It may have the word “medical” in the title, but by all accounts, The American Medical Association is actually a media company seeing the fruits of its digital transformation. In the last 18 months, association membership has grown by more than three times, thanks largely to a new digital approach.
The AMA helps physicians in their quest to improve patient care. A large part of that is creating quality content from medical experts, including white papers and other documents. But that content is ineffective if it isn’t meaningful to members or easily accessible.
Digital transformation is a business buzzword, but it can be scary to people. Instead, Todd Unger, chief experience officer and SVP physician engagement at the AMA, likes to start with the business of basics, such as identifying the audience, the company’s growth goals and what digital platforms will help the brand perform on a bigger scale. The digital solutions for one group might not be what another group needs. In order to be effective, companies must segment their audience and tailor their approach for reaching out to certain types of people.
Unger came to the medical world with a background in e-commerce and horse racing. His fresh perspective helped him see areas that could easily be improved. One of the best ways to build momentum for a digital transformation is to start with the low-hanging fruit. For the AMA, it was as simple as adding a button to its homepage that people could click to join the organization. Those simple changes can make a big difference to the overall experience, but it often takes someone with fresh eyes to find those simple solutions.
Unger’s best advice is to start small, move fast and get quick wins. Digital transformation can be scary and overwhelming, but quick wins from low-hanging fruit can provide positive momentum. Success can also show people who are hesitant about the need for a digital transformation just how powerful digital tools can be.
With that fresh perspective comes the need for a cohesive team. Unger says many companies have problems with digital transformations because the responsibility of digital marketing is split across multiple departments, which takes away accountability and makes it hard to get results. Within a few months of starting the digital transformation, the AMA brought its digital marketing teams together to one cohesive unit and immediately saw faster progress.
Unger’s team tests everything to drive growth. Even something as simple as an email template needs to be tested repeatedly to prove that it can effectively meet customers’ needs. Testing helps digital teams move to making fact-based decisions instead of relying on their opinions.
In the end, digital transformation comes down to trust. Are you communicating and connecting with customers in a clear way that builds trust? Digital solutions can drive growth and create meaningful relationships with customers. As Unger says, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in marketing. And it all starts with digital.
Most people consider customer experience the ultimate goal for companies and marketers, but according to marketing professor Peter Fader, customer experience isn’t for everyone.
It’s no secret that modern customers are all unique. They have different preferences and also different value for brands. As Fader says, not all customers are created equal. Some will be loyal to the brand and purchase every new product, while others will only purchase items on sale and could dabble in other brands. While both types of people are customers, it’s definitely more worthwhile for the brand to invest in the loyal customer who makes bigger purchases. When it comes to customer acquisition and retention, brands should focus on quality, not quantity. 10 brand-loyal customers who recommend the product to friends and make repeat purchases are better than 20 customers who only purchase when it’s cheap and convenient.
Today’s customers realize they aren’t always treated the same as all other customers. Some customers get VIP treatment and special offers, while many others don’t. Customers understand the difference and realize that companies are simply rewarding customers that deserve it a little more.
That’s where customer experience comes in. Different customers have different kinds of relationships with brands. Fader uses the example of Stitch Fix, which offers a completely different box of clothes to each customer to create a one-of-a-kind experience. As technology and personalization continues to improve, Fader says that customized approach will become the rule more than the exception.
In order to best grow and nurture a relationship with customers, brands need to understand what tactics are most effective, and it’s not the same for every customer. Some customers might respond well to a rewards program, while others may resonate more with customer experience. Companies can’t pick one tactic and think it’s the best thing for all customers all time. A large-scale customer experience campaign might only move the needle for some customers in some circumstances instead of being the ideal solution for every customer. Fader says the best brands use a variety of tactics because they understand their customers and the value they provide.
Customer experience is still crucial to brands and can have a tremendous impact in creating loyal, long-term customers. However, as companies try to connect with customers, the key is to understand their value and preferences and build relationships in the way that best works for each person.
Check out a great talk from Peter Fader at Google here.