CMO Insights: Suzanne Sawyer, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Penn Medicine

Jeff: Hi. Welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the
CML Insight Series. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and
CEO of Pedowitz Group. Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to have Suzanne
Sawyer, who is Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for marketing at Penn Health Systems,
which is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Suzanne, welcome to the show. Suzanne: Thanks, Jeff. Great to be here. Jeff: So, first of all, what a great institution. I grew up in South and Central Jersey, so
very familiar with University of Pennsylvania. But tell us a little bit more about your role,
and who are you marketing to, and some of your responsibilities. Suzanne: Oh, well. First of all, I’m so thrilled to hear that
you’re familiar with Penn. It’s an incredible organization. I’m very delighted to be part of it. My role as BPN CMO is really to help build
the brand in medicine, and really to help build the business, of course. And who are we marking to? Well, we’re really marketing to the mid-Atlantic
region, people who are patients, or consumers even, people who don’t currently have healthcare
issues, but who certainly have health that they want and need to maintain. And so, we talk to the general public in that
way, but we also speak to what you might call more of a B2B kind of audience. We speak to community-based referring physicians,
or community-based specialists who may send patients to Penn Medicine for advanced care
or subspecialty care. Jeff: Okay. So, what are some of your differentiators? I mean, because I know there’s a couple big
health systems, right, in the area, some other conglomerates of hospitals and institutions. So what is it that makes Penn stand apart? Suzanne: Well, Penn has been known for many,
many years as an institution that focuses, really, in advanced medicine and subspecialty
care. So when I say that, that means things like
the most advanced cancers, issues in terms of the neurosciences, heart failure, heart
transplantation, rare and orphan diseases, things like this. And so, that has been the legacy of Penn Medicine. And, more recently, through acquisition and
affiliations and alliances, Penn Health System has grown and we’ve partnered with and acquired
community-based hospitals and health systems as well. So now, Penn is more than we’ve been, if you
will, in a certain sense. So we still have that legacy strength of being
1 of the top 10 hospitals and health systems in the United States, among the highest 1,
2, or 3 medical schools in the United States, and big recipient of NIH funding. But in addition, we now also have community-based
partners who offer primary care and care close to home. So, regardless of where you are in the region,
you can access a Penn Medicine physician for both frequent, everyday primary care needs
as well as easy access to subspecialty care if it’s needed. Jeff: That’s fantastic. So, you’ve been doing this for a while. What’s changed the most in marketing for you,
over the last few years? Suzanne: Well, yes, I think there have been
an awful lot of changes in marketing in general, and certainly in healthcare marketing. And I think, for us, here at Penn and really
throughout this industry, it has been our real strong focus in what we call precision
marketing, and it’s really the use of marketing technology, marketing data, in an effort to
really connect more one-to-one with each of these key audiences that we were speaking
about, the referring physicians, as well as patients, families, caregivers, and the like. And so, it has really been the fact that,
as you mentioned, there are so many health systems that are really terrific organizations
in this market. It made us really rethink how we go to market
a little bit differently. I would say about seven years ago, we felt
that there was essentially a mass media arms race going on in the Philadelphia market. About 6 academic medical centers, nearly 80
acute care hospitals, and there was an awful lot of mass media expense, as you might imagine,
in this market. And while Penn has always enjoyed a very strong
brand here, I think we felt that this is a conservative organization, I think we felt
that we were not likely to continue or willing to continue to spend in mass media at those
same levels. And so it really got me thinking that it would
be a good idea for us to look at taking a more precise data-driven approach to trying
to connect with people who were actively searching for healthcare. And that’s what led us to, first, invest in
a CRM platform, and then, to build it from there. Jeff: So, I mean, you mentioned technology
a few times. Besides CRM, what other types of technologies
have you invested in? Suzanne: Well, we use our CRM for lots of
things. Certainly, to connect with those audiences
that I mentioned, but we also use it with our physician liaisons who go out and communicate
with our referring physician audience, as I said. And then we also integrate it into our call
center, which is a large customer-facing call center. In addition to that, that CRM for each of
those audiences, we also have a CMS system and we have really all of the tools in the
set, social listening, marketing automation. We really have all of the technology stack,
if you will, that we might need for the [inaudible 00:07:11] market activity, personalization
through our CMS. And then we’ve also invested significantly
in our data, really our data set, and the development of a marketing data warehouse
as well. Jeff: Do you have any unique challenges because
you’re in healthcare dealing with HIPAA governance compliance, and how you’re approaching setting
up your technology, and how you’re doing your marketing? Suzanne: Yeah, that’s a really great question. We do. You know, when it comes to healthcare, it’s
very important to do a couple things. One is to be very customer-centric, patient-centric,
and to understand that when people are searching for information it’s very often because they’re
facing a difficult medical situation. And so, being sure to communicate in a straight
up, responsible kind of way. People are looking for information, they’re
looking for answers, they’re looking for the best way to connect, and so we take that very
seriously. It can’t be about hype. It can’t be about fear. It has to be straight-up communications that’s
respectful of the patient and the caregiver, first off. I would say that in addition to that, there
are always privacy concerns. We call it HIPAA, and many people are familiar
with patient privacy issues. And so it’s very important that we, as marketers,
understand what the rules of the road are in terms of personal health information. And, in fact, we don’t access any of the personal
health information for any purpose other than to communicate with existing patients, to
let them know about additional resources that might be available to them, like support groups,
or clinical trials, or care associated with the condition that is that they are being
treated for now. So yes, there are some special circumstances
around marketing and healthcare. Jeff: So tell me a little bit about the types
of teams that you build. One, because you have, obviously, invested
in a lot of technology and data over those last few years, is the type of person that
you’re now hiring or skills, is that changing in terms of what you’re looking for? And then, two, have you changed the structure
of your team in any way to address how you’re doing marketing now versus what you were doing
a few years ago? Suzanne: We certainly have changed quite a
bit. When we first got started, actually, when
I first arrived at Penn, just about 10 years ago, we were good at, essentially, getting
the print ad to the newspaper on time. We were strong tactically, and strong in traditional
types of tactics. And switching over the more of a precision
marketing focus has really led us to think about what kinds of skills did we feel like
we would need. And so we started then to reimagine our structure
and the kinds of positions that we should have. And in those early days, I would say we hired
for three basic areas. One was strategy, strategy first. Really having a good understanding of what
are the business needs of our clinical partners? When we have a large cancer center, when we
have a large neurosciences program, we want to help make sure that they reach the kinds
of patients that are most likely to be most in need of their services. And we want to reach those referring physicians
who can also appropriately send patients at the most appropriate point in the course of
their care. So strategy, first, was important. And that’s also important because, as I suggested
a moment ago, once upon a time, I think this team was probably viewed more as order takers
and brochure makers and things like that. But we really felt that it was important to
represent marketing as a strong strategic business function, so strategy first. And then, next, we really realized that while
we had a good, strong web team, we needed to think about that group in a broader view. And so we hired for technical skills to help
us with things like building landing pages, and really helping us integrate a lot of the
data that we would have, also. Which leads me to the third area, which is
analytics. We knew that by running digital campaigns,
and all that goes with it, we would have access to an enormous amount of data, as we now have. And what that meant is how would we make sense
of it, and how would we really use that data to understand what works, what doesn’t work? And even how to do predictive modeling around
who’s most likely to be at risk for certain kinds of diseases and conditions, and how
do we best engage with people based on their search habit and patterns, and how they react
to different types of campaign activity? Jeff: Wow, that’s great. So it sounds like you put a lot of work into
this. So, with these changes, are you measured on
different things today than what you were a few years ago? And then, what are you holding your team accountable
for? Suzanne: Well, now that we have so much data,
we can track so much. We have really invested in our marketing analytics
and we now have live tableau reports that our teams use, really, for three different
levels of reporting. The first is really taking a look at campaign
activity. It’s really for managing the campaigns that
we have, what’s working, what doesn’t, you know, and what to do about it. Then, the next is really kinds of metrics
that are appropriate to share with our internal clinical colleagues, and clients internally,
if you will, people who, as I suggested, in cancer, and neurosciences, and cardiovascular,
and so on, are really trying to achieve certain business targets. And they’re relying on us to help them do
that. So we have a set of reports around where are
we in terms of our, say, a quarterly budget for talking about, for example, heart failure? And how many leads have come in? And are we ahead of pace or behind pace in
terms of where we thought we would be against that budget and against that effort? And so we monitor that regularly, among so
many other metrics, but those are the kinds of things that we share with our internal
colleagues to say, “Here’s where our targets were. Here’s how we’re performing now. Let’s think about this sort of in a portfolio
marketing sense of should we shift off, should we shift efforts, should we test some other
approaches?” And how to differentiate, of course. And then, the third level of communications
in reporting with a lot of this data and analytics is really at the executive level. And there, we take a look at, as I was suggesting,
sort of the whole portfolio of all that we are doing. Not just for clinical service lines, but for
all of our hospitals, our sites, our employed faculty, our affiliated providers, and so
on. So there’s a lot to share. Jeff: So, Suzanne, you definitely have a great
handle on everything. In closing, any words of wisdom for some of
your colleagues as they approach some of their own transformations? Suzanne: Well, I think one of our biggest
learnings over these last several years is, you know, I think we invested significantly
both in the technology as well as in the people and the data. And I think we’ve learned that, in many ways,
while it’s been extremely successful for us, putting it all together is harder than it
looks. Making all these systems work well together,
mashing up the data, if you will, appending new data sources to existing records, and
make it come out in a meaningful kind of way so that we’re really getting at the other
end of what we were hoping to by having more data. Not just having more data, but making it meaningful. And so, I think one of the things that we’ve
learned is that thinking about it as, essentially, a marketing maturity over time, not trying
to do it all at once, but really, we’ve invested ourselves in taking time to develop a roadmap. First a strategic marketing plan, how does
everything fit, what are the priorities? But to add to that, a marketing technology
roadmap, what are we investing in in a multi-year kind of way? And how are we going to support training for
the people who we’re bringing onboard? And to that end, I think we’ve just found
that it’s easy to either get tools that we may not be able to support well right away,
out of the box, if you will, unless we invest in training, unless you have a plan. And then, to hardwire things as we go and
as we learn. So, I guess my point was, it’s a little bit
harder than it looks, or than sometimes people make it seem like it’s gonna be. But with the proper amount of planning, and
hiring really good people, I think, at least here at Penn…

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