Shelley Diesel is our wonderful Marketing & Communications Manager based at HQ in Cape Town, joining the team last year in the midst of remote working and the COVID-19 pandemic. Her interesting and inspiring piece gives insight into what goes into marketing a brand like BroadReach…and the importance of storytelling in doing it successfully. Read more below.
When I tell my friends, I am the Marketing and Communications Manager for a Health Technology company, I always get the response, “So what do you actually do?”
In many people’s minds, Marketing involves some kind of advertising or maybe it means social media and websites, or some people think it might be public relations. After being asked that question many times, I have developed a way to let people know (without getting the rolling eyes) about what it is us B2B marketers do. When you work for a technology company, you are not selling a running shoe or a piece of clothing. You are selling solutions to some great, big challenges. It’s all about storytelling.
My career has been slightly flipped around – I started off in the corporate world and then ran my own businesses for some time, and now later in my career I have chosen to enter the corporate technology world again. Why would someone do that? I missed being part of a team, a team where ideas are shared, and solutions are built around a common goal of changing the world for the better. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me. Building solutions for healthcare challenges, requires teams of experts, great technology and really innovative folks who can come together to achieve amazing things. Like managing an HIV epidemic, responding to a global pandemic such as COVID-19 or helping underserved populations have access to medicine. And this is where marketing becomes very different to selling a shoe or a sweatshirt.
For marketers in a company like BroadReach, we have to find the story. Like any story or film, it needs to have a plot where there is usually a problem to solve, a way of solving it and a great ending. And of course, a great cast of characters. Putting a picture on a billboard of our logo and our tagline does not tell people about who we are. But when we come together, we can engage in true storytelling about how a country or health system is facing a particular challenge, how the cast of characters work to answer that call and the improvements and results we are able to achieve.
So yes, my story to people who ask is that in this kind of world we are living in, of course it is important to have the website, the social media, the PR, the sales teams and lead generation and all the different traditional marketing pillars. These are just tools. But at the core of all of this is how we are able to tell a story. How did technology and innovative thinking become a hero in a piece of work we did for HIV or how did we use our technology and expertise to ensure millions of children have access to malaria treatment. This is where the gold lies. The power of collaboration.
I remember once collaborating on a case study for a regional emergency medical service where technology was implemented to help emergency medical staff reach patients faster in rural and underserved settings. The team wanted to talk about the tablet and the functions it showed, but slowly we unravelled the story and found that the technology together with the people was helping to save 35% more lives than before. We inadvertently also found a team of female paramedics who used the technology to help keep their own team stay safer.
My answer to the question, “So what do you actually do?” We create solutions to very complex health problems and our job is to find and tell that story so that anyone in the world can understand it.