How To Build a Leading Healthcare IT Brand: Jim Rose, Chief Marketing Officer, Intersystems
Based on his success in building a brand from a large but poorly understood software firm, Jim provides healthtech marketers with tips on how they can build their organization’s healthcare IT brand.
Podcast Highlights With Timestamps
- [2:37] Mr. Jim Rose Career Journey
- [4:20] InterSystem & Focus On Customers
- [6:47] Creating & Building The Brand
- [7:48] InterSystems Initial Brand Problem
- [9:45] Brand Positioning Process
- [10:46] Problem With Software Firms
- [13:52] Brand Stories With Emotional Connection
- [17:30] How To Execute Authentic Advertising
- [19:00] Measuring Impact
- [19:55] Brand Resonating With Employees
- [21:26] Brand Measurement
- [23:08] Ad Stories With Emotional Elements
- [24:43] Being Specific to The Audience
- [25:31] Things That No Longer Work!
- [28:09] Targeting With LinkedIn
- [31:18] Advice For Marketers
Healthtech Marketing Podcast 2 Video – Jim Rose, Chief Marketing Officer, InterSystems
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Healthtech Marketing Insights – Episode 2 Podcast Transcript – Guest: Jim Rose, Chief Marketing Officer, InterSystems. Host: AdamTurinas, CEO, healthlaunchpad
[0:25] Welcome Note | The Podcast Aim – Adam, healthlaunchpad
[Adam]: Hello and welcome to the health technology podcast brought to you by healthlaunchpad, and HIMS. And thank you for joining us today.
I’m Adam Turinas, healthlaunchpad founder and CEO, and your host for today. So why are we doing this? Marketing to healthcare is really hard, and we could all use a little help.
So the health tech Marketing Podcast is a chance for you to hear directly from leading health tech marketers, so they can share insights on what works in marketing to help care organizations.
This show aims to give you practical advice that we hope that you can take away today and start implementing your plans and your strategies.
The pod is brought to you by HIMSS. I’m sure you all know, that they are the global advisor, thought leaders, and leading member association. It’s committed to transforming the healthcare ecosystem.
It’s also brought to you by my company, healthlaunchpad. We’re a marketing consultancy that specializes in helping healthcare technology marketing firms grow.
[1:30] Introducing Jim Rose, InterSystems
So today, I am delighted to introduce to you our guest, the one and only, Mr. Jim Rose. Jim is the head of Global Marketing and Communications for InterSystems.
I’ve known Jim for a little bit more than 30 years. He was my first boss here. When I moved to America, I was about 12 at the time, I think, not to date myself.
And so Jim and I worked together at Ogilvy and Mather on the Compaq computer account.
So here we are 30 years later so Ogilvy and Mather are now just playing overbeat the kind of short things up a bit and Compaq computer has ceased to be, it’s an ex computer company. But thankfully, neither Jim nor I are dead yet.
We are going to dive into Jim’s company, the company he works for, the mighty InterSystems in a minute.
But first, Jim, tell us about you a little bit, in your career story, and it was one of the things I know not a lot of people know is that you started life as a commercial pilot. So, how did you get in?
[2:37] Jim Rose – From Pilot To Healthtech Marketer
[JIM]: Well, yes so originally I was a commercial pilot flying for a corporation flying run executives, and I took some marketing classes as an elective when I was working on my aerospace degree and of all the classes I ever took. They made the most natural sense to me.
Study In Marketing & Job Experiences
And then, President Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers, so there was no flying so I went to graduate school and studied marketing, and then went into the ad agency business for about 13 or 14 years, including Ogilvy, and then went to the client-side where I let’s say worked for IBM, Citibank, Symantec, and now InterSystems.
[Adam]: Good, good. Thank you. So let’s talk a little bit about InterSystems. I always think about inter Systems as one of those really big, important companies that’s not well understood, by the layman. I mean, my first interaction with InterSystems was I just launched my own tech company, a health tech company, and I was at a regional PIMS event in New Jersey.
And in the booth next to us, was a guy from InterSystems, and he had this big, kind of, it was kind of brown logo and I said, I’m a bit new to healthcare, tell me what is this Intersystem? He explained it, but at the time I didn’t understand what he said.
You know, I can’t remember the specifics of what he did. It’s one of those companies which are kind of complicated, but very important. Can you explain a bit for the layman? What does InterSystems do?
[4:20] Jim Rose On InterSystem & Focus On Customers
[Jim ]: Yeah. Well, InterSystems’ core product is a data platform. And that has very high interoperability capabilities. So the company is about 42 years old.
It is a very quiet company one of the reasons is that the company never went public, because my boss that the founder and CEO said, once you go public, you have two masters, you have the shareholders and the customers, and I don’t like that complication.
He’s, he’s very emphatic about being focused on customer success as he puts it if you make sure your customers are successful you are going to be successful automatically.
So make that the top priority. So the company’s been around for 42 years it has been profitable and had positive cash flow every single year.
InterSystems – Focus On Quality & Growth
But it’s been focused on quality growth, basically, rather than volume of growth. I think one of the very first electronic medical records, which is the VA is based on Intersystem technology. Epic Systems runs on top of our data platform.
And then also a number of large financial trading houses is our software for trading platforms as well.
But, yes, few people have heard of it, because it’s not an application, in and of itself. We do have some, but mostly we sell the software then people build the applications on top of it.
When the recruiter called me about this job but six some six years or so ago, he said. So there’s an interesting job here from one of the most successful companies that nobody’s ever heard of and they’re looking for somebody to change them. I said which half of that equation, do you want to change?
[Adam]: So, talk a bit about that so you when you, as I recall. I remember sitting down together over a cup of coffee that heads about five years ago, four or five years ago. You had a very specific brief around creating or building the brand, which seemed to be as, you know, maybe as I recall, it was like a new exercise for them. So, talk about that process.
[6:47] Jim’s Insight on Creating & Building The Brand
[Jim ]: Okay, well, like a lot of technology companies in our InterSystem sort of letting its brand build naturally. The brand was not actively managed.
If you were to ask people attributes, I think that they would have a pretty consistent experience or a consistent story to tell, but we weren’t.
But when you let a brand go that way, then the brand is the result. And it’s always kind of trailing what you do, if you just let your brand build by what you’ve done, the brand is always going to be behind you, whereas the brand should be ahead of you.
Because a brand is a promise that you’ve made and can expect that you set out to your customers and prospects.
So we wanted to more actively manage the brand, quite frankly, to make it easier to expand and expand into new markets in areas
[Adam]: Other than not being No, I mean what was the brand problem, what was the problem?
[7:48] The Brand Problem
[Jim ]: The biggest problem was people not knowing who we were.
Yeah. So with all this heritage and record of customers from the, A to Epic to a lot of large banks,
Every time we would go into a sales call it was who you guys are and what do you do? Obviously, then you burn half the sales call and they still didn’t know who you were. So there’s certain efficiency there, of having a brand.
And also, when analysts and others reach out for opinions, the better known you are as a brand, the more you’re going to be in those conversations.
Lack of Brand Perception
So that’s what we saw as the problem, the lack of a brand perception was keeping the company from expanding and keeping the company from acquiring new customers.
Because you in their minds, are no different than a company that started a year ago and had two customers.
[Adam]: Okay, so, you know, I think for folks listening to this podcast, when I talked to a lot of healthcare marketing folks, I usually hear two objectives. One is generating demand for quality prospects. And then the other one is building brand awareness.
I think most people have got, you know, a good understanding of how to do the first, build demand and sort of, you know, developing an ABM strategy, all of that is good stuff
When it comes to building a brand, most people that I talked to in healthcare technology, don’t have that experience.
So, I’m just really kind of like you to get specific about the process in custom, how you went about getting customer insight, and how you translated that into positioning statements. What was the process that you went through to create the brand story?
[9:45] Brand Positioning Process
[Jim ]: Okay, well, First off you know that we always hear conversations about ad runs versus lead generation.
I would argue that a strong, strong brand is your most efficient and most effective lead generation technique because, without a strong brand, you’re never going to improve the efficiency of your lead generation. It’s always going to cost you the same amount of money per lead.
With a strong brand, customers come to you. I mean to for an extreme example, does Apple need to do any lead generation?
[Jim]: They just announced what they have you already know a lot about it because the Apple brand is so strong. And the same holds for any strong brand. They just have to announce a product but they don’t have to do any of your lead generations.
[Adam]: Right? And, any SDR you’ll talk to will say it’s just so much easier to get a meeting regarding a brand they have heard of than of a new technology that no one knows about.
[10:46] Software’s Lack of Emotional Connection With People
[Jim ]: Absolutely. So our problem is common when it comes to software companies we work with. You know, Adam, people don’t have an emotional connection to the software we make.
It’s just that nobody sees it, because other systems are run on top of it. Now, our direct purchasing customers understand it because they’re dealing with it all the time.
But the rest of their company and the average person on the street have no connection at all to this software. So I equated it to being like a water heater in your house.
It’s there, you know it’s there, but you don’t really care about your water heater. You have no emotional connection to your water heater, but you do have a really strong emotional connection to taking a hot shower in the morning on a cold day.
The Need To Focus On People’s Emotional Connection
So while focusing on people is one of the first foundations of our brand strategy, people don’t have a strong emotional connection to what we make.
But people have a very strong emotional connection to the outcomes. Our software is valuable in healthcare. That’s doctors, being able to make the right decisions and patients recovering and having happy lives, and so on.
What we’ve been doing is building our brand. What we’ve done is put a lot of emphasis on the outcomes we enable. And also, what it is we produce in less technical terms.
Intersystems On Healthy Data Theme
So, one of our common themes now is healthy data. In other words, you need data that is equated to clean water. There’s clean data and there are healthy data.
We have used the Clean Water metaphor. So, clean data is like clean water, it’s been disinfected and it’s not going to kill you if you drink it. That’s great.
The difference between clean data and healthy data is that if clean data is like clean water, healthy data is like clean water warmed up to 102 degrees coming out at 30 psi and your showerhead in the morning.
Again, it’s not that I’m overemphasizing showers, but again if you have clean, great water, it’s not everything you need, right? So what we focus on is the result.
[Adam]: So, you are creating an emotional outcome to a rational thing or rational things. The outcome of what you do. You are trying to do that in a way that gets the best in people’s hearts and not necessarily brains.
How do you do that? How do you tell those stories, particularly through a, you know, hard to sell to the audience?
[13:52] Creating Brand Stories With Emotional Connection
[Jim ]: Well I think you answered a little bit in your question which is, that it comes down to emotional connection. So we focus, so we do a fair amount of messaging around the result of the data.
We had a TV spot where a man is being rushed to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. And he calls ahead, yeah; the ambulance crew calls the head with all that kind of vital stuff, and the hospital is able to look up the guy’s medical records because of our software.
But we don’t actually explicitly say that and find out that he has a particular pre-existing condition, and so the normal treatment you would give them in the ambulance shouldn’t be done.
They discover that they need to take a different course of action because that information was available. This patient’s going to live.
Otherwise, without that information available, they would have taken the wrong course of treatment or not done anything and the guy would have been in worse shape. That’s the net outcome.
Building a Brand That Focus On Results
We don’t go into any detail about how it works. It’s just that because of our software, there is a positive outcome. And so, we find that works very well for starting the conversation.
One of the other things we found where that kind of brain is particularly helpful is that the customer we deal with on a day-to-day basis in setting up software and negotiating it tends to be fairly technical within their organization. They have to talk to non-technical audiences to get approval for what it is they want to do.
We have found that the materials we create around the brand that focuses on the result, help our customers explain things to their internal customer. This makes their work easier.
Sometimes back, we had a video where we were in a meeting and there were technical people, and non-technical people, and the meeting was an hour-long.
We then showed the people some of the videos that we had done. And that’s when the most senior person in the room who is non-technical went “Oh, now I see what it is you’re trying to do here. Got it.
Focusing On Capturing People’s Attention
We do it frequently because it gets people’s attention. There was this video ad where a woman spilled coffee on herself, and just as a little girl was crossing the street in front of her, her, the car slammed on the brakes automatically.
You know, you show that to anybody and their first reaction is, I want one of those cars that won’t let me run over a little kid. Yeah.
So, even though it can seem kind of simplistic, the emotional impact and it has to be genuine, obviously, right, these are all things that we do. But they matter.
And they’re putting in the world, the customer’s world.
[Adam]: That’s, I mean that’s the thing. I always wrestle with how to make advertising authentic because you get so used to seeing so much advertising and you’re like yeah, just how do you make it authentic and convincing?
[17:30] How To Execute Authentic Advertising
[Jim ]: Well, for us, when filming healthcare spots, we had a doctor go along.
And so happens that in one set of spots, we filmed in Southern California. We had an EMT crew inside an ambulance; well they were real EMT people because it’s Los Angeles and everybody’s an actor! And that’s where it pays to do it right because again we do it in LA because that’s their business.
So the prop guy would come out to our doctor and say, Okay, which of these three defibrillators, are the kind they would have in an ambulance?
And what’s the kind they would have in a hospital. So the attention to detail makes it real to us and very interesting.
[Jim ]: Yeah, I think it gives the people who are taking part in the spot, particularly the professionals the level of confidence that probably improves their acting. So, it feels more genuine, that’s interesting.
I loved your story about presenting the video in a business meeting is there, you’re seeing a real tangible result of that? How do you measure the impact of what you’re doing so that the company continues to be committed to doing this?
[19:00] How They Measure Impact
[Jim ]: Well, there’s, there’s not a good objective way. But there are a lot of subjective ways.
The party that was most impressed when we showed some of the videos we have done, were Gartner analysts.
And as you can imagine, they’re bombarded constantly, and they can’t help but get jaded. For Gartner analysts to notice and say that’s a good story and you can see it had an effect, that’s one satisfaction.
If a customer asks to reuse it, which we should cease in such a way that we make it available for different customers to use, you know, different HIEs and things like that, can take our message and change the voiceover a little bit to say that they’re doing things like this.
[Adam]: Oh, interesting.
[19:55] How Their Brand Resonates With Employees
[Jim ]: Yeah, let me tell you, the other big impact is how well it resonates with the employee. We have 17 or 1800 people that are working away and creating all this brilliant software. They go home to their families and asked, “What do you do for a living, mom or dad? And they’ll say, well you know, here’s the code I wrote! And now, young kids’ eyes are gonna glaze over.
Families Connecting With The Brand
But now, they can take home our videos. Videos that we’ve given to people to say: this is what we do. Like: “This person is going to live because of this stuff I did”. The employees can now connect to that and their families can connect to that.
So, this has just made as many benefits internally as it has had externally.
[Adam]: It’s very interesting. My own experience was with my little software company. I had about a dozen people. We would sit down with the developers in a sort of a weekly all-staff meeting.
And I found that the way to get them engaged and so leaning forward in the meetings was to tell them stories like, “ Hey, here’s what we heard from one of my customers about the way that they’re using the product”
As soon they get this, everything would seem meaningful. It’s very powerful. So, Jim, do you do brand measurement or anything like that?
[21:26] How InterSystems Does Brand Measurement
[Jim ]: We do. But with the audience as specialized as ours is, they’re not super reliable because you just don’t get a large enough universe or sort of something.
So, we take it directionally versus true measurement because I just don’t think the sample size is large enough to be able to project much from it.
Like many companies we use YouTube. Well, we buy YouTube Advertising so the video is served up.
Success With Theatrical Video
And well, we buy YouTube Advertising So video is served up. And we have these kinds of TV ads and theatrical type videos then we have a range of different videos.
What we’ve found is that these theatrical storytelling ones out-perform every other one that gets served up.
And one of the statistics you look at on YouTube is not just how often your ad is served because that’s a function of a lot of different things like how much you spend on the landing page, so on and so forth. But the other statistic I pay a lot of attention to is how many people watch the entire video.
Yes. But now, our video runs longer than what YouTube says is the ideal length, I think they say the ideal length is 20 to 22 seconds.
Maybe it was run for 30 to 35 seconds. And yet we always beat the average viewership of a video on YouTube, and of all the videos we serve up. It’s these more theatrical ones that out-perform all the others.
[Adam]: That makes a lot of sense and a great measure.
[23:08] Telling Stories With Emotional Elements
[Jim ] When a story is told well and there’s an emotional element to it, you don’t click away because you’re engrossed. You want to see how the story ends.
Yes, when you’re just citing facts and figures. You know, it doesn’t draw you in and you can click away from it a lot easier versus when it’s a story you want to see how the story ends. And we don’t ask that, we don’t ask those videos in the brand stuff to do too much. I expect them to end with some curiosity and some familiarity, but not a lead from every single play.
[Adam]: So, you are using these Brian’s stories on YouTube, you’re using them in meetings, your website, or use them on other social media? Do you use broadcasts? I mean, I see this on TV
[Jim ]: Okay, so, because our audience is relatively narrow, and well defined, healthcare professionals financial professionals, supply chain professionals, any conventional cable or broadcast television tends to be too broad from a cost standpoint, right.
What we have run it in some places where we can find particular packages, you know if there’s an event or something like that. But we’ve also run it on YouTube as I mentioned, and also on the LinkedIn broadcast.
[Adam]: Oh, okay.
[24:43] The need To Be Specific to the Audience
[Jim ]: So LinkedIn broadcast allows you to get more specific to your audiences. So, we have run on CNBC at particular times or BBC Worldwide, but mostly on LinkedIn.
[Adam]: So, with LinkedIn is that more sort of like taking their ABM approach, like you give them a list of accounts, a list of titles, and so we want to deliver this number of exposures?
[Jim ]: More or less. You have to talk to me in my group that did the actual work on it.
[Adam]: Tell me about other things that you’ve tried, you know, over the last few years that you feel, yeah, they have not worked, and what have you learned from those?
[25:31] Things That No Longer Work
[Jim ]: Boy that’s big last.
[Adam]: Yes, this is only a 20 to 30-minute long podcast. (Laughter)
[Jim]: I mean if you want to cook my whole career
[Adam]: Podcast, no therapy session, Jim (Laughter)
[Jim ]: I figure, my career has gone nowhere but up since then.
Yeah, I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t work is email. So, we look, we all know from being a consumer of it how often we look at an unsolicited email?
Oh, and the open rate is an illusion. There are so many different tools out there to filter out unwanted email, and half of them make it look like your email was opened when it never even made it to the recipient’s inbox.
Insight On Email
Do we still do email? Yeah, sure. But as far as getting new leads or communicating any kind of message, it’s like a dead nerve. So, we don’t do much email at all.
We are doing more and more social marketing. And we have, you know, our people getting more comfortable with social marketing, and we look for relevant articles on which we can provide some insight or comment.
So not just an article in healthcare but an article that deals with interoperability since interoperability is one of our very core strengths or artificial intelligence, healthcare, and all these areas in which we have significant experience or technology.
When we find those articles, our senior management will comment on them, on LinkedIn. And that’s a way to get, not just the brand message out, but the brand message out in a more personal way.
So it’s an actual individual comment on things and you can see that individual’s background and see that it’s legitimate for them to comment.
[Adam]: I love that. How do you do that? That’s always really hard to get them to do that, or you know what helped out?
[28:09] Jim Explains How They use LinkedIn
[Jim]: I’ll tell you one of our very best social media people is an experienced, much older salesperson like in his late 60s, but way ahead of people half his age.
But, at first, we had resistance from different people throughout the organization. But one time, one of our salespeople, featured a video of ours on LinkedIn. She had three contacts in his organization that was trying to get in. We could see that because of those contacts.
Our video got forwarded to another 20 people inside that organization that we were trying to penetrate once I showed that fact. We got a lot of social media believers.
[Adam]: That’s just fascinating, really, really fascinating.
It’s remarkable actually because social companies, I think use LinkedIn effectively. So many people have been taught how to use it as an alternative to email.
[Jim]: Others see it as just a job recruiting site.
When you speak about social media a lot of people think that it’s just Facebook.
[Adam]: I mean, is this done through your LinkedIn page or the company page or is it just done by the individuals?
Social Media Manager & Communication Department
[Jim]: It’s done by the individuals but we have a social media manager who coordinates it all.
[Adam]: That’s great.
[Jim]: And so and that’s part of our communications department. So, the communications department naturally is abreast of what articles are out there and what stories are going on that might be relevant to us. And so they will send it out to different people. Here’s an article I think you should comment on.
So we have a regular drumbeat of at least, I don’t know, nine or 10 executives that are commenting on an article every week. And that’s from different regions around the world.
[Adam]: That’s, that’s remarkable because then it’s very hard to get people to do it. And they are not doing it because they are told, but because you have convinced them, they believe it.
[Jim]: Yeah, and we made it, we try to make it easy for them.[Adam]: Right, yeah. This is very helpful, and as we come to a close here Jim, I want to ask you a question that I ask everybody who comes on the pod.
If you could give the audience or your other health tech marketers, one piece of practical advice that they can act on today, something that you’ve learned in the last few years that you wish you’d known earlier that you want to share with people, what would that be?
[31:18] Jim Rose’s Advice: Focus On Customer’s Viewpoint
[Jim]: Okay, one thing which I learned way back when I went from the agency side to the client-side. I was when I went from being an ad agency guy to a client guy working with ad agency people.
The first realization that came to me was, Wow, if I had this understanding of my client’s business, I could have done such a much better job as an account guy.
So, I think the most important thing is looking at it from your customer’s point of view and understanding what they have to go through inside their organization.
I was talking to a lady one of our customers a few years ago. And I said, you know, we recognize InterSystems that when you choose our software, you’re betting your career on that decision. Sometimes an entire company has been bet on that decision. You have got to have confidence in us
There was an expression on her face when she said: “You make me so by the fact that you have recognized that. Three friends of mine just got fired a week ago in a different company because they chose software that was the wrong decision, and created a problem. So, they were out, and that’s going to limit their careers”.
Recognizing The Customers’ Real Pressures
And so, not just recognizing the task that your customer has in front of you because we all focus on that, but identifying what are the real internal pressures they have both stated and implied.
This is because for software like ours somebody chooses the wrong vendor and that company goes under, or the product is down if they are not out of work, their career probably severely limited.
[Adam]: That’s fascinating. As expected this has been a great conversation and insightful. There is so much to unpack and take away from what you’ve said.
Anyway, before we go, I want to thank you, Jim, for your time today, and I also want to thank everybody here for listening to the podcast.
Video Interview through a link in the show notes before the show notes below. We have got great guests coming up and we’ll be letting you know, know about that.
So thank you again for listening. If you have a topic that you’d like us to cover please email me at Adam at health launchpad.com or you can find me through LinkedIn. I’m the only Adam Turinas out there.
So thank you very much again. Thank you, Jim. Thank you all for listening.
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