Enterprise Digital Marketing Solutions That Move the Needle
Connect with your audience. Get people engaged with ethereal content. Generate more website traffic.
Leonard Kim here. Back in October of 2015, I started working at a billion dollar academic medical center. On that team, we had 26 people who worked in the marketing department. Seven people were on the digital marketing team. When we compared that to our competitors who were doing a billion dollars in revenue, they had well staffed teams of 75 people who worked internally and about 25 people on their digital marketing teams. So they were about, digital wise, about three to four times bigger than we were. Plus they used huge agencies that they spent tens of million dollars on. Our agency charged us $13 million a year.
When I first started working at this organization, we would have monthly meetings where we would meet with all of our service lines, or departments that wanted marketing. This ranged from urology, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, lung cancer, breast cancer, spine, orthopaedics, otolaryngology and a few others. The department chairs and their top administrators would arrive to meet with the marketing department. These were people who were some of the best surgeons in the world who made world renowned departments that were nationally ranked by major publications, like Beckers and US News and World Report.
When I first started and the stakeholders on our marketing team would meet with the department chairs, we would get chewed out in every single meeting. That happened for at least the first six months. I asked my boss why this happened and he told me that no one was happy with the results. But we were also a brand new “brand” that was only recognized in the market for five years.
During the first few months at work, I did an audit and looked over everything we were doing, both internally and from the agency that we were working with. I discovered a lot of things that we weren’t necessarily doing wrong (some of it was outright wrong), but proposed strategies on what I could fix that was within scope. I pitched an idea of creating and distributing ethereal content to leadership, got buy-in, pulled a small budget and began executing on the plans.
As I started to produce deliverables and bringing them to the meetings with the chairs, the dynamics of those meetings changed. They weren’t only starting to show signs of happiness with the deliverables and results, but our professional relationship started to grow positively. We went from the enemy and slowly started to become their valued asset to help them grow their respective departments.
Our problem grew internally. When our agency came in to do a meeting with us one of those four times each decade, they’d present a new digital idea or a tactic, or showcase what they were doing for us. Our digital team would break off from the larger department and we’d discuss what they were presenting.
We’d talk about why certain things wouldn’t work, why they weren’t best practices, what we should do instead and have that discussion of what we could do better. Sometimes, we had the bandwidth to execute on solutions on our own. Other times, we would just have to suck up our opinions and go with the punches, because of office politics and trying to convince an entire group on what the true working solutions were. It was a nightmare for my director since we couldn’t get buy in, even though we knew that the alternative solution would significantly move the needle.
After spending years of doing personal marketing for myself and other clients on the side, I was quite familiar with the dynamics of how the internet works as a whole and how to drive traffic and get results. When I saw what these agencies were doing, I couldn’t believe how much they were charging us for their deliverables. For example, there was a blog article that was developed for a specific tactic. The way they worded it, the asset ended up with less than 20 clicks in its entirety. While other content that we developed in-house under my purview for the same service ended up getting far better results, with clicks in the hundreds, thousands and in some cases, tens of thousands and moving it’s way onto the first page of Google with specific search terms that highlighted our service lines.
Looking back, 25 of the 50 top visited pages on the website were developed under my purview and promoted specific service lines.
Our website traffic increased year over year and grew from around 90,000 pageviews to around 450,000 a month.
Our content collected an additional 1.9 million reads on a brand new platform.
We were able to take this same content and get it syndicated 150 times in publications like TIME, Sporting News, Medical Daily, Forbes and more.
Our videos were watched 10s of thousands of times, while our competitors videos were ranking in between 400-1,000 views.
We repurposed one media feature we collected and turned that into a whopping 1.5 million views.
And on the social media front, our monthly organic impressions increased from 125k to 695k a month. Before I left the organization, I even took my other skill set of personal branding and created an entire bootcamp for physicians to take charge of their own social media efforts, so they could build their own practices.
Overall, our small digital marketing department which consisted of a digital director, a project manager, two web developers, two editor/writers, a few freelancers and myself, we took what we were given and got results that we even had trouble believing ourselves.
Throughout the time working at this organization, I asked my boss, “Why do we even work with this agency if they’re not doing the best practices and what could actually move the needle and get the results we’re looking for?” He turned to me and said under his breath, “We need someone to blame when things go wrong.”
If you really think about that, when you look at the agency that is currently doing work at your organization, are they set up as an entity that’s there just to be blamed?
Are they sitting there and stating that the industry benchmark for a specific initiative is .02% clickthrough rate, but they did .03% compared to industry benchmarks, so they performed better than market?
Are they not sitting there and creatively thinking of ways to significantly move the needle based on working through content marketing strategies that work?
Well that’s what our agency did. And there were even times where they came back to present our team with a video of their results and touting how they succeeded in the amount of clicks they received. Looking at how expensive the campaign was, compared to a much more inexpensive campaign I ran, I saw that while they had one that led to 45,000, my ads manager showed 50,000, with a fraction of what was spent on their campaigns.
All of this made me wonder where the money was going and why were they doing tactics that didn’t make sense, from an SEO and user experience perspective. Why did they make landing pages with the intent of deleting them after the campaign was over for paid tactics instead of hashing out the existing pages on the site, which would lead to higher traffic and load times to existing pages to increase SEO and get longer term results? Why did they make multiple assets that were written in a way where our target audience wouldn’t be able to understand it? Why did they not optimize their ads so they would be more clickable? There were so many questions I had, but I just did what any good employee who wants to stay out of trouble does; I kept my mouth shut.
Not everything they did was wrong, but when it came to the digital forefront, we all saw a lot of things that just didn’t make sense. Yet, our digital marketing team kept our mouths shut and rolled with the punches anyway. And we went out of our way to make the moves necessary so we could be seen as heroes in house, since the agency wasn’t really helping us with that.
Now I know working in house at your current organization, there are some things you can immediately take into your own hands and fix. But next to every single large company is already working with a large agency, like the one we were working with. And if that sounds like you, you need to ask yourself a question. When you look at their work, are they really moving the needle for you? Or are they just spinning their wheels and trying to come up with ideas as you are?
Now on our end. We won’t promise you any home runs. With the team that we’ve assembled, we have enough digital experience, all the way from the top to the very bottom of the funnel, to come in and generate results for you. We will come into your company. We will audit your accounts and get a thorough assessment of exactly what it is you’re doing. And after we’re done doing that, we’ll present you with a traditional strategy that you can go off with to get better results than what you’re currently doing. And on top of that, we will provide you with an alternative strategy that can potentially change the game for you, through our specialty of personal branding, which will give you two clear choices of options of how you can work with us.
Now if you’re spending the money already and you’re already going out there and doing all of the fancy stuff within your own organization, we’ll go out there and we’ll go through the normal RFP and SOW process to get you all the fine details you need. But we’ll make sure to take things an extra step further because we’re going to audit your accounts beforehand and tell you everything that you need to do. And that outside perspective and fresh set of eyes is going to be immensely valuable, because sometimes when we are internal at an organization for too long, we become blinded by the things that are right in front of us. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us, me too.
With the insights and strategy we provide, you could take that information and theoretically do a few things. You could tell your current agency what they’re doing wrong and hope that they can resolve things on their end and have them do things on their own, but will they be able to execute. Or you can take the work in house and allocate resources to get things done, but will HR really be able to approve enough jobs at scale? With the additional problems that arise, do either of those two options truly make any sense?
If you already have a team telling you exactly what needs to be fixed, how they will fix it and are willing to come out and get everything done for you so your marketing team looks like heroes around the office, why not work with them? You’re already allocating the work and spending the money anyways. Why not spend it in the right place with the right team, with the right people. People you’ve taken the time to truly get to know, like and trust.
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