Chris Edwards, CMO at Validic Healthcare Technology
Chris Edwards, CMO at Validic Healthcare Technology

I bought a Fitbit about two months ago on the suggestion of my wife. Not that I wasn’t active already or out of shape, she just thought it would be a fun thing to share and it turns out she’s right.  We’ve turned it into a friendly competition and I’m far more conscious about getting my 10,000 steps in each day knowing that she will.

So, you might ask, “what does this have to do with your interview with Chris Edwards, CMO of Validic?” Well, the answer is really interesting. It turns out that Validic has built a “digital health platform” that allows the data from devices like Fitbit to flow into one’s medical records and be shared with key service providers assuming of course, permission was given to do so.  This means that my Fitbit data could help my orthopedist or physical therapist monitor my progress in the event I had an accident trying to surpass my wife’s weekly steps mark!

Reading the above, you can imagine the challenges of integrating all of the medical and personal wellness devices out there into the disparate data systems of doctors, hospitals, therapists, insurance providers and even health clubs all the while overcoming the privacy issues!  Yet somehow Validic is doing this right now in 47 countries helping around 160 million people.  And in the middle of this dynamic challenge is Chris Edwards, whose interview below will help you understand more about Validic’s impressive rise to the top of their category and why he is a recipient of this year’s Growth Award from The CMO Club.

Drew: Can you provide a short overview of the goals of your digital marketing initiatives in 2015? 

Chris: Much of the focus for Validic marketing has been on establishing a unique position in the marketplace while helping to define the mobile health category, and our place in it.  Additionally, I have our marketing goals in place to drive new lead generation, customer relationship initiatives, and partnership programs.

Drew: What new initiatives did you take in 2015 and how did these perform? What worked?

Chris: I am using marketing strategically and successfully to create a network effect in our category.  Marketing initiatives with mobile health device and app makers are helping fuel more innovation and use among consumers.  Marketing programs targeted toward hospitals, wellness companies, pharma, healthcare technology companies are helping them accelerate the use of mobile health patient data so they can provide better patient care and better management of their patient populations. While our marketing attribution is driving over 75% of our business, 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.

Drew: A recent survey of marketers suggested that less than 10% feel they are leveraging data to the fullest extent possible.  Why is this such a challenging area to get right?

Chris: As we establish and accelerate conversations with prospective customers, there are more “influence points” and media channels than ever before.  This makes a marketer’s job more difficult than any other time in the history of marketing if you really think about it (just think back to the time when their was radio, outdoor and only three TV stations).  Now prospects can get message anytime, anywhere on any device, and from anyone (i.e., peer product reviews). Marketer’s can’t simultaneously control all of these conversation channels and data points….and if they think they can they are delusional.  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.

Drew: With the plethora of digital marketing options, channels and content available today and increasing quickly, how do you decide where to “place your bets” in terms of marketing spend and choices?

Chris: Listening, learning, experimenting, and gut instinct — these are the four key factors that drive my strategic thinking and marketing execution   Each play a valuable role in the our marketing’s impact.

Drew: Looking ahead to 2016, what is the single biggest challenge that you’d like to overcome? 

Chris: Complacency is the enemy.  Our marketing is measurable and has been the single biggest driver of the record growth and great success at Validic.  That’s an indisputable fact.  We must keep executing at this pace and continue to fuel our leadership position in the marketplace.  Recently, it led to Forbes running an article recognizing Validic as one of the Top 10 Disrupting Innovators in Healthcare. Aligned execution across all areas of the business must continue, and at the same energy and weighted pace to accelerate our business growth. At any company, Marketing should play a major role in this to help an organization thrive.

This article originally appeared on The Drew Blog