061 | The Anatomy of a Powerhouse Marketing Team | Tarah Bryan | HealthCatalyst | Studio CMO
Your marketing team. Where would your company be without them? Where would you?
A good marketing team is made up of a diverse group of people with a variety of talents, soft skills, expertise, and an X factor which, for your vision, only you can define. How do you find the right people, assimilate them into your culture, and keep them motivated to perform their best work?
About Our Guest
Tarah Neujahr Bryan, MAJMC, joined Health Catalyst in 2013 and has served as Editorial Director and Vice President of Marketing; she is currently the Senior Vice President of Marketing and a member of the Health Catalyst leadership team. She brings a breadth of marketing and communications experience to her current role. Prior to joining Health Catalyst, Tarah served as the Marketing Communications Director and Foundation Executive Director at a community hospital, managed at an advertising agency, was the Editor and Operations Manager at an archaeology firm, and provided triage assistance and patient admissions at a Level-II Trauma Center. She has a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Nebraska and a Bachelor of Arts from Montana State University-Billings. Tarah volunteers with Intermountain Therapy Animals and has done pro-bono communications work for the American Cancer Society, Wings Cancer Foundation, and many other non-profit organizations.
A Quick History of HealthCatalyst‘s Growth:
- Jan 8, 2013, Series B
- Mar 1, 2013, Series B
- Jan 27, 2014, Series C
- Mar 17, 2015, Series D
- Feb 29, 2016, Series E
- Oct 13, 2017, Series E
- Feb 8, 2019, Debt Financing
- Feb 8, 2019, Series F
- Jun 1, 2019, Venture Round
2013: Content Marketing Began
2015: “Practiced being Public”
We keep education of the industry and ensuring good care at the forefront of our mission. Our mission is to transform healthcare. And for us, that means partnerships. We produce educational pieces with customers and peers. We explore partnerships wherever our technology can actually work with another. —Tarah Neujahr Bryan
Building a Rock Star Marketing Team
- Kill the silos. Because silos can kill you. Tarah knocked down as many as she could and moved the culture to think of marketing initiatives. as an integrated effort.
- Build working groups. HealthCatalyst has six teams:
- Marketing Operations: Tech Stack and Analytics
- Marketing Response: Inbound
- Digital Marketing: Website, social, content, and design
- Field Marketing: Sales enablement
- Business Unit: Events including their user conference, Healthcare Analytics Summit
- Communications Team: PR, media relations, investor relations
- Create layers of communication—weekly stand-ups with team leads and then weekly working group stand-ups as well.
- Create a framework for transparency and idea-swapping. Tarah uses the process of “Thorn, Bud, Rose” which has been used by everyone from sororities to family dinner tables to unpack what’s behind the scenes. This process has given her team new places of connection and members of the team relate better to one another and find ways to support and encourage each other throughout each week. She equates the words as follows:
- Thorn: One thing that sucks about your week
- Bud: One thing that you’re learning about
- Rose: One thing you’re excited about
- Deploy the right tech stack
- Salesforce and Pardot
- Visible – attribution and following the buyer journey
- Basecamp – Team communication
- Smartsheet –
- Triblio – ABM
- Data visualization using HealthCatalyst’s own tools
- The three most important aspects Tarah looks for. innew team members are smart, hard-working, and humble.
Internal marketing is almost as important as external marketing. — Tarah Neujahr Bryan
Links Mentioned on This Episode
Some of the 260 case studies Tarah referred to:
- Analytics Enables Identification of Opportunities to Improve Value and Accountable Care Organization Performance
- Quality Improvement in Healthcare: An ACO Palliative Care Case Study
- Changing Healthcare Using Data: A Case Study of One Small Health System’s Odyssey To Achieve Material Improvements
John Farkas (00:00):
We talk all the time about how fluid the healthcare marketing space is. There’s a lot going on. And for technology companies trying to find their way into the space, it is a rugged, challenging road. And the companies that have made it and who have sustained and continued to grow over the long haul are few and far between. And today we’re going to talk to somebody who has been there and done that and live to tell the story. And I’m really eager to jump into this and explore the journey with all of you. That’s what we’re going to be taking a look at today on Studio CMO.
Mark Whitlock (00:57):
Welcome to Studio CMO. Hi, I’m Mark Whitlock. And you’re listening to the podcast that accelerates the transformation of healthcare. This podcast—and the agency which brings it to you, Golden Spiral—exists to help health tech companies improve patient outcomes by empowering them to communicate their solution in ways that capture attention, motivate, change, and speed improvements throughout the entire ecosystem. We work in. And it’s an exciting time to be in this industry. Our host, which you just heard from a few seconds ago, John Farkas, is alongside us today. And Anna Grimes, my fellow co-host is here with us as well. And as John talked about, we’re excited to be talking with our guests today, Anna.
Anna Grimes (01:35):
We are indeed. And today we have Tarah Neujahr Bryan from HealthCatalyst. She joined the company in 2013 and is currently the chief marketing officer and a member of the HealthCatalyst leadership team. Prior to joining HealthCatalyst, Tarah served as the marketing communications director and founding executive director at a community hospital managed an ad agency was the editor, an operations manager and an archeology firm. (I want to hear about that!) And provided triage assistance and patient admissions at a level two trauma center. She has a master’s from the university of Nebraska and a bachelor’s from Montana state university billings, Tarah volunteers with Intermountain therapy animals and has done pro bono communications work for a variety of nonprofit organizations. So she is a very busy person and we are glad she took time out of her schedule to come and talk marketing with us. So welcome.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (02:41):
Thank you. You left the two busiest items, which is my two children under five biggest project, right.
John Farkas (02:48):
That will definitely take some good and meaningful space. Seriously, thank you for taking some time with us today. And we are eager to hear there’s a lot of story in that backdrop of yours. So we’re eager to dive in and take a look. Why don’t you start Tarah, by telling us a little bit more about HealthCatalyst, what does HealthCatalyst do?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (03:10):
HealthCatalyst is a data and analytics provider for healthcare organizations looking to improve the care they provide to patients and not only through clinical care, but also financial and operational care. I think one of the big things that sets us apart is that we have well over 260 documented success stories with our clients over the years. And those are just the ones that we’ve written up. So we have proven success in our industry time and time again for years and years now. Um, and we are continuing to grow and scale even today.
John Farkas (03:43):
No doubt that the whole data analytics universe within healthcare has grown exponentially in your tenure, just to HealthCatalyst. I would love to hear some perspective of how you’ve seen that space expand and how you have really, um, grown into a position of leadership and dominance in that, in that universe.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (04:09):
So I was first introduced to HealthCatalyst while I was, um, at a hospital. And when I heard about what HealthCatalyst was doing, um, at that time it was a, a smaller startup company and they were specializing in basically just data warehousing. But when I heard about how they were applying that data warehousing technology to the healthcare space, I knew this is what we needed in the healthcare industry. And that was like eight plus years ago. This is the Time of Meaningful Use. Right. Um, so things have progressed a little bit since then
Anna Grimes (04:37):
Time of Meaningful Use. Yes. Right. How useful and meaningful that was
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (04:42):
Well said! We all have feelings. So yeah, at that time I was completely bought into the vision of HealthCatalyst. And we were, like I said, doing data warehousing our differentiator at that time was we were late biding data warehousing company, meaning that we had the flexibility and agility to adapt to not only healthcare definitions, but also how the standards of care were changing throughout the healthcare industry as a whole. And that adaptability and flexibility is part of our DNA. Even today. Now that we’ve moved beyond data warehouses and even maybe data lakes. In some instances, we really value what we do. Um, in terms of the flexibility adaptability we provide to our clients. And I think, again, that comes out in the fact that we can succeed alongside our clients. And we can document that in a variety of domains. We don’t just specialize in financial. We don’t just specialize in clinical or operational. It’s all together,
John Farkas (05:38):
Walked the floor of the HIMSS convention over the last, however many years it’s been that I’ve been walking the floor at the HIMSS convention. One of the things I’ve been impressed and a little bit wide-eyed as I’ve considered is just how many entrants there are into the data universe and healthcare. There’s so much opportunity. There’s certainly a pronounced need. I mean, it’s what you just articulated that you saw early on. And yet in my mind, so much lack of clarity or differentiation or well articulated, um, approach generally in this space. And I would love to hear some of your journey in the context of HealthCatalyst in helping uncover and discern that. I mean, it sounded like when you were talking about it, you came into this with a really clear vision of what could be, how has that shaped and how has that conversation been for you in your time at HealthCatalyst and how has that vision moved as the company’s grown into the position you are now?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (06:45):
Boy, talk about change, right? Healthcare data is super complicated and there have been many companies that have thought that they could enter the healthcare data space and it should be super easy, right? There’s, there’s a plethora of data. There’s more healthcare data than maybe any other kinds of data that we have right now that, and that includes non-structured data imagery and things like that. Over time, people have seen that data and thought, well, you know, I was able to apply it in this kind of context or this kind of context. And when they get to healthcare and they realize very quickly that it’s a whole different game, healthcare data is very different. Generally unstructured. There are all sorts of weird terminologies and definitions that have to happen. There’s applying it back like that closed loop piece of it is very tricky. There’s just a lot of complexity to it that unless you are in the healthcare space, you are not going to know.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (07:41):
And so I think what I’ve seen during my time is a progression in terms of just beyond just taking the data and grouping it in different places. But we’re moving now to what do we do with the data now that we have it? And how do we surface up those insights in a way that frontline workers that can use it, that CEOs can use it, CFOs can use it and then have that data inform future outcomes. So it’s not only getting the data and making the data into analytics. It’s what you actually do with the data. Then at the end of the day, the other thing that feels like it’s really starting to heat up now, and especially with the failure of IBM Watson is artificial intelligence and healthcare, right? How companies are experimenting and pretty interesting ways how to apply that kind of AI learning and in a healthcare space that ensures equity. We’re discovering that healthcare data, you can’t just take it on its surface. There’s also kind of bias built into that data itself. And so how do we apply these algorithms so that we’re ensuring equity, we’re ensuring outcomes are happening and that people can actually take action on it. That is part of the workflow.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (08:51):
The other kind of trend that I’ve seen is we have to get rid of information blocking. We have got to enable interoperability as more companies come to this space. There are more exciting opportunities to partner than I have ever seen before. So the opportunity for us to improve our API is to improve our partnerships, to stop treating each other so much as like fierce competition and more as how do we grow together? How do we build together is more than I’ve ever seen before also. So I think there’s a lot of positive things happening right now in the industry. It’s super noisy too. And I think one of my biggest pieces of advice, if anybody is looking for a healthcare technology right now is really do your homework on what’s behind the technology. It’s difficult to vet sometimes. So just look, ask lots of questions. Look for success stories is talk to as many people as you can make sure you know, what you’re getting.
John Farkas (09:42):
That’s definitely a good input and you’re right. I mean, there is a whole lot of people making a whole lot of promises right now that are based on a wide variety of quality of foundation. It is an important thing because when we’re dealing with this kind of information, when we’re dealing with stuff, that’s at stake, integrity is really important. And the ability to demonstrate and ensure that is super critical. You do have an interesting perspective in that, uh, and are unusual in that you have been in the same company in the same pursuit for eight years, which for marketing tenure, a long time. And what’s also interesting about that is you’ve been on a company that has a remarkable growth trajectory and has seen a lot of transformation in that time. Can you walk us through a bus stop timeline of HealthCatalyst’s growth and what were some of the important moments in the, in the company’s history?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (10:43):
Yeah, so of course we were founded 2008. I believe I should know that, but it’s up sometime in there, um, by, uh, Tom Burton and Steve Barlow who were both data architects who just kind of saw a better way of doing things. And from there, they kind of slowly started to grow this company, bringing on some pretty big name early on clients. AllinaHealth is one of them and still a client, a huge client with us today really enjoy our partnership with them. Then of course, you know, you have your venture capital raises and you go through all of that. And they hit a tipping point probably about when I joined 2013, I was around number employees, 75. And I joined to launch the content marketing program because they were getting to a point that tipping point in the company when word of mouth was no longer cutting it. Right. And real marketing, real educational industry-based marketing was going to have to start with
John Farkas (11:38):
At that point was by itself in this space was a relatively new horizon. I mean, that wasn’t ubiquitous by any stretch. I mean, you were at a certain level of sophistication to be able to see that way.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (11:51):
And to actually just to jump ahead a little bit, that level of sophistication and trying to stay ahead of others is kind of what drives me today as well. What are others doing and how do I push forward from that? I think we kind of pride ourselves on the innovation and sophistication that we have as a marketing department, but I’ll get to that. That was a little teaser. Okay. So 2013, we started scaling up at a lot of functions. So product and marketing are two big areas. We started scaling up and from there we grew like just, just gangbusters after that, by the time that 2015 came around, it was like we were up to 200, 300 employees, I believe. And we were teasing the market with like maybe our IPO. And we were trying to prepare ourselves for what that journey would look like and what that meant for us.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (12:34):
And we were practicing being a publicly-traded company. So practicing being on the quarterly schedule, practicing, delivering on the growth, practicing what we can and can’t say, and kind of getting our muscles ready. And then when the time came in 2019, that where we finally did go public, it was a really, really big, big milestone for us. We, I think we were at about 900, 900 employees. Then we invited the first 100 employees were allowed to come to New York and play with us and then the executive leadership team and the board members and all sorts. So it was like a really big celebration that we put on. And then from there it’s been just kind of continuing to be a rocket ship. It’s still kind of has a startup flavor to it because again, being agile is a big part of our DNA and you have to have that if you’re going to survive in this industry, the way that things are changing and the way that the competition is going.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (13:33):
So we’ve just kind of followed that general trajectory. So yeah, to the question about, um, how do you play nicely with others while still competing with them? The way that we do it? I think the first and foremost is that we keep education of the industry and ensuring good care as the forefront of our mission. Our mission is to transform healthcare. And for us, that means that, you know, partnerships, as far as we were doing educational pieces together, or we’re exploring partnerships where our technology can actually work together. And that’s one really fortunate thing about the way that our technology has been built is that we are a data analytics platform, which means that all of these point solutions that come in are all these very specialized, like applications that come in there is the opportunity to at least have a discussion where we aren’t a direct one-to-one competitor necessarily in that one tiny space, we’re saying like, how can we help each other?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (14:32):
So I think just from a business standpoint, that’s how we think about doing that from a marketing standpoint. Honestly, I, you know, I have conversations with my, my marketing cohorts at other health. It companies, you know, we don’t share trade secrets and we don’t share IP, but we do kind of compare notes a little bit and say, you know, what is it that you’re hearing? And you know, how can I help you? Can I connect you to this person what’s working for you? What isn’t working for, you kind of idea. So it really is. It’s like a kind of a team in that way. Like we’re all kind of on this healthcare industry team, making sure that we’re lifting each other up, I will say, I hope that it continues that way. I’m starting to get flavors that maybe it doesn’t, but you know, if people like me can just continue maybe kind of leading the charge with building collaboration and finding opportunities for partnerships, the healthcare industry space is only so big. We can’t can’t eat each other up
Anna Grimes (15:27):
Well. And with consolidation…
John Farkas (15:29):
You might end up on the same team next year. Yeah.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (15:32):
Yeah. So we’ve acquired quite a few companies and, uh, there are some people who have learned that the hard way.
John Farkas (15:37):
So talk to us about the process of, you know, how did you get to the point where we were looking at IPO?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (15:45):
It wasn’t an easy decision, to be honest, because there are, there are things when you become a publicly-traded company that become a little more difficult. I’ve
John Farkas (15:53):
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (15:54):
Yeah, you can’t be completely transparent. The things that we did to ensure that we would remain true to ourselves to become a publicly traded company were really important. One of those was very much establishing what are our guiding principles and those cannot change. So our CEO, Dan Burton is the absolute embodiment of our guiding principles, which are transparency, smart, hardworking, humble. Uh, we talk about them all the time from a leadership team perspective and it’s all genuine. I do have to admit when I first joined HealthCatalyst, I had a little bit of like, you know, is this real? Like these people are very kind and transparent and it is real here, which we just had to make sure it would remain after we became a publicly-traded company. And so that was one big part of it. I think another is just making sure the financials are in place, which is, you know, always part of the journey when you’re a SaaS company, making sure that your technology infrastructure is super solid and then making sure you have like succession plans and a real solid leadership team, the right people on the bus, in other words.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (16:56):
So that was the general journey. Whether if the market was ready for it, that was something that we kind of toyed around with quite a bit was the timing piece of it. I think we nailed the timing though. So we went public in July, late July of 2019 alongside Livongo. And it was actually really advantageous for us. At first, we were pretty disappointed when we heard that they had filed at the about the same time we did. But then we learned very quickly, like, you know, there is some, um, there’s some
John Farkas (17:22):
Synergy in that.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (17:23):
Absolutely. Again, getting to the partnership piece of it and the collaboration and the building on each other piece. Like even though we actually use Livango for our employees, for their wellness, for example, there was a energy that we could build with them alongside like this excitement around healthcare tech, generally, that kind of came out. So our IPO went really well. And then 2020 happened again because agility is part of our DNA. We were able to move very quickly to say to our clients, what is it you need from us? How do we partner? What do you need? You need us to back off, you need us to build something. We built capacity planners very quickly for our clients. We built vaccine trackers for our clients. We have all sorts of tools and applications we’ve built for our clients to ensure that they are supported right now. And so I feel like because we were structured the way we were, we had our guiding principles and we had strong relationships with our clients while COVID was, is, it is a difficult, I should say is, unfortunately we’re still in the present tense here, um, is, is a difficult situation. It also opened a lot of opportunities for us to find new ways to work together and innovate.
John Farkas (18:32):
So what have you seen in the context of the market as a result of the IPO as a result of being publicly-traded, what does that meant for the company and how has that affected how you engage in the context of the market?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (18:47):
I don’t know that a lot has changed necessarily. I think the things that have changed are things like that. We do quarterly earnings calls that, you know, there’s a lot on our plate as far as investor relations type activities, but to be honest, like our, the day to day of our team members and our product teams really is still about our clients and the industry, and really is unaffected generally by the markets. I think that financial markets are different than our healthcare markets, and there are different interests that they have. And we’ve been able to show how our culture is a differentiator for those financial markets in a way that when we talk about our client success and when we talk about our data platform, they kind of can see the whole picture coming together in a way that makes sense for them, even if they don’t understand necessarily the, the health care space
John Farkas (19:41):
And give us a sense of the machine that you’re piloting right now, how many people on the marketing team for HealthCatalyst.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (19:48):
Sure. So we have about 30 team members and on the marketing team, uh, and we have them divided generally into about five teams. And I’m a really big believer in not having silos. Silos drives me absolutely crazy. So I’ve, uh, when I took over as head of marketing years ago, I reoriented the team and knocked down every silo I could get. And now the campaigns are a marketing initiative. They’re not individual initiatives. And then there
John Farkas (20:16):
Are different tactics, mean it has to be integrated
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (20:19):
A hundred percent. Yeah. And then the way that I’ve structured the team, they have no choice, but to be integrated, like I forced the issue, which is working quite well. So yeah, it’s a marketing initiative overall. And then we all look at our individual strengths and our tactics and what it is that we bring to the table and roll it all up into that overall objective for each kind of campaign. So, and that includes everything by the way, from lake website to ABM, to email, to PR to social, to content, like all of it kind of rolls up into overall campaigns. Did you just list off the teams? Yeah, so I have, um, marketing operations team, so that’s our metrics and our tech stack. And then also what we’re calling our marketing response function, which is our inbound leads. So everybody that up request or fill out like contact us or whatever, like implicit leads as well. We have our digital marketing team, so our website or social or content marketing or design, then we have our field marketing team. So that’s field marketing, um, sales enablement. We have our executive engagement program through there. We have then our, um, I call them our business unit team, but they’re also in charge of our big events. So they are the primary drivers for our healthcare analytics summit and then HIMSS as well. And then we have our communications team, which is public relations, media relations, and some investor relations.
Anna Grimes (21:48):
Thank you for differentiating media relations and public relations.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (21:51):
Oh yeah. There is a difference.
Anna Grimes (21:54):
So, you don’t like silos and gotta be integrated. How do you make sure that decisions get made and get followed?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (22:04):
So we have a weekly stand-ups I deal with my team leads. Um, and by the way, let me take a step back and say that I have a rock star team. I am so proud of my team. I think our turnover speaks to how strong our leadership is in our marketing team. We have, like, I think we had two people voluntarily leave in the last three and a half years. Um, so really, really proud of my team. We have our weekly standup where we speak very transparently and openly about where our objectives are. What kind of roadblocks are we facing? What else do we need to talk about? We also have several tools that we use, like everyone does, right? So we have base camp. Smartsheet is probably our biggest tool where we’re looking at what is everybody else’s metrics and what do we think about that?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (22:46):
What questions do we have? How does it all play together? We also have our weekly marketing team stand up. I generally like department meetings kind of drive me nuts. I’ve usually like found them to be kind of a giant waste of time, but we’re structuring them in a way so that everybody gets a chance to talk and gets a stage and gets to share. And by doing that, we’ve found natural areas of like synergy and, oh, I didn’t know you were doing that. Um, one example would be, I do this exercise that I call “Thorn Bud, Rose”, which everybody has to share. Like one thing that sucks in their week. One thing they’re excited about one thing they’re learning about, and that can be personal or professional. And then when everybody does that, all 30 people, people start getting connection points in their brain and they start saying like, oh, you’re struggling with that. I can help you there. Or, oh, I’m also excited about that. Or I didn’t know you were doing that. Can you tell me more about that? What does that, um, kind of a thing and it just happens organically that way as well.
John Farkas (23:42):
Tell us about your tech stack. I mean, you mentioned Basecamp internally, but I’d love to hear about what are some of the tools, if it’s not insider information, but what are you using from a marketing perspective to get?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (23:54):
Sure. So generally we use, um, Pardot and Salesforce. When we do acquisitions or acquisitions, commonly are using HubSpot when they come in. So we often sunset them over to Pardot. Although sometimes they’re using Pardot, which is very nice for attribution. I was struggling to figure out like, how do we follow the customer journey through our, through the digital space? And right now we’re using Visible to figure that out. I mean, we’ll see how all of that evolves and comes together. Cause it feels like there’s this general consolidation of all of these kinds of technologies and they’re all working together in different ways. And I just want to make sure there’s no holes. So we’re using that right now. For our ABM platform, we just started using Triblio. Um, we’ll see how that goes. Um, again, the key is like kind of adaptability flexibility, but also like failing fast and learning on what we’re doing in order to do that. You have to have a pretty solid data infrastructure. The last thing I would say is because we are a data and analytics company, we have a pretty strong,
John Farkas (24:54):
I would hope that we had a good data infrastructure. Yeah,
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (24:57):
We have, we have a pretty strong team that helps us visualize our data in a way that we can make decisions pretty quickly. And so, you know, big shout out to my corporate analytics team for that.
John Farkas (25:08):
Nice. Yeah, just a little bit of an advantage that you guys have there and that you have a whole giant muscle set ready to help you, uh, give you visualize insights and make meaning out of data. That’s really nice. So that does segue to in a, another place I wanted to go. So your, your tenure eight years. In eight years, I know that there’s a revolution in how we watch things move through the funnel, how marketing interacts with sales, how, how, uh, how content is tracked, how the buyer journeys are able to be mapped, followed, and prescribed and perfected. I would just love to hear what you’ve seen, move and change over your time and what that has meant, you know, what that’s meant for the company and what that’s afforded as far as your ability to show and demonstrate your value as a marketing department.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (26:01):
Yeah. So I’ve seen a lot of really great progress. I’ll talk a little bit about some maybe historical sales and marketing friction, which I think a lot of us can probably relate to and are probably nodding our heads very hard right now. We got on board very, very early, actually with the webinar game. We did not gate any of our other written content, but we did a lot of webinars. What we would do then is we would hand over every webinar registrant to the sales team as an MQL. You can imagine how well that went.
John Farkas (26:28):
That was nice of you.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (26:30):
Yeah, yeah. They loved us. They thought we were great. Um, no, they did not. It was not good. And I don’t blame them one bit at all. Um, but we did that for awhile because we just didn’t have another way. We just didn’t know another way to do it. We were just doing the best we could. So what we started to do with the advancement of, um, marketing automation and being able to actually do profile grading in addition to lead scoring in addition to, you know, all these other things we have now is growing a more sophisticated pipeline so that we, with a higher degree of reliability can hand over a true MQL to the sales team that we think is going to progress to an opportunity. We’ve done that through a variety of ways. One of course is better understanding the customer journey in regards to the specifics of what is it that they’re looking at?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (27:23):
Where are they coming from? How long are they spending on our site? How long are they spending on other people’s sites, which gets to third party data, which is probably in a whole another discussion we could have because of all that sophistication. Now we hand off more high quality, I think, MQL. And we have a marketing response function that further qualifies all MQLs, and that’s still a manual process. And so we feel pretty confident. Now the journey is to gain the confidence back of the sales team and to show that, Hey, we really are giving you people who are truly interested in, want to learn more and are ready to rock and roll. We’re getting there for sure. It just takes time. Right? I think it’s all headed in a very positive direction.
Mark Whitlock (28:03):
Some of the lessons you’ve learned in that nurture process that, uh, work and what are some that don’t work?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (28:10):
Well, the ones that don’t work are to hand everything over that says contact us. That’s a sure way to fail. Yeah. I think the ones that work the best are ones that have multiple points of confirmation. So by that, I mean, like they’ve been active for a minute. They, uh, and you can verify that through various ways of, again, third party data, other things they’ve downloaded on our site. Other things they’ve looked at visible really great that way. I think another thing that works well is the profile grading actually, because one thing we were discovering because we are so education heavy and content heavy, we were discovering, students love us. Like we will get quoted all the time. Um, we’ve had a lot of college professors actually reach out and ask to use us. And then, um, if you look at, uh, we have, we have spikes in traffic that dropped during the off school times. It’s that pronounced sometimes it’s starting to level out more, but profile grading is actually I think, a really big deal and maybe not talked about enough because I mean, you just have to have the right person in the right role, um, to talk to otherwise, you know, conversations kind of go nowhere.
Mark Whitlock (29:31):
And you’ve been successful in getting leads from point to point, the point to give them longer time in your ecosystem and to, to spend time there and then to be nurtured and educated along the way. Right? Any takeaways from that, where you go, you know, this, this was a really important lesson we learned about keeping folks here in your ecosystem?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (29:47):
So we have a long sale cycle, Any, any healthcare and enterprise play does. our Healthcare Analytics Summit. That huge event that is like very highly produced is I think our number one, marketing influence and pipeline. And the reason for that is because of the way that we do it. One is we like our clients are on display. There it’s not a sales event. We don’t let them talk about HealthCatalyst. We don’t let them talk about any vendor period. It’s purely like educational first event that is very highly produced. And we’ll have people that will be sitting in our pipeline for a while. And then finally go to one of those and now virtually, and then it’s conversations are happening and moving. So our own event last year, we had 3000 people. Usually we have like around a thousand for an in-person event in Salt Lake City, which Salt Lake City’s amazing if you don’t go. But
John Farkas (30:47):
So opening up as a virtual dramatically expanded your reach.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (30:51):
It did. Yeah. It gave people the opportunity to go where maybe they wouldn’t have been able to go. You know, the jury, I think, is still out on virtual versus in-person events and the effectiveness of either, I think a lot of us have kind of struggled a little bit with virtual engagement at events. I think one to one virtual engagement is working very well, but at events, I think it’s sometimes hard to cut through the noise. And then a lot of the event organizers get a little persnickety about, you can reach out to people or how you can engage with them, which is fair. We do the same thing with ours. So I do know, you know, hybrid is probably in our future. So just figuring out how to do that. Well, I think will be a trick
John Farkas (31:33):
Of effective, you know, the 1000 person in person versus the 3000 person virtual. Was there a significant difference in what ended up happening from a business development perspective?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (31:46):
I think that’s a hard question to answer because of COVID, COVID kind of throws all sales cycles off right now. Um, so I don’t know that it’s an apples to apples comparison. I do know that there’s major influence with both that virtual conference did move a lot, uh, through the pipeline and add to the pipeline.
John Farkas (32:06):
It was definitely effective, but it’s hard to give a apples to apple. You can’t do apples to apples because the external variables were so
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (32:15):
Right. Yeah. There’s like, there’s no control group here. Cause it’s just so extreme.
John Farkas (32:20):
We’re looking at two different species in some sense. Yeah. That makes sense.
Anna Grimes (32:25):
Role does marketing play in establishing that culture? Not just building on it.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (32:34):
I love that question. Our role is we have multiple roles. One of the biggest ones is giving platform to our team members to share their stories with each other. What do you mean by that? Through things like internal newsletters or making sure that we are sharing their stories on things like social media or our intranet or so, yeah, the first is to make sure we’re lifting up our fellow team members. And part of our culture is about making sure that we give credit where credit is due or that kind of idea. I think another is the tone that we use when we communicate. Okay. So we try to come across. Actually we, we thread this needle of trying to come across as humble and all of our, most of the work that we do. So we’re not bragging about, you know, oh, we got this success or we did this.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (33:27):
It’s more like our partnership with our clients gave this many patients, you know, new hope or it’s very much rewritten to be about the mission and to be about the teamwork that happened. I think the other piece is very much around what it is that we’re sharing. So we share not only successes, but we also kind of share learnings. We find ways to share like, Hey, we kind of messed up here and this person wants to talk about it in this way. And that’s a little more internal obviously. Um, but, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s finding, finding opportunities to be transparent. Well, if you’re a data
Anna Grimes (34:08):
Funny and you’ve got a lot of data, then the onus is on you to share both the good and the bad data.
John Farkas (34:13):
Exactly. Yeah. And Tarah you’re, you’re really pointing at an idea that I think is really important for marketing functions to understand as part of their mission. There’s two ways that I think about it. And some of this has come from a conversation we had with another podcast guests that really helped put a point on this marketing often functions as the translation layer within an organization. And the other thing I would add to sort of the translation layer is where the meaning makers, right? We’re helping an organization see itself in ways that doesn’t typically see, because we are translating how the outside world sees us and how we see ourselves and crossing that gap. You just brought it out. That happens internally too, right? There’s stuff going on out there that doesn’t always make it in here. You know, it doesn’t always make it in here.
John Farkas (35:02):
And it’s, and we serve often as the HealthCatalyst and the meaning maker to say, Hey, pause, let’s look at this thing because this is meaningful. And this is part of our story. And we need to figure out what it means to amplify that we need to figure out what it means to bring that meaning in and let it inform our culture to inform how we take things forward. And it’s really great to hear you articulate that that’s a part of how you’re functioning, because I think it’s a lost opportunity for a lot of organizations that are sort of hung in the hyperfunctional or siloed endeavors, right? If you’re siloed, there’s not an opportunity for translation. If you’re siloed, there’s not an opportunity for the kind of interchange that makes meaning. And that’s some of the higher calling of marketing is to really help and the opportunity to really elevate the value of the organization, to the rest of the world and internally to help people understand this is what we’re really doing. This is the real impact that we’re having. It’s an important highlight for.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (36:09):
Yeah. I often tell my team internal marketing is almost as important as external marketing.
John Farkas (36:15):
So Tarah, you mentioned something that I love to hear, and I’m glad that you see it this way, that you have great team and it’s evidenced by the work that you all do, but your affinity and your appreciation for that team is great to hear. I would love for you to talk a little bit about when you think about marketing in this context, is there a core sensibility? Is there a core understanding or some really critical component that you’re looking for as you think about ideal team members that you’re wanting to involve in, in your marketing function, what are, what are some of the, the essential items, the essential elements that they need to get for you to be excited about bringing them on your team?
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (36:59):
So it’s actually an answer that applies to the entire organization, which is, I want people who are smart, meaning they know what they’re doing. They have confidence in what they’re doing. They know a lot about their area of expertise, hardworking. So they’re willing to do what needs to happen to get the job done with balance, but also humble. So we all learn we’re continuous learners. Um, we have something to learn from everybody. And if you say them together as smart, hardworking, and humble, it sounds a little bit funny, but I very much believe that. And so I have been at HealthCatalyst, uh, over eight years, which it’s a long time I’ll say. Um, but it’s also been kind of a short time because it’s an amazing place to work. Um, great team members, great leadership, um, a lot of really positive things to be said. So I would encourage everybody listening. If you’re interested in joining a fantastic team, a fantastic culture with a rocket ship of a company, check out our HealthCatalyst careers page. Uh, we are hiring and go there to learn more.
Mark Whitlock (37:57):
We will link out to that careers page from studiocmo.com/061 that studiocmo.com/061. Tarah, we’re so grateful for you being on Studio CMO.
Tarah Neujahr Bryan (38:11):
Thank you. It’s been great.
John Farkas (38:12):
Thanks Tarah. One
Mark Whitlock (38:13):
Of the things that we talked about with Tarah, she started out in that world of content development. She’s written a recent blog post on data analytics during the time of COVID, which is fascinating. We’re going to link out there for you to take a look at her excellent writing and the excellent analysis on data during the time of COVID. HealthCatalyst,. As you heard throughout the course of this, had a healthy focus on others had a sense of, of empathy within the company as the way that they built their team, as the way they prepared for their IPO and in the way that they look at their customers. And that is part of the DNA of golden spiral. The agency was brings you this podcast, Studio CMO, as we say, at the end of every podcast episode, we hope that you will find a way to truly understand your buyer’s problem.
New Speaker (39:01):
Lead with an empathetic understanding.
Anna Grimes (39:04):
And always work to make your buyer the hero.
Mark Whitlock (39:06):
We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO
Studio CMO is produced by Golden Spiral: market positioning and demand generation for HealthTech. We are an agency dedicated to help you realize your market potential. Our music is from Bigger Story Music, a BMG music library. Whatever story you’re trying to tell, Bigger Story has the perfect music to make it better. Really. Check them out at biggerstorymusic.com.