Chris Pace Gets Real about a Digital Front Door Strategy, His Personal Journey with Imposter Syndrome and More

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Digital Strategy | 0 comments

Banner Health Senior Director of Digital Marketing Chris Pace shares a behind-the-scenes look at implementing an effective digital front door strategy.

Chris Pace of Banner HealthIn our wide-rang­ing inter­view for the Health­care Insight pod­cast, Chris opens up about sev­er­al top­ics crit­i­cal for health­care mar­ket­ing professionals.

Here’s a glimpse into the imple­men­ta­tion of a dig­i­tal front door strat­e­gy for Ban­ner Health, as well as how Chris is over­com­ing a com­mon chal­lenge that often comes with suc­cess: imposter syn­drome.

It takes a team to launch a dig­i­tal front door strat­e­gy. Any busi­ness has to have a dig­i­tal front door. The key point for us was includ­ing clin­i­cal, oper­a­tional and mar­ket­ing as the engine that presents it out to con­sumers and tells the sto­ry. Hav­ing all of those teams involved and a “with us, not just for us” men­tal­i­ty is how we were able to be suc­cess­ful. Had we not had that orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture and oper­a­tional effi­cien­cy mind­set, this would have crum­bled from day one—and it’s prob­a­bly why a lot of sys­tems strug­gle with these initiatives.

It has­n’t been all rain­bows and but­ter­flies. There were some bumpy roads on the jour­ney [to devel­op a dig­i­tal front door]. Our ini­tial attempt at imple­men­ta­tion of an enter­prise CRM fell on its face, and we had to real­ize that and switch to inside resources ver­sus out­side resources, because we ulti­mate­ly had to build it to suit our needs. That cre­at­ed some sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges, and in the mean­time you have to keep the lights on while you’re build­ing this.

Banner’s mar­ket­ing tech stack is a com­pet­i­tive advantage—especially dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. We need­ed a way to syn­di­cate and scale mes­sag­ing in real-time. In the month of April alone we had 150 changes to vis­i­tor pol­i­cy. You can’t effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate that by snail mail or email, you have to be able to plumb that infor­ma­tion into agent script­ing in real-time.

On the web­site, our COVID page was our heav­i­est traf­fic page and we were able to adjust our resources so the page loaded fast and could be present for con­sumers look­ing for information.

We have 3.2 mil­lion cus­tomers in our CRM, so what bet­ter way to get mes­sag­ing out to con­sumers in real-time and per­son­al­ize it so it looks like it’s from your PCP than lever­ag­ing a plat­form like that. We launched a tele­health plat­form out of nowhere in April, and we were get­ting thou­sands of appoint­ments a week because we had the tools and were able to mes­sage it out.

These things were unplanned but the scal­a­bil­i­ty of tech­nol­o­gy and our process­es, gov­er­nance and all the things we had in place pre­pared us so that we could com­mu­ni­cate faster and more effec­tive­ly than our competition.

An authen­tic brand voice helped Ban­ner Health build trust with the com­mu­ni­ty. This is where luck col­lid­ed with real­i­ty as our brand posi­tion­ing aligned real­ly well with our mis­sion state­ment. We use the term, “Exhale” as our tagline and the man­i­fes­ta­tion of that term is that you can breathe a sigh of relief because things are easy. Giv­en COVID, things aren’t easy so we had to walk away a bit from that message.

One thing we’ve worked close­ly with our brand agency on is get­ting our voice to align with what we call the “wise guide.” It’s the voice of a trust­ed friend who is also in health­care. When the pan­dem­ic struck and [Chief Clin­i­cal Offi­cer] Dr. Bessel became the face of who we are she became the wise guide. She has the demeanor and tone of “things are going to be OK, but we need to be smart and dili­gent in our approach to address­ing the pandemic—and we’re all in this togeth­er.” That wise guide approach put us in a posi­tion where we could dif­fer­en­ti­ate but also stand on our plat­form as the largest health sys­tem and largest employ­er in Ari­zona and deliv­er to the trust.

His team is focused on areas where they are unique­ly qual­i­fied. I try to focus my team on the top third of their skill set. We’re basi­cal­ly a team of strate­gists. On ser­vice line mar­ket­ing for exam­ple, we do a lot of paid adver­tis­ing and social media; how­ev­er, my ser­vice line mar­keters do not cre­ate that stuff—they align cam­paigns with busi­ness goals, build a plan that deliv­ers on those shared agree­ments and then work with our adver­tis­ing team and agency to exe­cute. We don’t have peo­ple buy­ing key­words inter­nal­ly, we out­source that. We focus on fram­ing the strat­e­gy, under­stand­ing the mes­sag­ing and align­ing it to the brand. It’s a well-oiled machine. We want to make sure we’re lean enough to be nim­ble and have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to aug­ment our teams with agency sup­port when we need it.

There’s no rest­ing on laurels—he’s always look­ing ahead. The key learn­ings from the dig­i­tal front door strat­e­gy are that scale mat­ters and we have to con­tin­ue to dou­ble down on that capa­bil­i­ty. There are still some man­u­al process­es that we go through like con­tent cre­ation. We want our con­tent to be seen as agnos­tic of the “where” [chan­nel]. Our site is still too slow and I’m not hap­py about it, and I’ll nev­er be hap­py about it so what­ev­er we can do to improve site speed because Google is await­ing next year with new changes to the ads plat­form that will include site speed as a metric.

That means it’s not just about hav­ing the high­est bid to win the auc­tion, but you also bet­ter be able to deliv­er con­tent when the user clicks. Also, GDPR isn’t here yet but I imag­ine with admin­is­tra­tion changes that we’ll start look­ing and behav­ing like the rest of the world again so we need to get our site GDPR compliant.

A zero-click strat­e­gy is becom­ing table stakes in health care. Being present in mobile is impor­tant and hav­ing a mobile respon­sive web­site is impor­tant, but where the wins hap­pen is in what’s called zero-click. For those that don’t know, I’ll use a sushi exam­ple: Over the week­end, I want­ed to get sushi so I searched “sushi near me” and dis­cov­ered that I was across the street from a sushi restau­rant and I did noth­ing: I did­n’t click, I didn’t call, I just walked to the loca­tion. That is inher­ent­ly zero click. It’s a dif­fi­cult thing for mar­keters because we all want calls to action and track­a­bil­i­ty and that’s almost impos­si­ble to track. So how do you opti­mize it? Some­thing like 70–75% of mobile search­es now result in no clicks. That’s huge and frightening.

What we’ve done that has been real­ly suc­cess­ful is first, we got our data accu­rate. That’s num­ber one. You have to know what your loca­tions are called, where they are and have con­sis­tent phone num­bers. We built out that data­base and syn­di­cat­ed it with Google. They have about 80% of loca­tion share so you’ve got to be right there first—but you have to be right every­where else, too. We now have loca­tion accu­ra­cy across 70 dif­fer­ent list­ings sites. Google is index­ing and fact-check­ing your data with the facts else­where and then com­par­ing it with your list­ings on Google My Busi­ness. If you’re wrong, you’re going to be play­ing loca­tion whack-a-mole for the rest of your life. If you’re right, Google likes you and will pump you up to the top. That means if someone’s typ­ing in “urgent care near me” you’re going to show up first.

He’s pas­sion­ate about help­ing oth­ers deal with imposter syn­drome. Imposter syn­drome is sim­pli­fied as the fear of being found out. It can be crip­pling. Had I not gone through years of ther­a­py to rec­og­nize it and this [COVID] sit­u­a­tion popped up dur­ing my peak imposter syn­drome years, it would have been disastrous.

One thing that helped me, along with years of ther­a­py and under­stand­ing myself and being true to who I am: there’s this Venn dia­gram that illus­trates the things you know, the things oth­er peo­ple know and the over­lap between those. That over­lap is sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er than peo­ple give them­selves cred­it for. Every­one has a unique gift and skill set that they can bring to the table. It’s not fair to your­self to assume that you aren’t a leader in what­ev­er space you’re a leader in. When I lead oth­ers, what I like to rec­og­nize in them is the skills, val­ues and gifts they have, because that’s what worked for me. I need­ed to hear that from peo­ple I trusted.

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