B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2060 · 11 months ago

How to Build a Dynamic Customer Journey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks with Michael Baer, CMO at MJH Life Sciences, about a dynamic customer journey, and how to build one. 

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Yeah, welcome back to BBB Growth. I'm dan Sanchez with Sweet Fish Media and today I'm joined by Michael Bear, who's the CMO of M. J. H. Life Sciences, Michael, thank you for joining me on the show today. Thanks dan. Good to be here. As I think I've mentioned to you uh I actually was on the podcast six or so years ago with James and so uh in a different role at the time, but it's great to be back. Thanks for having me, Yep, it's great to have you back a second time, you're now uh B2B growth alumni. So it's always good to have people back, especially as they've gained new experiences, have learned new things and today I'm very excited to talk to Michael about how he's working with M. J. H. To build dynamic customer journeys. But before we do Michael, how's it been going in your day so far? So while it's still relatively early in the morning, my day has had a number of meetings that we, we have as a regular cadence every single day. So, uh, MJ subscribes to something called scaling Up or the Rockefeller principles. And the idea is that teams have again, a cadence of meetings. There's a daily rhythm, there's a weekly rhythm. There are monthly and quarterly meetings that are all designed to build up to achieve, uh, an annual objective or rock or set of rocks. And so by 8 40 every day, I've already had two huddles with the executive team and then my marketing leadership team. And so I've already talked to 20 odd people. Uh, and these are very quick stand up meetings, uh, top priorities, top challenges and just kind of a cultural say hello. And, and they really do get your day off to a good start. Absolutely. We use traction at sweet fish media, but I've worked at past companies that use the scaling up model very similar and I can say like my life and my business life certainly changed when we got into a habit of well executed daily meetings or even weekly meetings. You know when you've come out of a well run meeting, when you have like action items, everybody is clear on what they need to do and everybody is updated on what everybody else is working on. Especially like daily stand ups to kind of get a sense for the pulse right of what's going on in organizations a powerful way to kick a day off and uh in a team M. J. H. Life sciences. That could mean a lot of different things. So tell us a little bit about like what the company is and what it's about. Sure. So we are a full service healthcare or medical media company. In fact were the largest privately held healthcare company or media company in the country. So what does that mean? Well, we we service largely the healthcare community with education uh, and content that helps improve patient care, literally that's...

...our focus. And in fact, we'll talk about probably in a little while while that's why that mission is important, uh, not just to the company and our business, but literally to the functioning of each and every individual on on all parts of the organization, but certainly within marketing. So we, the key pillars of this media company are we've got 60 odd publications, media media publications that include literally print media as well as uh, you know, digital media. And then we also have education, We have video, uh, and then we have marketing services. So there's a full service agency that's underneath our overall umbrella as well as a research company and and some other parts of our marketing services. So to give some context to understand the customer journey now that we understand the big picture of MJ life sciences, what are some of the web properties you guys currently have up? So we're we service nearly every medical or health care specialty or vertical but were very big in uh specific markets like oncology. So uh one of our biggest brands is on Clive, which is one of the leaders for oncology uh health care professionals, largely oncologists as well as targeted oncology and cancer network. Um We also are big and primary care areas like we have helped HCP live. We have medical economics which is over 100 year old media property. Uh and then literally across almost every other specialty care area from uh contagious diseases, pediatrics, cardiology, neurology uh as well as pharmacy. Um And even into animal health and dental, yep. So what are some of the main like websites that you are directing people to, yep. So like I said on Clive targeted oncology. HCP live neurology live, I missed the dot com. So I was like doctor websites are those topics. I'm not a doctor. So I'm like a technical terms. I'm like I'm not sure You're not a doctor but you play one on TV. Right. Medical Economics Cure is uh one of the few brands that actually for us targets consumers. So it's targeting patients with or who have had cancer. Uh And then Pharmacy Times is another one A. J. M. C. Which is in the area of what's known as managed care. Uh And even fetch or D. V. M. 3 60 in the animal health area. So those are a lot of web properties and as you know, there's a lot of different ways you can start the customer journey, but usually it comes from getting them from one place over to the website. So what are the main channels you're using to grow the...

...audiences of those websites? Where are you directing traffic from them to kick off the customer journey? So we use, you know, many of the traditional um traditional tools. So uh by far the number one driver of web traffic is uh is organic search. You know, doctors and healthcare professionals googling topics and specialties that you know that they're looking for solutions and answers to. And thankfully, you know, our links performed fairly well. And our brand brands are known as valuable or valid, you know, content location. So we, you know, we get a lot of a lot of organic traffic. But in addition we have, you know, we have a lot of email newsletters. So email is a big driver to our web properties. Um, and then we do surgical kind of targeted paid media efforts around specific programs, specific pages, specific content as well as um, as events uh, that that we are putting on for, you know, for doctors and for education. Yeah, this is kind of the fun part for me is like, ok night there on your website. And for those who are listening, you can only have been on the websites and you can kind of imagine like a web MD style site where they're answering lots of questions. And there's lots of great content that they're attracting people to this website, right? For all different kinds of ailments or diseases or different symptoms like all these different things. People are coming to for answers and they're pretty serious, pretty serious stuff. It's not like stuff to be taken lightly, right? So people are coming for answers and looking for information from there. Once they hit the web pages to get that information, how do you capture their, their information? And then what are you doing to dynamically build that customer journey from there? Because doing the search, hitting the web page and then from there, I find that that's where most marketers stop right there. Like, oh, we got some traffic, maybe they click through to our pricing page. I'm like, that rarely ever happens. Right? So what do you do to build the customer journey from there? So it's interesting. So, first of all, you know, I use the term journey a lot. We all do and um, we as a company are also on a journey. So it's not just the customer themselves. So we are pushing our own capabilities, developing our own data and tech platforms and and stack and driving and growing, you know, growing our approach to all these things that you're mentioning as we speak first off, it's important to recognize that most of the people who hit our website, our doctors and the doctors that search for something are looking for a specific answer. And so interestingly enough, it...

...tends to be a bit transactional. Uh, they come in, they want some information, we have a lot of, a lot of web use that is a single page, a single content exploration. So, our journey is how do we dr additional time on site? How do we drive additional uh, understanding of the value that our our brand and our website can provide these doctors. How do we get them to come back or explore analogous or, you know, similarly relevant content. How do we get somebody who read an article on multiple myeloma to recognize that we have had video on that of, you know, leading doctors talking about topics in that area. How do we make sure they understand we have webinars or upcoming events on this topic that they can sign up and register for. So there's a lot of efforts going on now to a to your point, make sure we we can capture those folks have them register, log, you know, log in basically register for newsletters that that will begin to keep them informed on the brand as well as dynamically serve content. You know, with this result they've gotten from their web search that tells them essentially if you like this, you'll like this other thing. But it is all all the journey, but we haven't for us, but we even, you know, implemented a C. D. P. You know, we've updated our CMS and we are, you know, beginning to do all these all of these things, it's fantastic to be able to capture information and then deliver them information based on the page where they converted right? I mean that starts to really get, I mean it's difficult to do, I've I've tried to set it up myself and it takes a lot of work on the back end to be able to deliver dynamic information based on, like even a page they've converted on. So that certainly makes a difference. It's hard to even describe how difficult the simple things seem to be. You know, we we implement, you know, the tools and then it's still it's still requires, you know, incredible amounts of programming, coding, testing, you know, in part of testing is getting it wrong and so it's gone from getting it wrong to getting it right, and then getting it writer and writer as you dial things up, but we're, you know, we are on that journey and we're beginning to do things, you know, and to your point early uh offer pop ups to those who we know, are not known to us, the users who come in who aren't registered, saying, you know, the opportunity to get content like this in your inbox, and uh, you know, or here's another link to something else you would like and slowly walk people or journey, you know, have people, you know, go on a content journey that again, demonstrates the value of these brands and these, you know, these platforms so...

...that they want to come back for more and that we can capture, capture their information in order to Send them things. That ultimately, the goal is to get people who will want to give us their information. There is particularly their email address so that we can communicate them 1-1. So to shift the focus a little bit, let's talk about strategy and execution, setting all this stuff up is a lot of work requires a lot of people and a lot of like collaboration across different types of teams. You mentioned the pre interview that the team had a hard time executing uh in the beginning or they were executing really well actually, but they were still missing the mark in some ways. How were they missing the mark? So one of the visions I developed literally just when I came on board was, you hear the term shared service, you know, we came in and, and marketing is a shared service within the organization and I said, I want the mindset to go from being a shared service to a center of excellence. You may ask what does that mean or what's the difference and just it's it's as much of mindset as it is an approach. So the idea being as a shared service, you are, you're a ticketing system, Somebody says, I need this. You know, I'm ordering uh, you know, like a restaurant, I, you know, I need burgers and fries and you punch out for burgers and fries. But I wanted, you know, us too strive to be to aspire to be more of a uh, center of excellence born on, you know, subject matter experts who are driven to understand the data, understand audience and be included up up front before before the burger and fries were ordered so that we could be, you know, partners in developing well, should it be a burger and fries or this customer prefers vegetarian, so to speak, so so so that, you know, that's kind of the over setting the overarching ambition and sometimes that alone is is a big step. But when you are a shared service and when you are a ticketing system, you, you know, you can become very execution, all focused or even more so transactional focused. So marketing in a way can can become and had to a degree become a group of people delivering on independent program. We need audience to come to a particular webinar. So and so franchise has a program we want to get people in front of uh there's a B two B campaign. We need to drive for X. So that, you know, I would say it was very execution all focused. And I think where you know where we talked about in the pre pre conversation, there was almost a need to have people pause for a second and ask the question why develop strategic approaches that are more holistic, more overarching than these one off individual focus? Is that what I keep...

...saying? I still say literally every day to people is we need to flip the lens from creating a product to understanding its for an audience and who that audience is. You know, I keep saying imagine turning your mind around to the people on the other side of that computer screen. You know, their eyes are on something that you're sending, what is it? How do you think about it? Where did they come from? What else have they seen? What have they, you know, what's been their interaction with us? Um and all those things should play into that transactional execution. Um so basically I think you know, we needed to infuse the flawless execution with some strategic and overarching kind of holistic vision that informed it. I mean you know, I know you're you know, I can see you and you're smiling because you know, we talked about also this had this belief, uh this idea of stratification that neither are greater than the other that you need to be, you know, both insight rich and audience focused, but you also need to be constantly iterating and be nimble and be focused on the little things that every day make a difference between conversion rates and uh and success and failure. And I think you know the team was probably focused a little more on execution and we needed to dial it a little more towards strategy and you know, which is interesting because my, you know my my prior life when I came to this idea of Stratis que shin, I was probably in a world that was a little more beholden to this concept of strategy and almost like holding it as the bible or liturgy like here we we need a beautiful strategy. Uh In fact, I would argue, you know, I would joke that sometimes I worked with clients who would, you know, the strategy was almost the end state. Like let's have a beautiful strategy will put it on our wall as if the, you know, as if the consumer, the customer would ever see your strategy, which of course they wouldn't. Um and so that was where I had this, you know, this kind of ah ha moment that like execution really make the strategy. And I think, I don't know if it was tom peters or larry Bossidy who said strategy without execution is useless and execution without strategy is aimless. I mean, they do have to work together. Hi dan Sanchez here with a quick break from this episode, sponsor Vidyard. If you haven't started using personal video yet to enhance your marketing campaigns. Your missing out, having the ability to quickly capture video and record my computer screen or both helps me not only create marketing assets faster, it makes them way more personable. I use personal videos in social media, email, blast landing pages and even on our website, Vidyard makes it easy to record host in bed and share videos to more deeply engaged with your ideal buyers...

...prospects have told me repeatedly that they are blown away every time they get one for me. So sign up for Vidyard free today by going to Vidyard dot com slash GDP growth and just like you guys, the team at Vidyard can't keep up with all these promo codes on podcast, so they are making signing up as easy as possible. So no promo code needed. Just go to Vidyard dot com slash GDP growth to start using Vidyard completely free and as a bonus, get their 2021 B two B video trans guide. It's absolutely right. I've actually had a background where people like to have a little bit more strategy than execution. It always drove me crazy. I'm like, we're literally talking about the strategy forever and not doing anything. So I tended to always be a little bit more execution focused. But now of course you're right, it takes an equal amount of both. Right is best. It's interesting that they were doing execution well and you came in, you're like, hey everybody, we're all making separate side dishes, but we're bringing it together in the meal. It's okay. Everything's, everything's cooked phenomenal, everything tastes good, but when you put it together, it's not working. And the customers expecting thanksgiving, which means it's wrong. Right? All right, so you have to bring it back to what are we trying to produce? Because everything has to actually make sense together, like a thanksgiving meal. We're so used to getting the right things produced together, which have a certain taste and flavor. When all eating together right, you have to decide what our end goals here instead of us, kind of off on our own separate worlds, cooking up something that might be good in an event of itself. But when put together, it's subpar at best, yep. I mean, it's interesting, it aligns perfectly with the idea of these daily weekly, monthly quarterly cadence of meetings as well, because the idea is that at the end of the day, some of this should add up to something and the idea that executing should be leading towards something that you're building towards a direction. I mean, this is one of the things like sometimes you put your head down, you're working hard and fast and furious and then when you look up you say, oh wow, I got somewhere, but it wasn't where I meant to be going. I mean we want to make sure we have a direction of path, but interestingly, so, so you know, when I think back to, when I came in execution was the focus and was excellent. But there was, there was opportunity there as well in that We needed to, you know, we continue to need to simplify and make repeatable things that are done in in large quantities. You know, there are types of, say webinars that we do where we'll do 150 a year. You can't start each marketing plan from with a blank piece of paper when you're doing 100 of something. Uh The idea of beginning to...

...standardize standardized roles and responsibilities, you know, streamline again, make repeatable is both efficient, but it also then allows those doing the work, especially in marketing to kind of elevate their work. They can put the focus more on things that really matter. Uh you know, like content and things that drive greater conversion and also audience understanding, like the things that can can really drive success and failure. So so that was that was an aspect of execution that we've been continually trying to drive as, you know, streamline, simplify, make repeatable wherever we can. But the flip side, you know, you get back to strategy is there, you know, there are a couple of things there. Um you know, one is and I have referenced this earlier on the idea to make sure everybody has in mind that our overarching mission as a, as a company is actually, we've all worked at a bunch of different places and you know, sometimes companies work really hard to come up with with uh with uh, you know, some sort of passionate mission. You know, it can be helpful, but in our case, I mean it's it's really motivating because it's it's true. I mean, we are focused on helping to educate the health care workers so that they can improve patient care. I mean, It's, you know, day in day out. It should stay front and center because it drives what we do and it should drive marketing, it should drive the initiatives that we're doing aren't just let's get 150 people to come to a to an event. It's we have an event that includes the leading experts on a particular condition that's important to doctors and patients nationwide. And so we are spreading spreading the word. I mean, it's tough to think about that every, you know, every day when the pressure is on to deliver and execution is a can be can be tricky. But that is at the end of the day, what we're all about and that does I think help us lift, you know, lift our our approach is absolutely. It's like with a mission like that essentially, you're, it adds up to saving lives. You're right. We don't execute, people are going to die, you know who they are. But I mean, you could look at it, it's kind of like a morbid way to look at it. Or you can say like this many more people could be safe or live longer or at least go through a much more comfortable experience going through whatever tragic event they might be going through, especially with things like oncology. Right? In advertising, the joke was always, you know, because it can get very pressurized, you know, it's like, hey, it's not brain surgery, you know, here it is. We are talking about that some serious reading stuff, but at the same time it's important for everybody to know that their work actually matters. Right? I mean, it's kind of one of Patrick lynch owns three signs of a miserable job is not knowing...

...if your work matters. And I'm like, oh, everybody at M. J. H. Knows their work matters because you're literally the work you're doing saves lives. It's fantastic. So to kind of spin back on to strategy and execution, you've had experience across multiple companies and you've visited and probably consulted many more now, where do you feel like most companies are missing it when it comes to strategy and execution? You know my my experience to date probably would say that you know I think many companies try to get strategy right where at the end of the day I don't think there is right and wrong. I think there's good and better and less good and I do believe that strategy is really made right by the work and the activity you do. I am. I've always been inspired by a quote from Herb Kelleher where you know the founder of Southwest Airlines where he said we have a business strategy. It's called doing things. And I think a lot a lot of companies um you know like we said get a lot of consultants or a lot of high priced thinkers to I. D. Eight for months and months and have a strategy that they fall in love with but don't then activate on it day in and day out and test it and tease it and torture it and and adapt it. Um And then you know the real world can be a tough can be a tough teacher as well and so you know getting you're getting your strategy into the real world and learning as you go is really I think a strategy in and of itself. You know the idea of being in beta all the time and you know getting your strategy getting to strategy kind of more quickly so that you can learn in the real world I think is it is really a better approach. It makes so much sense taking some of the lean startup methodologies and just applying it to your business strategy, starting with something lean and then iterating and improving as we move along. I mean that's why a lot of people got away from business plans for a long time because you're putting so much time into the beginning of it and then with the world would hit it and then everything would fall apart right? If only we could spend a little bit sometime certainly want to think about the strategy, certainly want to think about what we're expecting to happen and then being able to modify it as we go along, which is why regular meetings and quarterly check ins are so important. Right? 100%. I mean, and that's not to say strategy is either unimportant or that strategy isn't about understanding your your user, like deeply understanding your users and deeply understanding your market and your competitors and understanding what you're good at and what where you can go and where you shouldn't go and then, you know, developing hypotheses...

...and plans. I mean, all those things are critical, but I do think we get a little overly caught up in, you know, getting getting a strategy perfect, perfected or perfect where there is really no such thing. Yeah. So if I'm hearing you right, and I'm trying to take some insights away for B two B marketing leaders, some things they can start and stop doing this week so far, some of the things I'm walking away with personally is, yes, it's good to have a strategy but execute on it probably a little faster than you normally would. How fast would you like? How much time should you spend thinking about strategy and how much time should you be actually Iterating on to it. You know, it's kind of difficult to discern. Sometimes you're like, oh, should we change the strategy? When should we hold on to it versus when should we break away from it and change the strategy? Because the execution we're doing is now telling us that maybe our strategy wasn't as solid as we thought, how do you know when to break? It's a tough thing to discern because what is, you know, when does strategy stop? You know, you can make a strategy to develop a, an email journey for your prospects? That is, I mean, is that strategy to say like, hey, we want to then make this, make that email journey um dynamic to the way they respond to the first, you know, the first contact and how many prongs should this? And I think not actually, now that I think about it, that's truly an execution. So your strategy would be develop a B two B approach that leverages content marketing and outbound email that blah, blah, blah. Really? So now, having thought this through, I think your strategy should be 25% and 75% should be really working through How to implement it. And you know, that's why I call it's tragic Yushin because I think there is no such thing as execution. Well, I don't know if there is no such thing, but a big part of execution is strategic execution, meaning we're going to implement a B2B email journey. But now, how many touch points, what are the touch points? Do we segmented by uh type of customer? And um you know, do we require, do we get things, do we, you know, all these questions that you need to solve for? Um they are strategic strategically execution all makes sense. Almost wonder if You set these large marketing strategies. I know I said of marketing strategy for 2021, right? Some things can be changed sooner rather than later because they're short term tactics and some things are long term tactics like I won't see the R. O. I. From some of these things for like a year and a half. Right? Especially with like search engine optimization ranking for more keywords. Those things take a lot of time almost imagine that your strategy can be changed in small ways on a weekly levels, you're getting new information you're executing, but big...

...things, probably more on a quarterly levels. Your meeting back with the senior team, right? If you're doing the whole, especially if you're doing the Rockefeller habits and the scaling up attraction methodologies where you're having the quarterly check ins to see how well things are going. Well, everyone's executing on their rocks. Those are big opportunities to make bigger changes to the strategy because honestly, sometimes the market change changes. I'm sure a lot of people are updating their quarters after covid hit, right. There was just some big changes everybody was making after the pandemic started becoming a thing. So there's probably a rhythm like that though. Of course it depends for each line item on your on your strategy that you're trying to execute. Some things are just going to be different. But almost think like a weekly quarterly rhythm. And of course for the 10 year executions, your annuals are what help you get realigned um, on your long term goals and priorities would you say that feels about right? Yeah, I think that's right. I mean, I think the one thing I would say that you have to be careful of is to not overcorrect. I think people get really nervous when measuring performance and the data suggests something didn't work. Or there's some, you know, negative data. Uh, and what I always like to say is that there is no negative data. There's just data that confirms, you know, confirms direction or confirmed hypothesis and and data that says something isn't aligning or isn't jibing and each of which can help you either course correct or optimize. But the thing you don't want to do is react to every every little piece of data and keep changing. You know, not only is that you're gonna be all over the road, but also, um, if you make too many changes, you can't even identify what the actual drivers of of, you know, of performance will be. You do have to, you do have to make sure you're you're not doing weekly, you know, execution all shifts right. I would say small, small tweaks changes, you know, updates. I wouldn't be shifting from one thing to something completely different because of the data. Right? I even saw a graph this morning on linkedin that's kind of like because just comparing even launching a normal marketing campaign to an A. B. M. Campaign and a normal marketing campaign, you can always expect like a loss for quite a while before you even hit a break even and then start to see a return on the investment. And in this particular graph, the A B. M. Campaign took a loss for a lot longer and then started to shoot way past a normal execution. Of course. That depends on whether A B. M. Works well for your organization, how good you executed it of course. But it certainly goes to show like, like for a lot of marketing campaigns you can actually expect a negative. So don't don't freak out. Right. Well, that also gets into sort of the R. O. I. Question like how slavishly should you be looking at either R. O. I. Or even the data to help, you know, attribution...

...being accurate and things like that. Sometimes you just have to do some things and they're contributing without necessarily looking for a direct line uh connection to our Oh, I absolutely easy to say. I know Roo is a tricky one. Certainly. So Michael, this has been a fantastic time talking to you about strategy and execution and the customer journey on the show today. Where can people go to learn more about M. J. H. And about you? So we do have a corporate website. M. J. H. Life sciences dot com. Um There also, as I mentioned are a number of websites and you can see them on that site. But you know, things like ONc live and uh a J M C dot com and uh cure dot com and P E R Physicians, Education Resources, which is go to p E R dot com. Those are just some of our websites as far as me, I I'm on linkedin, Michael be a er and also had been writing a blog for a number of years at stratification stories dot com. It's fairly outdated so I almost hesitate but feel free to read some of the things I've written on, things like stratification and otherwise. Fantastic. Again, thank you for joining me on GDP growth. Thanks dan. It's been great to be here. Is your buyer at BBB marketer. If so, you should think about sponsoring this podcast. BtB Growth gets downloaded over 130,000 times each month. And our listeners are marketing decision makers. If it sounds interesting, send Logan and email Logan at sweet fish Media dot com.

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