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Leading Teams Towards Next-Generation Customer Experiences with CXO Todd Unger

[A] Podcast #16

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Interview With Todd Unger

Hear insights on leading customer experiences teams from the American Medical Association’s Chief Experience Officer, Todd Unger.

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Bio

Todd Unger is the Chief Experience Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Member Experience at the American Medical Association. He has led digital change initiatives at AOL, Time Inc. and the Daily Racing Form. Todd is a transformational leader for the digital age bridging digital technology, content, product development, marketing, and business development. 

Resources

Start with laying out a strategy and roadmap to get a strong sense of what needs to reasonably, rapidly change and then begin to institute those changes at full force.

Transcript

Cruce 
Hello and welcome to Towards a Smarter World. This is your host Cruce Saunders and I'm joined today by Todd Unger, the Chief Experience Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Member Experience at the American Medical Association. He has led digital change initiatives at AOL, Time Inc. and the Daily Racing Form. Todd is a transformational leader for the digital age bridging digital technology, content, product development, marketing, and business development. 
 
He's driven record growth and audience, customers, ecommerce revenue, and ad sales at the AMA. Todd, it's a pleasure to have you on the show. 
 
Todd
Thanks for having me, Cruce, it’s great to be here with you.
 
Cruce
So, you were brought into the American Medical Association as a Chief Experience Officer CXO. That's a relatively new industry title, although at [A] we're seeing it pop up more and more. Can you tell us about your role and why the AMA created it?
 
Todd

Well, sure I think the title CXO has been around for a little bit, but it's got so many different spins. If you look, I did my research when I first got this job. And I was like, how they define it? But if you look, it's been defined in terms of design, customer service, and operations, but I think the title has evolved into what I call a buck stops here role that "The digital era demands someone who is prepared to integrate the worlds of marketing and digital, product design, and content." - Todd Unger and I think that is why they brought me here.
 

I came from a very, very different background. Although I've been in digital media for a long time, my prior role before this was working in horse racing at the Daily Racing Form, which is an ecommerce operation. But they looked kind of beyond that and saw a person who was able to work with an organization that has been around for over 120 years, was a mainline kind of publishing operation and to bring it into the digital age. And that was the skillset they were looking for, as opposed to specific healthcare experience.
 
Cruce
Got it, and what kinds of metrics and measures was the AMA hoping to influence by hiring a Chief Experience Officer and what kind of impact does your team have? 
 
Todd
I think first and foremost, it was about membership. Membership, membership, membership, that is why they brought me in. And there was a sense that in creating an experience with our members and with non-members that we weren't only utilizing digital platforms. And there is a very, very clear metric around acquisition and retention and so that was the beginning of it. 
 
I since added responsibilities for marketing to my team. And so, I look at other metrics around how people affiliate with this brand and believe what it is that we stand for.
 
Cruce
And so, your customers are physicians, essentially? 
 
Todd
Yeah. Physicians, medical students, and residents. 
 
Cruce
Okay. 
 
Todd
Also, broader than that it was looking to you spoke about additional metrics. There are other audiences outside of the core that are not membership that we are trying to reach with our perspective, and that includes the health tech industry, it includes policymakers, government, and patients, obviously. How do we achieve a mission of this organization is part of what I do here, and that means for them to be thoroughly familiar with the work that we're doing it for our mission programs and initiatives to reach who they're supposed to.
 
Cruce
And, you know, quantitative measures are pretty clear when you're driving membership and retention, those numbers are self-evident. What about the qualitative side of customer experience? Are there measures that that your team and the organization as a whole is interested in on the more subjective hand? 
 
Todd
Most of them are quantitative in some nature, some people deal with MPS scores or we have our own kind of internal measures of customer success. But I think the newer thing that we're looking at is when we do measure the affinity for this brand and strength of the brand. It's back to similar things to when I worked at Procter and Gamble, a long time ago, which is every year you do a usage and attitude study. You figure out whether or not people are experiencing the brand in the way that you are intending. 
 
And so those are quantitative measures. I guess, also to a certain extent, there are anecdotal and qualitative things that people pick up on regardless. I'm very much personally involved in our outreach and experience with members and it is very gratifying to hear them playback that what they're experiencing with the AMA is different and better, and they love it.
 
Cruce
And I've seen some of those numbers, you've been able to drive some impressive membership growth at the AMA with some of your strategies. What processes lead to those outcomes?
 
Todd
Well, it's a lot. I would say it's not just one thing. I'm now about two and a half years into my tenure here and it's gone so fast. But when I think back to that initial period, it seems like a long time ago, even though it really wasn't in the scope of things. But it started with a roadmap. When I got here, people were really not even sure what a Chief Experience Officer was going to do. And I had to define what that role was and what experience was. 
 
But "It's mainly laying out a strategy and roadmap for what we're going to do, close in and longer out." - Todd Unger I did a presentation to all the marketing leaders here at the AMA, about a week after I started and what was interesting, as I look back and what that roadmap says really did hold for about the first 18 months. It really did provide a pretty clear roadmap, so you can get a pretty strong sense of what needs to change reasonably rapidly and then begin to institute those changes at full force." - Todd Unger
 
But I think that laying out a vision for where we were going with this thing is that pretty much an everybody wins type of scenario. Once those things get into place chalking up a bunch of quick wins that let people know that the changes you make can make a real difference. And they don't have to take a long time to do that. 
 
Cruce
What does a quick win look like in customer experience?
 
Todd
Well, from my standpoint, we think about communications and we think about whether those are effective at bringing people on board or not. I came on and looked at the type of communication we were having through email and realized immediately this is not how people operate out there. These templates weren't working properly. They weren't geared toward people who were primarily looking at communications on their phone. And I said, literally what are the open rates? What are the conversion rates on these things? 
 
And let's redesign that process really fast. But as part of that I discovered an organizational issue, too, in terms of how long it was taking for us to actually send out marketing communications by email, and it was a lot of time. There are just too many people involved with not necessarily the right skill sets, and some of the paradigms that were being applied to email communications were just not appropriate in terms of the layout of it and the branding and all this kind of stuff were getting in the way of actual performance. 
 
So, we reduced the time it took to send out an email from a period of weeks to what I'm used to, which is like you can turn around in a couple hours. The design was better, the performance is double and people that are getting emails are the appropriate folks for that in terms of target.
 
Cruce
So, it sounds like you have some ability to directly influence UX and technology underneath you. Are those reporting lines up to you or are you working with teams outside of your direct report? 
 
Todd
On that particular function, those are now under my purview. I will say that one of the key things, and this does get to experience management in a modern world is a lot of those functions are either siloed are not reporting in one structure. And when I got here what I did realize is that the team that it would take to effectively work on a digital platform was spread out all over the place. There were analytics folks that were in IT. There were content people that are in the marketing side of it. 
 
There was a small UX team that was kind of on my team and the email team had been moved out of marketing and was kind of new to this new structure of experience. And they just hadn't been really knitted into a cohesive team organized around the outcomes that we were looking for. And that's when I think of like to really be effective today organizations need to understand marketing and product are so thoroughly intertwined. It's not like producing mouthwash anymore. 
 
This is an era that demands that those two things be working together. And if they're not, you just can't move fast enough, and you can't create these kinds of seamless experiences that people are used to getting all over the place.  
 
Cruce
Yeah, it's something that we see most often in large enterprises that are very siloed is this drive to create omnichannel customer experiences. But an organization structure that does not lend itself to easy collaboration and federation of effort.
 
Todd
Yeah and I think that's one of the reasons you see these additional titles getting added, whether it was Chief Digital Officer, which was in my last role. Chief Experience Officer, where I am, is that there is this gap and organizations recognize there is a gap, they can't get digital transformation or efforts done fast enough or they're not being responsive in terms of creating customer experience, so we'll add this person. But what they don't do necessarily is fix the organizational structure. "Organizations recognize there is a gap ... they're not being responsive in terms of creating customer experience, so we'll add this person. But what they don't necessarily do is fix the organizational structure." - Todd Unger
 
So that they're again, organized around the outcomes that they want and are set up to be as agile as they need in an environment where we are today. 
 
Cruce
Yeah, That is definitely a theme I think many organizations midmarket and enterprise are struggling with today. And it's great to hear that you've seen the light at the end of that tunnel. The other part of it that's really hard for folks, in addition to org structure is also just prioritization because there is so much that we are being asked to do and deliver. 
 
And marketers, in particular, and product teams are all just working as hard as they can to keep up with basically core publishing, core content production, core customer experience kinds of things without really putting together beautifully stitched together personalized interactions across the customer journey. Even though that's often why they bring us in is to try to help with that, but they're coming from this place where there's just a mess and it's hard to prioritize. 
 
And I don't know how you saw the organization when you first got there, but when presented with a big mess, a lot of priorities, a lot of publishing needs. What do we do to focus, to prioritize, to take one step at a time to make manageable quick wins happen in an environment that might not really lend itself to that out of the gate?
 
Todd
Well, I think the number one thing you have to I guess accept, and especially for a person in my role and I think any person in marketing or a Chief Experience Officer, that the job is growth. And all priorities grow, pardon the pun, out of that. And I think there is a lot of murkiness around what people think their jobs are. And so, a lot of those things you just talked about can be tactics toward achieving that. But you need a growth strategy and for me here, that occurred. 
 
I had my former COOs who brought me here talking about gears, the first gear that I was in was figuring out how do we really organize around these outcomes? How do you build that team? And as you carefully go through the experience that you're trying to get towards growth, where do you see these immediate gaps? And those kinds of quick wins that I generally find come out of testing and just my experience. When I get here, and I look on our homepage and there is no button at the top that says, "become a member".
 
And just because this is an organization that wasn't necessarily thinking of itself as a digital commerce enterprise or having a digital commerce infrastructure. And so, all those kinds of lessons learned out in my prior experiences, and I know that basic stuff that needs to be in place for you to do the job and you start thinking about the basics of a funnel. Again, not necessarily innate to a mission-based organization that just needed to be put in place. And there's a lot of low hanging fruit in doing that, whether it's fixing when your email goes out. 
 
"Fixing how the website works, getting that structure in place before you begin," - Todd Unger I will say, to go in the second year, which is where there are a lot less sexy structural things that need to be put in place. Especially in terms of the kind of commerce experience that people expect these days in terms of signing up for a membership, managing their account just need to be fixed, but take a long time to do. 
 
And so, that "Part of the infrastructure and building internal partnerships with other like-minded people here, so that we can start putting in what I would call a real foundation for constant innovation." - Todd Unger And now that next phase, and I call it third year more like at the enterprise level. So, given all this stuff is now either in place or on its way, how do we start to knit together the larger forces of our organizations all working in sync toward that.
 
Cruce
I like that. I'm starting to see a vision of a pyramid with a strong foundation, and then you kind of build up the maturity level. Make sure we're not bleeding, and everything is strong and stable, and we're taking care of the lowest hanging fruit and then move towards making sure process and people in organization is working and then create a platform for further evolution from there.
 
Todd
Yeah. Just going back to where we started here is you don't want to go in a gigantic campaign and bring a lot of people in, when you don't have the infrastructure in place to actually sign them up as members. And so, when we initially took a look at our member sign up process, it looked like something from 1999. I mean, nothing about it made sense. There wasn't the testing infrastructure built into that, so you could identify where people were falling out of the process. 
 
And start to think we need a commerce infrastructure sophisticated is any retail site that someone would be used to. And once that's in place, then it's about going gangbusters in terms of filling the top of the funnel. We're approaching double in terms of our traffic generation to the site through our social channels. And it wouldn't have made sense to do that necessarily before you have the foundation in place to do something with it.
 
Cruce
Yeah, yeah, got to have a good clean journey for customers to walk before putting a bunch of folks through it. 
 
Todd.
Yes, sir.
 
Cruce
So, as you're evolving, what is the role that personalization is playing in your own road mapping? I mean the future of the AMA experience for members and prospective members.
What do you see happening with regards to personalized customer experience?
 
Todd
I think it's funny because I've been through let's say, a bunch of different rounds of personalization in my 20-year digital career from it being this aspirational thing that you were going to get the choice to people to personalize their experiences. And that didn't turn out to work because no one did it and then this eventual move toward trying to do it. Right now, the tools are in place to do that pretty well. 
 
But it's really not so much about personalization, as it is about that technology infrastructure and algorithms. And I heard this fascinating podcast a couple of weeks ago that talked about "What percent of your decisions are influenced today by algorithms? What percent would you say that is just off the top of your head? Well, it's about 70%." - Todd Unger
 
Cruce
Oh my gosh, okay.
 
Todd
Yes, it's crazy. But if you think about all the things that you interact with in terms of retail sites, like on Amazon, or what you watch on television through Netflix, or pretty much what you see in your social feeds. Of course, all being affected by algorithms which our people understand basically who you are and what you're interested in, because what you search for online and how you interact with things online does establish your digital identity. 
 
And the ability to work with that kind of data to provide you with things that are what you want to see. What are you looking for? That's personalization today. And so, it's funny, I was on a panel a few weeks ago and somebody said, "How do you cut through the clutter in marketing these days?" And it just made me laugh because it's such an outdated view of marketing, because it's not like the old days, when you would get all this direct mail and you had to literally store through the clutter, all this kind of stuff or in your inbox. 
 
Today's customer is surrounded by things they're interested in. They are, through algorithms and targeting as people become more sophisticated, they're seeing things in their social feed that they're interested in. They're seeing things when they go to a website and information site, that are geared toward them. They're seeing it when they get their emails.
 
"All of these things through better technology and better understanding consumer behavior create a world in which you are surrounded by things that are mostly applicable to you." - Todd Unger And so, for me, I always joke I live in this bubble of suit supply ads and beard style holes and other stuff that basically, I'm interested in seeing and I generally have unlimited capacity to consume those in those micro moments that I exist online. And things that fall outside of that I don't pay attention to it all. 
 
It's kind of like binge watching on Netflix, you're either all in and watching 10 episodes or you're not paying attention at all. And so, the thing that really bugs people these days is in the old days they might have gotten an email from J Crew or something that says sale on women's sweaters. And you're like, "What is this?" You don't know me. And those are the things that people where the bar has just become so much higher because people just don't want to see things they're not interested in. And so, that's the bar, you're trying to reach
 
Cruce
Yeah, the algorithms really do a good job of helping us to binge on content or find related content that continues to allow us to follow a scent down a path. I had a client last week, ask me about well, what if we want to be able to provide aspirational experiences for customers where they may not for example, be looking at YouTube videos for managing productivity and calendaring? 
 
But they would benefit from watching that kind of video and would put it on an aspirational list, but their actual behavior might be more like watching Minecraft videos or something, like my six-year old. 
 
Todd
Yeah, I'll tell you what it is very, very difficult to change consumer behavior and you've got to work with what's there. So, if you don't like milk, there is just no way I'm ever going to get you to drink milk. And you've got to understand that. And so, the first step toward that is truly understanding people from a behavioral and attitudinal standpoint that's predictive of the thing that you are intending or wanting them to do. 
 
And so, aspirational things if it fits with my notion of who I am, like if I want to learn how to use power tools better and I'm into home renovation that's easy. You can introduce me to things like that. And I think that kind of content and approach will work. But if it's outside of what I consider the bounds of my identity and my interest, I'm never going to get there. For us, it really starts with, it was a redefinition of our understanding around who the customer was. 
 
And when I got here, there was a sense it was very much about like career stage. But if you just think once somebody gets out into residency may become a physician, it meant like they're all the same and that's just simply not true. For us it was we were able to create segmentations around specific interest areas like there's a big group of people that are interested in medical advocacy and then there are other people that aren't. 
 
And so, once we have that in place and we begin to develop specific programs for those folks and there's a lot. And it's something very rich in terms of the experience you can create and target just to them. And where that kind of aspirational quality in say, somebody that spans the gamut between the person who wants to read about what's going on out there and wants to stay up on the news, all the way to a person who wants to go to Capitol Hill and lobby on behalf of physicians and patients. 
 
And so that's the kind of aspiration you can build in, but you have to stay within the bounds of what is considered existing human behavior without trying to change people. 
 
Cruce
That's incredibly interesting. The initial exposure to the advocacy program, so is that done through what level of number of interactions before we can say, "Ah, not interested. This particular customer needs to try a different path." 
 
Todd
Yeah. For us, it started, and I think this is interesting because a lot of people that I talk to you it will say, "How do we ever do that? And what kind of technology do you need to do that.?" I'm saying, "Listen, analyze your open rates on your email." And we just did something, a quick look at this that said here are the kind of buckets of email that we're sending out and how are people interacting with us about advocacy-based email and about things that were related to let's say research or topics like practice innovation, physician burnout, things like that?" 
 
And try to create some kind of segmentation where that seemed to hold together and if you separated those people into these different buckets, you would see that the open rates and click to opens and conversion rates associated with those different buckets were very, very different once you began to target them. And we can send out let's say an email about a specific advocacy initiative to just that target audience and we'll see double the open rates and double the conversion rates versus a much broader set of folks. 
 
What we do want, and this kind of goes back to your idea of aspiration, it doesn't mean we've identified all the people that are interested in advocacy, that takes work. And you have to treat, I treat my organizations a little bit like a lead generation team. We want people to raise their hands and say I'm interested in advocacy. Or I'm interested in practice transformation, by getting them to look at different content that's geared toward people in those different segments and saying, "Oh, you know, I got a hand raise." 
 
Or do a free download or a webinar. It's all about like helping you identify interest areas for people so that we can expand the audience of qualified folks for each of the topics.
 
Cruce
A lot of the experience platforms will allow lead scoring to happen in session as well, so we can kind of build these interest profiles based on consumption patterns that have numerical scores. So, it might be advocacy as an 80 and interest in I don't know, some other topic is a 60, therefore emphasize the advocacy material. And somebody else is a zero so they don't get any of that material on subsequent interfaces, that kind of thing. Do you use lead scoring as a way to build that profile? 
 
Todd
Yeah, we do have our own kind of brand of that, let's just say around engagement. Because in addition to segmentations that are about interest areas, we also have segmentations about how engaged people are with AMA. There are people that are very heavily engaged. And there are people on the other end of that that have no interaction with us at all. And then there are people kind of in the middle. I'd say one of the greatest challenges for the organization that I saw coming in was now there's a lot of people that don't know all the great things that we're up to. 
 
And there are a lot of folks probably in that non-engaged end of things that have let's say very specific things from a long time ago that are no longer current with like what this organization is about and what we're doing. But they just may be people who we are never going to get to interact, because it's just too long and too hard to overcome. And so, it's more effective for us to focus on folks in the middle, than it is to devote a lot of resources to folks that are just not getting engaged.
 
Cruce
Yeah, right. There's an almost infinite number of segments possible. So, we've got to figure out, it's another prioritization exercise. 
 
Todd
Yeah. And I think from here, we've kept it pretty simple at this point in my prior life and in the very different world of horse racing. We were doing more of a commerce operation. Then when you look at it, you're on a betting platform and horse racing. And you can see where people are in that journey from the time they land on your site, they sign up, they activate, they bet. They don't come back again, and there is this cycle that you can map out. 
 
And there might be 50 or 60 different segments, depending on where people are in that journey and there are tools out there now that allow you to use what is essentially AI for marketing to gear programs toward that many segments that you can never do normally. So that you're having appropriate level conversation with people no matter where they are in the process.
 
Cruce
Yeah, we're trying to come up with ways to semantically tag content, according to for example, something we call conversations, which is essentially a customer interest segment. But it's something around a market conversation that we're trying to drive and based on the content consumption that get associated with that. The goal is, of course, to over time use those taxonomy tags to be annotated to new content in less of a manual way and to associate the interests around those semantic tags in less of a manual way, more AI driven. 
 
So that it is content targeting that can start happening via AI, or at least really basic machine learning. 
 
Todd
Yeah, I'd say for us, obviously we're trying to get below to those big general buckets and into things that people are specifically interested in. I don't know in our case what's the incremental gain on that, like if somebody is interested in the advocacy. Are they interested in many topics across that spectrum? Or just one? I think just attitudinally and behaviorally it tends to be kind of a broader net on things like that. And same with practice transformation research. 
 
I'd say that the folks that are doing that really well at the AMA are part of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is really just a first-rate medical research publishing operation. And they really understand and gear their operation toward making sure people find the types of things that they're interested in. And that's something that is topic based, it's specialty based, and I learn a lot from them.
 
Cruce
Got it. Okay, well let's talk about technology because we've just experienced in the last part of our conversation. There is a lot of tech involved with this stuff. How much of your role do you see being technology and what pieces are necessary to support more intelligent customer experiences? 
 
Todd
So obviously it's extremely critical to any modern-day marketing and publishing organization. The thing that I see people just getting completely overwhelmed with the number of choices that are out there and all the different capabilities. As I looked at those big Martech maps with 1,000 different providers or 10,000 or whatever it is, what's really interesting is there are just so many great capabilities. And the question is whether you have the people to actually run those platforms and do anything that's actionable with them. 
 
So, I say don't get overwhelmed by all of that stuff. I mean, your food and shelter level at this point for what I can say is a reasonable digital operation is some kind of marketing automation platform that allows you to tap into your database and coordinate your email and your web presence together in the right direction. And some of these buttons are starting to incorporate that AI component that allows you to go back to that that cycle that I talked about before from my racing days. 
 
But that traffic layer of Google Analytics, it's still foundational to being able to do that. And then, a publishing platform that works for the kind of organization you are and can meet the criteria search engine optimization that's necessary out there. And then the only other kind of layer that I put on top of that in terms of food and shelter world is a testing platform like Optimizely, that allows you to really do a lot of AB testing to optimize your approach. 
 
Whether that's on site or through your commerce platforms and all of that. But those are the basics of any kind of digital marketing and product platform these days. And obviously, there are a lot of additional things that get layered on to that, depending on how big you are, and what you can do with it in terms of your team and your resources.
 
Cruce
What about channels? There are a lot of choices in terms of channels to pay attention to as a mid-market organization. The channel decision is an either or, it's a zero-sum game you just can't do everything on all channels. So, how do you choose as a CX leader?
 
Todd
I think obviously what drives growth rules the day. So, I'll say two and a half years ago, or three years ago, before I got here, that's been primarily in terms of membership generation, mostly a direct mail operation. And the question is, when you start to introduce a much more aggressive digital marketing platform in place with the kind of channels that are not just commerce based but also content based. How do you start to change the dial on those different things? 
 
And we did that reasonably gradually, and it does allow you to start to use different channels differently than you did before. And so, if you have less of a reliance on direct mail as purely an acquisition measure, you can use that toward retention and a different way of communicating. We experiment with a lot of different channels and we quantify the value of each of those in terms of their contribution. 
 
And obviously, attribution is, and continues to be, one of those things that is a little bit tricky. But it's clear that things are working better together, we're not spending more money necessarily, we're spending it very differently in terms of the mix. And it's clear that when you add the digital layer on top in terms of building a funnel that it does have an incremental benefit and it's one that is easily measured in terms of performance. And so, we continue to play with those things. 
 
I would just say in this world, though the thing you have to pay attention to, there's this concept of the marketing funnel. I call today's environment is about the tornado funnel because it just moves so fast and wherever you bring someone in, you need to be prepared to put them through that. Not in this kind of like plodding, sequential way that I think a lot of people think of the marketing funnel. 
 
"You have to operate at the speed of today's consumer," - Todd Unger which is like an idea pops into their head, they search for it and they're out that other end of your shopping cart in a minute. And this can apply to things as small as buying something on Amazon, a book, to a membership at the AMA, or a trip to Paris that you used to think of as being so much more complex and convoluted. 
 
But people move really fast once they have this interest in mind to making it happen. And so, whatever channel it is you need to think very thoroughly through each of those different parts of the funnel need to be geared towards seeing enterprise that turns that into action at the end.
 
Cruce
Yeah, it's amazing how many business to business software companies are moving towards SAS oriented purchase cycles that like you said, in and out in a minute. But you could be making a subscription decision in the many thousands, or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it's still a transaction that can happen quickly, efficiently with as minimum customer friction as possible.
 
Todd
And it's funny, too. Everybody wants a subscription business. I mean, obviously the membership is a subscription operation and I'm used to that because I come from a publishing background and whether it's magazines or whether it's digital data in a subscription format, it's very funny to me these days as I go through all my social feeds and I see what they're trying to get me to subscribe to. 
 
And I just want to say, "Listen, I'm never going to get a subscription to underwear or whatever it is you're trying to sell me a subscription to. I get it." But I just think it's funny, in terms of the paradigm of what different things are being applied to.
 
Cruce
It's true. Everybody wants a nice, clean subscription based top line. Well, you know the customer experience often denominates in content. I'm curious about your relationship with content and particularly content structure and how that affects the customer experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 
 
Todd
Well, it's been incredible and my first foray, I've been in publishing for a long time and digital publishing for the breadth of my digital career but content marketing is probably, you know, for me, something in the past 10 years. And just realizing for an entity like us or my former role, content is the single most pivotal and important experience of marketing that I've seen in terms of engagement, in terms of conversion into customers. People today are defined by their searches. 
 
And so, when you think about your content and approach to that think about half of it as being about playing to what people are out there searching for already and gearing yourself to win in that space. When I got here and I looked at what we were producing it was more toward communicating the priorities of the AMA, not creating content around the things that people need and the difference, you can figure out very quickly what are people searching for online relative to what you're producing or you could produce. 
 
And where do you fall in terms of when people do search for stuff like that how successful are you at being in that top three to five positions for searches like that? And we weren't doing very well, because we weren't producing the kinds of content that people were looking for in this space. And once you begin to master that part of it, structure plays a tremendous role in being successful with that and different aspects of structure being number one at the infrastructure level to make sure that you succeed and bucket number one with the searching part.
 
In terms of just the best practices, in terms of publishing keywords and metadata and making sure that you are being appropriately included in the kind of searches that people are after. But also, you're competing with the best content publishers out there in the world. So, if you have a bad headline or a terrible first paragraph or your content is not very good, people are going to go somewhere else for it. There is just too much out there.
 
Cruce
Quality. Yes, and there is so much to cover here. I'd love to talk more. We've got to wrap up soon. I've got one last question about customer experience, which is the patient customer experience. We're all patients and all of us have a relationship, at some level, with care providers. And I work a lot in the healthcare industry, it's really interesting to see the evolution of patient experience. And I'm curious about your vision from your perspective at the AMA on what the patient experience is going to look like over the next decade.
 
Todd
Well, I'll start the answer with a funny personal thing. I spend a lot of time driving back and forth on the highway, and I see a lot of outdoor advertising that's done by health care entities, many of the different systems or insurance providers. And I have to say they're the worst use of marketing dollars that I've ever witnessed in my life because they simply do not communicate value proposition to anyone, that would allow a patient to make a decision about anything. 
 
They are the complete absence of what I would call digital thinking, which is what is the value proposition I'm trying to put across here? And what I want somebody to do with it. It's very old school branding-ish type of stuff. Because we exist in a healthcare environment today that has so many different choices and so many options in terms of researching that. And so, for people in this space it's creating that core value proposition that you're trying to communicate to prospective patients about why they should use you. 
 
That seems to be very absent in today's healthcare space. I think from a patient standpoint today, this is a very complex and huge problem for our country. Here at the AMA, our direction here is to make sure that people have and continue to have access to affordable health care coverage and that we begin to address the chronic care epidemics that are chewing up so much of healthcare costs, which is at the root of this problem that we're having right now. 
 
And for people to, how do you balance innovation in this space that actually produces better outcomes for people? And so, there is so much change and so much transformation happening in healthcare these days that from a patient standpoint, hopefully we're heading toward an experience for them where they can address their healthcare issues. The technology is enabling both them and their physicians to provide better care that delivers better results that we can measure those results. 
 
And then, no matter where that patient goes that there is some kind of uniform system out there that allows their data under their control under the patient's control to follow them, and to not turn doctors into you know basically order entry people who are having to spend so much time and effort putting in notes and doing all this work, serving the technology and not vice versa.
 
Cruce
There is a long way to go, it seems to get there, but I'm glad we're in different parts of the healthcare industry all working on that unified and more effortless experience for both providers and patients. 
 
Todd
Yeah. 
 
Cruce
Well, thank you so much. This has been a really fun and insightful 40 plus minutes, Todd. Thank you for your time.
 
Todd
It went fast. It's a pleasure. Thank you so much, Cruce. 
 
Cruce
How can our listeners follow up with your work? Are you available online, in places they can go look for you? 
 
Todd
I'm very much online, I'd suggest LinkedIn would probably the best place to reach out to me and I'm on every other social channel as well.
 
Cruce
well connected. Alright. Thank you, Todd and have a very good rest of your day. 
 
Todd
You too, thank you.

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