How does a legacy organization integrate digital media in a way that facilitates a meaningful customer experience? Todd Unger, Chief Experience Officer and Senior Vice President of Physician Engagement at the American Medical Association (AMA), shares insights, and lessons he’s learned along the way, while leveraging his background in product development, and marketing and advertising, to transform a 170-year-old company’s communication methods into the world of digital.
AMA is a powerful ally to physicians and helps them do what they love most—helping patients get better.
Todd, who came up with the idea for Gladware plastic containers, “the containers you love to use and can afford to lose,” understands how important it is to provide real solutions to provide a better experience that meets the needs of the end user. In this episode, we hear more about bringing together functional and emotional benefits to create something that’s compelling to people.
4 Cornerstones to Building a Digital Experience
One of Todd’s focuses upon first starting his role was to continue to grow the organization’s members and retain current ones. He shares that in this time where attention is extremely limited, he had to build a brand strategy that would communicate what AMA does in a succinct manner.
Todd shares that he built a brand strategy with core pillars, pulling in 4 cornerstones to his foundation.
Some priorities and tactics:
- Email: How can email be used to generate memberships and engage your current audience? Focus on improving templates, focused call-to-actions, content layout, and A/B testing. Learn which emails perform better than others and continue to tailor along the way.
- Website: Todd shares some marketing expertise here—if you’re going to improve emails and direct traffic to your website, the website needs to be high functioning as well. He tells that they re-designed the digital platform on the web and on the mobile app to bring content together in a unified and engaging way.
- Consumer segment: Figure out who your consumer segments are and gain true insights into what drives them so you can create relevant experiences. Go beyond demographics. Todd mentions it’s more about behaviors, attitudes, and usage. He goes on to say—think about similarities people may share. Unite people under commonalities rather than things like age or location.
- Awareness: All CX practitioners need to internally market an organization’s new processes and initiatives. “Everyone wants to focus on the product and they don’t think about the marketing. If you don’t think about both of those at the same time, and especially early in the stage, you’re not gonna be successful,” says Todd.
Before he was able to fully implement all of the above, Todd shares that communicating the vision of improving the physician experience to AMA members and employees was a very important aspect of the work. A large scale project can only be done if others are onboard and align with your mission.
Connect with Your Audience Through a Dynamic Media Site
Is your website truly engaging your audience? Your website is the main place where your audience is going to experience your brand online, as CX practitioners, you need to ensure the website is designed in a way that allows your audience to easily consume your content and become more deeply immersed in the brand.
Being the marketing expert that he is, Todd explains that he knew his website needed to be a tool for audience generation and engagement. Before AMA’s website re-design, he claims that it seemed to serve more as an association site than a dynamic media site. Todd’s goal for AMA was to become an enthusiast site so that people who are really into medicine and treating their patients can easily access information, learn more, and connect with AMA.
According to Todd, he wanted the website and AMA’s marketing campaign to communicate what the organization does for its audience. “Here’s what we’re doing for you. Here’s how you can be a part of it, and why your membership is so valuable,” was Todd’s approach to the marketing. As more physicians became interested in interacting with AMA and the website, he received requests to use less stock photography and feature real physicians and various events – sharing that one physician stated, “when I look at that photograph, I feel really powerful.” Even the simple choice to showcase real people and real places make for a stronger connection and form of engagement.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“There are three things for me that can solve any problem and it’s patience, perspective, and perseverance. And when I look at my career and I look at the ups and the downs of it, I wish I knew earlier along the way that with the application of those three things, 95% of all your problems will go away. And so I try to maintain a sense of, ‘I don’t have to have everything now. I don’t have to win at everything right now.’ That most problems go away on their own and that you really your job is to figure out which ones really matter, and you need to address your time too, and then just stick with it.”
About Todd UngerPrior to his role at AMA, Todd Unger served as the CMO and Chief Digital offer at Daily Racing Form, leading its digital transformation from print-centric publisher to digital gaming and premium content/data platform. Unger has also led digital organizations at Lifetime Television, Time4 Media, and Major League Gaming, and has built Digital City/AOL Local into the country’s leading online city guide.
A graduate of Harvard University and Miami University, Unger supported consumer product brands in brand management and advertising at Procter & Gamble and Leo Burnett, for a decade.