In partnership with The CMO Club, The CMO of the Week series profiles CMOs who are shaping, changing and challenging the world of modern marketing. For Drew Neisser's complete interview with CMO Award Winner Chris Edwards, click here.
Fitbit owners won't be surprised to learn that there's a wealth of data about our health habits out there. It's an enormous deposit of information ready to be mined, and Validic Health Technology is already digging. As a "Top 10 Healthcare Disruptor" and one of Gartner's "Cool Vendors," Validic occupies a space in the market that didn't even exist ten years ago, connecting mobile health data gathered from apps, wearables and in-home clinical devices to the organizations and people who can benefit from it (think hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc.).
The marketing department has had a marked effect on the growth of the business with Chris Edwards, the company's Chief Marketing Officer, at the helm. Chris leads the global marketing and strategy across Validic, which has a patient population reach of over 160 million across 47 countries. With a passion for "putting the 'health' back into healthcare," it is little wonder he was recognized with the CMO Growth Award from The CMO Club this year. Below, Edwards and I discuss the marketing efforts behind Validic's surging success.
Let's start first with the company's goals. As a front-runner in a new category, the mind runs wild with possibilities for Validic's future. This is good for a creative and strategic leader like Chris Edwards. He tells me that, right now, he and his team are successfully establishing Validic's leadership position in their new industry. "Much of the focus for Validic's marketing has been on establishing a unique position in the marketplace while helping to define the mobile health category," he says, "and our place in it." Additionally, as his CMO Club honor indicates, it's all about growth, with initiatives in place to drive lead generation, build customer relationships and set up partnership programs between Validic and its health contemporaries.
Impacting the Category
These efforts are even beginning to create a network effect in the company's category, says Edwards, an enviable achievement by any measure. "Marketing initiatives with mobile health device and app makers are helping fuel more innovation and use among consumers," he says. On the other end of the business, hospitals and pharmaceutical and health tech companies can make better use of mobile health data and thus provide more efficient patient care and better outcomes. Validic's efforts are apparent. "While our marketing attribution is driving over 75% of our business," Edwards says, "we are seeing more evidence everyday where healthcare organizations are successfully implementing the Validic technology, which is great proof that we are helping transform healthcare."
When Data is the Problem
While Validic deals in human health data, Chris Edwards acknowledges that, as a CMO, leveraging data for marketing purposes is a much different matter to wrestle. "As we establish and accelerate conversations with prospective customers, there are more 'influence points' and media channels than ever before," he says. "This makes a marketer's job more difficult than any other time in the history of marketing, if you really think about it." Edwards cites simpler times when TV, radio and some outdoor advertising were the main avenues for messaging. These days, consumers-and Validic's prospects-can potentially receive those messages anytime, anywhere, on any device and from anyone. No marketer can control all of these conversations, he says, "and if they think they can, they are delusional." What's a CMO to do with a digital world that never sleeps? "Thoughtful strategy, a clear concise message, a data flow map and feedback loop from the customer are key factors for a marketer leader's success," Edwards says.
However, when it comes to internal decision-making, data is only one of the essentials. I ask Edwards where he prioritizes his marketing efforts in terms of spend and choices, given that growth is such a priority. "Listening, learning, experimenting, and gut instinct," he says. "These are the four key factors that drive my strategic thinking and marketing execution. Each play a valuable role in our measurable marketing impact."
Growing, and Then Growing More
As Edwards and his team look ahead, their focus will be on maintaining the momentum that Validic has created. "Complacency is the enemy," says Edwards. "Our marketing is measurable and has been the single biggest driver of the record growth and great success at Validic...We must keep executing at this pace and continue to fuel our leadership position in the marketplace." Validic has even been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Disrupting Innovators in Healthcare, and Edwards hopes to retain that distinction for Validic moving forward. "Aligned execution across all areas of the business must continue, and at the same energy and weighted pace to accelerate our business growth," Edwards says. Indeed, it's the job of the CMO to help his or her business expand. "At any company, marketing should play a major role in this to help an organization thrive."
CMO of the Week is an exclusive Social Media Today Column appearing every Thursday