Marketing Through Change with Alison Huffines

Industry: Healthcare

Role: Marketing Director at MedSpeed

What is the craziest or most inspirational thing you've witnessed in your marketing career?

One of the recent examples that comes to mind occurred in March. It started with just a few emails from the airlines and then suddenly COVID-19 response messages flooded in from almost every personal and professional business I had ever encountered. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in receiving emails from companies I couldn’t remember ever purchasing anything from, as well as those I hadn’t heard from in years. For marketers, I think it was a great reminder about the importance of the basics: what needs to be communicated, who would benefit from seeing the message and what is the most effective way to deliver it.

What is the best thing you have learned about marketing during this crazy time of pandemic?

This pandemic has reinforced the power of great storytelling to me. I’ve heard so many amazing stories from my organization, our customers and others in my network. Marketing that tells a truly great story can help people connect to a brand. When this crisis is over, companies with those stories are what we will remember.

What is the most important lesson you've learned?

Many years ago, I first heard the phrase “know your audience” in the theatre. In that world, it means you shouldn’t produce “Hamlet” if your audience is more likely to buy tickets for “The Lion King”. In marketing, this translates into an understanding of who the target is and what they care about. Then the job of the marketer is to figure out where the product/service fits in and how to match the tone of the audience. I have learned the importance of “know your audience” over and over again throughout my career.

When you look in your crystal ball, what advice can you offer marketing leaders over the next five years?

It’s hard to know where COVID-19 will lead us, but I think the emphasis on digital is here to stay. From video happy hours to remote learning, digital experiences have permeated every aspect of our lives over the last few months. While we will all be glad to see people face to face again, I think the convenience and cost efficiencies of digital will carry on. For marketing, this means that we must find a way to make digital touchpoints memorable and engaging.

Any parting thoughts/words of wisdom?

Marketers are doing some incredible things right now. I know we’ve all seen the missteps, but there has been plenty of innovation and creativity too. I hope the transformation continues.