The Next Generation of Digital Transformation, ft. Sue Omori


As consumerism and technology trends continue to reshape the landscape for health systems, digital transformation is a baseline requirement. Seasoned healthcare leaders are already evolving their teams to be future-ready. From key roles and responsibilities, to job functions, to the evolution of skills required in MarTech and content, healthcare marketers must “do more with less”.

Listen to guest Sue Omori, Executive Director, Marketing Account Services, Cleveland Clinic, and podcast host Alan Tam, as they discuss how a market leaders are evolving their teams, technology, and services to be future-ready for the next generation of digital transformation.

This conversation is brought to you by Actium Health in partnership with the Forum for Healthcare Strategists.

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sue omori next generation digital transformation podcast

Sue Omori

Executive Director, Marketing Account Services
Cleveland Clinic

The Next Generation Digital Transformation podcast

Alan Tam

Chief Marketing Officer
Actium Health


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Sue Omori (00:00):
What we’re really finding with people is they really want this digital engagement. What’s kind of shocking to me, or when I first realized this is 94% percent of the traffic coming to Cleveland Clinic’s website is to health content. 94% percent, only 1% goes to our, what we call our institute content.

Alan Tam (00:31):
Hello, Healthcare. Healthcare consumerism has always been one of our audience’s favorite conversations. As consumerism and technology trends continue to reshape the landscape for health systems, digital transformation is a baseline requirement. I’m excited to have Sue Omori, Executive Director of Marketing Account Services at the Cleveland Clinic, joining me today to share how market leaders are evolving their teams, their technology, as well as services to be future ready. Sue, thank you so much for your time.

Sue Omori (01:02):
Well, thank you, Alan. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Alan Tam (01:04):
So Sue, what do you do as a executive director at the Cleveland Clinic?

Sue Omori (01:10):
A little bit of everything. No, our team is really focused on clinical service line support and business development support. So it’s really our job to understand and listen to what the goals are, the OKRs are for service lines and business units, and then deliver on those through marketing plans, which we used to say annual marketing plans, but now they’re just really ongoing marketing plans. And it’s just so great because in that role, we’re able to work with all the deep subject matter experts at the Cleveland clinic, and it’s a wonderful job. It’s a great position to be in. We’re sort of the quarterback of the strategy and the tactical execution.

Alan Tam (01:50):
I love that and I love the connection with the service line teams. Obviously a lot of that content and a lot of that information needs to be communicated back out to the healthcare consumer.

Sue Omori (01:59):
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Alan Tam (02:02):
So as healthcare consumer trends kind of evolve, obviously that changes a lot of the strategies and the programs that you’re working on. What are some of the trends that you’re seeing that’s impacted your strategies and programs with healthcare consumers today?

Sue Omori (02:17):
I think over the years, one of the things we’ve really seen is just this strong emphasis on digital engagement and really focusing, not so much on ourselves, but externally focusing on what’s the consumer want? When do they want it? How do they want it delivered? And that’s been, I would say a necessary shift over my entire career has been in healthcare marketing, so over 30 years now. And that’s a big shift to really be less reactive about what does this clinical person want? You have to understand that, but you really have to understand what’s the consumer want or even the stakeholder if it’s a physician to physician situation. But I think that’s really changed and what we’re really finding with people is they really want this digital engagement. What’s kind of shocking to me, or when I first realized this is 94% of the traffic coming to Cleveland Clinic’s website is to health content, 94%. Only 1% goes to our, what we call our institute content. This would be describing a department or a service. Only 1% of the traffic goes to that institute content, and that’s of all the institutes combined.

So less than 5% of our traffic is to those utility features that you would expect people to be going to, even find a doctor has a couple percentage points. But the people have spoken, they want trustworthy content. And one of the things that we think about is just what an incredible responsibility that is, because we have a big brand name to uphold and we’re really proud of that brand, and there’s a lot of trust that people place in us with being Cleveland Clinic and that brand, and we would never want to breach that trust. So we put a lot of effort into developing highly trustworthy content that people can count on. And the other part of that is that we’re always looking for ways to make it easier to interact with Cleveland Clinic or what are some ways that people can engage with us that makes it easier for them, whether that’s online scheduling or any number of things like that.

Alan Tam (04:35):
So definitely the authority on content. I mean, who else has that authority that you guys have and the brand and the recognition that you guys have from a content perspective. So you did talk about how and what is the best way to deliver that content to healthcare consumers. What are some of the trends that you’re seeing as it relates to technology intersecting with patient engagement and a lot of the content marketing that you guys are doing? What’s working, what’s not?

Sue Omori (05:05):
I think really what’s working is just understanding what content they want. So it’s not just about… And I will say my colleague Amanda Todorovich, who oversees digital marketing, she’s really done a wonderful job of leading this effort. But I think an important point is that we don’t work in silos. So Amanda’s leading the effort of digital content, but it’s really, everyone is working on it. It’s everyone’s responsibility. So we feel a great sense of responsibility. And one of the things that we want to do is we’re really understanding where are those gaps? What are people searching for that they can’t find at Cleveland Clinic? So one, we’re closing that gap with content. The other thing is, where are those pain points? Where are those friction points that people have when they deal with us? And I’ll be honest, it’s not like we’ve figured it all out. We haven’t, not at all, but we’re getting there.

Part of getting there is understanding where those biggest pain points. I’ll give you a really good example. We have always, geez, for years we’ve had online appointment requests and that form had, I don’t think I’m exaggerating here, it probably had 70 fields on it. I mean, it was crazy. And so one of the things we realized is people were bailing on that form. So last December, we really took a hard look at that and said, if we’re going to help people, if we want people to come in and use our digital tools, we have to build better tools. And so we looked at that, and in some areas, because those are by service line, in some areas we reduce the number of fields by 85% on those. So we look at something like that, and then what happens is it’s over 600% year-over-year use of the form and 3X conversion to appointment on that form.

So people will tell you if it’s working or not, you’re going to see right away if what you’re doing is working because they’ll be engaging with it. So there’s just things like that with tools and even our, we’re working really hard with our contact center to make a better chat experience and really working across the organization to say, we have to understand those pain points. And I feel like that’s just a great change for us over the last years, probably five plus years. I mean, early on in my career, we just weren’t asking enough questions of consumers. We were basically assuming we knew the right answer and delivering on that. And now they’re just, we are asking a lot of questions. We’re doing primary research, we really understand what people want.

Alan Tam (07:45):
Would you say the pandemic has had a significant impact in terms of how you guys are approaching this now and accelerated your transformation? I would assume that given everything that happened now, it’s probably moving a lot faster than in the past.

Sue Omori (08:00):
I mean, of course everybody’s had this issue, but think about virtual visits as an example. Now, of course, we didn’t run virtual visits, but when you think about where marketing is in your organization, we’re supporting the clinical service lines, we’re supporting the work and the enterprise goals. But I think about virtual visits where we’ve done so much to promote those. Pre-pandemic, we probably had less than 10% virtual visits. Pandemic comes, huge percentage, almost flipped, 90% for obvious reasons. And then post-pandemic probably sitting at somewhere around 20%. Where people went back, still people want to go back in person. But the difference is, and this is where we can be really helpful in understanding these pain points, the difference is during the pandemic, we were so focused on volume and awareness. I used to say to the team, to our team, “If you aren’t spending most of your time on generating volume and increasing awareness, then you’re probably doing some things you shouldn’t be doing in terms of prioritization.”

Pandemic hits, think about what happened. I mean, even with the workforce situation, we couldn’t generate volume at that time. So we really pivoted how can we pitch in and help? One of the ways we help is we understand… We certainly were intensely focused, our corporate communications partners were intensely focused on messaging and internal communications. I mean, never was there a greater need for internal communications than during the pandemic. But as people sort of slowly realized, we were really scared that they were delaying their care during the pandemic. I mean, people not going to the emergency room for serious illness, people not keeping up on routine visits. So we really looked at our primary research and understood that people wanted a touchless experience. So talk about the intersection of technology. \.

We looked at how can we create a touchless experience for people. It wasn’t enough. Obviously it’s touchless if you’re scheduling your appointment online or you’re requesting an appointment online, but how can we create pre-check-in that’s touchless, bill pay that’s touchless, copay that’s touchless? You get to the facility assuming you’re not choosing a virtual visit, you get to the facility, how can that be touchless? So we had all these points along the way where we really promoted this idea of a touchless experience because you’re really responding to people’s fear at that time. They were afraid to come into our facilities and you really had to calm that fear down and we created this great experience.

And our job is to really talk about that. And I think one of the things that I’m just always inspired by with my colleagues across the division, but particularly in communications, is just being laser-focused in messaging. And we have such a great model, I think where we work with corporate communications, we understand the pain point or we understand what the organizational message is and they’re laser-focused, they come up with really crisp, tight messaging, and then we work together. And then it’s all about the distribution. How can we distribute this most effectively? And obviously digital tools are certainly the way to go for the most efficient way to distribute the messaging.

And so even as the pandemic was, as we look to, we kind of get out of the pandemic, one of the things we sort of come back to a point now where we are focused on volume driving and awareness again, but I’ll tell you, Alan, one of the things that we’re really thinking about is where do we truly have access? Where are we really trying to laser-focus that volume generation? Because unless you truly know where you have access, then you’re really doing your patients a disservice. The last thing we want to do is be promoting services that are difficult to get into, for example.

And I think what happened with the pandemic is because of the labor challenges that we were facing in our clinical spaces is we couldn’t assume we had access everywhere, even if people were willing to come back and we had very high demand, you had to really ask the questions about how are you going to meet that demand? So it’s been kind of a philosophical shift for us. Yes, it’s still volume driving and it’s still awareness generating, but you’re asking more questions. You’re getting really granular with where do we really need this business and where are we really trying to get people back to?

Alan Tam (12:42):
That’s incredible. And I’m really impressed that you guys are so laser-focused on that because oftentimes within health systems, there’s a ton of shiny objects that everyone is chasing. And I especially like your example of the touchless experience and really understanding the healthcare consumers’ fears and not just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff. So between that and access, how have things evolved from a MarTech perspective? How has this driven in your MarTech stack and what you’re looking to build up from an infrastructure perspective?

Sue Omori (13:19):
I think we’re still really focused on the digital engagement. I mean, we really are, and this is where I think we’ve kept our focus, is really understanding what are the tools that are going to give us the biggest bang for the buck? Where are the pain points? So with our stack, we’re looking at even things like an easier content management system even. We’re moving to a headless CMS, it’s a system called Sanity we’re moving to. And how can we easily create content and change content and give people the content that they want? So some of those things in marketing, even with Marketo, we’ve had Marketo for, geez, seven or eight years, our marketing automation tool, and we’re constantly, one of the things we did in my area is we formed a special kind of focus group within our group and said, “You are on the digital optimization team.”

And that group looks, talk about focus, they look at our campaign performance all the time every day, and they’re looking at where do we need to make adjustments? One of the thing immediately, what I was so struck by with when we got into marketing automation is how quickly people consume content. There’s just this great demand out there for trustworthy content. As many sources there are for content people still, they want to work with people they trust. They want content from people they trust. And so kind of understanding what those content needs are, but then really that side about continuing to evolve with what tools do people want? We do know that they do want to use chat. They do want to use online scheduling. One of the things that I think we’ve done a pretty good job is developing our single patient app. And that’s just a great collaboration with IT where we can say, what are people looking for in an app?

And again, I mean, I love our primary research team. They just do such an amazing job. And so we know here’s what they’re looking for in an app, utility. They really want utility. They want access to their after visit summaries. They want easy access into MyChart. They want to understand about medication, but they also want those things that make it easier to navigate Cleveland Clinic. It’s like, what are the most important telephone numbers? How can I have access to the doctor directory? What’s your map? What’s parking there at main campus? It’s often a scary experience when people have to park at main campus. So if you think about it, it’s such a privilege to work in healthcare and I really am proud to have spent my entire career in healthcare because you are helping people when they’re absolutely most vulnerable.

We’re not Nike or Pepsi. I mean, people don’t want to consume our product. And it really is such a privilege to help them and to help them you can’t be paternal about it. You have to understand what help do they want and what help do they need and what tools and technology line up? And I think what’s been a great collaboration for us is we really collaborate with it more than we ever have and I would say in the last few years, when I say recently anyway, but I think we’ve learned so much. You just have to work across silos. You have to work with other partners. If you’re really going to understand your consumer, your customer, your patient, you really have to work with other deep subject matter experts within your organization.

Alan Tam (17:02):
Absolutely. And I think especially within healthcare systems, there’s just so many silos from data silos to department silos. And I do definitely see a trend. Those who are successful are partnering and breaking down those silos and barriers and partnering together. And I think healthcare marketing continues to evolve where you have to be much more integrated across each and every department because you’re the glue, you’re the glue that holds it together, and you’re the glue between internal and external audiences.

Sue Omori (17:35):
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think the other privilege we have is that we often can see a larger view. I mean, if you think about it, clinical service line leaders or business unit owners or facility leaders, their job is to 24/7, think about what they do. Our job is to think what everybody does and also think externally. We have to look inside and we have to look outside. And one of the ways that we really try to break down those silos is understand that the fundamental work of our organization is health. It’s people’s health and well-being. And we are supporting that work. We aren’t driving that work necessarily, we are supporting that work. And so one of our jobs is to be absolutely collaborative and build trust within the organization. People who are successful in our organization, and I’ve been at the clinic so long now, but I would say elsewhere I’m sure this is true as well, is there’s people who are collaborative in spirit, they’re open-minded.

When we hire people, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for people with a good skill set. People have to know how to do what they do and with a technical bet, because it’s only going to get more sophisticated. But I want a natural collaborator. I want someone I like sitting across the table from or in a Team’s meeting. And it’s really, really important to build that trust and feel that collaboration with a clinical partner or a business partner and know we’re here to help you, our job is to help you. We don’t know all the answers, but we can iterate our way through it.

Alan Tam (19:24):
So since the past few years, obviously you’ve done an amazing job understanding what to focus on. What have been some of the strategies and tactics that have been most successful for you at Cleveland Clinic the last say, two, three years?

Sue Omori (19:40):
Yeah. I think strategically, one of the things that has been really successful is understanding the OKRs, understanding the objectives and key results, the key performance indicators of clinical areas and business areas. So really understanding and understanding those enterprise OKRs. I’ll give you a good example. Our team really under the leadership of Amanda, this is a content example, is we really wanted to be the number one leader and trusted health content and also make it easier for people to access us. So those kind of two sides of the coin, that became an enterprise goal. This isn’t just a departmental goal, it’s an enterprise goal and funded accordingly. And when people were not getting positions funded, we were able to get, the people we were hiring, developers, web-designers, content writers, and I think that team in particular did a great job. So from the strategy point of view, it’s understanding what are those enterprise goals, where can we be helpful?

And we know that content can be so helpful in addressing so many other issues or goals within the organization. So from a tactical point of view, we almost always adopt the paid, owned, and earned. We almost look at every challenge as what are the paid, owned, and earned tactics we can use to address this challenge? And so often we’re able to tap into all that great content in a paid channel, an owned channel, and an earned channel. And so we’re pointing people from our automation, our content streams in automation. We’re pointing people to our content, treatment guides, that kind of thing. So we really use that content to its fullest. We engage people on social with snippets of that same content. We fully develop, we have a podcast strategy, consumer blog strategy, physician blog strategy, all the health library. I mean, what’s been totally amazing in terms of what’s worked is that digital strategy has really worked.

I mean, we’re on track this year to have 1.2 billion web sessions, 1.2 billion, which is just… Last year we already had an 82% increase in web sessions. And part of it is because we optimize for search, we understand the patient journey, we understand where paid tactics can help with that. And then even the content, what people want, we look at the health library, for example. Last year the health library team created 3,000 new health library articles.

Alan Tam (22:28):

Sue Omori (22:28):
We created 1,000 new Health Essentials articles, which is our consumer blog that’s been around for years. I mean, that blog is really kind of launched our health content efforts. So I think that has been an area of great success for us, and being able to have such a robust content strategy and being able to use that in our paid, owned, and earned tactics has been absolutely phenomenal.

Alan Tam (22:54):
Absolutely. That is extremely incredible. How did you get the buy-in and the enterprise support for that initiative? So many times when I’m talking to especially marketing leaders in healthcare, marketing often doesn’t have a seat at the table and can’t get the support. And sadly, they get told what to do instead of the right thing that they should be doing.

Sue Omori (23:18):
Sure, absolutely.

Alan Tam (23:20):
What are some tips that you can share with your peers?

Sue Omori (23:24):
I think having a strong leader, I mean, I just can’t say enough about Paul Matsen’s leadership of our marketing and communication division. I mean, Paul’s a member of the executive office team and I think what Paul has done so eloquently through the years, and I’ve worked with Paul for 15 years now, 16 years, and he’s really crafted the story. He really explains our capabilities because the thing is, if marketing only shows up to the leaders once a year or infrequently, they’re not going to be there for you. They’re not going to understand the function. So over the years, over time, we’ve made such a deliberate effort to explain our function, understand what we can do, understand where we can help, listen intently and understand and help people realize that we understand the organizational objectives. So Paul was really very well positioned.

When we talked about access transformation, it’s like, here’s where we can help. We can drive traffic to health content, we can drive traffic to our tools, and we can help with more people accessing Cleveland Clinic through a variety of channels. So he really created that story along with other key members of our leadership team, Amanda Todorovich and Matt Bakaitis. And they work so closely with the operational leaders too, our clinical transformation team. And I think that’s the other piece of it. Marketing’s always there. We’re not just popping in once in a while. We are really integral to the operations of the business, and we’re always at the table because we bring value, we bring the listening value, we bring the tactical execution, and we care deeply about the issues that our organization is facing.

Alan Tam (25:24):
What are some of the metrics and KPIs that you guys use at the leadership level? Obviously from a marketing perspective, we all have our standard marketing metrics, but when it comes to content marketing, when you’re trying to prove and show your value to Paul and his peers, what are some of the marketing metrics that are looked at and considered and utilized?

Sue Omori (25:46):
I think there’s some that haven’t really changed over the years where we’ve had some metrics that would be national awareness. I mean, the strength of our brand is so important to who we are because that’s a trust metric to the public. So we have always looked at the strength of our national brand because frankly, we need to bring people in from outside of our regional areas, whether that’s regional Florida, we have our Florida… I mean, we have 22 hospital locations, hundreds of outpatient, well over 200 outpatient locations. And so we look and say, how are we going to get our message out beyond our immediate geographic region? So we’ve looked at national awareness a long time. Obviously we look at local brand awareness. We have those kind of trackers. But I think part of it is understanding the most important metric is the one that’s going to foot to the organizational priority.

So obviously we do look at appointment scheduling and we look at other things. I think our team has been really great in the service line team. We know the day’s wait on everything. We know the day’s wait to get in for a total knee replacement versus aortic valve surgery. I mean, we understand the business. So part of what we’re looking at is really tapping into business intelligence. So we really understand where are those pockets of access? How can we be helpful with that? Where are we doing well? I mean, it would be a disservice to promote things that have a 60, 90 day wait, that kind of thing. So we’re constantly looking at the executive dashboard and really understanding our role in it.

Alan Tam (27:36):
Wonderful. I like the expansive perspective and how you’re able to drill down to each of those individual levels. I think that’s so critical.

Sue Omori (27:46):
That’s fascinating when you do that because it is funny and everyone’s enthusiasm for just helping people and getting people in. You’ll say to somebody, and this happened a lot coming out of the pandemic, “Well, we’re ramping up some return to care tactics. So are you guys going to be okay with that?” Just kind of, “Bring it on. Yeah, for sure. Let’s get everybody in here.” But we’re the ones actually sometimes saying, “Well, time out.” You have to have people asking good questions. “Where exactly do you need volume? Where exactly are there pockets where we can be helpful?” So it isn’t just this sort of generic, put it out there in the universe and hope people come. It’s very specific. And I mean, we spend a sizable portion of our budget on paid search, and we tweak that paid search. That team is fabulous.

We understand the metrics around paid search and we can ramp it up, we can dial it down. And we look at, I mean, even something that is really highly specific like sarcoidosis, we understand how much volume we can get, how we can take care of patients, and we understand. And I think the thing about the paid search has been so great is we really understand the market opportunity in paid search. That’s been one of those things that it’s really been so fun. And you could be so creative where, hey, I think there’s a little more upside. Maybe instead of a 10:1 ROI, we could get probably all the way down to a 3:1 if we just expand our geography in these ways or we go to specific markets, things like that.

But you do need good technical partners because these can be high stakes. It can be a lot of money. I don’t care what your budget is. Every dollar is a precious dollar these days. And if you’re spending money in paid search, you don’t want to guess. You want to work with somebody who really understands what you’re looking at, and you can bring that kind of market intelligence to it, but you do need somebody with a strong technical background to make sure you’re maximizing that investment.

Alan Tam (30:04):
So I love the detail that you’ve brought about where you can fine tune a lot of these, I think potentially more acquisition type of strategies for driving patient volume. What about retention? Is that an area of focus for you guys? And how has patient communications evolved in that area for you?

Sue Omori (30:29):
Alan, that’s a great question because I think people sometimes forget that one of your greatest areas of opportunity is retaining the patients that you already have. We have a reactivation program that we’ve done in marketing for a long time. I mean, it’s probably been a decade. And what we look at is we look at some very specific codes where it’d be kind of population health oriented codes like chronic kidney disease or AFib, that kind of thing. And we send messaging to them that is fairly generic because for us, when we want to reactivate patients, we just want them to interact with Cleveland clinic. They tend to come back where we want them to come back. But it’ll be just more like if you have one of those conditions and you have not been seen in 13 to 48 months, then we’re going to ping you and say, “We really care about your health. We are hoping you’ll come back for an appointment.” And that program has been pretty successful.

I think where we’ve seen an evolution is, and this is where it comes into more of a broader patient communication discussion, is we’ve really seen it with very specific things. Like colonoscopy is a good example where they’re saying people have orders in for colonoscopy and they haven’t… Who wants to do that? So we have done where we’ve talked about that of how can you be really specific? Because the marketing run program, we’re not saying you haven’t been back for your colonoscopy. We’re just saying you haven’t been seen at the clinic and we care about your health. Now departments are wanting to send information, they’re wanting to send reminders and things like that to people. And what it’s really challenged us then is to have good governance around patient communication.

And one of the things that’s been fascinating to watch is that governance process. It used to be that if you were an administrator in digestive disease and wanted to do colorectal or colonoscopy, you could ping your patients and that would be that. Well, we started realizing this is not good for our patients. If we’re pinging them too frequently, they’re going to turn off to all our messages and not get the important healthcare that they need. So we put together, it was run by patient experience. They put together a patient communication committee, and it’s governance that includes marketing because we’re really there to talk about clarity of message and appropriateness of message and that kind of thing. But I would say, the bigger takeaway from it is that if people… So you have governance on it that includes patient experience, it does have marketing, but it’s compliance, it’s legal, it’s the contact center, it’s clinical areas.

And so if someone now if they want to communicate with patients, they submit an online request to the patient communication committee and they say, I want to text a patient. I want to email a patient, or I want to MyChart message a patient about these things. That goes to all those committees and what’s really great is there’s committee discussion about it. I just love this about Cleveland Clinic. Things are just not done in a vacuum. It’s all out there. It’s really transparent and everybody can bring their own individual point of view on it. I just witnessed a good example of this where somebody wanted to, because we all have this tendency, I want all three, I want a text, I want an email, I want a MyChart. More is better. And it’s really a slow your role situation. Like, wait a minute, have you tried A, B, and C?

And it was a really small patient population, and we said, you know what? I actually think you ought to get people on the phone and call them about this particular thing. You really shouldn’t use any of those things. So instead of just rubber-stamping things through, there’s this just really robust conversation about it. And I love it because it’s like, what’s the best thing for the patient? And as people kind of get into CRM, which we’re using Microsoft Dynamics, we’re getting into CRM, it’s been a bit of a slow go, but one of the things, there’s the opportunity for people to state their communication preferences. But what’s really important is that you honor those preferences. If people tell you, “I don’t want you to text me.” You shouldn’t text them. It seems so fundamental, but when you’re talking about thousands and thousands of messages and thousands of patients, you can kind of get off track.

I think the great thing is this robust discussion really across disciplines where it’s like, what is the right tool? What is the right message, and how often should we be reaching out to patients? So that’s really changed a lot. This idea of governance has come up a lot. It’s come up a lot in patient education too. It’s like, how do you have the right governance? And this idea of creating a simple online form where people have to articulate the problem they’re trying to solve has been a great, great tool because we can look at it, members of the committee, you can look at it and everybody has an opportunity to review prior to the meeting. And then you go through one by one and you just evaluate that.

Here’s where there’s been a bit of a pitfall though. So we say, “No, we don’t like any of those. We don’t think that’s right.” People still feel that pain. And we see this a lot with patient education too. “Well, what am I supposed to do now?” And so sometimes they circle back to marketing then. And that can be a tough conversation for us because I feel like we’re the caboose of the train sometimes in those kinds of conversations. Like, here they come. But I think the important thing is you really have to listen to what is your pain point? What is the problem you’re trying to solve and what is the right tactic? And that’s where marketers are so skilled at the whole toolbox and maybe the solution is really simple. And so that’s been… But you have to give people choice. So when people work with governance committees, you have to be able to give them opportunities to, if you can’t help them, what are you going to do for them?

Alan Tam (37:09):
How has governance changed over the last, I don’t know, 12, 24 months? Has it been easier, tougher?

Sue Omori (37:17):
Well, I have to say it’s been a little easier because we’re all in teams. So from that standpoint, it’s really easy to get people together. So I think governance has changed, and the fact that we’re involving more voices in governance. Sometimes it would be a real small governance group, especially if we’re talking about something that’s sort of marketing-related. But we’ve really expanded the number of voices in governance. But governance has been, I think it’s really a key consideration for people. If you have any big issue like patient communication or patient education or even digital optimization, it’s like you have to bring in other voices. And sometimes that can be hard, but I think it’s really more just like, it can be a little tedious because it feels like you’re moving slowly, but what you’re really doing is putting in that front-end work so you have a better product on the back-end.

Alan Tam (38:19):
Yeah, that was kind of my follow up piece is, does that slow the process down as you get more and more people to become a part of that?

Sue Omori (38:28):
Oh, it can definitely slow the process down, and especially because there’s more people want the governance input. I will say it’s very, even though we say this is the process you should follow, there’s more people who want to follow it. They aren’t doing workarounds. But you know what? You iterate your way through that stuff. I mean, we’re a heavily process-driven organization. You learn to be better at it, you learn to get faster at it. And I mean, we’ll get there. I have every confidence we’ll get there. We’ll be able to scale that a little bit better than we have.

Alan Tam (39:05):
Well, if there’s anyone that’ll figure it out, I guess it’s the Cleveland Clinic.

Sue Omori (39:09):
We’re great at process, I can tell you that.

Alan Tam (39:12):
So what’s next?

Sue Omori (39:14):
I think what’s next is, and this is really a practice that we’ve always had, is we’re looking at outside healthcare category, looking at other industries. And when we want to answer the question, what’s next? We look and say, what are they doing in other industries? What are they doing in banking? What are they doing in automotive? I mean, really some very interesting areas. And one of the things we’ve been looking at are things like even the Metaverse, which has largely been around gaming, but I’m telling you, Alan, who knows, healthcare might be there too.

Alan Tam (39:51):
Yeah, that’s incredible. And I’m very pleased to hear that you guys are looking outside of healthcare. I think healthcare has so much opportunity, and I don’t think it’s rocket science as many of these other industries have solved a lot of the challenges that healthcare is trying to overcome. So hats off to you for taking the chance to look at that.

Sue Omori (40:15):
Well, and I think hats off to Cleveland Clinic because as long as I’ve worked there, it’s been an organization that has always asked, what’s next? What if? It’s an incredibly innovative organization and that includes the marketing area.

Alan Tam (40:28):
Absolutely. So Sue, thank you so much again for your time. I truly enjoyed this conversation. I definitely want to be able to continue it, but if our audience folks would like to continue the conversation and learn more from you, what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?

Sue Omori (40:44):
It’s been such a pleasure, Alan. I mean, the time just goes like that. Always passionate about marketing. So I think through LinkedIn or through email, happy, happy to talk to anybody at any time.

Alan Tam (40:57):
Wonderful. So if you’re interested in learning more about how you can be successful as a healthcare marketer, there’s no better role model than Sue. I encourage you to reach out. Thank you audience for tuning in today. And until next time, hello.

Outro  (41:11):
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