00:13:00] for an example, to schedule an online appointment, we can get people to the site. We can get them to schedule an appointment and we understand what the data looks like now, but we don’t know if they actually showed up and nor do I know what revenue is associated with that appointment because they’re individual position system.
Some are on our network. Some aren’t. So to be able to say, I spent $500,000 dollars on a campaign and revenue, I had 250 appointments and I had $1.25 million revenue. I just can’t put that story together. And so it’s frustrating as somebody who lives and dies by data that our industry hasn’t caught up with other parts of marketing and other things that people do in their lives.
It just, it isn’t there yet, because a lot of that capital investment, a lot of the operating expense is just, it’s enormous. And there’s so, there’s such a great need across the system for data. We’re trying to change tires on a moving car.
Jenny: Yeah, that’s a great analogy. And I will say, though, I feel it probably [00:14:00] does go back to your organization’s core values, right?
If your leadership team is built in to the concept of really being that community partner, that probably does make it easier to justify it, right? Versus if you’re the only one ringing that bell in meetings and then it becomes much more difficult.
Brian: Yeah, this would have been impossible. Care Bravely, specifically, but some of the other stuff that we do, would be impossible if we didn’t have strong leaders who believed in the mission. In fact, our CEO, Neil Meltzer, has been a champion of both, and Leslie Simmons, our COO, have been champions of both Care Bravely and then what that means in terms of making investments in the community. And frankly, we gave, Care Bravely was just a voice to what we had already been doing.
We just put it underneath that rubric of Care Bravely. And so we, as a system, we’ve taken a number of roll the dice kind of opportunities in the last few years to do things that help create healthier communities, not knowing if we’d have an ROI on the back end, but believing in the work and believing we would have some sort of return.[00:15:00]
And so, management does those kinds of things, whether or not we have metrics to track them. But we as marketers are continually trying to put stuff on top of those efforts to measure it.
Jenny: Absolutely. So I want to end on having you talk a little bit about a campaign that you did that made me literally laugh out loud whenever one of my team members shared it with me. And it’s “I’m Fine.”
I would love to hear just a little bit about your inspiration for that campaign and how you’ve leveraged it across digital channels, traditional channels, et cetera, and how that kind of rolls up to your organization’s core values.
Brian: So, in doing some of our research, people don’t pay attention to healthcare marketing. It’s all flavors of the same. And that flavor is vanilla. It all looks the same, it acts the same, it says the same things. To your point earlier about, we have the latest MRI, we have a new shiny building.
Those things are great, but they don’t resonate with people, they don’t stick, they don’t [00:16:00] differentiate, they don’t do any of that stuff. We wanted to take a really distinct approach, and to your point earlier about, being in the backyard of a 900 pound gorilla that is Johns Hopkins or even University of Maryland, we have, if we’re going to punch, we have to punch hard and make sure it stands out.
Because we won’t get that chance again and we don’t have a billion dollars to go and make sure we blanket the airwaves. So we wanted to make sure that our creative stood out, resonated with folks because these are everyday activities that people do where they get injured. And a lot of us know our primary care givers or primary doctors, but a lot of us don’t.
And we don’t have the first clue about how to get care, especially if you move around a lot as a lot of people do. So, and we also had a competitive advantage. We were one of the first in our market to have actual digital appointments like OpenTable. In many cases, people, when they schedule an online appointment, it’s a request for an appointment.
We had actual time slots devoted to this effort. We had a frictionless way to get that [00:17:00] done. So we wanted to promote it quite a bit. So, marrying a competitive advantage with some creative that really stood out, that was funny. And then we branded the tool as Hello Brave rather than just say, hey, it’s our eVisit.
It’s our digital physician. Everybody has one of those. They’re all forgettable. So we wanted to call it something and tie it back to our mission, which is Care Bravely. So we call it Hello Brave. And it’s worked. It’s worked really well. It stands out in the marketplace. We get lots of compliments on it.
Some people are like, Hey, did that person really get injured? No. But again, if they’re, if they, if it’s memorable for them, if it stood out for them, we’re doing our job because we only get one chance to make that impression.
Jenny: Oh, I love it. Well, Brian, keep up the good work. You are raising the bar for what creative can do to bring healthcare alive and make consumers begin to pay attention to the, to the great organizations in their own backyard, really.
So [00:18:00] please. Keep doing what you’re doing. For listeners, I’m going to put Brian’s LinkedIn, as well as some examples of the creative in the show notes, please go check them out and connect with him. And Brian, thank you again for being on today’s episode. This was fabulous.
Brian: No, great. Thank you for having me. I hope people have found some value in it. It was wonderful.
Jenny: Good. So, and for all listeners, thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you on a future episode of We Are, Marketing Happy.
Back from their final conference of the year, Jenny Bristow, Shelby Auer and Julia Pitlyk of Hedy & Hopp share their highlights from the 2023 HCIC conference in Los Angeles. They discuss various sessions and speakers, including the patient privacy masterclass with Hedy & Hopp and Cincinnati Children’s, several sessions on new marketing channels for hospitals and health systems (like TikTok!), what they learned about marketing technology stacks to enable personalized patient experiences, and ways healthcare marketers can better collaborate cross-functionally. They also speak to the importance for healthcare marketers to lean into each others’ experiences, share their learnings, and work together to help healthcare marketing advance and innovate as an industry.
Connect with Jenny:
Connect with Shelby:
Connect with Julia:
Connect with our favorite HCIC 2023 speakers and resources:
Houston Methodist “Find A Doctor” Tool
Aaron Williams, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Steve Coates, Hartford HealthCare
Jody Ganschinietz, Nationwide Children’s
Callista Dammann, Nationwide Children’s
Matthew Mader, Broward Health
Carla Rivera, Broward Health
Val Lopez, Baptist Health
Kier Bradshaw, MERGE
Linda Ho, UCLA Health
Priya Sreedharan, UCLA Health
Cristal Herrera Woodley, Renown Health
Alex Nason, Frederick Health
Alec Endara, Baptist Health
Mary Kay Boitano-Nelson, Houston Methodist
Tom Price, Houston Methodist
David Feinberg, Mount Sinai Health System
Chloe Politis, Mount Sinai Health System
Tara Nooteboom, UCI Health
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends, welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy – A Healthcare Marketing Podcast. I am Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and founder at Hedy & Hopp, a full-service, fully healthcare marketing agency. I am so excited to be joined again today by Julia Pitlyk, Hedy & Hopp’s Director of Marketing and Shelby Auer, one of our account managers.
Welcome ladies. So we just got back from a super, super, super fun HCIC. It was in LA this year. It was super jam packed and I’m excited to do a fun recap episode with y’all.
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. Had such a good time. So many learnings. It’s been hard to cram them all into a short little episode, but we’re going to do our best.
Jenny: Perfect. So let’s start with a brief chat about the masterclass that I did along with one of our dear clients, Aaron Williams of Cincinnati Children’s. It was a 90 minute presentation masterclass [00:01:00] specifically on HIPAA, FTC, and state laws, what you need to know now. And I feel like this is the end of our 2023 road show on privacy, but it was again, standing room only.
We had phenomenal attendance and I’m so proud of Aaron as a co-presenter about the level of technical detail he got into during not only the presentation itself, but also in the Q&A at the end. We had some really specific, technical questions that folks got into as far as the laws and how they actually were interpreted from a technical perspective and then implementation options, but he killed it.
Julia: Couldn’t agree more. You both did an amazing job. I think what’s funny about the roadshow comment, before we get to Aaron, is that we’ve been on this roadshow and the title has been what you need to know now, and the content has changed and evolved every time because this topic is changing and evolving week over week.
So I think that’s been a [00:02:00] really, it’s been fun. It’s also been crazy to continuously update that deck, I know, for you and your talking points as new points of view, as new sorts of policies and perspectives come out regarding all of these changes. So I think it’s just, it’s very interesting how much we’ve had to update this over the past couple months.
But yes, I think this is probably the session, probably because of the masterclass nature, where we had such a good Q&A, and you’re right, really, really specific questions and also really specific answers from the both of you. I love sessions where you don’t get answers that are “it depends,” which it often does depend, but Aaron, because he has gone through this journey with us, has been implementing server side Google Tag Manager, has been was able to really get specific on pros, cons roadblocks, watch outs when it comes to implementing and also provided some really great sort of philosophy on how they’re navigating privacy as a whole.
Shelby: Yeah, and I thought it was, as we were walking into the session, I know [00:03:00] that Jenny, you and Aaron were even talking about new pieces to the equation as of a week ago. And so I agree with the content constantly evolving. It just, it goes to show, even after we talked about a similar topic at the conversations that we were having with folks this time around and where they’re at in the journey even differs from just a couple months ago. And so being able to have those more in depth conversations with folks that are in, in the thick of things and trying to figure out where to go from here. Yeah. Lots of good conversation and yeah, you and Aaron did such a good job.
Jenny: Well, thank you. I think for me, it was particularly entertaining.
We had a couple of people come up to our booth afterwards later in the day or the next day and say, I feel like I finally understand technically why this is a problem and how to solve it. But then they went to another session right after and they said they could still do what a lot of the things that we [00:04:00] said you couldn’t do!
And so, I think it’s really interesting how the education and information and understanding within the industry is still evolving so quickly. And so I’m glad that we’re able to be a beacon of education, if nothing else, within the industry to help folks understand how it’s all working.
Julia: Agreed. We did a roundtable on this topic, too, during lunch, I think on Tuesday, and same, same thing. People were so grateful for just the clarity and the education and yeah, session by session, some of that clarity was becoming murky again. But, that’s where we were really able to have some rich conversations on both analytics set up, tagging and tactics.
From an activation standpoint, you had so many good questions in your masterclass around how this impacts creative. We heard a lot around: if we’re doing contextual advertising in the platform, can we put out some creative about a mammogram or a certain type of service line?
So it’s been cool to see how – cool is maybe not the right word – but how much [00:05:00] this is impacting the different aspects of marketing. I guess it’s cool to see once people get it, how they’re starting to ask deeper level questions to figure out where their guardrails are within their organization.
Shelby: And I loved there were certain individuals like digital strategists or folks who aren’t necessarily in the weeds of these conversations that attended the masterclass and were able to be like, okay, I feel like I have a better understanding and I hear what my colleagues are dealing with and I can have an educated conversation and understand why we’re going through this process.
So it was really neat to see how that education was impacting, hopefully, the future conversation teams are having.
Jenny: Absolutely. Well, let’s talk a little bit about some of the other favorite sessions that we attended. So we did a divide and conquer strategy like we do at all conferences that we attend. So, we attended a bunch, but we want to highlight a few of our favorites.
So Shelby, I know you attended the session around innovative channels for health systems, specifically talking about podcasts and TikTok [00:06:00], which is a conversation we have so often with clients and prospects. Tell me a little bit about what you learned.
Shelby: Yeah, so, honestly, I ended up attending, like, three different sessions on all of these different topics, and it was really, really interesting, one, talking about the power of podcast ads.
So, Steve, who’s the Senior Director of Marketing at Hartford HealthCare, he actually used to be a radio host back in a different life. And so he was very passionate about radio even before he got into his current role. But talked a lot about the intimacy that we’re able to achieve with radio because folks are listening to this in their homes while they’re doing chores around their house, walking, running, in their intimate time.
So you have that captive audience and that opportunity to really break through to individuals when they’re having their kind of me time. But it was interesting to hear about how podcast ads are not really being utilized to their full potential. So they [00:07:00] talked about how individuals are spending 31 percent of their media consumption time with audio, but only marketers are only spending about 9 percent of their media budget on audio on average.
So there’s a big opportunity, kind of missed opportunity there with a lot of marketing strategies to include audio in some way, shape, or form. And they also really hit on the fact that consumers trust the platform. They have some data that, like, 25 percent of consumers, if they hear an ad on a platform, on an audio platform, they’re more likely to take an action than other platforms.
And I think that’s really important because, yeah, we have our podcast hosts that we know, and we’ve learned from them, we trust them. So when they’re reading off some ads about certain products, I’m going to be more likely to go, go ahead and, and take an action or, or do some education. And they talked specifically [00:08:00] about two ways that they’ve seen this be successful for them.
One, when it becomes, when it’s, when it comes down to specific service lines. So for them, orthopedics, they’ve seen a lot of success. And they did some testing with different service lines to decide where they really should do their focus. But also when it comes to geographically, there’s a lot of opportunities to get really targeted when it comes to podcast ads.
And so if they’re launching a new service center or a new emergency department, really honing in on that geotargeting and seeing a lot of success there. So it was exciting to see what they’re doing in the podcast ad space.
Jenny: That’s super interesting. Like, I think as even, as a consumer, whenever I hear one of my favorite podcast hosts specifically talking about a product or service in my head, I just feel so there’s more vetting going through that I don’t ever see in an ad on Facebook, right?
Like the hurdle to get to that point of advertising and communication is bigger than just throwing a digital ad up online on other [00:09:00] platforms. So it’d be interesting if that is one of the sources of why there’s more trust or it’s a combination of that with the podcast host trust themselves.
Shelby: Totally. And the other big topic that was discussed again in multiple sessions was TikTok, right? TikTok and healthcare, we talk about, as marketers that like, oh, healthcare needs to get up with the times, we’re a little bit behind. And so it was really exciting to hear what different health systems are doing in the TikTok space.
And I sat in on a session with Jody and Callista with Nationwide Children talking about some of the great organic TikTok work that they’ve been doing, because specifically for them in the children’s hospital space, young parents, young moms are on TikTok, like the data is there. And so this is such an important platform for them to be on.
And in gaining trust with leadership to get buy in, it’s like if we’re not going to be there, one of our competitors will be. So we need to step up [00:10:00] and figure out how to be on the platform in an impactful way. And they took, they did this, I think, in a couple of really smart ways. One was, let’s answer, let’s figure out ways to do an Ask a Doc series.
What are the questions that parents are asking us all the time? Let’s get those questions answered in 15 to 30 seconds and roll those out. And so that’s been their bread and butter as they’ve gotten more traction has been taking that, that, patient focus of how can we get those answers to those parents that are doing research and again, becoming, earning their trust, right?
As they’re scrolling on TikTok, they’re learning, they’re, they’re being calmed by the information that they’re receiving from Nationwide Children’s. So I think that was really, really impactful. But the biggest learning I think that they shared was when it comes to TikTok, there’s opportunity to take content that performs well on another channel and move that [00:11:00] content to TikTok.
So for example, in hospitals, we’re having conversations with different systems that struggle with this, to where there’s negative perception out there. There’s negativity talking about the emergency department, right? So during a time where they were receiving a lot of negativity, they put out on Facebook, different symptoms that people are experiencing.
And should you go to urgent care? Should you go to the emergency room? Or should you see your doctor? That post on Facebook went viral, and they were not expecting it to. So they decided, okay, how do we repurpose this for TikTok? And I know you guys listening and you guys on the team have probably seen these TikToks where there’s a word above someone’s head.
And if you go in one direction… Or the other direction based on whatever it is. So for them, they were like, okay, let’s help educate on whether you should go to the emergency room or urgent care. So they had doctors in their scrubs where it’s severe [00:12:00] burn and they’re like, Oh, you gotta go to the emergency room or urgent care.
And they did this a couple of times. The first time over a million views. Second time 2.9 million views. They were like, Oh my gosh, we’re seeing such good traction from this. And so they’ve even iterated and done warm weather versions where, you know, broken bones in the summer and again, severe sunburns and They’ve just seen a lot of great success, but really spoke to also the challenges as they’ve been trying to get in a new platform, so really appreciated what they had to share.
Julia: I think that’s such a good actionable nugget of: take a topic that people need or want to know about and then adapt it to the channel, right? Like putting that exact same creative from Facebook on TikTok clearly wouldn’t have worked for many reasons, but adapting it and sort of applying a TikTok meme or motif to the same facts and things that were approved but applying them in a different creative medium and seeing that success is such a [00:13:00] cool insight.
Shelby: Yeah, and a similar thing that Broward Health, Matthew and Carla on their team are talking about TikTok. They really have some actionable insights on partnering with your video production teams when they’re working on commercials, right? You might have patients, families, staff members that have so much downtime during a full day of shooting.
And so really shadowing the video production team, getting those organic nuggets throughout the day that support the commercial efforts. So their oncology group were doing this “I Beat Cancer” series and they ended up just getting the patient to either dance or, have like the, the strong arms with just the, I beat cancer with Broward Health on TikTok.
And they, they showed it to us during the session. It was so impactful. There were, there were tears coming from the group as they were sharing these videos, but. again, just getting creative with how you’re [00:14:00] getting content. And if you’re putting a bunch of money and time into certain video production, where, how can you pull organic content from that as well?
Jenny: That is such an actionable nugget for all of us that have been on a production shoots, there is a lot of downtime, so that is such an easy, actionable thing to do. I love that. Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about marketing technology. I know both of you went to a lot of sessions around that.
Julia, why don’t you start?
Julia: Yeah, so I’ll start the first session I went to after your masterclass. I want to read the title of it. It was with Val Lopez of Baptist health and Kier Bradshaw with MERGE. It was “CRM and DXP and CDP, OMG: How Baptist Health effectively integrated technology to enable personalization.”
Like, how many buzzy, exciting words can you fit into one title? And this was a session where I felt like I was late to school because I got in like right at the last minute and could not find a seat. It was like sitting outside the door trying to hear. Some wonderful gentleman wound up giving [00:15:00] me his seat so I could actually see the slides.
So needless to say, a very, very well attended session to help marketers understand what, what are all of these different technology solutions? How do they go to work together to ultimately bring to hospitals and health systems the capability to do personalization, which is something that I think everyone aspires to achieve?
We hear that the consumer and or the patient, I’ll say those distinctively and separately, are expecting it. But how do you put all of the pieces together? Because achieving personalization, especially at scale is such a technology and data driven effort. You can put all of the right creative ideas on the table, but you cannot bring them to life in a feasible way without the right tech solutions at play.
So this was a really just a deep dive into their journey across, many, many years, really, where they started with their initial web presence, how they evolved to a digital front door, and then really this deep tech stack, [00:16:00] a lot of Salesforce technology, which we know is right for some size organizations and budgets and capabilities, not necessarily achievable for some, but they really talked about what they put together to do some of that data and behavioral driven, behavioral-driven personalization.
So, I think that my main takeaways in addition to just seeing really, for the first time, a really robustly implemented stack to drive personalization was really seeing how they were bringing things together, like call center, digital front door data, website data, CRM data, to drive that personalization.
So they were pretty particular about how they defined something like the phrase omni-channel, which we all like to throw around a lot, but it means 10 different things to 10 different people, they were really precise about how they defined that. And I think it’s, it’s cool to see what they were able to do, what they are able to do with the technology, but they also gave some great examples for how they [00:17:00] took such a big behemoth of a topic and broke it down into, the crawl walk run use cases to prioritize those use cases, sold them into leadership and started to execute. So not only was this a really good sort of technical deep dive, but also a good, strategy and stakeholder management type of discussion.
Jenny: That’s super smart. We’ve seen so many organizations try to implement CRMs and they try to fix everything at one time. And having specific use cases for sure is a way to be able to be focused in that implementation. I love it.
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. They did a great job, too. And I am sometimes guilty of this when I’m talking about a technology implementation. I want to show the back end. I want to show how the data is going to flow and do the lovely sort of Visio or Lucidcharts. They found a great learning that I want to share with our listeners is that they took the use cases that they were trying to show to support getting this technology implemented and they made them really visual and creative, almost took what that end goal was that they wanted to [00:18:00] execute.
What would a mammogram outreach campaign look like to an existing patient versus a prospective one and brought that to life. So they looked much less like technology flow charts and a lot more like creative marketing campaigns. And that they said was a big takeaway in terms of getting people to understand what the heck they were trying to do and then get that executive sponsorship.
Jenny: Oh, that is so smart. I love it. Shelby, you attended a couple as well that you had some really great takeaways. What do you have to share?
Shelby: Yeah. So I sat in a session with a couple of folks on the UCLA Health team, Linda and Priya, and they talked about a lot of similar things as the session you just described Julia, and really went in a deep dive on their tech stack, how everything is flowing, what different governance they have in place to make sure that the data is being kept safely, but they gave some very specific examples on how they have these.
always-on [00:19:00] audience journeys, one of those being something as simple as birthday emails that they send out about 2,000 a day to different folks in their system. And they get patients responding, saying, thanks so much. Like, and they, they’ve gotten really good, like about 30 percent unique open rate on those emails.
And really, again, trying to figure out ways to not only be there in an emergency for their patients, but how can we really show that we’re there for them in the everyday, in those celebratory moments, just like their birthday. But they gave a pretty in depth walkthrough of one of their audience journeys, specifically for anybody who has given birth at a UCLA Health facility.
And they really built this journey as a series of touchpoints and they treated them like the true moments that they are. So for example, they do a congrats message with also some information about [00:20:00] setting up your first peds appointment. What does that look like? The questions that parents have and they saw based on data that many parents when they left after giving birth hadn’t had their pediatrician picked out yet.
So they use that data to help build that audience journey what to expect videos that differ based on the type of birth, birth experience that you had because they realize why are we giving paper discharge instructions to these parents when they’re leaving. Like, how can we deliver that in a timely manner and in a medium that’s going to be easier for them to keep and save and share and look back on.
But again, even things like if they knew that that parent had another child at home, sending a text tip. How do you play with newborns? How do you introduce your newborn to your children at home? So really made it super personal based on again all of the work that they did in their data stack to be able to pull in information from certain [00:21:00] places and partnering with these different departments to help build out these journeys.
So they really talk to their team that is on the ground every day with these parents of what are the questions that they’re having? What are they calling and asking about? So it’s really neat to see how they built that.
Jenny: That’s awesome. I love that. So what about chatbots? I know we talked a little bit in the booth about some of the information you were hearing in sessions.
Let’s talk about chatbots.
Shelby: Yes. So there was a wonderful panel with three different folks talking about their experience with chatbots and it was very different across the board. Cristal, who was with Renown Health, talked a lot about how they first got their chatbots, a chatbot up and running and it was to help answer questions about COVID and to help fix some misinformation struggles that they were having in their community, but they’ve seen it be incredibly effective when sharing information about where to park.
Again, what are those [00:22:00] questions that individuals are calling about, asking about, and they’re having a hard time finding it on the site. Let’s make it easy for them and have it easily available in the chatbot. Alex, who’s with Frederick Health, talked a lot about how the chatbot has been effective when utilizing it to push forward new branding or messaging efforts. So incorporating the language that you’re utilizing in the chatbot to help it push forward any new kind of larger branding efforts, which I thought was a really interesting takeaway. And Alec, who’s with Baptist Health in South Florida, they have seen a lot of success in their kind of consistent iteration of their chat bot.
They’re at a 98% recognition rate with their chat bot being able to answer questions, which is amazing. And so they’re constantly looking at what unanswered questions are left trending and on the table, and how can we modify our chat bot to help really reach our patients where they’re at.[00:23:00]
Jenny: That’s awesome.
That’s is really interesting. I feel like telehealth and chatbots are two things that really came alive during COVID and now folks are really optimizing them and figuring out how to make the most out of those technologies. Julia, let’s talk about find a doc tools.
Julia: Oh, yes. So Houston Methodist, Mary Kay Boitano-Nelson and Tom Price at Houston Methodist, they gave an amazing session called How to Survive Upgrading Your Find A Doc Tool.
I heard Jackie Effenson from Houston Methodist speak about this tool a little bit at Becker’s, but this was really a deep dive, start to finish journey of them redesigning their tool. So I would say any, anybody listening that’s doing some semblance of find a doc, find a provider, anything, go to Houston Methodist, look at their tool, because the amount of user insights and the agile consumer centric approach that they took to building this really, really shines. I think it’s one of the best in class in terms of seeing how they brought insights to life to really meet, meet consumers, they said, specifically, they want new [00:24:00] patients. So they decidedly phrase them as consumers to really meet them where they are and pull them into their, to their system to find a provider, either a primary care or a specialist.
They gave a really great nugget that: sometimes where you start off with a project isn’t where you end. And they actually started off this project by taking an initiative to redesign the mobile app. And as they were doing some insights and some user research on that, it really popped that they needed to be focusing on finding a doctor first.
So I think that, that, I just, I love primary research. I love insights. And I think that that’s such a testament that if you don’t go get those insights early, you may be barking up the wrong tree or the not the best tree at this point in time. So they really carried that insight driven approach through and through.
This was a completely internally driven project, so between marketing, design and IT teams. So they spoke a lot to how they got that cross functional collaboration to really, to really hum a lot of that [00:25:00] through not treating this as they’re throwing requirements over the fence to IT, but really sitting and having a consistent steer co to drive all of these decisions they have.
Let me get my stat right. They have already seen, they’ve launched this a couple months ago, a 51 percent increase in new patient scheduling from this tool again, just in a few months of being live. So I could see how proud they were of their work. I’m so proud of it. I think it’s amazing. Amazing. And going back to Becker’s, I remember Jackie even saying that this tool is designed so well that they’re even seeing their own providers in their system using it to do referrals and fix some of that physician leakage.
So I asked some follow up questions about that. It’s definitely something that they’re, that they’re looking at from a provider referral journey and how it may be able to be replicated to serve that need, which I think is just such a wonderful testament to building something right, getting that foundation right, and then letting it scale and expand from a strong foundation. So bravo to them. I’m like a Houston Methodist [00:26:00] fan girl. I think they’re doing such a great job. I love it.
Jenny: I love it. And we’ve all done find a doc implementations and know how oftentimes within an organization, you’re just trying to do the bare minimum, right?
An organization needs one stood up. So I love that they’re at the point of organizational growth where it’s beyond that. It’s really thinking larger and bigger scale impact across the organization, but speaking of cross functional collaboration, Shelby, I know you have a couple of key takeaways on that topic.
Shelby: Yes. Yes. I sat in a wonderful session with the Mount Sinai Health System, David and Chloe on their digital marketing and social media teams talked a lot about team trust and how much they’ve had some difficulties, right? With leadership being suspicious of social media marketing, harboring doubts about the credibility and the actual impact that it has on the business.
And I love David said, this quote of “Change happens at the speed of trust.” And if you don’t have trust, your ability [00:27:00] to innovate and move and change is going to be hindered. And so that’s gotta be, if that’s not there, that’s where we need to start, right? How do we build that trust with higher leadership?
And so they talked a lot about kind of this roadmap to establish trust. But two of the big things that I think to take away or one obviously to be transparent, right, but not just about the positive, but what didn’t work, not being afraid to share with executive leadership, We tried this. It didn’t work.
This is what we’ve learned. This is how we’re adjusting. That’s how you’re going to build that trust and making sure you’re not just data dumping, right? Because data is information, but what does it mean? What point are you trying to make? Don’t just be sending over these, these numbers to higher leadership with no actual story alongside it.
So they really took that to heart. And we’re able, they developed this whole social media HQ for the internal team on Mount Sinai that talks about [00:28:00] trainings and resources about the different social media platforms that they’re utilizing, they even have courses that the teams can take and receive a certificate that’s signed by the social media team at Mount Sinai.
And so when Threads came out recently, they ended up putting together a deck that described the tool, their plan to use it, how they’re going to track it, and how they plan on iterating moving forward. And that’s how they’ve approached gaining this trust with executive leadership. But they’ve really seen this trust open doors for them.
Chloe’s team grew from just a team of one to a team of four in just a few years. They’ve really gotten that trust and it’s really, they’ve been given the opportunity to really grow and fly in averaging about 1.2 thousand social posts a month, uh, now with their team. And so they’re able to really expand the work that we’re doing, that they’re doing again, because of that trust that they’ve built with leadership.
Jenny: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. [00:29:00] And then Julia you have some insight around digital prioritization when it comes to cross functional collaboration.
Julia: Yeah. So this was a session with Tara Nooteboom of UCI Health. Love Tara. She’s a former classmate of mine, so I’m going to keep it brief because I could sing her praises for a very long time, but she gave, it wasn’t technically an HCIC masterclass, but it should have been.
She gave a complete masterclass in stakeholder management and essentially, how do you prioritize a lot of competing digital initiatives and focus on the ones that can really make an impact and bring them to life, especially in a pretty cross functional type of organization? So she’s head of consumer digital strategy at UCI Health.
Newly created role, and she mentioned a cute analogy that I think we can all relate to where, her scope is anything consumer anything digital, which is quite broad. So she said she has a lot of trick or treaters that will come knock on the door and say, Hey, can we get a chat bot? Hey, can we get [00:30:00] an XYZ pick digital thing du jour, right?
And so how, she talked to us about how did she create some structure around that to make sure that things could be prioritized in a way that wasn’t just her prioritizing, everybody could really be aligned to and they could bring the right things to life. So she gave some quick, simple tips on collaborating internally.
Define your space. So with consumer and digital, she had to get a little more specific about some of those things. She can cover anything from digital front doors to what is the right tablet to have when people are checking it, right? So she wanted to define some structure around that. Create some structure in terms of a forum.
She called them her own parties or decision groups inviting everybody. She actually emphasized over invite, make sure that you have as many people there as possible rather than having to spend the energy chasing people and back office kind of conversations. And then leveraging existing structures.
So they [00:31:00] had some internal innovation and technology resourcing practices, and she made sure that what she was building plugged into those. So it was complementary versus counterproductive. And I could go on and on. She’s just, she’s a gem. She’s awesome at what she does. So I highly recommend connecting with her, but I’ll keep it short because I know we’re pressed for time.
Jenny: And on that, I will just say for all of our listeners, thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I know it’s way longer than our normal episodes, but there was so much valuable content shared at HCIC we just really felt it was important to give you some meaty highlights in case you were not able to attend this year.
And I will say, please check out the show notes because we are going to be linking all of the individuals that we mentioned as well as any resources, such as the find a doctor tool that we were singing praises of. So check out the show notes. And then I’ll leave you with a closing comment. One of the things that Aaron from Cincinnati Children’s mentioned at the end of our masterclass was, it’s time within healthcare to really start developing your own network of [00:32:00] folks that you can go to to do experience shares and really help lift everybody. We are not competing with each other. Many of us are in completely or many of you are in completely different geographies, different specialty service areas.
The odds of you actually competing for the same patient are relatively low. Start getting comfortable with the idea of sharing your best practices at, in a forum like mindset where you can keep in touch on an ongoing basis. I know Aaron opened up to all of the attendees and I’m sure he’d be happy to do it for all the listeners of the show.
If you’re chatting, for example, in this, it’s a specific scenario, if you’re chatting with your legal team and they have questions about why server-side tag manager works, call Aaron, give him an email, ask him about what his case was whenever he was chatting with his legal team and why it was okay. We have the ability to help healthcare leapfrog ahead if we work together in a smart [00:33:00] and strategic way.
So let’s all stop gatekeeping. All of us are in this for the greater good of the patient. So use these show recaps as a way to identify people that you want to reach out to and build a relationship with, cause I assure you all of them will be happy to accept the phone call and develop a relationship.
And that’s it for today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you soon.
In part two of this series on paid media, Jenny welcomes back Hedy & Hopp’s own Director of Activation, Lindsey Brown, and Director of Marketing, Julia Pitlyk. This time, the group covers paid media strategies for healthcare marketers targeting physicians and other healthcare marketers. The group discusses the importance of providing a clinical yet compelling message in any marketing channel to capture the attention of these audiences, and also cover the specific channels that tend to reach more providers than others. Jenny, Lindsey and Julia also talk about the importance of sales and marketing teams working together to create the right provider messages and campaigns, and also provide suggestions for how both teams can map out patient journeys and provider workflows to identify the right areas to reach target audiences.
Connect with Jenny:
Connect with Julia:
Connect with Lindsey:
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are Marketing Happy, A Healthcare Marketing Podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and founder at Hedy & Hopp, a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. And I am so excited today to do part two of our paid media strategy and planning series.
Today, we are talking about provider marketing. I’m joined today with Lindsey Brown, our Director of Activation and Julia Pitlyk, our Director of Marketing. So welcome ladies. So let’s jump right in. We just did a part one talking specifically about patient acquisition. When you’re thinking about paid media going into the new calendar year, everybody we’re talking to you right now is doing planning, even if they’re in a fiscal year, everybody is kind of revisiting their planning because of all of the shifts that have been happening related to COVID 19, consumer privacy, shifting budgets.
It really is not [00:01:00] business as usual for most of the groups that we’re chatting with. So I’d love to spend a little bit of time thinking or talking about provider marketing, specifically when it comes to paid, but overall acquisition tactics. We had a really great conversation with a new client a couple of weeks ago, and they kind of had been struggling because they had an agency that was doing all of their patient marketing. And then they were trying to just use those exact same tactics over on the provider marketing side, right? So thinking about, like, search marketing, social marketing, and it just isn’t a one to one.
So Lindsey, I would love if you could start us off by kind of doing an overview of like, psychologically, if you’re approaching a provider marketing strategy, where do you start? What’s different? How does that look like?
Lindsey: Yeah, so I think it’s always gonna start with your objectives. What are you trying to do?
So depending on what your business is, are you actually trying to get new providers or new clinicians to be part of your [00:02:00] network? Are you getting them to join a referral program? Are you getting them to refer? Many times, at least in my experience, there isn’t necessarily a specific conversion. I’m going to use those air quotes for provider marketing, because you’re not trying to capture a lead gen like you don’t already know who they are.
You already know who you’re trying to target. What you’re trying to do is get them to take an action that is not necessarily measurable. So that can be the really tricky part about provider marketing. But what that does offer is there’s a wide gamut of tactics that you can try and that you can think about as you’re moving into the planning phase.
For example, your standard digital things are going to be helpful, but one way that you would want to approach it differently is your message is going to be different. A lot of times clinicians when they’re in that mindset, and they’re thinking as a clinician and not as just a regular person, they want to see words that sound clinical.
They don’t want to use everyday words. They don’t want to see those kinds of things because that’s not going to put them in the right mindset. They want to know those clinical terms and those clinical things. [00:03:00] From like a social media perspective, they’re not consuming in social media platforms in quite the same way when it comes to their work.
A lot of us are on LinkedIn for our work, right? And then we’re on Facebook Meta or on all the other things for our personal things. And yeah, you can still target clinicians in a more personal social space, but they may not be in the right mindset or the right time to really hear that message. So think about again where, who you’re trying to talk to, how you’re trying to talk to them.
And things like LinkedIn might be a more applicable network, or maybe social media isn’t the right network for the clinicians you’re trying to talk to. A lot of them use closed social media platforms for that specific reason. So thinking about your things to that effect. Those are still things that are up for, that are applicable and available to HCPs if you’re trying to reach them, and there’s a lot of different targeting that you can do to make sure those funds aren’t wasted.
But that’s kind of where I start again, objective. What are we trying to get them to do? And then kind of build your plan around that.
Julia: Yeah, I love that, Lindsey. I love what you said about thinking about the message. And to me, provider marketing is a [00:04:00] very unique flavor of B2B because it’s still, still very user centric.
But I think the messaging there, when I think about any type of good B2B approach, no matter the industry, people that are professionals, like they want to get better at their craft. They want to get better at what they’re doing. And I think providers have that tenfold, right? They’re constantly trying to improve and learn and understand the best things that they can do to treat the patients that are on their desk today, so to speak.
And, we feel the same way when it comes to, we’re constantly learning, trying to educate ourselves so we can bring the best knowledge to our clients. So I like to try to find some of that empathy and commonality when it comes to, what is the type of content that we’re going to create and put out, be it in earned channels, paid channels and a CRM type of campaign to really help them accomplish that objective.
And I think that’s kind of unique to B2B because they’re not necessarily. scrolling through Instagram shopping for things right from a provider marketing perspective. They’re really looking to get educated and get better. [00:05:00] So I think the more, to your point, the more kind of clinical points of view and types of educational information that marketing plans can bring to the table, the more they’re going to resonate with the provider audience.
Lindsey: Something else I would love to bring up is just how sales and marketing really need to be working really closely together when it comes to provider marketing because salespeople are still going to be kind of the number one seller of your product or of what you’re trying to achieve.
And so if they’re in the hospital with you, the message that they are telling to those clinicians should be the same message that they’re hearing in your non personal tactics or in your other marketing tactics so that they’re hearing the same message and they’re really understanding again how you are coming to the table to educate them, make their lives better and make their patients lives better and just making sure that there’s really good cohesion between those two functions.
Julia: Totally agree. That’s a such a good point.
Jenny: It really is. I would love to chat about, this has been a really fun conversation that we’ve had specifically around our clients that are doing HCP marketing right now, is really identifying: Is it the [00:06:00] physician that’s the decision maker, or is it actually the nurse practitioner or the office manager?
Like, who are we talking to within the physician office that’s actually going to begin driving referrals, introducing the service of the product, service, whatever. How do we have a really, like, we have cool processes and ways that we approach this. So I’d love Lindsey, if you could talk a little bit, like, how do you figure out who that right person is and what does that look like?
Lindsey: So typically where we would like to start is in some kind of a patient journey, because understanding how your patient interacts or gets to your service or product at the end of the day and all those decisions they make leading up to it is really beneficial. I think you brought up a really great point of, a lot of times, we want to reach out to the doctors themselves, the physicians themselves, but many times it’s going to be the nurse practitioner. It’s going to be the physician’s assistant. It’s going to be a variety of other clinical support staff that are going to be interacting with your patient.
A really good example of that is when you’re pregnant. Like you were talking to a lot of people when you are pregnant.[00:07:00] And then when you actually go into have said child you are interacting with a whole slew of other people that you’ve never met before, but you are, as a new mom, I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing.
I will take help from any single person in this hospital right now to help us figure out what we are doing with this new tiny baby. So you have to really think about what are all of those touch points because that is an opportunity to not only help show up, help your brand show up in multiple ways, but also to reinforce those key messages and the key benefits of what your service and what you provide.
And I think really thinking about all of those things are important. And not to discount that support staff is really the ones that usually your patients are going to be listening to more. They tend to be in there a little bit longer. They tend to have more interaction with you. They tend to have more quality interaction with you.
They’re like your first touch point for the doctor comes in the office. So I think that kind of that thinking about those additional staff members are going to be really helpful. And then thinking about how your budget that needs to split to make sure you’re supporting them.
Julia: Yeah, [00:08:00] I love that.
I think starting with that patient journey is critical and then almost layering in, and we do this a lot, is okay, What is the workflow amongst the provider and all of the support staff supporting that patient journey, like you said, all of those different touch points, but kind of what’s going on behind the scenes? Because especially if you’re working with provider offices, different clinics, different offices, they’ve got a workflow that maybe they would always want to be more efficient, but they’ve got their processes at least to a degree of a well-oiled machine. So understanding that I think is so key for both sales and marketing. And I think that’s a point where sales often being in that physical location can bring a lot of insight back to marketing and create a good dialogue, I think is really critical because, marketing may be creating, we’ll get very analog here, but they may be creating leave behinds or brochures or things that are going to wind up in the back table of a clinic based off of how it’s set up. So I think there’s a degree of workflow personalization when it comes to bringing [00:09:00] marketing into the clinic or the physical location that needs to be considered.
Jenny: Absolutely. And I think it would be kind of to bring it back specifically around paid and execution there, it’s a completely different set of platforms that are in consideration, right? You talk specifically about closed social channels, one of the big things that we’ve seen over the last, I guess, five years is physician or specialty specific social channels popping up, right?
A general social media platform or like physician specific platform is beneficial. But if you’re wanting to learn more about your specific practice area, that’s where clinicians are more likely to spend their time. And I think going with and having conversations with a group that can actually kind of introduce those concepts to you and help do a little bit of research is really beneficial, especially if you’re trying to revamp your provider marketing and be more, be a little bit more targeted going into 2024.
One question again, I hate the dreaded P word privacy, but yeah. Folks that are doing B2B marketing don’t have [00:10:00] to be as concerned about it? Right? Like they don’t have to be as worried. ’cause HIPAA really isn’t applying. Exactly. You’re nodding your head. I see that side to side, Lindsey, break it down.
They still have to care, right? Like, talk to me about this.
Lindsey: They still have to care what? What? They don’t have to worry about as much as the PH, the H in the PHI. Right. But there’s still personal information and FTC is fairly clear. I won’t say 100 percent clear because none of these guidances are 100 percent clear, but they’re fairly clear that any human that is interacting with you digitally and providing you any kind of information, including your personally identifiable information, your name, any of that stuff.
You still have to be very thoughtful about how you are collecting that, how that is being shared back. And ensuring that it’s not being shared back specifically with those third parties. So making sure that you are having your forms go to a closed CRM and that you’ve got some kind of a service agreement in place with that CRM to ensure that data never leaves their offices or their [00:11:00] servers, so to speak, those kinds of things are going to be really important.
And so that’s really important. Even the pixels that we’ve talked about on the patient side of things, those can still be constituted as, or be considered sharing information back. So you still want to be really careful and thoughtful about how you use those.
Something that we haven’t talked a lot about though is when you are targeting providers you, a lot of times you can target them by their NPI number. And so that’s not really something that has come up a lot in our conversations like is that personally identifiable? Is it not? My point of view is that it’s still is personally identifiable because every single clinician has a unique number. That’s how you know who they are. So those numbers also are included and need to be a little bit, need to be handled with care. And that includes using those kinds of lists to retarget or target them outside of, again, your CRM programs.
Jenny: And I think it’s really important to also note something that some groups we’ve chatted with say, Oh no, we’re just B2B. It doesn’t matter. Well, there’s a lot of consumer focused messaging on the website, right? Maybe you sell through a [00:12:00] provider, but if you have consumer or patient related educational materials and maybe a contact form for them to reach out.
Then you still have to have the same level of care and consideration, even if you are not a covered entity. So I think I don’t want to go down the privacy rabbit hole, but just wanted to share that like it does not give you an ability to just go back to the old ways of doing targeting and marketing and tagging and whatnot, just because you’re not a covered entity.
Julia: Okay, I want to go in the rabbit hole just for a minute. Let’s do it. I want to go in the rabbit hole briefly because I do think, when we’re talking about, Lindsey, such a great point on the NPI and that’s great data to have and data to maybe model with and you can activate on it, but I think to your point, you really have to be privacy forward when you do it. And my hypothesis with a lot of these privacy guidelines that are coming out both in the healthcare space, the HIPAA space, healthcare adjacent, and just general consumer, I think that a privacy [00:13:00] forward type of approach is going to become part of a branding approach for a lot of organizations, be them healthcare or otherwise. So for me, if I am a provider and I am being targeted in some ways that maybe feel shady, inauthentic, questionable at best, and you’re marketing something to me that I’m then going to use and apply to my patients, it’s going to make me think pretty hard about what you’re going to do with the data from my patients that I’m using, referring to you or ordering a product from before. So I think that we’re going to see this privacy conversation bleed a bit into a brand positioning conversation as well. And so I would just encourage B2B HCP focus brands to really think about that when it comes to how they treat their provider audiences.
Jenny: Oh, that’s smart and accurate. We’ve already seen so many articles be published based off of fines that organizations have been levied based off of inappropriate [00:14:00] collection and handling of data, and you can bet if as an individual, whether I am an HCP consumer or whatever, if I Google the company name and the first thing that comes up is they were hit with a huge fine for mishandling of data, that definitely would give me pause when doing business with the organization. So great point.
Ladies, anything else about provider marketing that we want to touch on before we wrap up today?
Lindsey: I would just reiterate something that we talked about in the patient, in the patient segment is creative is still going to be really important with these folks.
A lot of times what we see with health care companies targeting HCP is it tends to be pretty direct and not always the most exciting and informative. You can still use clinical language and clinical imagery and things to that effect in a creative way that is engaging. And that helps a lot. Again, stop people in their tracks to pay attention.
So I would just encourage agencies not to discount the creative aspect with these folks either.
Julia: Ooh, I love that. Clinica, yes, but also stopping, grabbing [00:15:00] attention, I think is huge and a fun, creative challenge too. I love that. I think the thing that I’ll leave with is especially when it comes to paid tactics, thinking about layering those on top of things that are already in your sales and marketing calendar, specifically like congresses, conferences, events coming up. How can you use paid to amplify your presence? Or I like to say like your surround sound leading up to that event, during that event, after that event. I think that’s a great way to be really mindful of paid budget, too, is say, we’re going to spike it around these events where parties are already happening with providers and we don’t have to kind of create our own and really get some some benefit and some efficiencies there.
Jenny: I love that. There’s such an opportunity to test and iterate, right? Just because we’re talking on the HCP, I feel like on the HCP side, for some reason, people don’t think about the same level of testing and iteration that they do on the patient acquisition side. And so just like you said on the last episode, Julia, like having a portion of your budget set aside for testing and [00:16:00] understanding what’s working and not working is just as equally as important here.
Ladies, thank you so much for joining us today. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re struggling with your provider marketing strategies, give us a call. We would love to brainstorm with you and help provide some guidance about where you should be thinking going into 2024 so that we are able to more effectively spend those dollars.
Thanks for tuning in today. We will see you on a future episode of We Are, Marketing Happy. Take care.
In part one of a two-part series on paid media, Jenny welcomes Hedy & Hopp’s own Director of Activation, Lindsey Brown, and Director of Marketing, Julia Pitlyk. Together the group discusses what healthcare marketers should consider when planning their paid media strategies from 2024. They focus on how to balance awareness building and lead generation objectives in a media plan, the merits of paid social and exploring creative formats to tell a compelling brand story, considerations around patient data privacy in paid media tactics, and how to develop robust measurement plans for paid campaigns. Jenny, Julia and Lindsey also provide recommendations on how teams can conserve some of their 2024 media budget for experimental channels and tactics.
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Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy – a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and owner of Hedy & Hopp. a full-service, fully healthcare marketing agency, and I am so excited today to be joined by two fabulous members of the Hedy & Hopp team.
We have Lindsey Brown, who is the Director of Activation and Julia Pitlyk, who is Hedy & Hopp’s Director of Marketing. Welcome ladies.
I am so thrilled to jump in today. We’ve been talking so much about privacy, it feels really good to change gears. One of the things that our team gets really excited about is thinking about patient acquisition efforts.
And we’ve been having lots of conversations about paid media strategies going into the new calendar year, whether folks operate on a fiscal or calendar, everybody’s still thinking about a fresh start going into January. And so I wanted to pause and really spend a little bit of time with y’all talking specifically about paid [00:01:00] media and what a patient acquisition marketing mix should look like right now.
So Lindsey, I’d love if you’d kick us off just talking a little bit about where our clients heads are at and kind of the conversations you’ve been a part of what folks are thinking about right now.
Lindsey: Absolutely. So a lot of our clients are obviously in the planning stages. And so they’re thinking about “What do we need to change for next year?”
Obviously they’re making some changes because of privacy, which we won’t get into too much on this call. But they’re really thinking about how do we get more leads? How do we get out to more patients? And the first thing that they always think about is “What are those channels that are producing the best ROI from us from a lead perspective?”
So they go straight to the things like paid search that are really great at generating those leads. And there’s a really great way to, to attribute that to a paid search campaign, for example. The problem is with paid search, it is, it’s like a demand, it’s a demand platform. So you’re only going to get the people that are already interested.
So what we’ve been talking with our clients about is really thinking about what are those things that you need to do to build [00:02:00] up awareness and build up interest and consideration in your products and services so that when they’re ready to start searching and they’re ready to start moving forward, you’re going to capitalize them in your search campaign.
So that’s kind of where the conversations have gone.
Julia: Yeah. I love that, Lindsay. I think about that all the time in terms of what are the right paid channels that are about demand creation, right? That’s where we tend to look at awareness and some consideration. But then, yes, paid search is so wonderful for that demand capture of someone. Think about what they’re putting in the search bar, right?
Their zip code plus whatever condition they’re looking to treat. That’s the place that absolutely our clients want to make sure that they show up. But I think the planning phase is a great portion to say, okay, where do we need to pull up a little bit and think about that demand creation?
Lindsey: Yeah, absolutely. So things like making sure your message is out in front of more people, making sure that partnerships that you have available and it’s not just a paid media thing, although paid media is really going to help you with that. It can help you with the volume. It can help you control sort of where that message is, how you spend that budget.
Media is perfect at that, [00:03:00] but there’s still other ways you can get that message out, right? You’ve got your earned efforts that you do through your PR. You’ve got owned efforts through email marketing and email communication and that kind of thing. But paid media really is going to help you sort of, expand sort of your existing ecosystem and give you a little bit more control over where you’re putting your dollars in your efforts to start to see those results come in through that funnel.
Jenny: I would love to hear both of your thoughts about how paid social plays into the patient journey and when it’s appropriate versus when it may not be, whether we’re thinking about brand marketing at a high level or service line or provider specific. What are your thoughts?
Lindsey: You want to go 1st? I can go 1st.
So from a paid social perspective, it’s a good question because there are so many social platforms. Five, 10 years ago, we were thinking about, Oh, it’s just Facebook. And then, okay, it’s Twitter. And then, okay, see, those are things. Now there’s a million different paid social platforms. So I think first and foremost, you want to make sure that the platforms that you’re in is actually where your audience is.
So a lot of [00:04:00] times our clients will just say they want to be in Facebook because they have a Facebook account, but maybe their audience actually isn’t active on Facebook, and they’re more Instagram people. They’re more TikTok people. They’re more Snapchat type people. Just kind of depends on who you’re looking for.
So you want to make sure number one, that you’re going to find your audience there in order to return that and get those better results and performance from your campaigns. But I think that paid is really supplemental to your overall social efforts. And this is also something I think that marketers kind of end up siloing a little bit.
We’ve talked about on previous podcasts where just because it’s the paid team that’s running that show doesn’t mean that’s it’s in a silo with what you’re doing with your social efforts overall. So if you want to have a paid social campaign, first and foremost, you have to have some sort of social presence because you want to gain some traction with your potential followers or your potential patients, potential customers and then those paid efforts can kind of.
And get them to do something else, like get them to your site to sign up for something, get them to your site to download an application or something like that, that organic efforts may not [00:05:00] really do. So you have to think about it in what you’re doing from an organic and owned perspective, and then using social or paid part of that to help supplement those efforts and drive to an actual action.
I don’t know. Julia, what do you think? What are your thoughts?
Julia: Yeah, I totally agree. And I love paid social from really sort of that awareness and, again, I’m going to probably say this a million times, that demand creation standpoint and, to go back to your question, I think it can work from sort of an overall, let’s say we’re talking about a hospital or health system, some overall awareness, but I think you can also talk to it from a service line specific type of demand creation.
My challenge to our clients and I think a challenge when you’re getting into planning mode to think about is how can you really get creative with the creative formats that paid social channels are allowing you to play with these days compared to something like paid search where it’s pretty darn limited. It’s a lot of text based, you got to really play back those keywords in, have some of those dynamic sort of search ads going on.
Paid social really allows [00:06:00] you to storytell. You can storytell through, wonderful static imagery and copywriting. You can storytell through some really creative short form video.
There’s so many ways to really get some more of that emotion, which health care is rich with, again at the overall level or at the service line level and really reach people and start to stick in their mind. So I really encourage, especially if you’re trying to tell a really emotional or really compelling story, to lean hard into paid social and your media plans.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally agree. I love that. That it’s like it can be more creative. You can be more creative. And especially as we’re talking specifically about patient acquisition, you’re talking to real people and real consumers. And so they want to see things that are interesting and relevant to them, things that kind of make them stop and think.
The long scroll is a real thing. We do it for hours and hours a day. You’ve got to find a way to cut through that. And so using social media in that way is really beneficial. And then again, from a paid perspective, it allows you to kind of broaden your net, [00:07:00] increase your user base, and then drive to more specific actions.
You can start to see some really great results.
Jenny: I love that. That’s a great kind of thought process of how to combine the two together and stand out. I hate to use the privacy word, but I feel like we have so many podcasts talking about this and we are not a privacy agency, but we have become experts in it.
So one of the things we’ve been counseling a lot of our clients on as they head into the new year is how they can continue doing a lot of the tactics they were doing before with patient privacy and consumer privacy front of mind. So specifically what I’d love to hear from y’all, overall, we’re saying don’t stop digital just because of everything that’s going on.
This is not a directive to go back to traditional mailers exclusively and billboards. We can still do digital. I specifically want to talk about social media targeting and the new rule of not really feeding the beast. So I’d love if, Lindsey, if you could give just a concise explanation of how can you still do [00:08:00] social and targeting effectively yet still be complying with all of the new privacy guidelines?
Lindsey: Yeah, I will try to be concise. I have a hard time being concise sometimes, I’m going to do my best. All right. So, from a social media specific perspective a lot of that feeding the beast comes from using things like targeting lookalike audiences. So that’s what we called feeding the beast. In social media, that is one way it’s a really, it’s a simple way to be able to optimize in real time your marketing efforts, right?
But if we don’t have the pixels on the site because we know that’s a not compliant way to move forward and we want to cut those off, that means that there really isn’t that learning that’s going on specifically from users on your site. There’s still learning that’s going on within the platform itself.
So, for example when we talked about, Julia talked about, storytelling a little bit earlier, one way that you can leverage something like Facebook and storytelling and still get to better targeting without using your site visitors or your site data is to just [00:09:00] retarget within the Facebook platform.
Let’s say you have a series of videos. You want to tell a four step process or a four step story, excuse me. And you start with your first one. And then those that have seen the first one, now you can target them with the second video. And then you can target with the third video. Now you start to, like, build in more of that story and you can do that all within the platform itself without having to use a pixel, without having to use any data from your website.
So there’s still ways to get more targeted within those platforms to leverage the targeting capabilities within the platform itself. They’re all available without the pixel. Sometimes I really think that those pixels are, like, helping those platforms more than they’re actually helping marketers because they’re learning more than really we’re learning as marketers.
So, I really think that again, you can stick to what’s available within the platform. And some of those platforms do have really great ways to target depending on what your audience is and what you’re trying to achieve.
Jenny: So for example, let’s say that a provider is trying to target for mammography campaigns, they’re doing a free [00:10:00] breast exam through the month of November.
You can use the Facebook or the Meta targeting to target women over the age of 40 that live within your zip codes, right? That’s the kind of stuff that is still available that I think a lot of folks are just thinking is off the table. Like, Oh, we can’t do any targeting anymore. We just have to like spray and pray, like the old school marketing.
Right. Like that’s not how it is anymore. Like you, you can still do targeting just using Facebook’s targeting situations, Julia thoughts.
Julia: Yeah, I agree. I think what is off the table is sort of what healthcare marketers were doing when it came to the classic example, like the abandoned cart retargeting ad, right?
If somebody clicked through from a Facebook ad to a service line web page and almost filled out that form, but didn’t quite, retargeting to come back and schedule an appointment like that from your own website’s data is off the table, right? But when it comes to retargeting based off of the click on that ad, which is [00:11:00] data native in that Facebook platform, that’s still okay.
So I think for me, it’s been really helpful to look at that entire end to end journey from the first introductory piece of content or ad we want to put out to a user of a specific target. Jenny, just like you spoke to, women over the age of 40. What are the stories, what are the messages we want to tell them throughout and then map out a layer underneath?
Like, what are the data signals that we will need to get from where in order to power that journey in paid social or in other paid media campaigns? And then as you do that, there’s going to be a couple that are now off the table, like sending that data from your website back to Facebook. But I think you’ll find that there’s still plenty more on the table from native targeting and retargeting within the platform than you may think when you’re grappling with some of these new privacy guidelines.
Jenny: I love that. That’s helpful. Anything else that either of you want to share that we haven’t touched on yet, thinking about patient acquisition brand awareness and kind of heading into the new calendar year.[00:12:00]
Lindsey: So one thing I do want to bring up is I think the measurement piece. So, Julia, you peaked it perfectly, like you’re looking at certain data signals to understand where people are, understand then how to modify or optimize within that platform. So, again, measurement also is not off the table. You can still measure all of the efforts of your marketing.
It just may not be as necessarily seamless or all within Google Analytics or all within one place. You’ll have to probably bring it in a little bit piecemeal, but there’s still absolutely possible to understand how users are engaging with your content, how they are moving forward in a pipeline, how your things are helping to drive that forward.
And so again, not completely off the table, just might take a little bit of additional upfront work and thinking of how you’re going to do that, but it’s absolutely possible.
Julia: I love that, and I’ll leave my parting thought with what everybody loves to talk about in media planning and planning season, which is budget.
And we know from talking to a lot of our clients budgets are flat at best, if not decreasing slightly. [00:13:00] But then there’s also: do brand awareness, market these new service lines, let’s experiment in a couple other channels. Like how do you grapple with a flatter or shrinking budget and all of these different objectives?
One of the things that I’ve found successful, especially with working with leadership who maybe has new ideas about new channels or things that they want to test and learn is take a classic kind of 80/20, or maybe even 90/10 model when it comes to your budget. Make sure you’re allocating as much as possible within reason to the channels that work.
Ideally, you know that they work because you have some really great measurement plans like Lindsey just spoke to. And make sure you siphon off a little bit, 20 percent, 10 percent, to be intentional about experimenting in some of these channels. That’s a strategy I found really helpful when you want to innovate, but you also don’t have an infinite amount of funds to do so.
Jenny: I love that. That’s such a great strategy. And I think I would just like, like to leave it that if there’s anyone out there that’s listening to this and you are kind of feeling the [00:14:00] pressure of going into a new year with a flat budget and all these privacy concerns, reach out. Chat with us. We have set up all of our clients are still getting full conversion reporting for all of their media plans in a compliant way.
It is possible. And so if you’re still kind of grappling with that, you don’t have full tracking in place, you are struggling getting reports to leadership. Call us. We’d love to chat with you. And with that, we are going to be doing another episode talking specifically about provider marketing.
So if you are a marketing team that is responsible for both patient acquisition and provider marketing, or if you’re provider marketing specific, look for part two of the series and tune in to hear more about media planning for providers. And with that, thanks for tuning in to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy.
We’ll see you soon.
In this episode, Jenny welcomes Hedy & Hopp’s own Director of Marketing, Julia Pitlyk. Reflecting on their latest discussions around changes to patient data privacy, Jenny and Julia discuss what healthcare marketers should expect from their marketing tactics and analytics. They focus on two main areas of change: marketing activation and analytics, and specifically discuss how those two areas will be impacted by implementing server-side Google Tag Manager to address new privacy guidelines. They also discuss how other solutions, like new analytics tools and CDPs (Customer Data Platforms), differ in terms of how they impact these areas. Jenny and Julia also recommend ways to reset the benchmark of marketing performance and emphasize the importance of making sure marketing and legal/compliance leadership develop a shared point-of-view on how to move forward with new guidelines.
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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hedyandhopp/ Listen to our other episodes on healthcare privacy: https://hedyandhopp.com/healthcare-marketing-services/healthcare-privacy-compliance/
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends, welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy – a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and owner of Hedy & Hopp, a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. And I am so excited today to have Julia Pitlyk join the call. So I’m very excited to announce that Julia has officially joined Hedy & Hopp as our Director of Marketing.
So welcome aboard, Julia.
Julia: Hello. So happy to be here. Second time on the podcast now in a different capacity. So excited. Thanks for letting me jump in on this really exciting topic.
Jenny: Oh, it’s so exciting. We did a webinar earlier this week and we had really strong attendance. It was really kind of heartfelt for me to be able to see the number of healthcare marketers that want to get this analytics and patient privacy issue right.
Now, nobody’s doing bad things on [00:01:00] purpose, right? They’re just taking things from other industries and putting them into healthcare. We didn’t as an or as an industry really realize the overall repercussions. So the webinar was fabulous. Side note, if you want to receive a copy of it, shoot me an email. We have it recorded.
Happy to share. Jenny at hedyandhopp .com. But today, let’s talk about execution because a lot of the Q&A, we did an extended Q&A, really just stayed on the line for folks to ask any questions. A lot of it was around like, “And then what?”
Julia: “Yeah, what now?” Yeah, absolutely. I love that you said in the webinar, like, we are problem aware at this point, right?
We’ve been dealing with this OCR guidance for almost a year. So the need to change is known. And we’ve heard so many people at all the conferences we’ve been to this year say, okay, we stripped off our analytics. We’re kind of in this. “What are we going to implement?” and then the next bucket is “And then how are we going to get back to marketing and what’s that going to look like for us and our patient acquisition [00:02:00] efforts in this sort of new paradigm of analytics and activation changes?”
Jenny: Yeah. So in this podcast episode, we’re not going to talk about the different journeys and ways you can fix your tracking. We have plenty of content on that. And like I said, the webinar is a great crash course if you want a recording of it, send it to me. What I want to talk about today is the path that we see most systems and providers and payers moving towards, which is server side tag manager, right?
They’re choosing not to do a CDP like FreshPaint. They’re choosing not to move over to a new analytics platform like PiwikPro, though, at the end of the session, I want to chat with you a little bit about the what ifs if they do that. But for those folks that are moving over to server side tag manager, I want to talk a little bit about kind of what that looks like. First of all, give me your thoughts. Like if you’re moving over, because you were on the client side really recently, like what kind of conversations are people having at the leadership level or what should they be having at the leadership level?
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. My [00:03:00] brain is always going to two big buckets.
It’s the analytics and the activation. And of course, they go hand in hand, especially over the past, what, decade and a half as marketers have become more and more data driven. We’re so used to looking at the data, making decisions, changing our tactics. Rinse and repeat. So I’m thinking about, okay, if I’m sitting on the client side, I’ve implemented server side Google Tag Manager to address the OCR bulletin and some of these guidelines that have come out, what are my analytics going to look like? And what’s my activation going to look like?
So I think first and foremost, I like to think about, like, what is just wholesale off the table? And we talked about this in our webinar a bit, and it’s hard to say but things like list buying, of course, list uploads, building lookalikes, like those are all things that you’re taking your data, you’re giving it to an ad platform, you’re feeding the beast as we say, like, no more.
That, very clear, put that in a bucket, that’s off the table. Then it’s okay, What tactics and activation [00:04:00] strategies are on the table in a different way?
So for us, that’s a lot of, like, the retargeting piece, right? You can do retargeting with data in the platform. So all of these, like, walled gardens we used to talk about Facebook, Google, they’ve got their data. You can use things like a consumer who clicked on an ad as an action that you can retarget on.
So that for me is, like, looking at that activation bucket first, because server side GTM is going to handle a lot of the analytics issues that are coming up from this bulletin. But it’s looking at that activation bucket and first and foremost saying like, okay, what do we put on the table? What are things we kind of need to tweak?
And then some of those bigger questions that come out of it for me are, Okay, we took some tactics off the table. We changed some things from our retargeting and our conversion attribution. What is our data going to look like? Because so many of these marketers are saying, well, leadership’s not changing our growth expectations after this bulletin came out.
[00:05:00] We still need high performing digital marketing and the tactics we were doing were getting us there. For me, it’s that next step is how to proactively talk to leadership about, w’re changing tactics because of these reasons, what should we all expect to come from it? And sort of giving some runway to really learn from the tactical change.
Jenny: Absolutely. It’s sort of like whenever thinking back, whenever folks switched from Google Analytics to GA4, right. It went from session to event targeting. That’s not apples to apples, right? And so this is that same kind of situation. It’s a line in the sand, not apples to apples anymore. Our goal is still the same efficacy of spend, but it’s, it’s not the same.
One thing I heard in a webinar I did yesterday with a hospital specific group in the afternoon I did one, is one of the people actually said, “I feel like we need to go back to strictly analog marketing tactics” and it hurt my heart. I was like, No. No, do not do that. [00:06:00] Digital is still 100 percent possible.
You just have to stop putting data into these platforms. Like you said, walled garden, use what’s in Facebook. You can use Facebook’s targeting if they have specific targeting set up based off of age, occupation, interest, whatever. You can still use all of that, right? You just can’t upload your list into Facebook to make it more specific.
Julia: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I think like a very specific example that we see a tactic, kind of a journey that we see a lot of our clients doing is patient acquisition marketing goes to a landing page. The goal is to fill out the form, right? Like, I love that. Cause we want that, that email address, something to have more of that one to one communication with, making sure that you’re doing it in systems that are compliant.
So that journey makes perfect sense. So I look at that and say, okay, what in this new world order needs to change. And it’s optimizing the ads to that conversion of filling out that form because you’re taking a thing that’s happening in your world and you’re sending it back to the ad platforms and [00:07:00] saying, optimize for this.
So, if that’s being taken off the table, what can we expect to see in our campaign performance data because of that? Those tactics were on the table because they worked, right? Like, we’re performance marketers. They made the ads perform better. They brought down CPAs. So if I’m in that seat and what we’re telling our clients in that seat is that needs to be treated as, you need to look at it as sort of a new benchmarking period, telling your leadership.
What do you think the next two to four weeks, maybe even a couple of months. Like, yeah, we are making a technical change. I would literally like in the measurement plan documents that we have and in your analytics tools, like on this date, we changed these things for any optimization and say, okay, now we have this line in the sand.
And for the next two, four, six, whatever weeks, we’re looking to see what’s happening to our CPA. Like we heard at some conferences, the numbers are going to go in a direction that [00:08:00] you probably don’t want, you don’t want them to go in. It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good. This isn’t a marketing optimization tactical change.
It’s a regulatory and compliance one. But I think really running through that thought experiment of, what are we expecting to see, starting to see that with leadership and really start to say, like, we need to have this X amount of weeks as a learning period to see what performance we can get with this new type of compliant marketing and then use that to inform some updated projections and budget needs.
And I know all of that sounds very, those aren’t ideal conversations to have. I think again, like we said, to any client any year of doing this, it’s, bring the data to the table and have an informed conversation based off of that.
Jenny: And I think it’s really important to highlight that we’re not stripping away all data, right?
We’re not going into a blind world where we don’t understand anything anymore. If you choose a server side Google Tag Manager implementation, which again, most people that we’re talking to [00:09:00] are choosing that path from an annual cost savings, speed of implementation, et cetera, you still can use UTM parameters.
To be able to track and understand the success of campaigns, keywords, creatives, a lot of platforms like LinkedIn just two weeks ago came out with the LinkedIn conversion API that you can actually tie in to pull conversion data in to be able to understand how to optimize. The part we’re missing though, for people to understand is that automated feedback loop where it’s automatically optimized completed conversions.
You’re still going to get conversion information. You’re just going to have to pay a little bit more attention to the way that your team chooses to optimize or your agency, whatever chooses to optimize those campaigns. Right. But it’s not the end of the world.
Julia: I think this is also one of those periods of time where it’s, let’s roll up our sleeves and really get into the data. Yes, we’re going to, we’re going to lack some of that automated sort of I would say I would also challenge like this, this is an opportunity, to paint it nicely, to roll up your sleeves and look at, even when [00:10:00] you have, before you make some of these tactical changes really look at the patient acquisition, let’s see as far down the funnel as you can.
And I think, we really push a lot of our clients to do this when we do that full ROI analysis, but let’s take it beyond that form fill, which is a wonderful marketing conversion, but how many of those patients, or prospective patients, we should say, how many of them pulled through to schedule an appointment?
How many of them pulled through to actually show up to an appointment, right? And that’s definitely a, again, a roll up your sleeves data exercise, but I would be really curious to know, are you seeing certain trends in certain channels where maybe you’re getting a lot of volume form fills, but not quite the pull through lower funnel.
And maybe this is a way to inform some adjustments to your marketing mix spend, too.
Jenny: Oh, I love that. That’s such a positive way to go into it as an opportunity versus simply feeling like you’re having things stripped away from you. So I love that. Pivot with positivity, as we say at Hedy & Hopp. [00:11:00] Agreed.
Julia: Agreed. I think this puts us in a little bit of like, a last touch attribution world. I’m curious what you think about that. Google ‘marketing attribution models’ and you’ll find so many complex custom implementations. I feel like this pushes us to a last touch, but maybe helps us get a little bit away from chasing that holy grail of the perfect attribution model at the same time. What do you think?
Jenny: Yeah, no I agree with that. I think it’ll be interesting once we see more full implementations and more time with those implementations. I’d love to have somebody from our activation analytics team on a future podcast and talk about the data. Like what have our clients seen?
Because right now I feel like it’s going to be mostly speculation. I think there are still ways that you could do a multi-touch attribution model. But I don’t know with real world execution what that’s going to look like. So I think that’s kind of like a TBD, totally agree. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about, so that’s the solution if somebody is going the path of server side tag manager.
Or the, [00:12:00] not solution, that is the expectation of experience. You know what I’m saying? If they choose a CDP or a new analytics tool, which are the other two journeys that we talk about in our webinar and our overall education process around this they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily change it. You know what I’m saying?
Like on the tactic execution, you can’t do remarketing just because you chose to go with PiwikPro or you can’t do, you can’t upload lists to Facebook simply because you chose to go with FreshPaint. It doesn’t change tactical execution, but it may change the way that you view data and the way that data is presented to your leadership team, right?
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s where, like, looking at some of those other journeys, I just keep pulling my brain back to analytics and activation because exactly that. If you implement PiwikPro, like the tactical stuff still needs to be put back on the shelves and the things we mentioned earlier. So that’s, there’s just definitely two big buckets to navigate really through.
I think CDPs, uh, for an organization that’s ready [00:13:00] for it. And by ready, there’s a data maturity, there’s resources on tech and marketing, there’s budget. I think those are better positioned to be a solution that helps tackle both the analytics and the activation because it sits kind of right on top of your, your world and it takes your data and sends it to the, the analytics and the activation platforms.
So that’s something that I think could be a really good path forward. But again, got to be ready for it. Your organization’s got to be ready for it. So that’s why we focus so much on the server side GTM because it’s something that we’re just, has a lower barrier to entry to get that, get the analytics to get the data back. But you’re, you’re exactly right. It’s not, there’s no one perfect, easy switch to flip on or off. That’s going to address the complications in all of these buckets.
Jenny: So it’s really interesting to me that nobody yet is talking about marketing tactic changes based off of this.
I feel like we’re the only ones raising this. So far, so when we think about like [00:14:00] problem or versus solution aware, when you think about marketing analytics, most organizations are solution aware, but the number of questions in our webinar yesterday or on Wednesday about tactical changes as a result of all of this was kind of astonishing to me.
I feel like most people aren’t even problem aware yet on that side of the house. So it’s going to be interesting. I feel like over the next six months, as people start figuring out, Oh, wow, my agency is trying to do media buys as normal and they aren’t bringing anything new to the table, but they’re not the ones that are going to get the big OCR fines.
We are right, right, right.
Julia: And that, I think that a lot of that comes from, in the problem aware period, right? What we’ve been saying, audit everything, go to Builtwith.com, scrape every tag you may know or not know is on your site. Look at your entire martech stack. And I think where some of that is coming from is that, if you read the bulletin, it’s, you can very clearly when you read it, kind of ascertain, okay, we’re talking Google Analytics, we’re talking about Meta. But then you start to see all of these other tools that [00:15:00] work based off of some semblance of like seeing an IP address or a device. And it really, you start to turn over all those rocks and think about all the ways that you, communicate, distribute content on your site, and it really opens up this kind of this hornet’s nest of activation.
So I think that’s where again even though you may know at a high level, okay, we can’t feed the beast with our data, IP is PHI, like, still doing that audit because it really helps you kind of block and tackle and look at what solutions in your tech stack you may need to change in addition to tactics.
Jenny: Exactly. Exactly. Oh, I feel like this has been a really helpful overview and hopefully it’s going to spark some really good conversations within organizations about how, uh, they want to approach it better setting expectations, kind of creating a level of calm around it, right? Like we can’t change this.
So we might as well lean in a way that is healthy for our organization and not create unnecessary chaos within our conversations and expectations. So [00:16:00] I like that. Any parting words?
Julia: Well, I love that because I find calm and spreadsheets, taking the data and saying, okay, what, what might be worst case scenario, middle case scenario, best case scenario, like, just again, finding a little bit of clarity through taking your, taking your mind to what could happen to your marketing next, I think is going to just help, uh, keep ripping the bandaid off and keep setting those expectations.
Jenny: And knowing it’s not just their organization, right? Everybody in healthcare is experiencing this. And I had one person push back whenever I was chatting with them and they said like, well, what’s enforcement look like if other people in our niche part of the healthcare world are not yet doing this, that means their marketing is going to be more successful than ours over the next year to two years.
And we are private equity backed. So that means our performance will be worse. Right? And then it’s like a spiraling conversation of like, how long could we keep doing this until we’re fined? And I just think, that is a different way to approach the problem because Hedy & Hopp, in our hearts, we just want to protect patients data.[00:17:00]
Right. So like, yeah, it’s difficult, but like, is that extra 2 percent growth that you’re going to experience going to be worth the potential liability down the road? I don’t know that your private equity firm would think that’s true.
Julia: It does come down to some POVs. Ours is out there and it’s always on the side of the patient privacy, but that is definitely something for every organization’s marketing leadership, organizational leadership, and legal and compliance leadership to have equal seats at the table to discuss.
Jenny: I love it. Well, for our loyal listeners, I want to make sure that you follow us on all of the social channels because we have a really fun micro content series we’re going to be launching in the coming weeks called “Hit of Happy.” It’s going to be hosted by Julia and she’s going to be covering a lot of information that we get asked really often by prospects and clients and really digestible short series.
So we’re going to put links to our socials in the show notes. Please go and follow us there if you haven’t already, [00:18:00] because I guarantee it’s going to be worth your time. So thank you again for tuning in today to We Are, Marketing Happy, and we’ll see you on a future episode.
Welcome back! Jenny is here today to present the impact of OCR’s December 2022 Bulletin on healthcare marketing. She starts off discussing how the bulletin categorized IP addresses as PHI, causing panic among many marketers, and why she disagrees with the American Hospital Association’s stance to fully withdraw the guidance. She advocates for patient privacy and supports OCR’s guidance. Jenny welcomes the opportunity to be a leader and example to other industries in the safety of personal information. She emphasizes the importance of technology companies’ understanding and protecting patient data, highlights affordable and effective solutions to do so, and calls for a standardized approach to protect patient privacy, even if it means reallocating some marketing budget.
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Listen to our other episodes on healthcare privacy:
Jenny: Hi friends. Welcome to today’s special episode of We Are Marketing Happy, A Healthcare Marketing Podcast. I am Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and founder of Hedy & Hopp, a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. And we have been really leading the way as far as publicly discussing OCR’s December 2022 bulletin, the huge impact it has had on the way marketers and healthcare can really do their jobs.
We have also really been leaning in as far as all of the movement with FTC for healthcare adjacent organizations, as well as a lot of state laws. We have episodes specifically dedicated to each of those topics, which we’ll link to in the show notes, But, you know, there aren’t really many moments in healthcare where we really have the tea, right?
Like let’s share the tea and talk about some gossip and some super controversial things, right? Like we’re healthcare marketers. It usually doesn’t happen. Well, my team has really been digging into a lot of the publicly shared responses to OCR’s bulletin. They actually put out an RFI. You know, we want to hear from the public about your thoughts about our bulletin.
And we had a client actually ask us to give our perspective on AHA’s response, American Hospital Association’s. And we actually had an in-person coffee session this morning and it got heated with all of my team members. They were so frustrated at American Hospital Association’s perspective and their position on the bulletin that I just felt so compelled to come on and actually share Hedy & Hopp’s stance.
So let’s back up a little bit as most of you should know the December 2022 bulletin effectively began categorizing IP addresses on the marketing front end of websites as PHI. So before it was only once you were actively within say a patient portal within an Epic instance, whatever, was the only time that marketers really had to think about HIPAA.
This bulletin completely changed everything. All of the technologies that we knew, liked, and loved suddenly were no longer able to be used. Things like Google Analytics were no longer compliant. And there was a huge moment of panic. Right? Like all of us, including us at Hedy & Hopp kind of stepped back and was like, well, now what do we do?
What do we do now? We, if we can’t use these things that all of these other organizations and companies and other industries are using to provide a great consumerization experience, how are we going to continue to serve patients in a positive way? So we had our little moment, our little pity party. But then we buckled down and we figured it out and, turns out it’s not that hard.
It’s not that hard and it’s not that expensive. So I want to step back and talk about this a little bit, because myself and the rest of the team at Hedy & Hopp strongly disagree with AHA’s stance. Them saying, let me actually quote this, “AHA recommends that Congress should consider exploring how to better require entities not covered by HIPAA to protect patient privacy, especially those third party entities that decline to sign BAAs, and they urge Congress to make clear to OCR that the agency should withdraw this guidance immediately”.
And that it is, this part is in separate, “It is onerous and it is impossible for marketers to continue doing their jobs. Not only does this OCR rule violate HIPAA, it inflicts meaningful harm on patients and public health. Congress should urge OCR to withdraw the rule immediately.”
Really, American Hospital Association? Really? Oh, I love when zoom does that to me. I was not giving AHA a thumbs up by the way. So ever since 2018 Congress has been fumbling its way through understanding how technology works, right? Like I remember whenever Zuckerberg was on stand and then all of these memes came out because basically it felt like all of these old people were asking Zuckerberg why their grandchildren weren’t accepting their friend requests, right?
Memes galore really showcase the questions they were asking, totally showed a lack of understanding about how the technology worked. That’s scary, right? People that are legislating not understanding what they are legislating is scary. But does that mean we’re going to leave it to the technology companies to decide what information should be captured and stored?
So we have been attending all of these healthcare conferences and we’ve really been going on a speaking tour. I spoke at SHSMD, next week I’m at SMASH. We attended Becker’s and talked with a lot of participants about it. And then I’m going to HCIC. The list goes on and on, right? Because this is such a hot topic.
Well, as a follow up, we actually decided to audit all of the provider websites for those folks that were at SHSMD. You would be astounded, out of hundreds, I think there were over 450 provider groups, that only 70 had removed scary tags. Vast majority of them had Meta tags. Some of them had TikTok conversion tags.
I’ll tell you if I’m searching for care – I’ve been very public about a lot of my healthcare stuff that’s been happening beginning of this year. I’ve had to seek out and research lots of care. TikTok knowing that I was doing, that Meta knowing that I was doing that is terrifying. I guarantee they are not going to be taking care of my information and data. So, I do not like government stepping in and legislating and telling us how to do our jobs. But if we are not the ones, but if they are not the ones doing it, nobody is going to do it. So let me just give you a couple of examples. Since that bulletin was put out a couple of really cool things happened. A lot of ad platforms are now putting out APIs that allow you, if you do server side tag management on a server, that’s willing to sign a BAA.
For example, the Google Cloud Platform is willing to sign a Business Associates Agreement. Awesome. So, LinkedIn, just a couple of weeks ago, released the LinkedIn cAPI. It’s a conversion API. So you can pull all of the information from your ads and so you don’t lose any of that conversion information.
Google just launched the Google Ads Data Manager, which we highly anticipate will be rolled into the Google Cloud Platform, which means it’s protected by a BAA. All of these groups are actually doing things now that are protecting patient data, visitor data, right. If you step outside of healthcare, this is a super positive step.
They’re allowing the marketers and technology folks to be able to truly control what information is shared versus just thinking we’re redacting it or anonymizing it on the platform without actually doing it. And all of this has happened since the bulletin. It is not super expensive to roll out a new solution, server side Google Tag Manager or a platform like there’s a large number of them.
So I know I just mentioned Google Cloud Platform, but there’s a lot of other ones that are willing to sign a BAA, really easy solution. You can still use Google Analytics, don’t have to change your processes at all, but it’s going through a filter that’s protected and protected by a BAA. And you’re all safe.
That’s not very expensive. It really isn’t. It’s not onerous. It’s not putting undue pressure on marketers, but you know what is really scary in the audits that we’ve been conducting since this bulletin came out. Two things that terrify me as a patient. First, one person we did, organization we did an audit for had built their web forms in such a way that whenever you submitted an inquiry, all of that form data was put up in a URL parameter and every single tool or pixel that was put on that website could then capture the person’s full name, date of birth, email address, home mailing address, everything was being captured. Terrifying.
We have audited and found a lot of systems have call tracking. And they are not implementing a HIPAA safe version. So the entire call is being recorded and shared with all of the agency partners that they’ve given access to that tool. So “Hi, this is Jenny. Yeah, I have this, I’m calling a doctor to make an appointment. Yeah. I have this really weird rash that won’t go away. Yeah. Oh yeah. Here’s my date of birth. Yeah. When can I get in for an appointment? Yeah. Here’s my home mailing address.”
Those recordings are then available to dozens of people that have access to that platform. Terrifying as a patient. I don’t want my personal information shared with Joe from Rando IT company.
And I’m sure you don’t either. And then also again, like, TikTok tags being on some very, like, providers that we hold in such high regard as far as the types of care that they provide. And they’re sharing all of this information with Meta and TikTok and all of these other organizations.
American Hospital Association, I appreciate that you’re trying to reduce the administrative burden. You’re trying to reduce cost, but this is not a hill that’s hard to climb. This is in the patient’s best interest. As a patient, I want this to become standardized. And for all of the audits and implementations we have done, it’s not that expensive.
It is not that hard. You have to understand technology, but it’s absolutely doable. And if healthcare has to implement this so that way the rest and all the other industries end up protecting consumer privacy as much as we should be protecting patient privacy, I consider that a win. So, would I rather see our clients budgets going towards more marketing campaigns for the little budget that has to be done to redo all of their analytics tech stacks?
Of course, every dollar that we could eke out to help patients in the marketing budget to help them find better care, buy a health insurance plan that gives them the coverage that they need, whatever it may be, I would always prefer that be done. But if we have to sacrifice a small little bit of budget in 2023 and 2024 in order to make sure that patient information is correctly stored, you bet that’s the right call.
And I really hope that American Hospital Association changes their position and I, for one, do hope that OCR does not change their position. And instead, we end up being the bright, shining light that other industries begin following because we paved the way to make sure that individuals’ information. is safe.
So with that, thank you for tuning in. And I hope to see you on a future episode of We Are, Marketing Happy. If you agree or disagree, whatever it is, catch me on LinkedIn, share your comments and thoughts in the chat. I’d love to hear from y’all. Have a great day.
Today Jenny is bringing you the inside scoop from the Becker’s HIT + DH + RCM Conference with a little help from Hedy and Hopp’s own Shelby Auer. Shelby discusses her experience at the conference, where they explored a wide range of healthcare topics, from digital health to IT, revenue cycle, and the patient experience. The conference featured diverse perspectives, including providers, highlighting the importance of cross-functional collaboration. She and Jenny dig into the themes of knowing patients as consumers, the role of AI in healthcare, and setting a solid marketing foundation. Speakers at the conference emphasized the need for convenience in healthcare and shared innovative approaches to patient care and referrals. Shelby rates her experience based on the thought-provoking content and valuable insights that were presented.
Upcoming Healthcare Marketing Privacy Events:
HIPAA, FTC & State Laws: What healthcare marketers need to know NOW!
In-Person Event: Tues, 10/24 | 9-11am | St. Louis, MO >> Register Now
Live Webinar: Wed, 10/25 | 9-11am | Online >> Register Now
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Connect with Shelby:
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi, friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy, a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and the founder at Hedy and Hopp, a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. And I am so excited today to have a Hedy and Hopp team member join us, Shelby Auer. Hi Shelby.
Shelby: Hello. Happy to be here.
Jenny: So I am so excited to do today’s episode with you because I experienced so much FOMO last week when you went to Becker’s. I was supposed to go and then I ended up getting sick. My husband gave me the thing that he had. So you ended up going in my place and I passed the baton to you and sat there with FOMO watching you.
I’m just as excited, I think, as our listeners to hear more about some of the key learnings and takeaways and some of the people and organizations that are talking about some innovative topics.
Shelby: Yes, I’m excited to get to share. It was really fun getting to go last minute and get to join so many incredible people [00:01:00] talking about what’s going on.
Jenny: I love it. As a reminder, before we dig into this specific topic, we are actually doing an in-person, if you are in St. Louis, and a virtual HIPAA, FTC, and state law webinar slash session in two weeks. The week of October, uh, it’s actually on the 24th is the in-person and the 25th is the virtual.
This is a topic that you’re still trying to wrap your arms around. We’re going to share the registration link in the show notes. We expect a full house. This is a highly anticipated topic. Standing room only at SHSMD. We’re going to be talking about it again at Smash and HCIC and a couple of other conferences this fall.
So if you’re still trying to tackle it, please grab your seat and get registered.
But let’s dig on in. So excited to chat about Becker’s. At the beginning of the year, we stepped back a little bit as an organization and we said, okay, we have a couple of our favorites, right? Like we go to HCIC every year.
SHSMD is a big favorite, but what else, like, where are our people [00:02:00] hanging out in person? And so Becker’s, this conference in particular was one that we had flagged as one that we had a lot of high excitement around. And we just went as attendees this year to really try it out. We didn’t have a booth. We didn’t even pitch to speak. It was just like, let’s see if these are our people. And you kind of came back with a resounding “Yes,” right?
Shelby: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was such an interesting conference because of the broad amount of topics that were covered during it. Everything from digital health and the digital health ecosystem to IT and how everyone’s handling needing to be all hands on deck when it comes to IT and tech, to even the revenue cycle and how to handle that. So it was really, yeah, broad the amount of topics that were discussed, which just meant for some great conversations with folks.
Jenny: Absolutely. When we think about the kind of roles and kind of different positions that people were in as attendees, were we still seeing a lot of marketing [00:03:00] folks or were there a lot of it folks and people within other operational roles within the organizations?
Shelby: Yeah, it was a pretty mixed bag, honestly. There were some marketing folks, but there were a lot of IT tech folks. There were a lot of, especially on some of the panels, and this was something that was really interesting to me, was the provider perspective. There were quite a few providers that were at this conference that were speaking at sessions or in panels talking about their perspective on the patient experience alongside marketing team members.
So it was really special to see those folks standing on stage next to tech, next to marketing, and talking about the patient experience from all angles because we know providers have such a massive voice when it comes to marketing and working with all of these different teams, but hearing straight from them their experiences working with the [00:04:00] patient and how that translates to working with the marketing team to help change things and make things better for the patient was really interesting.
Jenny: Oh, I love it. I love it. And I agree. It’s so rare to actually see a provider up on stage talking about these things, at least at the events that we have typically attended. So I love that and I cannot wait for next year already. So you were able to attend about 10 different sessions in the digital marketing and patient experience track.
So what are some of the biggest themes that you noticed?
Shelby: Oh, well, one of the biggest things was this concept of knowing your patients as people and thinking of them as consumers, because there was a lot of discussion and very deliberate uses of consumer versus patient. And specifically, I love Donna Roach of the University of Utah who said it really best in one of the sessions that thinking of them as “consumers [00:05:00] always, patients sometimes.”
And we really heard that over and over again throughout a lot of the session. And the focuses were really on two kind of main areas: research and how important research is, as well as personalization, which we’re always hearing people are talking about. And now with the privacy landscape, everything is changing.
So those are kind of the two key themes from a high-level that we saw across the board.
Jenny: That’s so interesting. And I love hearing that. We do a lot of persona development and our episode last week was about segmentation, right? And how important it is to really understand who you’re talking to and who your end consumer is.
So it’s great to see that trend. And I think it’s going to be really interesting to watch it play out over the next couple of years as people begin kind of figuring out how to balance all the patient privacy concerns that are coming up with the implementation rollout [00:06:00] of things like a CRM or a CDP, where you are able to do that level of personalization at scale.
So we’ll be interested to watch. There’s no such thing as a digital conference in 2023 if there isn’t a conversation around artificial intelligence. So how did that come up as it relates to patient experience and digital marketing? Was that something people were talking about or was it “Yeah, this is here, but we have more important things to focus on in the short term.”
Shelby: Oh no, there were definitely conversations about AI. Like you said, it was definitely a focus. There was a talk of more specific applications. So when it comes to transcribing doctor’s notes so when they’re talking to patients, they’re able to be more present, not have to worry about transcribing every little detail or in-room monitoring for staff shortages and things that, that, uh, these organizations are struggling with.
How can they utilize AI to really help them from that perspective? But from a marketing [00:07:00] standpoint, the AI talk was a little bit more conceptual. I do want to call out a few people, James Watson of St. Luke’s, Kristina Dover of Mercy, and Christina Deidesheimer of Beebe Healthcare, all talked about partnering like we as marketers never have before with IT, and how AI can help marketers work at the top of their license.
And that was really a big theme when it came to talks of AI on the marketing side was this need for cross-functional collaboration. James was saying marketing has a stronger seat at the table than ever before. And I really loved Donna, who I mentioned earlier, who’s the CIO, said, “It is essential to not die on every hill, you’ve gotta be able to pivot,” which of course when I hear the word pivot I think of all of us at Hedy and Hopp and [00:08:00] how much we love one of our core values of pivoting with positivity. But I think that’s really the name of the game when it comes to working together with IT and marketing and all of these teams with this new tech.
And how do you work together to get ahead of it, to make sure that they’re going about it in a way that is safe from a privacy perspective? And Tara Nooteboom of UCI Health had, she was on quite a few panels and had some great thoughts about consumer experience and innovation. And one of the thoughts that was really resounding in my head was talking about calculating and measuring the outcome of innovation and the risk that comes with trying to stay ahead of tech innovation.
And how do you, that ROI, when it’s healthcare marketers for a lot of these organizations, [00:09:00] ROI is sometimes this soft number. There’s not always this number that’s a hard and fast number. And that makes it even harder when you’re trying to put value towards staying ahead of trends and staying ahead of tech and innovation.
So she really made some good points about trying to figure out how to set that expectation when it comes to some of that soft ROI.
Jenny: That is so, I love that perspective. And I’m really, I’m really sad that I missed hearing Tara speak because I feel like at the conferences so far this year, there’s been an over kind of like this cloud above all AI conversations, sort of like we haven’t even figured out online scheduling yet.
Like, don’t bother me with AI. We’re not even ready for it yet. So her perspective of, like, putting a value on it or understanding the ROI and, like, your internal organization’s prioritization of that is really fascinating to me. And I [00:10:00] love hearing that there were so many conversations about the clinical applications of AI because I definitely do think that is more immediately beneficial to patients.
Even thinking about, like, myself as a patient, I can imagine that being implemented much faster and easier, than on some of the marketing pieces when you’re thinking about personalization or whatnot.
Shelby: 100%. There was even a provider that was talking about because someone asked a really good question in one of the sessions about, okay, we’re pushing so hard for virtual visits, right?
But what about individuals who at home might not be in a safe space for them to be able to talk about what’s going on? And how do you stay on top of that? And one of the providers was talking about how they’re looking into using AI to help be able to flag any subtle cues of anxiety that folks may be showing on like within 20 seconds of a call, being able to flag to the provider so the provider can follow up after the virtual call to be like, “Hey, I felt like maybe [00:11:00] something was up, or there might be some, is there anything you want to talk about?”
And I just thought how amazing that technology can be able to help providers who are so overwhelmed. They’ve got, they’re going in and out of meetings with individuals. How do they keep that kind of personalization, right? To help people feel really seen and heard. So it was neat to see how tech is evolving on that side.
Jenny: Absolutely. And even thinking about like, whenever I’ve gone to see a specialist, they’re always looking at their computer typing while we’re talking. Transcription, right? Look me in the eyes and let the technology take care of that. That’s such a simple fix for such a cool technology implementation. So super exciting.
I love all of those topics. Let’s talk, because, so there’s exciting innovation, right? People love talking about innovation and all of the ways it’s going to change the way that we show up every day. But you also mentioned and talked about that there were just some great sessions that really focus on a solid marketing foundation and those things that marketers like us have [00:12:00] to show up and do every single day.
So tell me a little bit about that.
Shelby: Yeah. So for honestly, the true marketers out there, there was a Wednesday afternoon session called like marketing superstars, and we thought that session really delivered. So Brian Deffaa, who is the CMO of LifeBridge Health, Jason, who’s the Chief Digital Officer of Bon Secours Mercy Health, and Bob Poznanovich, who’s the Chief Growth Officer at Hamilton Betty Ford Foundation.
They were such a great panel to talk about this and they gave some amazing points about setting a solid marketing foundation. One of them talking about AI even said, “Sometimes it feels like we’re watering our lawn when our house is on fire.” Like, like we gotta get the basics in place, just like you were saying, Jenny.
So they were definitely mirroring that [00:13:00] across the board. But Brian told a great story about how marketing is about telling stories, right? And showing value. And he really took an inside-out approach to telling the LifeBridge story in the market. By starting with their internal positioning, so starting with that emotional story, and then they layered in kind of how are we going to activate on this digitally, externally, right?
So they made some really game changing digital improvements by creating this convenient entry point into care that they called Hello Brave, which were these four doorways into the right type of care. So you could easily, there are four options, what are you looking for? To help the prospective patient get to where they needed to go.
And Brian even said during that panel that 81 [00:14:00] percent of consumers will choose convenience over their current doctor. And we’re seeing Amazon and Costco getting into the healthcare space. And what are they doing? They’re making it more convenient. These traditional healthcare organizations are really going to need to kind of match removing that friction, making it easier for patients to get what they’re looking for in order to compete with these emerging kind of non-traditional healthcare options.
Jenny: Absolutely. Hello, Brave. What a beautiful brand name. I just, I want to go Google that and go look at what that user experience is like simply because of the name of it. I love that for them. Oh, this is so fun. So on a scale of one to five with one, definitely not going back, and five being I’m ready to buy my ticket for 2024.
Where are you with Becker’s?
Shelby: Oh my gosh. It was great. It’s definitely up there. If not a 5, 4. 5, like it was such thought provoking content.[00:15:00] Like, even as we’re just talking about the storytelling that came from Brian and his team, there was a lot of conversation about storytelling when it comes to physician leakage.
And I know I’ve talked to clients that have the, “Our physicians are referring people away from us, even though we can help them with the, we have people in our system that can help them with these next steps.” And so there were multiple people, Brian, Jackie, let me, I want to make sure Jackie Effenson of Houston Methodist spoke about this, Ken Chaplin, who’s the CMO of City of Hope, all talked about this and they talked about some low cost ways to improve referrals, like bringing specialists in around their primary care providers. Jackie even talked about internal providers being users of their patient-facing Find A Provider tool [00:16:00] and how they were considering even modifying a version of that tool to support internal referrals, which I thought was genius.
Jenny: That really is genius, right? If there’s a need and the technology exists, let’s pivot it so it’s easier for that group to use it. Absolutely brilliant. Yeah, well, Shelby, thank you so much.
Not only for taking my ticket, which again, serious FOMO, I was texting you the whole time like I wish I was there, but also for coming back with such fabulous insights. For listeners, so appreciate your time. I hope you were able to get a little bit of inspiration and just excitement around the neat things that are happening with innovation and with just smart marketing execution across the country.
We are going to tag all of the folks that we mentioned on this podcast. So if you have any specific questions around the topics that they discussed at Becker’s, I’m sure they would love for you to reach out to them on LinkedIn and start that secondary conversation. So as always, thanks for tuning in to We Are, Marketing Happy and we’ll see you soon.
Today Jenny welcomes Courtney Mahlandt, Senior Director of Segment Marketing at Evernorth Health Services. Courtney discusses their journey into segmentation, driven by the expansion of their healthcare services beyond pharmacy benefits. They aim to understand their broader audience and their needs and emphasize the importance of involving multiple internal teams. This meant including sales and product right from the start to make segmentation an organizational effort.
Courtney explains how they used a combination of first-party data and external quantitative data analysis, surveying over a thousand existing and potential buyers. Courtney and Jenny discuss the benefits of segmentation in working smarter across teams and enabling product customization, targeted sales efforts, and more engaging marketing campaigns. Courtney also emphasizes the need for continuous data refresh and adapting to market changes.
Connect with Courtney:
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Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi, friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are, Marketing Happy. My name is Jenny Bristow, and I am the CEO at Hedy & Hopp, a healthcare marketing agency. I am so excited today to be here with Courtney Mahlandt. So she is the, let me find your exact title, so I get your title right. She’s the Senior Director of Segment Marketing at Evernorth Health Services, and I’m so excited to chat with you.
We had a lot of fun kind of doing a pre screening call figuring out what the topic was going to be because you not only launched a lead generation campaign that won you two DotCom awards recently, but there’s some really cool segmentation work that you’ve been doing. And so that’s a question we’ve been getting a lot lately.
So that’s the topic we’re going to dig into. Today, so I’d love for you just to give us a little bit of the background of why you decided to embark on a [00:01:00] segmentation project and some of the root causes that was driving that need.
Courtney: Well, thanks, Jenny. I’m really excited to be here. Appreciate you asking me to be a guest today.
So segmentation has been quite a journey for us and the reason we started and kicked it off initially was we expanded our audience completely. We went from a pharmacy benefit-focused organization, Express Scripts for those of you that are familiar with the organization, and we extended and launched that into a broader health services offering Evernorth Health Services.
So we really needed to better understand our audiences and what their needs were beyond the pharmacy space specifically.
Jenny: Absolutely. And so whenever you began to embark on this journey, how did you think about or how did you tackle all the different internal groups that were going to be involved in the process?
How did you [00:02:00] identify stakeholders? Did you just kind of go at it alone and then loop people in later? What was your approach?
Courtney: Yeah, so I guess the very first conversation and where this really started was we had a conversation with our CEO at the time. It’s a really small, intimate group. And he said, marketing is really where we have the opportunity to best engage and understand our clients broadly, our buyers, what their needs are.
And of course, I’m sitting in the room next to them, across the table and saying, yes, thank you for that recognition. That is exactly what we do and where we are focused and how we can best help the organization. So, I reflected on that and I said, okay, but it’s not just marketing’s responsibility.
As an organization, we need to show up together through all these different groups that are engaging with our stakeholders and our clients and our buyers. And so we really said, okay, if we’re doing segmentation, this needs to be not only marketing [00:03:00] driven, but also something that our sales teams, our till teams, our product teams are bought-in on from the very beginning.
This should be how we’re orienting as an organization. So we started putting together that the core team, myself, my partner in market research and my partners in data and analytics. We said, okay, what could this look like? How could we show up? And we worked with each one of those teams to say, how do we build this the right way?
How do we best solve all of our needs and got that buy-in and commitment from the very beginning so that when we were starting to activate it, it wasn’t a marketing only initiative.
Jenny: That’s super smart in a place that I see so many people make the missteps. And I just want to say kudos to that CEO for understanding the importance of understanding the specificity of buyers and the persona and how that really weaves throughout the entire organization.
So that’s great that you had that executive level support. So talk to me [00:04:00] about as you started going down this process of understanding who the buyer is, what data did you use? Did you use a combination of first party data and third party data? Kind of how did you decide how you wanted to craft this?
Courtney: So we primarily used our own, we primarily used information that we could lean externally through quantitative data analysis. We actually surveyed over a thousand of our existing and potential buyers. But we really wanted to connect that back into our own data and analytics. That was always the goal.
So we wanted to kind of approach it from both angles and make sure that we could actually say, what does this really mean for our own and existing relationships? Because retention is such a critical part of our business for the organization, and we saw that cross-selling would be a huge opportunity for us as we expanded [00:05:00] beyond that pharmacy benefits into a broader health services viewpoint.
Jenny: Yeah, I love that. I feel like the identification of cross-selling opportunities is always a really fun gem that shows up when you’re doing this kind of work, right? It’s like an unexpected happy surprise sometimes if that wasn’t the primary initiative of the project. So talk to me about, so you had all of this data.
You had a really nice large data set. You had an internal analyst team. How did you tackle? How many personas did you create? How did you segment according to different areas of your business? I think a lot of folks that we talked to are really excited about the idea of creating personas, but they get really overwhelmed when it comes to meshing data with behaviors and key triggers of why somebody would make a purchasing decision.
And so they kind of stop or pause the project if they don’t have a partner to walk them through that. So walk me through kind of how you merge that and how you divided it up.
Courtney: Yeah, we really [00:06:00] decided that from the beginning that we were going to need an external partner to help us through this while we had an expert in marketing research and expert in analytics and, really kind of helping us navigate what the activation process would be.
We knew that some type of cluster analysis and connecting all of those different data points together. We need the third party to kind of look over and see what are all the different connection points we could make to really pull up what are the key segments and then even from then. At that point, they looked at, I think they did like 40 different analyses to determine which would be the one we would advance and go with.
We wanted to make sure that they were mutually exclusive, that there wasn’t going to be overlap within the different segmentation elements. And then from there, we as a team said, Okay, well, while we have these different segments, we’re probably actually going to focus and prioritize a lot of our efforts on a handful of these efforts to really pull through [00:07:00] this insight across the organization and make this really understandable for the broad team that would be using it.
Jenny: I love it. That’s so smart. So then what would, what did the final deliverable look like whenever you actually presented the winning, let’s say there were four different personas or buyer profiles that you identified. What format did you use? Did you do storytelling? Like walk us through that.
Courtney: Yeah, there’s a lot of socialization explaining probably where we’ve landed and netted out.
But I think the most important and pivotal step that we landed on that made this real was the workshop. We spent all day together, all these different teams saying, okay, how do we want to make this real? How do we actually activate this? How do we prioritize this and start integrating it into the way that we work today?
And we didn’t stop there. We actually stood up a very non-exciting, but we set up a weekly forum and we [00:08:00] said, okay, we want to make sure that we have one representative from each of these teams. And we keep it going and we held each other accountable. And we started pulling in, okay, where are the successes that we can show?
So in every socialization conversation that we kept getting invited to, because people were interested and excited about the insights, we had more information to show on how we continue to progress and build successes. And instead of us kind of really pushing it out to everybody, we really kind of started building with a snowball effect.
And people were saying, oh, this is a smarter way to do my job. I want to learn a little bit more about that. So, it was a really kind of a natural way to keep the work going, but, we had to keep at it.
Jenny: Absolutely. And reinforcing those insights is really a never ending process, right? Just continues to evolve and change. So if you had to name the biggest takeaway or the biggest [00:09:00] win for your organization, as far as going through this process today, looking back over the entire timeline of work that you’ve done, what would that be?
Courtney: I think it’s all about working smarter. And every single team that’s using it today is incorporating this into existing strategies, existing work. It’s just helping them achieve their goals in a faster way. So for that product team, they’re creating products that are really going to resonate with the buyers for the sales team.
They’re prioritizing the buyers that these offerings will actually matter most to. So they have faster velocity when they’re trying to break through in those sales, and then, of course, for marketing, when we’re launching these campaigns, we can actually modify the way that we’re showing up to those buyers so that we’re getting higher click through rate, higher engagement and more [00:10:00] follow through.
Jenny: I love it. That’s so wonderful, Courtney. We did a segmentation and a persona project with one of our clients late last year. And just sharing an example to kind of make a palpable for our listeners. They thought that their average buyer, and this was a health insurance product, individual and family.
They thought the average buyer was a man married with children in his late forties. So all marketing was targeted to that persona. We found out it was actually a 62 year old single woman. And so that changed everything, right? That changes the images that you use. That changes the language, that changes the upsell opportunity cause they also provide Medicare, right?
And so, I think it’s really helpful just to have a real example as people start thinking about, yes, it’s a lot of work to go through this data and it’s a lot of work to then socialize it. But my goodness, the end result of marketing is so much more impactful. So, so what’s next, Courtney, what’s [00:11:00] next with your team?
So you’ve done all the segmentation work. You’re socializing it. Where do you see this project going from here? What do you think is the next iteration?
Courtney: So I mentioned earlier that we use quantifiable data as our starting point. We know that that information isn’t just forever. It’s not evergreen.
We need to keep refreshing it. And one of the ways we really want to further augment it is using additional data, pulling that in and better understanding marketplace changes. I think all of us know that in a, especially those in large organizations, that if leadership changes, if the economy shifts, broader market forces, it changes how we buy and our appetite for other services.
So we really want to make sure that this can continue to live on and be relevant and strengthen the work that we’ve done by augmenting and adding in additional data and information. That’s step one. I would say [00:12:00] also in parallel, we want to continue to work with our company and their sellers, make sure that they feel really comfortable understanding this information and making sure that they can prioritize and bring the right offerings and information to their buyers based off of this, particularly, new people enter the buying group and selections are different, right?
You know, I think something like five to 10 people are typically a part of a buying group. So that changes as organizations evolve. So how do we make sure that everyone has the right information at their fingertips when they’re having quarterly discussions with their clients, for instance.
Jenny: Oh, Courtney. I love it. This has been so helpful. I think for all listeners that are thinking about embarking on a segmentation and persona development project, this has given them a lot of fodder and food for thought. So thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I’m going to link to your LinkedIn in the show notes so if anybody wants to follow up with more specific [00:13:00] questions that they’ll be able to reach out directly.
But again, thank you for being on. And for all of our listeners, be sure to tune in next week for another episode of We Are, Marketing Happy.
On today’s episode, Jenny is coming to you solo to discuss the recently released Experian State of Patient Access Report. The report is based on surveys of both patients and healthcare providers across the country, exploring their views on access to care over a three-year period. The report identifies five key aspects of patient access and reveals that both patients and providers agree that access to care has either remained the same or worsened in the past year but for different reasons. Patients desire a streamlined scheduling experience, while providers grapple with staffing shortages and care cost challenges. Jenny emphasizes the need for well-integrated digital solutions throughout the patient journey and encourages marketers to collaborate with operations teams to optimize the patient experience. She also highlights the importance of compliance in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape and the critical role marketing plays in enhancing patient and provider experiences.
Access the State of Patient Access Report here.
Connect with Jenny:
Interested in working with Hedy & Hopp on a marketing program?
Book time with Jenny today: https://calendly.com/jennybristow/
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are Marketing Happy, A Healthcare Marketing Podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow and I am the CEO and Founder of Hedy & Hopp. We are a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency, and I’m on today to talk about Experian’s “State of Patient Access Report.” So it was just released and there’s a lot of really interesting things.
They surveyed both patients and providers across the country. They really understand the three year trajectory of how both groups are feeling about the state of access to care. And so I wanted to hop on and just share a little bit of what the report shared. I’m going to put a link in the show notes for you to go download the report yourself to be able to digest the entire report, but I wanted to share.
So first, there are five different things that Experian states as them, their definition of [00:01:00] patient access. And it’s really interesting because here at Hedy & Hopp, whenever we talk about being really passionate about improving patient’s access to care, typically we’re thinking about front-end touchpoints, right?
So whenever they’re able to find a provider online, schedule an appointment online, and really understand the care that they’re going to receive. Experian really expands that to five distinct areas which absolutely makes sense from a patient’s perspective, but I wanted to talk about those for a little bit.
So the first one is what we would expect, right? Like scheduling an appointment. The second is pre-registration and registration. Third is coverage verification and cost of care estimates, which is a really hot topic in the healthcare space. Pre-care payment services. And then, of course, the final is patient communication.
So one of the really interesting things is that overall, both patients and providers are saying that access to care is the same or worse as it was 12 months ago, but for different reasons. [00:02:00] So patients really want that right time, right provider scheduling experience. Make it easy, right?
It’s really interesting on one page of the report, it actually talks about how, let me pull it up. It talks about how the access to scheduling appointments online is actually worse than it was a year ago. So it seems as though quite a few providers actually added that functionality during COVID.
And then some of them have actually pulled back on the prioritization of that. Again, resources and budgets are tight. So we understand, you know, from an operational perspective, how that could happen, but it definitely isn’t meeting patients where they are and what they’re expecting. But, at the same time, providers feel the pain when it comes to staffing shortages, which really exacerbates that patient access pain point, right?
Because it results in scheduling delays. Taking longer to get that first scheduled appointment to happen. And then of course, challenges around care cost estimates. So again, that really makes sense is what we’re hearing from [00:03:00] providers is they really want to focus on care and that confusion or back and forth around costs is not really where they, or their administrative team, wants to spend their limited energy.
And so at the end of the day, all of this is really putting a big need and pressure on well-integrated digital solutions throughout the patient journey, right? It’s not just the front-end. It’s not just that digital front door that folks talk about all of the time of getting patients in the door the first time. It’s really thinking about everything from finding a provider, scheduling an appointment, receiving a cost estimate.
The bar is really low. So much that even, like, a positive payment experience can be an affinity driver, which is mind blowing, right? Making it easy for somebody to give you money results in them wanting to come back and see you again versus going and choosing another provider. Kind of mind blowing, but really marketers should lean in to work with these operation teams whenever you’re mapping out the patient experience.
I mean, one of the things whenever we [00:04:00] have assisted with Epic integrations, for example, is really making sure that it’s a much broader perspective than just marketing dollars and service line prioritization, but really thinking about how we can optimize that patient experience. So for example, with some clients we’ve had to implement feedback loops.
So if we’re promoting a specific service line or perhaps promoting a new provider within the practice, really understanding once their schedule is full and you’re looking out more than so many weeks in advance to pull back on that budget, so you’re not sending folks to a dissatisfying landing page where they’re not seeing appointments for two plus months out.
That’s clearly a negative patient experience, so it needs to be a much broader conversation to be able to make sure that we’re matching patient expectations along with provider availability. So what, right? Like, so what this report is really helpful to be able to see the state of the state and be able to see what positive [00:05:00] impact…
I put that in really heavy air quotes, because it’s difficult to think about anything positive coming out of COVID, but it really did force providers and systems to lean into telehealth and lead in to online patient portals. So that is seen as an increase over the last three years, but at the same time, there’s been a lot of other things that have increased from a negative perspective that the report talks about.
So there are three key things that are the Hedy & Hopp “So what?” about this report. Let’s talk about it. The first is making sure that marketing has a seat at the cross functional table. So as these decisions are being made from a budgeting and technology perspective, make sure marketing is sitting at that conversation and really being involved.
We need to think about how patients are experiencing care. We need to map out the entire patient journey. So if you are currently racing to redo your website, stand up telehealth, uh, mobile app, whatever, pause to map out that patient journey and understand how it fits in and the overall impact and messaging [00:06:00] modifications that need to be made across that entire journey.
The other thing that we’re seeing is we’re actually seeing marketing kind of either be labeled in a different way or have different functions kind of collaborate. So you see like patient experience teams and just a little bit of modifications around the language of marketing. And I think this is a really positive thing, right?
Cause we, as a function, are much bigger than just marketing, but it’s definitely something we’re seeing. Number two, map out the entire patient experience, whether you’re trying to improve the provider’s experience or the patient’s experience at the end of the day, the patient is really the one that we need to impact.
So if the provider is having hiccups, first map out that patient experience and figure out how the provider can weave in and out in a way that’s positive for the patient, because if you fix something for the provider, but end up making it negative accidentally for the patient because you weren’t thinking holistically,
you’re going to have a different problem on your hands 6 months [00:07:00] out. And then finally, please be compliant. I have to remind you all again. We are not a privacy agency. We are a full service, fully healthcare agency. We do everything, but we are talking so much about privacy and compliance right now because it is changing so quickly.
The sands are shifting beneath our feet and especially if we’re thinking about telehealth and all of these different levers that you can pull to improve or modify the patient experience, you’re going to run into compliance issues. So please make sure you’re working with your legal and compliance teams or a group like Hedy & Hopp that can really help make sure you’re setting things up in a way that is safe in both the short and the long term and you’re really thinking about your entire tech stack and light of the new guidelines.
So with that, I’m going to put a link to the report in the show notes. You can read it and download it. It’s a relatively short report. I think it’s under 10 pages and [00:08:00] it’s absolutely worth the read. I think the cross section of the size of the respondents is really helpful to feel confident in the results.
And thank you Experian for your work. Thank you for joining in today on another episode of We Are, Marketing Happy and we’ll see you soon.
On this episode, Jenny is again joined by Shelby Auer, Account Manager at Hedy & Hopp as they bring even more insights from their time at SHSMD 2023. Today she and Shelby discuss the evolving landscape of healthcare marketing regulations, pointing out changes in marketing practices driven by HIPAA, FTC, and state laws. Jenny highlights the importance of understanding GDPR, even for U.S.-based businesses, as opt-in policies and the “right to be forgotten” become more relevant. They also break down the growing complexity of state laws and emphasizes the need for collaboration between marketing, legal, and compliance teams to navigate these challenges.
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Interested in working with Hedy & Hopp on a privacy compliance program?
Book time with Jenny today: https://calendly.com/jennybristow/30-minute-compliance-consultation
Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi, friends. Welcome to today’s episode of We Are Marketing Happy, a Healthcare Marketing Podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I’m the CEO and founder at Hedy and Hopp, a healthcare marketing agency. I am so excited to be here today. We just got back from SHSMD. I’m joined with Shelby Auer on my team, and we presented on, um, HIPAA, FTC, and state laws.
So, as most of y’all know, or you should know, the rug was basically pulled out from all of us. Um, a year ago today at SHSMD, there were many events talking about best practices for marketing technologies and your tech stack. All of those recommendations are now wrong. So I have a whole other episode that we’ll link to in the show notes that’s a 101 on HIPAA and FTC, but a lot of the questions I received were specifically related to GDPR and state laws.
So we wanted to talk a little bit about that first, and then [00:01:00] Shelby and I are going to dig into some of the feedback we received, because one of the cool things is we, as a result of being the first session on the one of the first sessions on the first day, is we ended up having dozens of folks coming and chatting with us about their individual team’s response, their legal team’s perspective, etc.
So we’re excited to share some of that. So first of all, I want to talk a little bit about GDPR and state laws. So first GDPR, most folks that are within the United States are probably thinking, Oh, I don’t need to worry about GDPR. We don’t sell to or do business with anyone in Europe. Well, maybe not. But here’s 2 key things about GDPR you need to know exist.
GDPR has 2 things that are very different from the way we operate within the United States. The first one is they are opt in versus opt out, which means, you know, how on your website, the cookie preferences loads, um, and you hit accept, um, you actually, if you hit do not accept, um, [00:02:00] or no, well, you have to hit, yes, give it to me, give the cookie me in Europe.
Whereas in the United States, you have to say, no, please do not put cookies on my computer and track me. And so it’s just a completely different perspective. And they’re tracking, um, percentages that are way, way smaller in Europe because most folks do not choose to opt in, whereas in the United States, most folks stay opted in and they don’t choose to opt out.
So that’s the first one. The second one is right to be forgotten. So pause for a minute and think about your marketing tech stack and think about if Jenny from St. Louis called you and said, Hey, I would like for you to delete me from all of your databases. Do you have any idea how you would actually do that?
That thought alone probably scares you, as it should, but again, that exists in GDPR and the United States, we mostly don’t have that. But there are four state laws that are currently online, California, Virginia, Colorado, and Connecticut, and California [00:03:00] is likely soon going to require data brokers to allow consumers to submit a right to be forgotten request.
So this is creeping into the United States. So it’s important to know how GDPR functions because we’re starting to see it show up in many other states. Um, we’re not going to go through all of the different state regulations because they are really intense. We actually have a couple of summary slides that I do in actual presentations just to give you a high level like cliff notes version, but your attorneys absolutely need to look at each state law and figure out how you need to comply.
Um, the other one that is really crazy is in Florida. Um, there are regulations around, um, having data stored outside of the country. So for example, if you use an offshoring company, uh, finding out where your servers are actually physically located, there are some repercussions related to anything [00:04:00] actually physically, um, or digitally outside of the United States.
Utah, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, and Tennessee are two that are scheduled to come online in the next about 12 to 18 months. And there are many, many more states that are scheduled to come online shortly after or are currently in legislative conversations and review.
So even if you’re a covered entity and you are, uh, complying with all things HIPAA, there’s still likely maybe some things that you need to think about at the state law level. And if you are not a covered entity, and you’re really just thinking about FTC, you also need to be thinking about state laws.
Washington, for example, has a regulation that says if you are a covered entity and you’re treating data like PHI, then that law does not apply to you, the regulations do not apply. But if you are not a covered entity and you are or are not treating data like PHI, it does apply to you. So for example, there are a [00:05:00] lot of what we call healthcare adjacent organizations that think they don’t have to really be thinking about this, or if they treat their data like PHI, they don’t have to worry about state law.
And again, that just isn’t true. These things are changing rapidly. Shelby, what are your thoughts on state laws? You’re working with a few different client projects right now from an audit and recommendations perspective and state laws get pretty hairy, right?
Shelby: Yes. Oh my goodness. All and figuring out how to approach the state laws because there’s a lot of conversation of, oh, is California the most strict?
Well, if we’re okay in California, are we okay in all of these other states? And it’s so, so important. I heard multiple people when we were at SHSMD say this, but to become BFFs with legal and privacy, legal and compliance. That is so true. So, so true. As much as it can be a little bit of a battle, making sure that there’s open lines of communication, that your [00:06:00] digital team is comfortable helping legal and privacy, understand the technicalities behind the changes in these laws and vice versa. Because that’s, that’s a lot of what I’ve, I’ve been working with clients is making sure that all of these different groups are talking to each other and help each other speak the same language because all of these state laws coming on are so hairy.
There is not a stop in sight. It’s just continuing to come down the pipeline with more and more states or additions to current state laws that are out there. So that’s, that’s really the biggest thing that that I’ve been working through lately and just making sure that everyone’s talking to each other and on the same page.
Jenny: Absolutely. Uh, the audit process that we talk about, not only in that first episode that again, we’ll link to in the show notes, but also that I presented at SHSMD is really doing that due diligence to show your legal and compliance teams that, Hey, I’m taking this seriously too. I am not putting my head, you know, down and trying to [00:07:00] ignore that all of this is happening.
We’re doing the work right now. I want to do the work alongside you, um, on the same side of the table, not opposite sides of the table. We both want the same thing for the benefit of our customers and patients 100%.
Shelby: And I think one of the things Jenny said, you said in your presentation that I think was really important for a lot of people to hear is right, this isn’t just your marketing, advertising and analytics platforms, but there are so many other things on your tech stack that are in the code of your site that are collecting things like IP address that so many people, you just don’t, you don’t even think about it. Right. And we didn’t have to up until late last year.
And so I think, yeah, that audit process is so incredibly important to have one place where, you know, exactly everything that is touching your site and what information it has access to.
Jenny: And not just your site, your entire digital footprint, right? Like there were some audible gasps in the room when I walked through some [00:08:00] examples of things our team has found during audits.
For example, I’ll just name a couple of them just to kind of help you help our listeners think about the broadness of this audit and the level of patient care that we need to have from a data angle. So one, for example is we have found on one site we audited that when forms were filled out on the website, that then field variables were then put up into the URL parameters.
So that means then things like Google or any other tool or software on the website are then indexing those URLs and all of that information, the person’s name, email address, whatever information they put in about the, um, you know, state of health, their health or any questions they entered is all now available free on the internet for all these tools to scrape.
Um, another thing is a lot of video players that are embedded on websites are actually behind the scenes pulling in IP and device ID information, which as [00:09:00] we all know now is no longer allowed. And then other examples are things like your call tracking tools or your advertising platforms.
Oftentimes we already know pixels can’t be on the site, right? We talked about that a lot. But what about the data that’s being in those platforms as far as, for example, call tracking tools has the phone number and then they have the recording of the call of them calling to make an appointment.
Advertising platforms, maybe, um, you’re maybe somebody in the past uploaded a patient, uh, list and they have lookalike audiences that they have built based off of that. There are all these different ways that you may inadvertently have been sharing this patient information. Audits need to be way more comprehensive than simply looking at your analytics setup.
So let’s dig in and talk a little bit about things that we heard folks doing. So we literally had a line at our booth almost the entire time, which was awesome to see, right? Like we love those conversations. And it [00:10:00] also is kind of disheartening sometimes because the number of people that came up to me and said, Oh, we thought we had it figured out, but everything you talked about just made me realize all of these other things that I need to look at now.
Um, and I, I hate that I started their conference in that way, but what are some of the things that you heard? How are folks approaching this?
Shelby: Oh, yes it’s, it’s interesting because there are definitely some folks that said, Oh, we took off everything. We went cold turkey and we are in this, you know, sixty to eighty day range of not really having much to be able to look at in regards to what we’re tracking until we get something else in place.
Uh, but again, this, I, I talked to individuals who, who were super on the defensive, right? Took everything off their site and yet there’s still issues popping up. They thought they had gotten everything and then they’re, oh, oh, yep, we got a video embedded on the site. [00:11:00] And I didn’t realize that that’s an issue, right?
So it’s, it’s, it’s been interesting to hear from the folks who, who were taking that stance that, yes, there are these things that are hidden that are hard to find, it’s not as easy as just, Oh, here are the 10, uh, platforms that we utilize in our week to week and, oh, we’re taking those off and we’re good.
So a lot, heard a lot of that out there.
Jenny: Totally agree. Some of the things that I heard is there were a variety of, um, orgs that came up to us that were in the middle of an implementation of either a CDP or a completely new analytics platform. And a large percentage of them actually had paused the work before coming to the conference in order to learn more about best practices and what other systems are doing before fully implementing them.
So those were some good conversations. We were able to share some insights about the tools they were looking to partner with some watchouts, um, and just some best practices about, which I think was really helpful. Um, other [00:12:00] things is, um, some folks did not realize that sometimes forms are actually implemented by third parties.
They just assumed it was part of the website database. So a lot of folks are going home, checking on that. Um, we have a lot of folks that are, um, going and checking on their advertising platforms. What else Shelby?
Shelby: There was, I will remember that, like, this was such a vivid memory, uh, in one of the sessions, someone asked such a great question about the video tools, right?
And they had said, you know, say we have a video on a page talking about West Nile Virus and tips and tricks when you’re dealing with somewhere where there’s going to be a lot of mosquitoes. What should you keep in mind? Right? So it’s, it’s more of a news story. It’s more of a tool. It’s not exactly a specific health condition.
And they’re like, [00:13:00] what do we, you know, is that worrisome? Should we not be, you know, utilizing those web posting services or having that type of video or any sort of tracking? And again, it was a panel discussion and everyone’s like, okay, you know, this is a gray area, right? You need to be talking to your legal and compliance, but at the end of the day, they could be researching, maybe they think they have West Nile.
Maybe they’re going to go talk to their PCP about some symptoms that they’re having. And so that’s how they got there. That really, the safest route is to make sure that you’re not utilizing any tools that’s going to be pulling in that patient information about what the content of the video is, even if it’s something that might even seem like, well, this is just educating the community.
This isn’t a specific health condition, which I thought was really important to think about.
Jenny: I agree. Um, a couple of examples we gave are, um, you know, if you’re a cancer center or if you’re [00:14:00] a, uh, breast health center or, um, whatever, if, if you’re not a large system where from your homepage, you’re listing out 12 different service lines our POV, again this is gray. Your own attorney needs to make this call. That our POV is you need to treat the entire website with care. You need to make sure that you’re not collecting IP addresses anywhere. Um, so some organizations had been thinking about only removing pixels from symptom specific or a super care specific pages kind of taking that bulletin verbatim.
But our POV is if you’re doing that, why not just fully protect that patient’s data throughout the entire journey, right? If anything, I think it’s easier from a tech stack perspective to treat all of it with the care and consideration that it needs. So, again, that’s something that they have to chat about with their internal legal and compliance teams, but definitely good food for thought.
So awesome. Well, thank you, Shelby, for tuning [00:15:00] in and for all of our listeners. I really hope that the GDPR and state law level information is helpful and guiding you and helping you understand the different questions you should be bringing to your legal and compliance teams again.
Cause if you’re on the same side of the table as them and you’re working together to make sure that patient information is safe and secure, it is such an easier conversation than if you dig your heels in and try to protect what you’re comfortable with. So thanks for tuning in. As always, Hedy and Hopp is here to answer any burning questions you may have.
Reach out to us. Otherwise, we’ll see you on a future episode of We Are Marketing Happy.