Marketing Gets Real Episode #10: You Mean We’re Getting a Live Shrimp… In the Mail?

Imagine this scenario: You have a product that you know can help people connect with their healthcare providers virtually while the entire world is on lockdown during the first global pandemic in over a century. Yet every time you make a call to tell a healthcare leader about your solution, you get no answer.

That’s exactly what Meg Hoyecki experienced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the vice president of marketing for SOC Telemed, she knew her company’s solution had the tremendous power to positively impact lives. But how could she get the word out about it?

It’s a question our hosts, Cari Baldwin and Dana Harder, couldn’t wait to ask Meg as they put on their stethoscopes and lab coats for a revealing Episode #10 of the Marketing Gets Real podcast. In 40 minutes, they learned Meg’s lessons from the pandemic’s front lines, her startling realization about her company’s business development representative (BDR) team, and the beautiful chaos she once created by sending live shrimp in the mail. Take it away, Dr. Meg:

“Nobody was answering the phones, emails, nothing.”

In early 2020, healthcare executives were so busy figuring out ways to help providers care for the initial wave of COVID-19 patients, they had no time to sit down for a strategic meeting with a telehealth provider. Yet at the same time, Meg’s company, SOC Telemed, offered the perfect solution to deliver care remotely and safely. And they were going public! What would Meg do? She wasn’t sure. But she never imagined the answer could come from something called… a fishbone diagram?

“I had to Google it,” she says. Spoiler alert: It’s a Six Sigma visualization tool. “It was actually a great learning experience,” she says. She learned that while she had the message right, the timing was all wrong. And that was OK. Because that knowledge eventually led Meg and her team to implement tools—including Account-Based Marketing and intent data—that would help them discover when the timing was right.

“You kinda just assume that it’s the normal for how this company works and how this revenue company works.”

When she first started at SOC Telemed four years ago, the company had its own BDR team that reported to Sales. Shortly before the pandemic, they decided to outsource it. So, Meg and her team spent countless hours helping the offshore team get the message just right. But she found it just wasn’t delivering the leads the way her inbound marketing programs were.

She asked a mentor for help. His take: double-down on inbound marketing and cut outbound marketing completely. “It just seemed like such an obvious piece of advice,” she says. The key takeaways: To challenge assumptions and not just do something because that’s the way it’s always been done before.

“So, what happens if you don’t open it right away? Is it like chicken that goes bad or grows mold?”

Direct mail remains one of Meg’s favorite marketing tactics. And a campaign she did with one of her former companies, Optum, is one of the all-time greats! At the time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid had honored the first 90 hospitals enrolled in what was then a new, innovative population health program (think: “quality care across the healthcare ecosystem”). Meg found the perfect item to send to those hospitals as a congratulatory gift: an “ecosphere,” a little, enclosed glass ball with gravel, water, a tree branch, and a live shrimp. 

When the samples came, the box was marked perishable. She soon learned why. “If the shrimp don’t have sunlight within two days of the box arriving, they’re gonna die!” she discovered. So, Meg and her team spun up a quick pre-campaign that ended up delivering bigger wins than she ever expected. We’ll let her explain how they pulled it off:

There’s nothing fishy about the rest of Episode #10, where you’ll learn about the whole new persona Meg and SOC Telemed have developed since the pandemic. You’ll also learn a little bit about what Dana and Meg used to discuss over margaritas. And you’ll find out why Cari screams “We have to intubate!” at her husband while watching Grey’s Anatomy. Seriously… we can’t make this stuff up! Subscribe now and enjoy the unmistakable health benefits of a little knowledge and a lot of laughter.