Marketing veterans offer up their best career advice.
In case you missed the recent episode of the Healthcare Rap podcast titled “What’s Your Best Career Advice for New Marketers?” we’ve curated some of the most salient ideas for veterans and neophytes alike.
The excerpts below feature some of our favorite quotes on professional development, networking, and other critical skills for the modern marketer.
Step Away from the Desk
“The heart of marketing is building relationships and understanding people, not learning the latest algorithm for Snapchat or Instagram or the best time of day to post something on Facebook. It's about building relationships not checking boxes, and you can only do that by getting out from behind your computer screen and getting to know the people you're serving—your customers and your colleagues. Also, learn how to use both sides of your brain: the creative and the data-driven side. Modern marketing combines art and science so you can't focus on one and ignore the other."
—Jared Johnson, Manager of Marketing Technology and Analytics at Phoenix Children's Hospital and Healthcare Rap Co-Host (@jaredpiano)
Know Your Audience and Speak Their Language
“Anything I've ever done successfully in healthcare marketing came from face-to-face conversations with people. I've taken the time to reach out to doctors and other stakeholders, learn and synthesize what I'm hearing, and then translate those insights into messaging that my audience will benefit from. By taking that approach and educating the public in terms that they can understand, you will make a connection with the audience."
—Peter Balistrieri, Senior Brand Manager at Phoenix Children's Hospital and Healthcare Rap Co-Host (@mood481)
Seek Diverse Experiences
“Seek out career opportunities early on where you have a variety of responsibilities. It’s very easy to get pigeonholed in today’s digital marketing world where more and more people are focused on specific aspects of the role, such as SCO or SCM, user experience, etc. The more you understand each piece of the pie, the more valuable you’ll be to any organization.”
—Andy Gradel, System Director of Digital Marketing at Main Line Health (@andygradel)
Align with Innovators
“The best advice for entry-level marketers is to stay away from health care! You can’t learn enough here. Latch onto an agency doing innovative, data-driven work for a range of clients, and then spend as much time as you possibly can understanding consumer and customer behavior. The two most valuable skills we have on our team at Piedmont or the agencies we hire are the ability to use data to drive insight and, therefore, strategy, and the flexibility to change tactics based on how your customers react. As for what’s changed, it’s the primacy of data and strategy over creative excellence and the integration of personalization and experience in the brand.”
—Matt Gove, Chief Consumer Officer at Piedmont Healthcare (@gove)
“Same advice for entry-level marketers in all fields: network, build relationships and don’t burn bridges.”
—Jo Anna Shuba, Vice President and Segment Lead of Travel & Entertainment at Barclays
“Listen more than you talk. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Be respectful and inquisitive, and don’t stop learning! Think about both today and down the road. Make sure you maintain a work-life balance, and most importantly, just have fun! If you aren’t passionate about healthcare marketing, find something that you are passionate about. Life is too short to spend time at a job that you don’t love, isn’t feeding your soul and doesn’t make you feel happy and fulfilled. Healthcare marketing can be frustrating at times, but it’s the complicated and challenging nature that makes it so rewarding. Enjoy!”
—Kathy Divis, President and Co-Founder at Greystone.net (@KathyDivis)
Find and Fuel Your Passion
“First, find your why. We all have an internal gnawing to do something significant with our lives. All great accomplishments begin with a why. So will your career. Next, spend time understanding the industry and the people. Marketing has too much of a divide from the industry it serves today. Inside organizations, providers often view marketing as an annoying necessity, and many executives see it as a cost center to be cut as much as possible. So, to build the kind of reputation you want, make sure you understand the industry. What are the drivers, the current influences, the big players and their impact, the trends in how people are seeking health care and how clinicians are delivering that care, and spend time with the people. Spend time rounding with providers in the clinics, connecting with the people both giving and receiving care. Not only will you better understand your job, you’ll find the heartbeat of your place in the industry. Great careers are built with keen minds when those keen minds are fueled with connected hearts.”
—Noel Coleman, President at Doctor.com Enterprise (@NoelColeman)
“I joined the digital world in 1993, so the changes I’ve seen would fill a book (or a large Wiki). My advice for entry-level healthcare marketers is: Be patient with your clinical leaders, be an educator and not a mandator, be nimble when they jump on this week’s shiny object or bauble and guide them to better solutions that fit your overall digital strategy. Expand your definition of marketing. It’s more than getting new patients; it’s meeting the needs of existing patients and using technology to improve their overall experience. If you believe that word of mouth is your most important marketing tool (and you should), then get involved with scheduling systems, patient portals, phone messaging, way-finding, printed appointment reminders, patient navigation, and real-time and follow-up satisfaction surveys, like HCAHPS and CAHPS. Almost every touch point of our patient encounter would be improved with better digital services, and that’s plenty of opportunity to deliver a better experience. It’s your job and you should lead the way.”
—Ed Bennett, Founder of MarTech.Health (@EdBennett)
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