How MedicalDirector markets to customers naturally averse to change

Customer engagement is key, says this marketing leader, who outlines his steps to achieve these ambitions

Ultimately, whatever company you undertake marketing for, the fundamentals are the same: Know your audience and your customers, and consistently strive for improvement.

This is advice from head of marketing at MedicalDirector, Robin Marchant. And he should know - the SaaS provider’s customers are medical professionals, a group of notoriously time-poor people resistant to change.

Marchant says companies like his have to understand who they are talking to, and this is no different in any other industry. And with marketing being chalk and cheese compared to even two years ago, marketers need to be constantly evolving and changing.

“The worlds of technology and marketing completely converge. Marketing should never ever sit in a silo. It’s not the crayons department that produces brochures and runs events, it’s now fundamental and core to any business,” Marchant told CMO.

“And that cross-departmental collaboration is paramount, because it’s about actively seeking to learn and incorporate feedback from both internal and external sources to drive better customer outcomes. Everyone across the business needs to be on the same page, and stop working with a departmental or KPI mindset. It must be ‘we’ in a collective as the company, not ‘we’ as a department,” he said.

Single view of customer

Marchant, who has been at MedicalDirector for a year and was previously at Squiz, said he must understand his audience and customers. To that end, he’s enhancing and optimising where customers are on the adoption journey, so it all links back to a single view of the customer to drive positive customer experience. Key to this is having conversations and engagements, not campaigns, in order to drive relevancy and understanding of prospects and customers alike.

But marketing to medical professionals is not without its challenges.

“Change can sometimes be hard, medical professionals have very traditional methods or ways of doing things and how they operate in the industry. So there has to be fundamental reasons why they should change to something new. In this way, we must be continually educating our audience on how to better optimise information and patient engagement,” Marchant explained.

“Doctors, GPs and specialists are extremely time poor, so there has to be a clear cut-through and an understanding about how we can optimise them to be a better driver of health outcomes, for patient engagement and patient benefit.”

Some 70 million patient consults go through the MedicalDirector software per year. The integrated solutions are created to understand doctors’ needs and to alleviate some of the work flow issues they have.

MedicalDirector recently launched a cloud-based software called Helix, which aims to provide greater flexibility for medical professionals. Of course, this all comes with the usual aversion to cloud-based software.

“The older tools doctors were using are very much on premises on a local server. The cloud ultimately provides the mechanisms with greater flexibility, so GPs can work their way, where and when they want to. They can manage patient interactions within a practise or on the go,” Marchant said.

“Of course, within the medical professions there’s an element of being tied to a desk, and even if do home visits you’ve got to go back to the practise to re-enter notes you’ve taken on site. Helix allows access records where and when you need to on the device of choosing to provide greater flexibility to enable care.

“But all this means we have to get really targeted with our education and our content, so we can better communicate this to our customers. And you can’t generate really fantastic content without knowing your audience. It’s easy to understand what you need to do, but harder to understand how you do it.”

And, as Marchant pointed out, sometimes marketers do an excellent job of overcomplicating everything, without stopping to ask the most crucial question: How does this impact the customer?

“There is no point in jumping on the latest martech or suite of tools without fundamentally understanding what you are trying to do. It must consistently come down to winning, supporting, and keeping customers,” he said.

“We building brands by offering valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and engage, because people buy and consume in different ways. We do this by fundamentally going back to the ‘how’, by knowing your audience better, by all of the interaction you have with them. But don’t forget to ask your customers. It’s too easy to fall into an internal process.

"Ask yourself ‘how does it impact the customer?’ across every interaction as a business. Does what you are doing in that moment align to the vision and mission of the organisation? How does it impact and drive customer engagement. Never lose sight of that.”

Also crucial is collaboration, Marchant said, and the understanding that striving to do better for your customers never stops.

“Companies that remain siloed cannot succeed. It’s frustrating, because the tools are out there to enable better relevancy, to talk to the consumer as an individual, but they are not being used effectively,” he said.

“Marketing and sales converge to better service the outcomes of the customers. Now, every business is transforming, whether they like it or not.  Every company is now competing with every other company out there. Consumers want to have those familiar experiences and interactions with every brand they work with, because they want it seamless, and better personalised and targeted. Ultimately, there’s a human being at the end of every transaction, conversation, and message.

“Medical is one of the industries where we’re looking at understanding how the industry can be improved, and we have governmental aspects as well. We’re enabling a digital core that helps with connectivity to give us insight-driven decisions. We’re looking at how we’re transforming ourselves, and that journey never ends.

“We constantly take a single view of the customer, and stronger voice of customer, to drive improvements in customer experience, and everyone must do this. The minute you think you’re finished, you haven’t, and you’ve been overtaken. It’s a constant strive for improvement.

“We’ve got to tell the story of customer experiences from contact through processes, because that ultimately leads to longer engagements. If we are reducing sales cycle times and increase customer tenure, that’s where we want to be. It comes down to having excellence and you have to have a good product. Only excellence drives growth, and growth is where we all want to be.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu  

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